Growing up, like most women of color, the ideal picture of beauty included long, straight hair. “Good hair” (no Becky *insert Lemonade shade here*) was what was manageable and what society viewed as beautiful. That meant it had to be long, straight and typically relaxed if your hair was naturally curly like mine.
So like most young girls with kinky-curly hair in the late 80’s/early 90s, once I was old enough I got a kiddie relaxer and so started the cycle of chemical straightening every 6-8 weeks until adulthood.
Thankfully over the years, many of those traditional beauty ideals have started to shift. There are evolving conversations about what beauty really means and what it looks like, and now when my daughter Cadence watches television I’m confident she’ll see women with curly hair, deeper skin tones and curvy shapes just like hers being lauded as beautiful. But we have a LONG way to go.
Do me a favor. If you’re reading this right now, open another tab or window in your web browser and go to Google.com. In the search bar I want you to type in the words “beautiful hair”. When you’re done come back here and continue reading below.
If you did that exercise, you probably saw images that look like the below:
Long, flowing hair with very little variation in color, cut or style. 9 times out of 10 you saw a picture that was not at all a reflection of YOUR hair. Or your mama’s. Sad but true.
Dove did a study that found that 91% of women think that we need to feel comfortable with our own hair and not expect others to make us feel good about it. But we are so caught up in what other people will think and what society deems appropriate, many of us are afraid to be ourselves and really, truly love our hair!
Do you guys know how long it took me to feel comfortable with throwing caution to the wind and cutting AND coloring my hair this January? It was a struggle! I was worried about what people would think. If people would still think I was “pretty” with short hair. Then I had to think about it. Why did I care so much? What matters is what I think of myself. So I said ” to hell with it…” and conquered my fear. Best decision I ever made!
As you all know I’m incredibly passionate about women embracing their unique selves through style and beauty. That’s what LoveBrownSugar is all about.
Last year, I partnered with Dove to spread the word about their amazing #LoveYourCurls campaign and how important it is for girls – young and old – to embrace their curls in various forms. They launched their campaign early last year and also released a special emoji keyboard specifically for curly girls.
So it really gives me great pride to partner with Dove again this year to push their newest campaign forward which is all about the importance of loving your hair, regardless of the style, cut, color or curl. Check out this #LoveYourHair campaign video and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it just like I did:
So how do you feel after seeing that video? Are you surprised that 8 out of 10 women feel pressured to wear their hair a certain way based on the circles they live in and associate with? Guess what? If you’ve doubted your hair look before, you are NOT alone! We all go through it.
I hope what you all take away from this post is that however you decide to wear your hair – it’s beautiful. Just remember that. With my 2 year old daughter Cadence, now I am placing such a high priority on challenging beauty stereotypes and making sure that she grows up in a world that affirms that she is beautiful the way she is. I want her to know that her kinky-curly hair, her caramel skin, her long legs, her cheesy smile, her beautiful lashes and even her birthmark are absolutely beautiful because they’re hers.
I want her to know that everything that makes her different is what makes her special, and therefore beautiful. I’m so proud of brands like Dove who have really made it their mission to empower and inspire through campaigns like this because there’s so much noise out there but what makes a real impact is affirming that YOUR beauty is only open for interpretation by you and you alone.
So let’s be honest. Do you love your hair? Have a love/hate relationship with it? Tell me about it in the comments below. Remember that sharing your truth could help someone else!
This post is sponsored by Dove. All opinions expressed above are my own and not those of the company.