The continuously developing natural hair movement that started within Black communities and now taking space within the different Latinx communities is expanding our societal perceptions of what “beauty” means. In essence, beauty is who YOU are. Curly, straight, pixie cut, Repunzel mane, afro, multi-colored, never processed, highlighted. However you choose to wear your hair is beautiful. So for me today, outside of showing you this (spoiler!) incredible cut I received at Curls on Fifth. I need to explain the impact it had on me and how powerful but also frightening embracing your own beauty is.
As a Latina, my relationship to my hair texture has been an ongoing telenovela. Sometimes I would love having curls but most of the time I longed for sleek straight strands like most of my Asian girlfriends growing up. I had fine, wild (as described by many) curly hair as a kid that made me love Mexican singer Gloria Trevi’s Pelo Suelto. In retrospect, Pelo Suelto was a power anthem for Latinas with big, wild curls & waves to tell mainstream culture that our hair was as bold & beautiful as our straight maned sisters.
Like many I was taught that:
“Curly hair is not beautiful”
“Straight hair is more beautiful”
“A slight wave is okay but frizz? You’re unkept”
“Curly hair is unprofessional, straighten it to look more polished”
“If you want a man to take you seriously (dating or professionally), you should wear your hair straight”
I remember being about 10 years old when I first saw my older cousin have her boyfriend use an iron to straighten her hair in Colombia. Terribly dangerous yes, but boy she looked good! That began my relationship with flat irons and eventually the horrible damaging and dangerous treatment for your hair: the Japanese straightening perm. It gave me pin straight hair basically killing my curls into flat submission…that is until hair growth and then my hair would have that super awkward question mark looking curl at the root blending into a flat strand. The growing out process had me flat ironing my hair daily, even multiple times a day. But it didn’t stop me from repeating the entire treatment about 3 times over the years.
In high school, I decided the Japanese system was terrible for my hair but really I wasn’t ready to love my curls. I only went for another form of curl damager- the Brazilian Blowout. When I say I was addicted to this type of treatment it was as if I found my all in one hair “problem-solver”. It let me wear my hair straight in a more natural looking way, less damaging for my hair (or so I thought), made me less but still dependent my flat iron, and gave me the option of being lazy and wear my hair wavy with less frizz.
The “Aha” Moment
I did this treatment for years until a fateful day my senior year when I decided to wear my hair curly and I was scrunching my hair with mousse and I watched my curls fall flat into a not quite straight/not quite wavy string. Looking even closer it hit me that all the volume I used to have when I’d take an hour and a half to get my hair blow dried was gone. My hair was fine, flat and NOT curly. I lost it. I actually felt like I didn’t know who I WAS without having my big wild curls.
A change was desperately needed in my haircare and how I viewed my hair. I finally accepted I needed to begin my transition to accepting my curls even in I would continue to blow dry my hair from time to time. But all the chemical treatments stopped and I try to wear my hair naturally more often than not. For the next 7 years, I started exploring the curly girl world and began the endless experimentation with products to find what worked for me. Over the years, I have built an eclectic assortment of a variety of product lines like Miss Jessie’s, SheaMoisture, and Deva curl (all lines I love!) but even with my bathroom cabinet bursting at the seams with product….I hadn’t fully come to love my curls.
Hell some days either when my hair would look super flat because of using the wrong products of my type of curls, I’d think maybe I don’t have curly hair. I know that sounds ridiculous but hear me out. After my countless product testing and complaining about my hair not looking like other curl haired girls, the problem hit me like a Captain Obvious answer….
I’ve never gotten a curly hair cut!
I can’t cut my hair wet like someone with naturally straight hair or who wears their hair straight often. That’s when I found Hip Latina’s article on “Why a Curly Cut is Crucial When Transitioning from Heat Damage to Healthy Curls.” I was introduced to curly hair expert and stylist, Joseph Boro of Curls on Fifth. Joseph has an extensive history working with curly hair as part of the Devachan salon, the salon that made curly cuts a household name and the creators of the Devacurl brands. I knew I had to get my first curly cut by him.
Hello Curls on Fifth!
On February 21st, I walked into Curls on Fifth excited, nervous, and knowing there was no going back. I needed to fully commit to embracing my natural texture and unlearning all the negative associations I had associated with it. Joseph walked me through the process so I could understand why the curly cut is so important. “We cut the hair dry because let’s be honest, you don’t wear your hair wet.” When curly hair is cut wet, the hair stretches and you can’t tell how the curl actually is in its natural state.
My Curls Before my Curls on Fifth Curly Cut
I told him I’ve been pretty diligent with minimizing how much heat I use in my hair and making sure I’m extra conscious about using oils and deep conditioning treatments as a part of my normal haircare routine since 1) curly hair is naturally gravitates to be dry 2) ya girl here loves being blonde which is bleaching the hair also incredibly damaging. Then Joseph asked me what I hoped to get out of my first curly cut and fully committing to this transition to natural texture. I told him I really wanted to see volume and bounce in my curls. I also want my hair styling steps to be simple because my curls are fine which means too much product or a super moisturizing one automatically flattens my curls.
Well when I tell you that Joseph delivered…..the man transformed my curls!!!
First, he cut my curls individually dry so he could shape up my curls in a way that would give me the most bounce. Then we went to shampoo and condition my strands before styling.
Then I got to try his brand new Be My Curl products which is has just launched just a week before. Scroll to the bottom to learn more about the brand! I personally got to try the Mane Squeeze Leave-in Curl Primer followed by the To Have & To Hold Hydrating Gel.
The Learning Process
Joseph told me with my texture (fine, curly & wavy strands) that less is more. He told me to begin to style my hair with my hair detangled but sopping wet. A trick I personally never had tried. I always tried to get as much moisture out of my hair with a towel before adding any product. He then racked about a dime size amount of the primer from the middle of the hair shaft down avoiding the roots. After that he had me sit under the hair dryer which I loved because I felt like a woman from the 60s in a typical salon while my hair absorbed the primer.
Afterwards, when my hair was still wet but less saturated then before he had me flip my head down and he racked the To Have & To Hold Hydrating Gel (a dime size amount again) through my strands and then scrunched multiple sections upwards. He also figure how out I’m working against myself when I dry my hair with a diffuser because I usually move the nozzle all around my hair while I dry thinking that will help but I am only creating more frizz! Some frizz is cute but a halo of frizz around my head is one of the reasons I hated wearing my hair curly. I felt like I could never get smooth curls. He told me to dry in sections and hold and scrunch one section at a time in the diffuser and to not shake my hair while drying.
“It was our goal to give curly girls gorgeous results with less hassle, and let them know that we’re listening to what they actually want.” – Joseph Boro, the man behind Curls on Fifth, on why he created Be My Curl
The results left me speechless. I have never seen my hair SO bouncy, so healthy, and in the best shape its EVER had. Never had I even thought of myself having with short hair but this made me a believer in the power of cutting each strand individually to give you your best shape. I actually teared up a bit in the chair at the end because I could believe that was MY hair. That my curls could look that good. I mean even this 2nd day hair just had me taking selfies all day.
Now fast forward to April, I’ve had time to really try out the Be My Curl products and see how I enjoy them. I knew they were going to work amazingly when applied by their creator. But the real test is learning how to use them yourself.
To give some explanation on why I’ve been testing out the products for this long:
1.) With my fine wavy/curly texture, I usually shampoo & condition my hair once to twice a week at a max.
2.) I also currently alternate washing weeks between my Devacurl Low-poo and conditioner & Not Your Mother’s Blonde Moment line so I wanted to see how my hair would react to the products with both
3.) Learning what “a dime size amount of product” really is was quite the challenge (Shout out to all my curly girls who roll their eyes when most product directions suggest a dime amount and you really need a handful).
Now that I’ve found my groove with the Be My Curl products, I feel so much more confident with my curly hair journey. This cut has helped me embrace my natural texture and I’m pretty happy to let my flat iron become a thing of the past. I feel so good rocking my curls daily and in all settings whether it’s at work, on the go, or on a date (something I couldn’t say truthfully before).
I have had friends comment that they’ve never seen my hair look better and how they love it more now than when I used to straighten it. Others told me they can see and feel how confident I am now since my cut (“Who IS she?!”). That commentary has warmed my heart the most. Well that and all the “Shakira Shakira” comments haha. My next appointment will have to include their Pintura (individual curl painting) with Curls on Fifth in time for summer!
Huge thank you to Joseph Boro & the staff at Curls on Fifth for the most transformative experience as I learned to love my curls!
Brenda Garcia Jaramillo
More about the brand – BE MY CURL:
The Be My Curl product assortment includes “Seal the Deal”, a conditioning mask; “The Mane Squeeze”, a leave-in curl primer; “To Have & To Hold”, a gel for wavy to curly girls; and “Let’s Get Kinky”, a gel for more coily textures. Each product is curly girl friendly, cruelty-free, and made with organic ingredients (with no sulfates, parabens, or silicones). The products also feature a range of premium ingredients, including argan oil, shea butter, aloe vera, and many others that show proven benefits for curly hair, not just over time but often with immediate results.
“We’re so excited to finally be able to share this line with the world,” says Boro. “Be My Curl is about connection, it’s about simplicity, and it’s about an understanding the client that we know so well. We can’t wait to share the journey with them.”
If you’re interested in trying the brands, Be My Curl’s starter kits are available now on www.bemycurl.com. Find out more on the Be My Curl website, or search Be My Curl on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for the latest news and announcements.
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