It is so disheartening to me when I introduce myself and A Curl’s Best Friend at an event and the person, usually with 4a-c hair, responds with statements like: “I don’t have curly hair”, “My hair is nappy not curly”, or “I’d wear my hair natural if I had hair like yours”. I happen to LOVE 4abc curls. I truly think they are beautiful. I often catch myself wishing my hair was thicker, more full and could hold a style for more than a day. So when those statements are made, in my opinion, they show how much work there is to be done in our community and are the aftermath of years of conditioning and being fed a euro-centric idea of what beauty really is. But it’s 2011 ladies! Let’s do something different.
Folks, I want to be really clear with what I’m saying. 4a-c curls are CURLS! Celebrate them. I have been reading so many forums, blogs, websites and even product bottles that unlovingly refer to them as naps, kinks, indiscernible curl patterns and so on and so forth. The truth is that 4a-c curls are curls and they are beautiful.
What Are 4a-c Curls?
As stated by Shanti, in her 5 Myths About Kinky, Curl Hair post, water is what moisturizes and penetrates the hair strands. Oils and creams are meant to simply lock in that moisture. Water becomes “locked” in the hair strand because oils/creams are molecularly larger than water and keep the moisture sealed on the strand. So when moisturizing hair, remember it is a two step process- first applying water or water- based product followed by an oil/cream sealant. Oils and heavy creams are great for providing shine and lubrication but not moisture.
Ways You Can Stop the Cycle and Help Celebrate 4a-c Hair:
*Affirmations– Giving positive affirmations whether they are to your self or to a stranger is a huge step. A little encouragement goes a long way.
*Watch the Lingo– Words all have a different weight and meaning to them depending on the context in which they are used. Be sure your jokes or terms of endearment are not offensive or self-loathing. Kinky is kinky as long as it is said and received with love.
*Special Occasion– Try rocking your natural hair. Do a twist out. Add a flower accessory. There is nothing wrong with wanting a change and straightening your hair but know that you don’t have to in order for it to be special.
*Being the Butt of the Joke- Example: while attending any costume parties, ask yourself before sporting an afro wig unless you are going as something that reflects beauty. Sometimes that can read as “my hair is joke”. Be conscience of those around you and whether or not they are laughing with you or at you.
*Reflect– Ask yourself if you too harbor any feelings of doubt and contempt for textured natural hair. It’s a difficult conversation to have but a necessary one.
What did you do to get past it? What advice would you give others?