Love Your Locks


My nerves tingled as I felt the sensation of a cloud of hot smoke dissipate between my fingers. I combed through the pin-straight ends of my freshly straightened hair as I looked in the mirror at myself. I think I look ‘put together’, I thought to myself as I packed away my flat iron and got ready to go to school. 

But I never felt “put together.” For years, I would always check my hair: in the bathroom mirrors, the reflection of my phone, the camera on my Chromebook, whatever was available. Was it too poofy? Did it become the least bit curly? Did the split ends from the endless hours of flat-ironing show?

Sometimes the hair maintenance became too much that I couldn’t bear to break out the flat-iron again or was too tired to spend 40 minutes scorching my hair into a perfectly straight line. That’s when my curls would peek through, and people got to see the real me. 

“Do you usually straighten your hair?” a couple of my teachers asked me, to which I replied yes. “I like your hair better curly” or “Your curls are pretty” they’d always say. 

It was at this point that I started to wonder if maybe I should try wearing my hair curly. In my free time, I watched videos of other girls transforming their hair by switching from straightening to wearing their natural locks. I was hopeful. Maybe my hair could look that good too, I thought. 

This past summer, I started wearing my hair curly. I learned how to take care of my hair: wash with cold water, use lots of conditioner, let it air dry and don’t brush it. I couldn’t be happier with my natural hair.

Comparison between Zara Tola, Data Journalist, when she used to straighten her hair versus present day:

Last semester, with my transformed look, I gained so much confidence in myself. Now I can talk to people who I was too insecure to talk to. I can walk with confidence through the halls. I feel comfortable to let people know about me because now I feel like myself. 

Within the past couple of years, there has been overwhelming support growing for people who choose to wear their natural hair.  Youtuber Eva Gutowski, known for her channel MyLifeAsEva, recently released her own video on how she fixed her natural hair after straightening her hair for so long. Actress Zendaya also released a video revealing her curly hair routine, which has gotten over eight million views to date. The response to this video has been overwhelmingly positive. One of the top comments, which got 6.6k likes to date, said “Step 1: have the most beautiful natural hair to begin with.” 

Everyone should embrace their natural self too. Having curly hair isn’t as rare as it may seem: about 11 percent of people have curly hair, according to Microsoft News. It is often hidden through the use of styling tools or artificial hair, but nowadays, there’s no shame in rocking your natural hair. 

The support for natural hair cannot just be a trend, it must continue into the future. People tend to stick to looking like everyone else, and that’s where they start to change themselves in order to be accepted. As I have personally experienced, as have others, natural hair is the way to go. 

Be happy with how you look. Be happy with the real you.