Dealing with my curls has been a tough journey with lots of ups and downs, mostly because I had straight hair until I was 11. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. I had curly hair when I was a baby, but as I was growing up, I had straight hair. So naturally, I assumed that my hair would stay that way forever.


I was incredibly confused when I hit puberty and my hair started to become wavy. Neither I nor my mom knew how to style it, and from ages 11 to 15, my hair could best be described as a “frizzy mess trying its best.” Also, I just want to clarify that I have type 3B curly hair, so if you read this and don’t find it relatable, that might be why.


At first, I treated curly hair like straight hair. After all, hair is hair, right? Wrong. Brushing curly hair is a big no-no (unless it’s wet, or maybe you just have amazing hair that never gets frizzy). But I didn’t know that, so every morning I would brush my hair and put into a low ponytail or bun. Coupled with the fact that my entire wardrobe came from Land’s End … well, I’ll just say that middle school wasn’t great.


It wasn’t until high school that I actually focused on my hair’s appearance and how to properly style it. This is because there were other students who knew how to properly do their hair, and I was in shock. I went on the internet, searching for products for curly hair, and was overwhelmed. By sophomore year, I had every product I think I needed and used them on my hair relentlessly. Gels, mousses, creams, jellies, sprays — if you could find it on some curly-hair blog, I put it on my hair. Sure, it fixed the problem of having frizzy, undefined curls, but my hair was always shiny and looked like it was wet and oily.


At the end of junior year, I decided to get a haircut. I had way too much hair that I didn’t know how to deal with, so I figured why not? I decided to get a bob. And let me tell you, it was probably the best thing I could’ve done. The entire time she was doing my my hair, the stylist explained what she was doing, and also gave me tips and product recommendations. The following summer was the first time I’d had consecutive good hair days.


From then on, I just talked to other people with curls and asked them for tips and tricks, or went to helpful websites to answer my questions (highly recommend and I’m still picking up new methods. For instance, before last December, I had no idea what the shingling method was, but I tried it and now it’s my post-shower go-to.


At first I avoided my hair, which was hard to do, considering it’s a part of me. Then I tried to do what I thought was right, without taking the time to learn what was best for me. Finally, I ended up where I am now, trying out new styles and products and seeing which one works. My relationship with my curly hair has seen ups and downs, but I’ve finally become content with it.