As a kid, no celebrity meant more to me than America’s sweetheart, Julia Roberts. With her head of bouncy auburn curls and that trademark smile, she seemed to me like everything a woman should be. I think in a way she reminded me of my mom, who wore her curly hair long back then as well.
When I was young, I thought my curly hair made me special. It connected me to my mom, who I desperately wanted to emulate. Her People magazines were filled with celebrities du jour who wore their curls wild and free--Julia, Nicole Kidman, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, SJP, et al.
As I got older, I fell under the sway of more flat-ironed celebrities around the same time my mom cut her hair short and started wearing it straight.
Princess Diaries taught me that if I wanted to be a successful man-getting princess, I’d need to straighten my hair.
My hair’s texture changed a lot during my teenage years, thanks to hormonal and environmental changes, and I grew increasingly frustrated with its natural texture. So began a decade-long battle.
Throughout my teens, I straightened my hair into submission before chopping it all off at the onset of my twenties into a pixie I wore for four or five years. It wasn’t until the past year that I started letting my hair do its damn thing again as it grows out.
Accepting my hair’s natural texture has been hard for me, especially as someone who writes about hair and beauty and often has to post pictures of myself on the Internet for millions to see. The thing about curly hair is that it sometimes feels like it’s in charge of me, rather than the other way around. When my hair doesn’t do what I want, it’s easy to feel ugly and defeated.
In 2014, there aren’t a lot of curly-haired ladies for me to look up to. When I think of celebrities with curly hair, I think of women with perfect hair that's been blown out and re-curled in smooth, uniform ringlets or waves. That’s why, lately, I’ve been nostalgic for the messier, frizzier days of yore.
I keep re-watching season one of Sex and the City, mostly for Carrie’s crazy curls. And I’ve been Google-image searching “1998 red carpet hair” to remind me of simpler, less-styled times.
The resurgence of '90s trends hasn’t really appealed to me, since most of the styles make me feel like I’m cosplaying as one of my former babysitters. But when most people consider the '90s as an aesthetic, it’s a more easygoing, lackadaisical sense of style. That attitude extended to everyone’s hair, especially the curls, and I’m embracing it now.
I promised myself at the onset of 2014 that I would go easier on myself. I’m prone towards self-loathing and anxiety, and something as trivial as a bad hair day can set me spinning into a downward spiral. As I try my darndest to put less pressure on myself, I’m trying to put less pressure on my hair.
My hair is curly, wavy, frizzy, poofy, froofy, unruly, damaged, wild, weird, and totally mine. Maybe it really is the greatest extension of myself.
From now on, I’m embracing the '90s hair aesthetic. Some days my hair is going to look like shit, but you know what? Capital W Whatever!
My curly, frizzy hair is a part of me, and it connects me to so many other curly, frizzy-haired women I’ve loved and admired, both up-close and from a distance.
- Do you long for the frizzier days of red carpets past?
- Are you more of a pre-makeover Princess Diaries Anne Hathaway, like me?
- How have you learned to accept your hair’s natural texture?