How Natural Hair in Media Has Helped Me Embrace My Curls

For women and girls, hair has been such a major part of self esteem and identity, and especially for Black women and girls, it’s been a crucial relationship in our upbringing

embracing curly hair

Photo: Sade Ndya

For women and girls, hair has been such a major part of self esteem and identity, and especially for Black women and girls, it’s been a crucial relationship in our upbringing. That was the case for me, a young Latina growing up with Black hair as a big identifier of my African heritage. Fortunately, my immediate family always affirmed the beauty in my Black features. However, my extended family and peers weren’t so supportive, perpetuating either side of the texturist spectrum with straight up anti-Black comments that adhered to the “pelo malo” stigma in Latinx spaces; no matter what I did to my hair, it was up for critique. 

Image Credit: Palmira Muniz

I saw that this wasn’t a singular experience as I witnessed many Black girls I grew up with dealing with the same or worse treatment because of their natural hair and as we conspired together, we discussed how we hated it. To make matters worse, it felt nearly impossible to learn to take care of my curls, as there were times where I could not find any products to properly do my hair with because at the time the education or brand effort was just simply not there. 

Because of anti-Black sentiment in Latinx spaces my options and exposure to Black hair care and styling were slim as was who I could go to for support. This may not sound like a big deal to most people, but when your hair is under a constant microscope to your peers, your community, and your family, it takes a toll on such a young girl’s self image. But as an American Latina growing up in the late ‘90s – early ‘00s going through this, I was still lucky to witness the Rachel True, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Issa Rae’s Awkward Black Girl hair movements as a young adult in my college years. What their visibility has done for my self esteem as an Afro – Latinx child growing up in anti-Black Latinx spaces has been invaluable, and it would have been very difficult to find the beauty in my features and hair without the natural girlies in the media. Not only this, I had learned to appreciate different textures from mine as well, and the range of beautiful Black hair, from curly to coily.

Their visibility, along with other amazing stars today, like Leah Jeffries in Beast and Aisha Dee in Sissy, continue on the legacy of showcasing centered characters with natural hair and to see how media has influenced hair styling product brands to cater more to curly hair, over the years. It’s so amazing to see the growth of hair care brands who have stepped up their curly hair care game, like Zotos Professional All About Curls line. As a child and even now all grown up, I always wondered, “How do I get my hair to look like Tracee Ellis Ross without the TV star budget?”, because as many curly haired women know, natural hair is just as expensive if not at times more expensive than getting protective styles. With smart and affordable brands like All About Curls giving us so many options, it’s easy to have the same cute and sexy hairstyles to unleash your curl power.

Now you can get beautiful natural color like the Caramel in Rachel True’s signature style in The Craft, with All About Curls Color 5N Caramel Curls (with AAC 20-Volume Developer) . Or really change it up and go vibrant red with All About Curls Color 5R Red-Y To Roll. The color really works, even on the darkest levels of hair. And don’t forget to use AAC Curl Quench After- Color Conditioner for nourished defined & de-frizzed curls. The possibilities are endless now that natural curly hair is so much more celebrated and catered to than ever. Stop hiding your curls and embrace them with Zotos Professional All About Curls hair care collection!

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curly hair natural curls Pelo malo
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