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The Curly Hair Struggle

Posted on 12 February 2020

We see it almost every day in your reviews, "I used to hate my curly hair…"

It seems what brings us together is the shared struggle of fighting our curly hair. This Valentine’s Day we’re sharing some of the curl-love inspo from our community.

As a kid, I thought I had “Christmas Tree Hair.” It was a poofy triangle that made me long for the sleek strands the other girls had been graced with. Now, as a grown adult with three kids of my own, I have spent the last several years of my life focused on forcing my hair into that same ideal I formed as a kid, leaving it damaged and ragged from years of constant blowouts and heat-styling.

You see, it’s been a minute since I’ve actually LIKED something that is naturally….me.

I’ve gained weight, been diagnosed with PTSD, and spent the last few years fighting internal battles that have made me want to hide from the real me and I’ve worked hard to cover her up and conform myself into a version that would allow me to blend in — become invisible.

But this year, it starts with my hair. This year is about healing and taking those little steps toward resurrecting and celebrating that authenticity I’ve been too afraid to show. If I can allow my hair to heal, to take the time to learn how to love it again, to care for it and nurture it, and give myself permission to let my hair be its true self...maybe, just maybe, my hair can be the start of something greater. Caring for curly hair takes time and the willingness to move yourself up the priority list, which is something that many women, particularly moms, struggle with all the time. A return to my curly hair means allowing it to be frizzy or to walk out the door with wonky curls, to exist in the transition, to be present in the progress. It’s trial and error. Messing up, learning, and trying again. It’s sitting with the unpredictability and knowing it’s okay.

This is about so much more than hair. It’s about unapologetically embracing something that is truly me.

— Sarah K.

Learning to love yourself is a hard process because you have to accept that you’re not perfect and you never will be. But who said that we’re supposed to be? Women have it hard. We have to be pretty, know how to cook, be smart, work harder, give life and keep it together. It’s created this culture where women are always comparing themselves to the next woman, especially when it comes to their appearance. I know because I’ve been there.

As a child, I loved my hair, but when I became a teenager and started constantly paying attention to my appearance, I hated it. Everything about it. Growing up my mother took great care of my hair but it was a lot to deal with, and I don’t think she knew what to do with it, so I got perms. I was always trying new things, different kinds of perms, hair products, hair tools, colors, DIY concoctions. I once died my hair with Kool-Aid, if it’s out there I tried it!

My hair was damaged, dry, brittle, and sad, and I hated it more because of that,

but underneath it all, I didn't love myself.

I was trying to make myself someone else. Anyone else. It wasn’t until my 20’s I noticed what I was doing to myself.

One day, I just decided that I wasn’t going to perm my hair anymore, I was going to deal with the hair I was given. I kept a weave or braids in my hair after I kicked the perms to the curb, and I was feeling good about myself. In between the protective styles, I could see my hair recovering and I saw what my real hair pattern was like because I honestly had never known before. The icing on the cake was getting compliments on my NATURAL curls. Yessssss, I was feeling myself! Slowly it grew, and I realized my hair wasn’t THAT bad to begin with! I wanted to see what it could be if I took care of and embraced my curls.

I took on the challenge, and I haven’t looked back since. Going natural was just the turning point of me starting to love myself. I walk by a mirror now, and I love what I see. I love who I see. Yes, I have bad hair days. Yes, I have flaws, but I was created perfectly to be me. Why wouldn’t I love someone God created so perfectly? No one else can do you, the way you can. Accept yourself, love yourself, be yourself! When you love yourself, you inspire others to follow your lead.

— Ty G.

At 19 I became a cosmetologist and was thrown into a world of hair products. The ones made for curly hair were crunchy, scrunchy types that made your hair feel like it should be feeding livestock instead of on your head. I spent a good deal of my years as a hairdresser with short hairstyles that could be easily straightened. Where I lived wasn’t very humid so my styles, for the most part, stayed put.

And then I moved to Gainesville, Florida (also known as ‘The Swamp’) and it was the most humid weather I’d ever experienced, and boy did my hair let me know it!

I tried the old tricks and nothing worked so I wore my hair in a ponytail with a halo of frizz almost all the time. Each year my hair got curlier and curlier and frizzier and frizzier. I got so sick of it I ended up cutting it all off hoping that maybe if it was shorter it would behave better. It didn’t. I tried everything. Nothing helped. I tried LUS and I immediately noticed a difference as well as the people I worked with, and my husband.  

These days, I choose to embrace my curls more often than not. I find myself looking in the mirror at the springs that form around my face and think, 'these match my bouncy personality,

so why try forcing my hair to do something it doesn’t want to do? I would never let someone do that to me!

— Erica L.

My natural hair journey began in 2017. It was very difficult to take that first step.

From the time I was 12 years old, my hair was chemically relaxed straight. The first step was to stop relaxing my hair. Then that awkward growth period came, curly roots and straight ends, and that forced me to do the big chop. I was so unsure and afraid of what my curl pattern could be but I had such great support and encouragement came from my daughter, Whitney, she was my natural hair guru. She showed me step by step which products to use and how to define my curls. As a black woman,

you’re constantly fed negative messages from society about your hair.

It's not pretty, not professional...

It's so unfortunate that we believe it. The first few weeks wearing my natural curls to work I was told by a superior; "Oh I see you have an edgy new look?" Was I wearing a purple mohawk? No, it was just my natural curls, what’s so edgy about rocking your natural, god-given hair?

I thank LUS for helping me begin my journey. I am determined to continue cultivating my natural hair and have grown to love my curls.

— Petal R.

I hated my curls for the longest time. If I let my hair dry naturally it became this HUGE, puffy, tangled mess. So, I put it in a ponytail. All-day, every day through elementary and middle school. In high school, I discovered flat irons and started straightening my hair sporadically. In college, it became more frequent. Post-graduation, I hardly ever wore my hair curly. I remember occasions when I actually straightened my hair first, and then used a curling iron to curl it all because I'd never learned how to correctly care for and style my curls.

I started wanting to embrace my curls a few years ago but had no idea where to begin. For a long time I would say that I wanted to figure out my curls, but then gave up after a few days because I didn't see results immediately.

Finally, I had my daughter and her hair grew in, it was even curlier than mine.

I realized how important it was to me to show her how beautiful her curls are and that she should embrace them and love them.

So I made up my mind to learn to love my own curls.

It was a process. I attempted a number of "methods" and a variety of curl creams and other products but nothing really worked and I was still straightening my hair regularly.

I started seeing ads for LUS and thought "what if?" I placed my first order and promised myself I'd give it a real chance to see what happened. I went from straightening my hair three or more times a week, to not having straightened it in over a year. I don't even have any desire to straighten my hair anymore. I LOVE MY CURLS!

— Kyrra N.

4c hair was never enough. I decided to transition to my natural hair in high school. I was so excited to start my natural journey since I wasn’t even sure what my natural hair texture was. That joy was very short-lived. I realized my curls were super tight and coily and I started to feel like the curly hair movement didn’t have room for hair like mine.

At the time it was a struggle to find tutorials, blogs, and even products that could help me with it. It never felt like my hair was enough. With no distinct curl pattern, my hair only felt presentable when I made it hold some pattern. Twist outs, braid outs, Bantu knot outs and don’t even get me started on the curl rods. I had family constantly reminding me that I didn’t get the ‘good hair’ so I shouldn’t be natural, I paid extra at hair salons because my hair was deemed too difficult and then there’s all that god damn shrinkage.

Again, my hair turned into something

I wanted to hide.

"Again, my hair turned into something I wanted to hide."

It was hard not to wish for a looser texture. I was so caught up with my hair and how people were viewing me I never truly just enjoyed it. I myself hadn’t accepted my natural texture and was worried about how others saw it. Finally, I realized I was searching for validation for my hair to just exist, and I snapped out of it real quick. Why should I care what people thought about me, why was I getting so worked up about my hair? Now, I love how it feels, I love it’s fluffy look, I love that it can hold any shape, I love the lil swirls, I love the nappy look. While shrinkage can still go jump off a cliff, I feel great rocking my natural hair. Just normalizing these nappy coils makes me happy. I no longer feel my hair is something I have to hide or alter. I love it just the way it is.

— Gail S

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