L is for love your curls

Laura Velez is a full-time Humber College student of the advance diploma, public relations program.

“Only 4 out of 10 curly haired girls think their hair is beautiful.”

A couple of days ago my best friend Karen sent me a link on Facebook; It was for Dove’s new #LoveYourCurls campaign. The video features curly haired girls talking about how they don’t like their hair and wished they had straight hair instead. As I watched the three-minute video, I was surprised at how emotional it made me feel. At one point, I even began to tear up because I used to be one of those girls.

When I was younger, my number one enemy was my curly hair. There was nothing that I hated more than the afro that refused to cooperate with me or the weather. For me, straight hair signified pretty, perfection and normalcy. In elementary school, everybody was always trying to either touch my hair or play the “how many things will disappear in Laura’s hair” game. At home, I hated my hair even more. If you were to line up all my moms family members, they all have the same trait: straight brown hair. There was no denying that I got my curls from my Dominican dad. Unfortunately, my dad had no idea how to handle my hair and neither did my mom or her family members. I remember crying during bath time because of how long it took my mom to brush my hair out.

Left: Maternal grandparents. Right: Dad with my grandmother
Left: Maternal grandparents. Right: Dad (teenage years) and my grandmother.

Luckily, my mom, dad and the rest of my family have always been the number one supporters of my hair. They would tell me everyday that they loved it, how they wished they had hair like me and that I was very special. When they began to realize that their words were no longer having a positive effect on me, my mom and my aunt went and did something that I will never be able to thank them enough for. They both went to the salon and got perms. They came home and said that they did it because they wanted to be just like me. They continued to get perms regularly until I was in the ninth grade. It wasn’t until then that I realized that although I’m finally old enough to straighten my own hair, I made the decision not to. I won’t be ashamed of my hair because it not only represents who I am, it also represent my ancestry and a long line of women who choose to flaunt their natural hair instead of being bullied into treating it with chemicals to fit a definition of beautiful.

Left: Mom. Middle: Me. Righ: Aunt
Left: Mom. Middle: Me. Righ: Aunt

That doesn’t mean I don’t currently have issues with it. It still gets caught on the TTC seats, I manage to break 3 combs a month, I go through endless amounts of conditioner bottles and my baby cousins love to say how my hair matches their black Goldendoodle’s fur. It’s a hassle, but it’s my hassle.

My name is Laura and I love my messy, curly hair.

Have you conquered your insecurity?

6 thoughts on “L is for love your curls

  1. Carol February 28, 2015 / 10:54 am

    That was such a lovely and inspiring story about accepting who you are, I teared up a bit. Keep being awesome, Laura.


  2. mcphersonshardae February 28, 2015 / 4:40 pm

    This is such a touching article. Personally, I wish I had curly hair, I feel like my chemically straightened hair is so boring. L is for loving Laura and her curly hair!


  3. DIY Queen February 28, 2015 / 7:03 pm

    Great post. I definitely can relate because I never know what to do with my hair. Everyone keeps telling me “why don’t you put in extensions?” as if I don’t have any hair on top of my head. Thanks for sharing ! #loveyourcurls


  4. lilybethartist February 28, 2015 / 11:24 pm

    awwww! what a lovely story 🙂 Thank you for sharing! looks like you grew up with great family support 🙂


  5. 3XHAUST March 2, 2015 / 5:22 pm

    This is the cutest. My little sister has really curly hair, but she straightens it. She should take a page out of your book.


  6. Jessica March 4, 2015 / 8:06 pm

    I definitely resonate with this. I have curly hair too and I’ve always had a love hate relationship with it. I’ve spent most of my life with my hair in ponytails and buns because I had no clue how to manage it. My aunt, who has straight hair, always wanted me to straighten it, my friends too. Now I love that it’s curly and shiny but I wish that it was thicker. My hair use to grow so much quicker and be so much thicker but I damaged it by pulling it up and using heat on it. Also I’ve gotten my hair caught in round brushes too many times to count while trying to blow it out to make it straight. I neglected my hair for so many years. Thank you for sharing your story with us!


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