I’m the odd ball. I’m the girl with the crazy curly hair in a crowd of straight-haired coifs

I’m used to feeling out of place with my tendrils. Society doesn’t think that natural curls are mainstream and really, why should it? Most people just don’t have curly hair! Wavy, maybe but true curls are a rarity.

So it makes sense that if you’re a shampoo manufacturer or a styling guru, you’ll want to maximize your purchasing and viewing audience by gearing what you do towards those straight-haired mavens who make up the majority.

Maybe you’ll see the fashion leaders reference curls as trend from time to time; but what they really mean is waves. This “trend”, is my perma-look. There is no controlling or curbing the curl 24/7 unless I had a hair transplant. No one in the fashion industry ever said springy, natural, kinky curls are “in”. Not once, ever. They’ve touted the love of the straight and there are thousands of articles on how to heat style your hair with flatirons or create mild waves with curling irons but the closest the world ever got to true curls in mainstream media is crimping; and that makes me cringe.

There’s a multimillion dollar business that beckons just to those crowned with curls with relaxing and keratin treatments and straightening methods that will fry your hair and set flames to your wallet at the same time. And many buy into it, because they want to “fit in” and feel like they can get out of a pool once in their life and let their hair dry without looking like a kinky Slinky.

Hair tutorials on the internet and in magazines

They speak mostly to gals with the sleek, straight hair: “Add volume” ; “Back comb it! Tease it girl” ; “Create beachy waves” – phrases dreaded and techniques never used by us curly fashion girl.

Hair products for the masses boast more volume and work best on those who were born with beautiful, smooth pin straight hair. There’s not a curly-haired girl on the planet that needs even more volume than her hair generates on its own.Trust me! It would be an invasion of your personal space if I used a volumizer on my head! And when you try to use the same shampoos, conditioners and tools of the trade meant for the stick straight population, you wind up with frizz and fright stemming from your scalp.

Look at a hair commercial – any of them. You’ll see fashion girl with beautiful straight, sleek hair, or perhaps some lustrous controlled smooth waves. You won’t see a mop full of natural curls.

Straight-haired girls look at us with corkscrew curls and think “What’s the big deal?” The deal is that we who have tussled tendrils can’t do what you do without mounds of goop, flatirons hotter than hell and a climate controlled environment. Even then, our hair has a mind of its own. It literally wants to bend any “rules” that we set for it, literally. Thus begins the battle.

When you see us curl girls running for cover at the first sign of a sea breeze, you may not know why. Well, it’s actually got a lot to do with us not looking like fluffy French poodles when mist causes mayhem with our ever expanding hair. Curly hair can’t wait to frizz at the drop of water, a flirtation with fog, or a high humidity situation.

We curly-haired girls travel with hats and ponytail holders to try to fend off the unexpected that can wield wild hair.

There’s not a flatiron out there that will give me lasting lustrous poker straight locks. Just add a little humidity and “Whoa baby”, we’re going all curl crazy on you!

There’s not a hair gel strong enough to contain these curls! (Although I haven’t tried Krazy Glue…yet.)

Do I hear an “Amen” from my curly-haired friends? Yeah, you know it. You can relate!

You’ve gotten those same looks from your straight hair stand byers when you duck and run for cover at the sight of showers or sea spray. They just don’t get it. Sheesh Girls! 😉

I’m Hungarian and Italian. There’s no African American in me as far as I know. But my hair, I honestly don’t know who I get it from. When I wake up, it looks like I stuck my finger in an electric socket. When it’s rainy, misty or humid, my hair expands to the size of a lead singer’s do in an 80’s heavy metal band. When it was the 80’s my hair was naturally “big”. I didn’t need a spritz of Aqua Net. No teasing! No lie!

It didn’t start out this way. When I was a little girl, my hair was pretty straight. Then I hit 7th grade and all hell, I mean hair, broke loose. And I had no clue how to deal with it. I had been brushing my hair for over a decade, just like all of my friends and now the hair brush created unwanted chaos on the top of my head. It was my enemy. It made me look like cotton candy on a Q-tip.Thus my fight with my hair began.

Here all my straight-haired friends were getting perms and body waves, trying to make their hair curlier and fuller. Their artificial ringlets were so perfect and never frizzy!

Some friends stuck with their naturally straight hair. Shiny, straight, brushable, perfectly poker straight hair. I admit. I was jealous. I wanted straight hair, too.

Finally, after several painfully bad haircuts and hairdressers who were not used to working on natural curls, I started to let my hair grow longer to combat the natural shrinkage that happens when curls curl up. But I still longed for the hair I didn’t have. Before flatirons were a dime a dozen, I used to take 45 minutes in the mornings, painstakingly blow-drying my hair to breakage in high school, making it as straight as humanly possible. I wanted to be like everyone else, but the closest I could get my hair to imitate was semi-flat and fluffy, never shiny and straight.

When college came up, I just didn’t have the time to cope with getting up earlier than I had to to continue my crazy hair routine, and I caved in to the curl. And you know what? I liked it!

It was easy and breezy. Springy! I could let the wind blow through my hair and it still looked lovely! Meanwhile, I looked all around me at the straight-haired girls as a breeze blew by and their manes were mangled with knots. Maybe this curls thing wasn’t so bad after all, I started to think. Maybe my hair and I were actually becoming friends now!

I barely needed a blow dryer once I embraced my beauty – my curls. I discovered that they DID make hair gel for curls, which, helps – but it still doesn’t cure misty mornings or humidity from hell – maybe in another 20 years technology will truly tame the frizz with weatherproofing wearability. My fingers were my friends as styling tools, separating my curls into tendrils that looked at least decent. After all, anything shaped like a corkscrew can’t be that bad, right? Cheers! 

I actually liked how I looked with curls versus straight hair! 

I’m “kinky” and I like it! They framed my face with fullness and reflected my bouncy personality. Not to mention guys liked the look too! Just for the heck of it I had gotten my hair salon-straightened from time to time. Not only did I fear brittle breakage from the intense heat as the stylist pulled on my hair getting her daily workout trying to curb the curls, (curly hair is already dry and prone to damage) but the look never lasted as I don’t live in a humidity free bubble.

I learned to love what I was born with. I always tell my daughter that God had a plan when he designed each of us and knew how we would look best. He thought blue eyes would bring out the brown hair in some or bleach blonde with long legs would pair nicely. Who are we to question our assembly? It’s what makes each of us unique.

There are days when I battle the crazy curls and still wish I had straight, smooth, hair that slides effortlessly in place; but there are less of them now. After all, I don’t want to be like anyone else; I love being me. And my curls, well, they are part of what puts the “me” in my “me”aningful life, feeling significant, because I am significantly different.

Writer: The Lady in Red                                         Twitter: @LadyInRedBlog

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