Why I Stopped Straightening My Hair

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A month or so ago my mom invited me to stand in for my sister for a hair appointment and get a blow out. I took her up on the offer because I wanted to give my arms a rest and have someone else to deep condition and de-tangle my hair.

What I didn’t expect was my daughter’s reaction when I got home. I had a feeling she’d be unhappy but she went berzerk; Crying immediately when she saw I had “straight hair” (it was more like a longer, poofier fro). She thought it was pretty, but she was hurt that I went straight and left her on the curly team alone.

We had more conversations about loving our hair, and the fact that our curls are beautiful. In a few days she forgot my hair was straighter, and I started styling it back to its curly state.

For years, I went to the hair salon twice a month for several hours at a time to get my hair washed, blown straight, then pressed with a metal comb so hot, I could see and smell the smoke coming from it as the beautician pulled it through my tresses.

One time a chunk of my hair was burned off with a flat iron, as we fought to make it lay flat (actually I’m still not sure exactly how that went down, it should have been a sign). Instead of swimming with my friends, I’d pull my hair in a bun, stand near the edge of the pool and try my best to avoid the splashes. It was years before my own husband had seen my hair in its naturally curly state.

I know it’s normal for people to not like the hair they were born with. The grass is always greener right? But I felt the lengths I was going to to keep it straight were not healthy. If it was only a matter of styling my hair in the bathroom after taking a shower that would be one thing. But the expense and damage it was causing my hair needed to stop.

Part of the reason I kept it straight was to look more “professional” at work on the air at my news station. I had never really dared to as otherwise, but hadn’t seen other news anchors rocking the waves.

I was just so used to trying to look like what I thought was acceptable to society — what was pretty. Long, straight, shiny hair. I looked forward to those hair appointments when my hair was starting to get poofy and frizzy, and I felt pretty again after.

mommy and me curly hair

There is nothing wrong with getting a haircut, or new do that makes you feel beautiful, but I’ve realized it’s so important to feel comfortable in your own skin before you try to change yourself. At least, that’s how I’ve grown to feel now that I have a daughter with beautiful curly locks of her own.

It’s my job to build her up, tell her how beautiful she is and help build her up. This fall she starts school, and I want her to be well-armed with confidence.

For the last two years I’ve stopped going to the salon to straighten my hair. I’ve packed away my flat irons and kept a blow drier out of my house. I decided to embrace my natural curls to be an example to my daughter. But it’s turned into an experience that’s helped me build confidence in an area I’ve always been insecure.

Several people who know me and this journey I’ve been on sent me the link to a Dove video and message saying only 4 out of 10 girls think their curls are beautiful. My loving and embracing my own curls means she’s more likely to love hers.

I haven’t been so great about keeping up with sharing my daily naturally curly adventures lately but we’re still here, and still curly, and still striving to have healthier hair.

Since I’ve stopped straightening my hair, wearing it naturally curly is not as easy as I had hoped it would be. Styling takes more time and effort than when I wear it straight, but it’s worth it, and it’s fun to experiment with different products and see what tricks get it to look the way I want. Just when I thought I’d found my favorites, I tried Beautiful Textures this week and fell in love with a whole new line.

I always try it out on myself first before testing it on my kids and the most important quality in a product (after using natural ingredients) is that I can use it quickly and get the job done. I’m in a hurry and want something that will keep my curls looking fresh for hours.

The Moisture Butter Whipped Curl Creme is going in my bucket of approved “go-tos.”

I’m not saying I’ll never straighten my hair again, or that I think it’s bad if other people do. I just feel like for me, I needed to stop drastically changing my appearance for the sake of fitting in with society’s standard of beauty, and become more comfortable in my own skin (hair). And in the process hopefully I’m sending a positive message of self-love for my children.

Do you love your hair? Have you always?

*Thank you to Beautiful Textures for sponsoring this story. Join me in sharing your journey toward healthier hair on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.*

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  1. I’m biracial and have naturally curly hair. I remember as a kid I always wanted my hair straight but my mom tried to teach to me to love & embrace my beautiful curls. In college I started getting my hair straightened with a chemical straightener about every 6-8 months. I love wearing it straight! But now that I have 2 kids I thought it would be easier to wash and go. I haven’t had a chemical straightener in a year & a half and my natural curl has come back. I love the curls but I feel like I look 12 and I don’t like any of a my curly hairstyles. 🙁 So I think I’m just going to get it straightened again. So BIG kudos to you for embracing your natural hair and making it work for you!

  2. LOVE THIS!!!
    I started straightening my hair regularly around 17 years old until I was 30 and moved to NY. Living in Harlem I was influenced by all of the natural hair styles and beautiful women around me. For the past ten years I wear my natural most of the summer because wash and go is easier and the East Coast humidity is too hot for curling irons etc and I wear my hair straight (blow dry not chemically) in the winter because it’s too cold to wash and go..LOL BUT now that I have two girls (2 yrs old & 8 mos) I will have to think about how to talk to them about our hair and loving our selves and being blessed to wear our hair in many different styles! 🙂
    Thanks for this!

  3. Reading this after going through about three different products after a rinse to try to keep my curls from shrinking by the time i go out in an hour! The shrinkage is really real over here! Despite that, I do have to say that I love my curls in all their fickle, shrinking ways. After years of enduring hot combs, burns, perms, damaged hair, braids and braided extensions, and even locs, I love my short and chunky fro the best. I feared my hair for so long, I never learned to do it myself (although being a confirmed tomboy predisposed me to not much caring). But most importantly nowadays, my hair is healthy, and I am happy and confident. I don’t fear getting my hair wet; in fact, I love when it gets wet! Wake up the curls!

  4. As a little girl, my mom had curly red hair and my big sister had curly brown hair.. I had straight blonde hair. My mom kept curling it and made me get a perm twice. The second time I lost patches of hair and ended up having to shave the hair near the nape of my neck completely off. I never cared about straight or curly, but my mom’s obsession with me not having curly hair always bothered me. Now that I’m an adult my hair has gone from stick straight to wavy and I’ve got a little girl with gorgeous, tangley blonde curls. I think the hair you’re born with is what’s most beautiful for you. I’m happy with my hair and I don’t want to change it. I don’t even dye it anymore. And my daughter is going to grow up being told every day how beautiful and wonderful she is just the way she is. I’m proud of you for being such a good example to your kids and all of us. You’re beautiful and I love your hair how it is naturally. 🙂

  5. Your hair (and your daughter’s!) is beautiful.

    I used to wish I didn’t have boring brown hair, and wished it was different. It’s just wavy enough to look messy & be a pain but not wavy enough to be pretty. 🙂

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