As a child, I didn’t know my hair was naturally curly. I grew up in a mostly black and Puerto Rican family in the Boricua neighborhood of New Jersey in the late 1980s and 1990s. My mom has always embraced our Afroborician roots, but life is complicated and she did what she could to make things easier. One of those things was how she treated my hair.
When I was a little girl, every morning my mother took a boar bristle brush into my hair and used a lot of hair grease to style it into braids and pigtails. If I ever ran out of it, it again plunged into a sort of puffy, half-up/half-down situation. It had achieved that voluminous teased look. At school, people asked me if I was an “Indian,” meaning indigenous, and I always said, “No, I’m Puerto Rican.” I know it’s the result of a healthy amount of blood and African DNA, but at the time, I didn’t think much of it.
To be honest, my hair has always been the biggest point of contention between me and my mother. In the case of the stereotype was true. My mother said that if I complained or argued too much, she would immediately brush me off.And wow we can’t forget LorosPure torture trying to loosen my natural curl pattern. Because he worked hard.
When I got a little older, she turned to the heat tools, blowing my hair out every week, finishing my straight style with a pass of the curling wand, making sure the ends were perfectly smooth. She taught me how to do it, so by the time I was in middle school, I was able to take over a two-hour job. So, at best, I’ve never seen my hair wavy.
I can still remember my mom, who was actually in beauty school, commenting to a friend about never using chemicals (meaning relaxers) in my hair, but at that age, it didn’t make sense to me. A lot of people with really pretty curly hair and similar hair textures have done just that.
Then I entered high school and was exposed to a whole new community. I attended a competitive college preparatory Catholic high school. Most of the students there were white or Asian and came from wealthy families. Up until that point, I hadn’t had much contact with non-Latino or black people. Hmm, what was pretty surprising was that instead of putting their hair in a deep low bun with side parts, most of the girls had their hair permed, gelled, combed, and sprayed on their hair.
I asked my mom if I could do the same and she said I didn’t need to perm my hair and started using gels and mousses instead of hair oils and “greases.” So I washed her blowout out and tried it and it worked. That was the beginning of my journey to unleash my curl power. But after years of heat styling and using all the wrong products, well… in the early ’90s, nobody knew how to really nourish curly hair. I never really knew my true hair texture. Until I’m in my 20’s.
I messed around with wearing my hair naturally in college and learned different ways to nourish and moisturize my curls, but when I started job hunting, I went back to my weekly blowouts. Once I got my hands on it, I was able to cut the time it took to about an hour, depending on the length of my hair at the time.
At 26, I was pregnant with my first child. Eventually, after a long day at work, I felt too tired and nauseous to straighten my hair. It wasn’t ideal to fix my hair in the morning when it went bad. , started looking for a product that would keep it there.
Like so many curly girls, I became a total product addict. It’s pretty cool to see so many women, so many Latinas, turning to natural hair movement and the world reacting to it.
Now you can go to almost any store or online to find an array of products such as: All about curl bouncy cream Also All About Curls Daily Cream Conditionerand for days when I want a lot of definitions, All boosting forms about curl When All about curl high definition gelThe fact that I can really be curly to the core and wear my hair in a variety of styles is huge because these products exist. My daughter’s curls have been celebrated and accepted since birth The fact that
I don’t blame my mother or the community for my lack of knowledge about my hair. It was definitely a different era and the options were incredibly limited, but it took me a very long time to discover something that was actually a big part of my physical identity. It’s a shame. I won’t trade my curls for anything!
Discover how the curly hair community has grown over the past decade, especially the amazingly empowering Latinos and Afro Latinos, who embrace curls while showing off their hair instead of hiding it. Explore all the great products currently available to help you. Natural texture has been a life-changing experience for me, and I’m so happy to share my curl power with my little little me.