My Relationship With… My Hair

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It’s pretty normal for a girl to obsess over her hair, but I can assure you it’s a vastly different experience when you’ve got what can only be described as a dark blonde bush on your head. My hair is beyond curly, and beyond control.

I first was aware that I had hair different to other people when I started school, marvelling at the array of intricate hairstyles that my classmates flaunted when my poor mother had spent twenty minutes wrestling my hair into simple bunches. When I opted to wear it loose, I’d invite comments such as, ‘Can I sit in front of you, Beth? I can’t see the board past your hair’.

I couldn’t understand why it was me and my twin who were approached in the supermarket, ‘Wow – what amazing hair! Have you tried x hair products?’ My older sister was blessed with glossy blonde straight hair, which I’d chop off a limb to have, yet no one approached her or recommended her hair products. The unsolicited recommendation of hair products continues to this day and although I know it comes from a good place, all I ever heard was, ‘Your hair does not look good – here’s how to change it.

My teens were spent testing various hair products and hair styles, gazing longingly at adverts in which women would spin around in euphoric circles to show off their glossy waterfall of hair, arm in arm with their friends, tossing it over their shoulder as they winked at you and told you how great their life is. A favourite hair care advert of mine was one in which a woman with much looser curls than mine and a heavily photoshopped face complains that she looks ‘like a poodle’, before applying the product and emerging with dead straight hair and a wide smile. ‘Now, my hair is socially acceptable,’ she might as well have said.

My friends and I would joke about my hair, and it was genuinely funny yet I realise now that we never joked about their hair, and although the jokes were provided in equal quantity to heartfelt compliments, I still felt different and a subconscious resentment of my hair began to fester.

I began to research various long term treatments that would give me looser curls for months on end, they cost a fortune, yet I was willing to save up. One day, I would look like the women in the adverts. One day, I would like myself.

Everything changed when I had my hair straightened for my Year 11 prom. My hairdresser did an amazing job; my hair looked glossy and beautiful like I had always dreamed. Yet when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognise myself, and that didn’t feel entirely good. I enjoyed the feeling of having long hair tickling my back. My friends French-plaited it at the after party; everyone told me how pretty it looked. However, when my Year 13 prom rolled around, I decided to take the leap and wear it loose, natural, ‘unleash the mane’. I didn’t get half as many compliments, but I felt beautiful and myself at the same time.

I’m still battling a love-hate relationship with my hair, still testing out products and hairstyles, still being told by the media to ‘change it and change it fast’, but I’m slowly learning to love it, as I should.

Curly-haired queens, ignore the adverts, you’re perfect as you are.

More articles in My Relationship With...
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