February 25th 2010 was a big day for me. It was the day I chopped of my hair and ended over a decade of chemical straightening and finally embraced my natural curls.
I had straightened my hair from when I was 10 years old. It was the early 90′s and perms and curly hair in general were passé. Hair products that were available resulted in crunchy, unflattering fros. After being teased a bit in elementary school, my mother allowed me to play hooky one day and took me into the city to have my curls chemically straightened. Afterwards upon returning to school I remember one of my classmates acknowledging it announcing “Corrie! No Fro!”
The following 16 years most people who knew me thought my hair was naturally straight. It was my dirty little secret. As far as haircuts go, I generally had the same cut from high school through college: really long with face framing layers. I received tons of compliments so I never thought to change it.
Over the years in my late 20′, something snapped. I was always pressed for time and I was just plain sick of blowing out my hair, which took almost 45 minutes. I made the scary decision to grow out my straightner and work with my natural hair texture after getting married. After finding a photo of a totally badass curly style I fell in love with and was sold. The hard part would be the grow out.
All in all the grow out process took less time than I thought. Only around 17 months. I was so excited yet insanely nervous the day of my haircut. What if my curls are weird? What if this style doesn’t look good on me? Am I making a mistake? My straight hair looks good why change it?
I was smart in that when I decided to make this switch, I immediately started going to a curly hair specialist to help with the grow out as well as the final curly cut. I had sent her my inspiration photo in advance and the day of my big chop she was prepared.
She reviewed with me as she chopped away how my new hair would have to be cut (while dry) and styled (mostly done while wet in the shower). To be honest, after it was cut and washes and I was sitting under the dryer I was petrified, my wet hair looked no different from the flat, crunchy 80′s hair I remembered. When my hair was dry, she then told me to flip my head over, “scrunch out the crunch”, fluff it up a bit and flip it back over.
Holy. Freaking. Crap! My hair looked amazing! I looked like a totally different person!
It took a little time to learn how to style it, but after I mastered it styling my hair was so much easier than my previous routine. Better yet, the compliments I received after were more bountiful than with my straight hair, but more meaningful being people noted this cut was more “me”. After so many years of trying to blend in, I was finally my own, unique person.
This newfound confidence totally changed my life. I totally revamped my wardrobe, started experimenting with my style (and blogging about it), plus I even went further in my career. I also over the course of the year changed the cut three or four times (mostly variations in my bangs), three or four times in one year as compared to never-changing it for 17 years! The changes were so profound, I had to commemorate it in this post.
For all you girls with naturally textured hair currently hiding it to become what you think society wants you to look like, I urge you please stop! Your natural texture is the way you were intended to be, so don’t fight it! You won’t regret it I promise you.
Do you currently straighten or alter your natural hair? Why do you do it and have you ever considered going natural?