A few weeks ago, Dove launched its new #CurlPower campaign with the aim of convincing curly girls to embrace their unruly manes. They teamed up with Today, inviting curly-haired viewers to talk on air about everything from their struggles with confidence and identity to the time they spend straightening their hair to the opinions of their colleagues and friends in the curly-versus-straight debate. As a curly girl who’s spent her whole life hopscotching from one hair dryer, flat iron, relaxer, keratin treatment, and blowout to the next, it was eye opening, to say the least.
When it comes to other women, I love a good mop of luxurious, curly hair, often pausing to think “Ugh, I wish I were as confident/care-free/cool as she is” when I see one. But my own mess of curls makes me feel girlish, unpolished, self-conscious—even, somehow, spastic. So, despite the time and muscle it takes to achieve stick-straight strands—and the inconvenience of dodging rain drops, water guns, swimming pools, sweat sessions, steaming pots of pasta, and buildings without air-conditioning—I’ve spent 20 years fighting what Mama Nature gave me. The battle has been made even more complicated by the fact that, as a writer and editor, my work takes me to some of the world’s swampiest and stickiest destinations with some frequency.
By now, you might be thinking “So what? It’s hair.” But even the least vain of curly girls will tell you that having a head covered in corkscrews means you’re pretty much guaranteed to engage in a psychological or emotional struggle at some point. I certainly have. So, when I saw that first Today teaser one January morning revealing that the show would be tackling the topic of curly hair, I stopped in my tracks. The package turned out to be downright inspiring! I wasn’t alone in my struggle, and that in itself could help me get past it.
Part of the problem with having curly hair is that it can be super-tricky to style: Lots of products promise to keep curls sculpted and shiny, but they also leave locks feeling crunchy and looking perpetually wet thanks to their alcohol content. Inspired—even a touch empowered—by Dove’s #CurlPower campaign, I scoured the Internet for some curl-styling tutorials, and I found one that seems to be working. I haven’t blown my hair dry in about a week, and already my curls look and feel more defined. More importantly, I feel more defined. I was born a curly girl, and I’m finally ready to embrace it.
Here, some of the curly community’s sexiest citizens:
Are you a curly girl? If so, did you ever (or do you still) fight it? What styling tips and tricks do you swear by?