For as long as I could remember, I’ve always been that girl with the long, curly hair. It’s the first thing people notice and when others describe me, they say, “Oh yeah, Amanda with the long curly hair right?” It is presence-defining for me because of its volume and how I wear my hair. It is a component I cannot hide and with something as a simple curl pattern, it’s a representation of my family, my heritage and for myself and others, how it makes them feel about themselves.

According to my peers in grammar school and even strangers, my natural, long locks were considered “too much” or “too frizzy” for years, and they thought it would look better if I had it blown out or straightened it.

In tv shows and movies, waves and straightened hair were all the rage in the early and mid-2000’s. That’s why when kids told me to “straighten my hair so I’ll look prettier,” it hit home because I didn’t see myself represented in the media. Having strangers stare at me and ask me if my hair was real was almost insulting, as if it wasn’t possible to have my hair the way it was without some sort of enhancement.

Being Latina and being discriminated by other Latinos for having different hair left me questioning whether my hair was beautiful. But being in my late teens and early 20’s, I see the change on social media, as women are finally embracing their natural hair.

According to Karen Marie Shelton in her article “Natural Curly Hair Facts,” 34 percent of women have wavy hair and 11 perecent have curly hair, making wavy hair more common.

Yeah, you read that right: only 11 percent!

In the article, “Why the Curly and Natural Hair Movement is So Important,” Latina lifestyle expert Johanna Ferreira states that not portraying “curly, coily or textured hair” as beautiful, affects curly-haired women both emotionally and psychologically. She believes that the curly hair movement is not about aesthetics, but about embracing the natural beauty we are born with.

I spoke with some of our own curly-haired gals on what their hair means to them and what products they used. When sharing tips and stories, we could all keep each other's spirits high and continue to embrace the hair we’ve had since we were born!

Sabrina Marrero

Senior, International Business Major

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“I lowkey felt sad I had curly hair, I always wished it was straight until I saw this YouTube singer Tori Kelly and she would always wear her curly hair and that inspired me to go natural.

My hair always needs to be done. I can go out with no makeup or my house clothes and as long as my hair looks good, I’ll feel good about myself. To me, my hair means confidence.”

Sabrina uses Tresemme conditioner and DevaCurl Gel.

Gabrielle Bishop

Senior, Economics and Finance Major

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“When I was growing up I wanted straight hair, but I definitely learned how to embrace my curls! Everyone would always say they wanted curly hair and I think one day I was just really happy with my hair and how versatile it is. I can create so many looks with my hair! My hair is really important to me, even when it's so knotty that I get a headache from brushing it out. I love my hair and I really try to take care of it!"

Gabrielle uses Shea Moisture -- “the Manuka honey line” for shampoo -- and conditioner, and Cantu Curl Activator as her styler.

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