Understanding and embracing your natural curl pattern, is an issue for masses of people. I know from listening to my clients, how managing textured hair at home can be a struggle. I'll also hear from people who simply don't know where to begin with identifying, let alone managing their curl pattern; which I always find astonishing. Every time, a positive conversation and demonstrations follow, leaving the client feeling empowered to begin their own hair journey, beyond the salon.
The internet and social media is always more and more alive with conversations along these lines too.
I had the vision of taking the topic of embracing and managing curly hair out of the salon and beyond online, into the real-world environment of today's younger generation; and approached Teen Vogue magazine with the idea of exploring it as a special feature. This finally came to life very recently; and it certainly was a day to remember. Unlike me, none of the five girls aged from 18 to 24 who took part, were prepared for the emotional impact that being involved would have.
On the day, each of the five girls arrived with hair how they usually wore it, straightened. They all had different hair textures, but shared similar stories and associations with what curly versus straight hair means to them. We had a group chat where they all agreed that they wore their hair straight because it was seen as more prized, attractive and easier to manage. They also said that they never wore their hair curly because they didn't know any techniques for styling it effectively - there was a massive knowledge gap.
We were by a swimming pool on the rooftop of a five star hotel in New York. Over the course of the day, one at a time, each jumped into the pool; the contact with water revealing her true texture. We then talked all things 'curly hair'. I shared plenty of product application, drying and styling techniques and showed each of them step-by-step practical ways of managing their hair. We finished with a group discussion about the transformation and how they felt wearing their hair in this new and beautiful way.
Most of the girls were completely stunned by the great results and how different they looked at the end of the day. They were amazed at how easy it was for their natural curl pattern to be revived. Some of the comments that stayed with me, are "I didn't know this was possible" and "I've never seen my hair this curly before". They were astounded by how such a simple concept - revealing and embracing your natural curl pattern - can have such a dramatic, liberating, positive, effect.
I know from experience that helping people to embrace their textured hair can often be very moving; as it usually involves a range of emotions. The process can include feelings of vulnerability where someone realises that they lack the confidence to embrace having big, loud hair; unless it's for a special occasion, when somehow it seems more acceptable to do so. Acceptance of the fact that they have a unique curl pattern that, up until now, they have been trying to suppress; excitement and anticipation that nurturing this will bring out a visual side of them that perhaps they haven't seen before; confidence and determination to embark on their hair journey and see where the road takes them, aware that their hair may want to do different things on different days; a sense of liberation with being free to show others an unseen side of them; and empowerment through confident expression in how they wear their hair.
I truly believe that how you choose to wear your curls is a great way of expressing your personality. With the tools, practices and confidence building that I can share with people, we should see this being embraced more, across all ages and within all professions.
It's very clear that in this day and age there is still a lack of guidance out there for managing all types of textured hair. Women of all ages want to feel beautiful. I believe that it is my, as well as the hair care industry at large’s, professional responsibility to help people confidently manage their textured hair at home, whatever their curl type.