May 25, 2024 (1:00 PM)

3 min read


For the longest time, people perceive curly hair as untamed or unkempt. This reflects a pervasive attitude towards people with curls. For many, myself included, it is a constant battle – the frizz, the tangles, the well-meaning (but unhelpful) advice to “tame” our mane. A recent study revealed that over 80% of women with curly hair have, at some point, straightened their hair to conform to beauty standards.

Growing up, I was taught to view my curls as a burden—a flaw to be concealed rather than embraced. The phrase “basta kulot, salot” echoed in the comments of friends, families, and strangers alike, casting a shadow of shame over my natural hair texture. I craved sleek, straight black hair and envied girls who could effortlessly run their fingers through their hair, be it pin-straight or effortlessly wavy. Hence, I would always get my hair rebonded at hair salons. This constant battle with my natural texture chipped my confidence away, leaving me feeling like my hair was something to be controlled rather than a beautiful part of who I am.

It wasn’t easy. The societal pressures surrounding curly hair are deeply ingrained. These misconceptions can be particularly damaging during formative years, shaping self-perception and leading to internalized insecurity. 

However, the tide is slowly turning. Embracing diversity and inclusivity is the cornerstone of the curly hair movement. It goes beyond simply celebrating curls; it’s about challenging the notion that beauty is a one-size-fits-all standard and acknowledging the diversity of hair textures that exists within our communities. Curly hair is a beautiful part of many cultures and ethnicities. Learning about different hair care practices and respecting traditions fosters a sense of belonging within the community. For in embracing our curls, we embrace ourselves.

Moreover, social media has become a powerful platform for the curly-haired community. There are now websites, Facebook pages, and countless YouTube videos dedicated to celebrating and caring for curls. These online spaces not only teach the importance of accepting your curls but also introduce you to the Curly Girl Method (CGM). The CGM is a hair care routine that emphasizes ditching harsh products and embracing natural ingredients to enhance your curl pattern and promote healthy hair. Through social media, the CGM has become a movement in itself, empowering people to embrace their natural texture and find a routine that works for them. Empowerment came through representation — seeing individuals with curly hair celebrated in the media, on runways, and in everyday life. Slowly but surely, I began to see my curls not as a curse, but as a crown — a symbol of resilience and defiance in the face of adversity.

It’s time to change the face of beauty norms, to challenge the notion that only one type of hair is worthy of admiration and praise. Whether your curls are loose and wavy or tight and coily, they are a reflection of your unique identity and heritage.

This is why men & women with big, curly, or wavy hair flip the beauty norms and flaunt through their captivating allure — that kulot is not salot.

This article was published in the April 2024 Tabloid Issue of Atenews. Read it here:

About Cherisha Nneka Gargaran - cnggargaran

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