How I Embraced My Natural Hair & Rejoined the Curly Hair Club


Life with Curly Hair

Many women consider their hair to be their literal “crowning glory.” Advertisements of long, thick, luxurious locks can be seen all over:

For the first 25 years of my life, I kept my natural curls long. It was large and in charge, and I loved it. To my glorious surprise, when I became pregnant with my first child, my hair got even LONGER and SHINIER and THICKER. I thought to myself, “Whoa, a girl can get used to this!” And then, things took a dark turn after I gave birth to my beautiful firstborn.

The Big Chop: How I Embraced My Natural Hair & Rejoined the Curly Hair Club

Cue in the universe’s cruel sense of humor.

Curls No More

My hair started falling out in clumps! Thank you, postpartum hormones! To add salt to the wound, my hair didn’t even have the decency to fall out in a uniform way. I had a legit receding hairline and the temples of my head were bald. I looked like Dr. Phil.

To remedy this atrocity, I decided to seek professional help from a beautician. At the time, I was living in Okinawa, Japan. My friend Yuki suggested that I try the Japanese Hair Straightening Treatment. She convinced me that having straight hair would improve my life in two ways:

1) A wash and go hairstyle = happy mom.

2) Getting bangs would cover my newly acquired superdome.

I went to the beauty salon that day. Four hours later, I walked out the doors of that beauty salon feeling like a brand. new. woman. My beautician was a real-life magician. My formerly curly hair was now bone straight and flowing down my back. And my baldness was nowhere to be seen. I vividly remember this moment in slow motion with Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” playing in the background.

Life with Straight Hair

I’ve kept my hair this way ever since. Every six months, I would faithfully get any new curl growth tamed with the Japanese Hair Straightening Treatments. Fast forward many years and two additional kids later. I’ve been pretty content because my hair has been so low maintenance and my hormone-induced receding hairline has remedied itself.

All was well . . . or so I thought.

Recently, my curly-haired five-year-old daughter approached me and said, “Mommy, I wish that I had straight hair like you. I don’t like my curly hair.” I was so confused because she has the most beautiful hair on this planet. It slowly dawned on me that my youngest daughter had NEVER seen me with curly hair. I tried to explain to my daughter that I actually had curly hair just like her. Then she asked me the revelatory question: “Why do you hide your curly hair?” Boom, touché. Well played, babygirl.

My Wise Daughter

This conversation made me question several things. Why haven’t I displayed myself in my true natural state? What definition of “beauty” was I portraying to my girls? Was I condoning that females have to alter themselves to fit the world’s image of “pretty”? I didn’t want my daughter growing up to hate her beautiful curls. Girls emulate their mothers, so I knew what had to be done.

Life with Curly Hair . . . Again

I made the decision to go back curly. The only way to do this was to cut off all 30+ inches of my processed straight locks. I made the appointment. My hairstylist was ever so gracious and she made me feel at ease about my “big chop.” I gave her full artistic freedom to cut my hair in any way that she saw fit. After all, she is the expert.

An hour later, I walked out of the salon with a new do and a new attitude. I’m pretty certain that the world went into slow motion again with Beyonce’s “Run the World” as my montage song this time.

Thanks to my stylist’s exceptional scissor skills, I had the cutest little pixie cut. I felt sassy. I felt powerful. And I felt fierce. I went home and showed my daughter my newfound curls. She was blown away.

The Big Chop: How I Embraced My Natural Hair & Rejoined the Curly Hair Club

Own Your Beauty

As the weeks went by, I noticed that instead of asking for a ponytail, my daughter wanted to wear her curls free-flowing. I could see her confidence growing. I realized that with a simple haircut, I was able to show my daughter that women do not need to conform to what society deems “beautiful.”

If you have curly or straight hair–own it. If you have long or short hair–own it.

Beauty is not what we look like on the outside. Beauty is the light that we shine from the inside. That light is fueled by self-love and confidence. If you need a little boost, insert a little montage song into your life every once in a while.

Today, my daughter is proud to tell the world that she is in the Curly Hair Club with her mommy.

Originally published September 2020.

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natural hair, curly hair, ABQ Mom

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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Gina Lee Bryant
Regina Bryant is an Albuquerque transplant who hails from the beautiful city of Savannah, GA. Regina moved to New Mexico in 2019 with her husband and their three children (Leila, Ramone, and Ava). The Bryant household would not be complete without their adorably rambunctious French Bulldog, Napoleon. Regina works in the wonderful world of Nuclear Medicine. Over the years, Regina has developed the mindset that love and laughter are the foundation of life. Regina and her husband encourage their children to pursue their every endeavor which includes scouting, art, MMA, and wrestling. Regina shares the love of her Korean culture with the founding of her business, Gina Lee Kimchi.