Truth time: growing up I desperately wanted straight hair. I was the only one in my family to have curly hair, even going backwards generations (that is until my brother moved to Portland, grew his hair out two years ago and we discovered another curly headed kid in our family, but that is another story). No one knew how to manage it or what products to use. I was constantly whining over tangles. I wanted to have a cute bob, sleek and cool. To accomplish this, I tried many things from a very young age, be it simply brushing out the curls (not a good look) to rolling a round brush with beads on the end of it (think precursor to the round brush) to my scalp where no matter how much conditioner my mom used it remained until she patiently cut off each of those tiny balls and removed the brush. After weeks at the lake, I would stand in front of the sink for an hour as my mom poured on the shampoo and tried to detangle it. It wasn’t only that we didn’t know what to do with it, it was that I hated my own hair.I called it my wombat hair or a rat’s nest. It felt unimaginable and uncontrollable. Sure, every blue moon the stars would align and the frizz would be tamed and I would have sleek ringlets but I could never depend on it (and of course, it always happened on a normal Tuesday, never for a special event when I wanted to look what I considered “pretty”). Everyday my curls were different. Everyone told me I was so lucky and that I would love them someday. I did not love them. I cursed my curls. And yet, here is the truth I have always known, if one day my curly hair disappeared, I would not know who I was. I would feel sad. Yes, my curls made me different but it made me Nina. My curly hair is a part of me, a huge part, that as I have grown older I have learned to embrace more. But even I have a long way to go when it comes to falling in love with my own curls.I Facetimed my mom to read her the book Love Your Curls by Taiye Selasi and illustrated by Annick Poirier. We both became a little teary eyed as I read and showed her the pictures like a teacher reading to a class, not only because of the beautiful story telling and gorgeous illustrations which the book includes, but because this is a book that would have changed my childhood and the way I saw myself and my hair. I can imagine myself sitting with my mom, her voice my favorite one to hear, as she read it, positively affirming my beauty and my uniqueness. You can get it for free and personalized to any curly girl of your choosing. This book would have also opened up a dialogue between myself and the women in my life. I don’t think they knew (and neither did I) how much contempt I had for my hair. The writer in me knows that stories heal and the poems and stories in this book would have given the women in my life a language and a world in which to love on my curly hair instead of like all the older women who pinched my cheeks and told me you will love it someday. This book will help girls love their curls and their uniqueness today.I personally want to hand this book out to every curly haired girl I see as I walk through Chicago because it is that powerful with its poems and stories (for all ages), especially when I learned that only 10% of women in the U.S. with curly hair feel proud of their hair. Though Dove took part in the creation of it, there is absolutely no agenda here. When I tell you this book would have changed that little girl’s vision of herself in those photos, I have tears in my eyes. I think even reading it aloud to my mom at this age shifted something inside of me (also, for the record, my mom has a perm in that photo of us…which makes me think we so often want what we can’t have and instead, we need to learn how to treasure what we do have). This book teaches girls how to love their hair–just the way it is.My mom just kept saying if only, if only, if only we had this resource. Growing up, she told me I was beautiful but sometimes curly girls just need to talk to curly girls about being a curly girl. That’s what this book is meant to do–with real stories inspired by real woman of all ages and all with curly hair. I cannot recommend it enough. It was a joy and a privilege to read and I cannot wait to share it with a curly headed girl in my life. The book was by far my favorite part but I was also able to try Dove’s Quench Absolute for Curly and Coarse Hair. If there is anything my curls need, it is moisture. Explain to me how my hippie brother’s curls are nice and shiny and mine are thirsty? I tried the whole Dove Quench System which is infused with protein, nutrients and Buriti Oil: Dove Quench Absolute Ultra Nourishing Shampoo, Dove Quench Absolute Ultra Nourishing Conditioner, Dove Quench Absolute Intensive Restoration Mask, and Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Crème Serum. I loved it, especially the Restoration Mask which I know will continue to heal my thirsty hair. It tamed my frizz but as you can see my hair does no look as if it has a ton of product in it.As someone who has tried a lot of products (maybe even all of them), I have a pretty high standard. From the moment, I put a new product on my hair in the shower I can tell if the product even has a chance of working with Chicago’s humidity, especially as I have grown my hair out and there is simply more of it. Each step of the system passed the test. I showed my friends and even skyped a few people. I felt beautiful with the hair I have naturally. I’ve come a long way but I am not ashamed to say that a book convicted me to love my hair just the way it is, curly and all. I never, ever talk about things on this blog that I don’t believe in (or if I do, I give you the truth, whatever it may be). I knew I loved the products but I did not know how incredible the bundle of the book and the products would be and what it would mean to me. For real.
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.