The last few years have been a real journey of self-acceptance for me. I think turning 40 in lockdown was a real turning point, as well as investing in myself and having some coaching in 2021. I realised I had spent too much of my time either fearful or feeling like I wasn’t good enough and it was time for a change.
Part of this journey of self-acceptance has been my hair. I have probably spent most of my adult life cutting and growing it again. Even though in my heart I knew I really loved it long, I felt frustrated. It was neither curly or straight most of my life. Just kind of frizzy, kinky and in-between. The 90s and their love of poker-straight hair were the bane of my life!
About 5 years ago I decided to try embracing my curls. It was a learning curve, I had to find out what worked and didn’t work. But as a consequence, I slowly began to love my hair.
The first thing I did was experiment with different products. A great place to go for curly hair products is Boots, whose collection has really improved in recent years, with a huge selection to suit every hair style and curl pattern. It’s pretty impressive.
One of the things I really like is a lot of curly hair knowledge has come from women of colour and the black community and I love that Boots has created a collection of products to showcase curly haired products from Black-owned businesses too.
Co-Wash vs Natural Shampoo
During my journey of curly hair learning curve, I discovered some people with curly hair ‘co-wash’ which means washing their hair with conditioner. I tried this, but it didn’t work for me, I found my hair was too greasy and never felt properly clean. I instead found switching to a shampoo for curly hair was a better solution. And I also had a lot of success with natural shampoo. I reduced the frequency of how often I wash my hair slowly moving from either daily or every other day, to every 3 to 4 days instead. It wasn’t easy at first but I am glad I persevered with it as my hair is in so much better condition now.
Curl Creams, Gels and Mousses
I had to change my routine and styling products. I brush my hair only in the shower now while it’s covered in conditioner and never when it’s dry. When I get out of the shower I use a curl cream to help with the moisture, frizz and curl pattern and a gel for holding my curls in place.
Diffusing my Hair to Dry
I said goodbye to straighteners (don’t worry they’re still in the drawer if I ever fancy a change) and instead switched to diffusing my hair. Using mousse when I dry to help with hold again. I also find leaving the last 5/10 % to dry naturally also helps with the frizz. I was gifted a Dyson hairdryer for Christmas and it was an utter game changer, halving my drying time and really helping with improving the condition of my hair.
The final part of my hair journey was dying it pink. It was something I had wanted to do for such a long time, but never had the courage to. I worried people would think I was foolish. And then something clicked in me, I started with a coloured conditioner, loved it and I finally braved the colour and haven’t looked back. I finally felt like I was who I wanted to be and was comfortable in my own skin.
Embracing Your Curls
If you have been thinking about embracing your curls and your own style, my advice to you would be to go for it. Experiment with products that work for you and be prepared for a bit of trial and error. Both my hair and I have been happier since I have.