How has your hair affected you? Think about it. Because honestly, our hair can and often does affect our lives. It can change how people see and treat you, as well as how you see and treat yourself. For some of us, it’s a form of self-expression, while others are limited in their styling by societal norms and institutional rules. It’s the kind of thing that results in each person having their own unique story to tell… so we set out to collect those hair stories, and tell them.
Sad, hilarious and heartwarming – we have heard all sorts of hair stories. Some of them are so totally relatable to us, but we were surprised by others. Like how our hair can also teach us. As Ashleigh says, her hair taught her patience because it “seldom does what she tries to make it do” but she “loves it anyway because it’s spontaneous”. Yes girl, love your hair and what it does for you. We love to see it!
Keep reading for more South African hair stories.
Going natural is such a personal decision. Some people want to, but are hesitant, and some wish they went natural long ago. Keep reading for three very different stories on going natural.
The changing beauty standard
Tilisha has natural Type 3 (curly) hair, though she hasn’t seen a curl in years. As she’s said, “after all the years of keeping my curly hair straight, there’s basically no natural curl left.” Growing up, Tilisha aimed for the sleek, straight hair that was the beauty standard at the time. She just “liked how my hair looked when it was straight”.
Now she’s glad the standard has changed, and embraces all hair types. “As a mom of two handsome boys with gorgeous curly hair, I wish I set a better example for them to be proud of their beautiful natural curls and now find myself searching for treatments to curl my hair.”
Embracing your natural hair
But despite that old beauty standard of straight hair, some curly girls jumped right in and embraced their natural hair years ago. One of our favourite hair stories belongs to Corinne, who has gorgeous type 4a/3c hair. “Before the revolution of embracing natural hair, I decided no more rollers and swirling and I left my mass of thick, long hair wild, as most described it. After a few years, I ended up marrying into a family that didn’t understand how curly hair works. It took a while of reiterating that I liked my untamed hair and could not brush it out when it’s dry. Eventually, they realised that our hair was just different, and that’s okay.” We adore this hair story, and we love that line – our hair is different, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s wonderful, don’t you agree?
Following your own aesthetic
That said, going natural just isn’t for everyone. For some, wearing their natural hair just doesn’t fit with their aesthetic – and that’s okay too. Velicia says, “I would love to go naturally curly but that’s going to be a long learning process. Today, I am still learning about my hair because once it’s rolled and curled on Sunday, that’s it. And I don’t like straightening my hair with an electric straightener because it changes how my face looks too drastically. I like my hair in-between: not its natural state and not sleek either. Instead, I prefer a soft curl. At this stage of my life, I like my hair.”
If you’re like Velicia and you like to keep your hair in soft curls, we recommend setting those curls with a good quality hairspray, like the TRESemmé Firm Hold Hairspray. This way, your curls will last all day without falling flat.
For those of you who thought it was just the ladies with their fair share of hair stories, think again…
We haven’t forgotten about the boys! We received some feedback from a few guys who let us in on their struggles, preferences and hair advice.
Long hair for men
Being at school can sometimes mean you’re restricted to certain styles, and for these guys, it meant having to keep their hair super short. Here’s what Tyrone had to say about embracing his long-haired look, “So for me, I think having attended like “normal school” all my life you always had to have short hair. So when I finished school I just wanted to change it up and do my own thing, how I wanted it. In the scene I was in like skateboarding and music, it wasn’t an issue to have long hair as a guy, and people didn’t perceive you as weird.”
Embracing facial hair
Our next story shares a similar struggle – not being allowed to have facial hair in school. For Luke, the beard struggle was real. He shared that, “As a teenager who grew a lot of facial hair way too quickly, shaving for school was a mission! After two days of a clean shave, I’d start to get comments from teachers about needing to shave again. As soon as I was out of high school I could finally just let my facial hair grow, and to this day haven’t looked back. #BeardGang.”
Embracing whatever hair you want is the goal. Whether it be a buzz-cut, long waves, a ‘fro or a full-on beard moment – we’re here for it!
Loves, regrets and best friends
Embracing your hair and experimenting with new looks can be so much fun. If you want to cut, dye or try a completely new look, take some inspo from these next stories. These ladies share creativity and how they’ve experimented with their hair (warning – not all were success stories).
Treating your hair
Loriann chatted to us about her hair experience and how she currently treats her hair. “After school, I started experimenting with colouring my hair, and once decided to give myself a kitchen scissors haircut. But now, I enjoy having keratin treatments done to keep my hair super smooth, so I can enjoy myself in any weather without worrying about my hair. I think, like our clothing and makeup, hair can be an expression of our personality and mood, so I really enjoy trying different things with my hair.”
Playing with colour
A new hair colour can give you an empowering and wonderful feeling, but it can also bring you real learning curves. Ayanda and Sarah both shared their experience of trying a new hair colour. “It takes me a while to change my hair and once I find what I like, I tend to stick with it for a long time. I’ve just dyed my whole head blonde and it’s a very drastic change for me, but I love it. I’ve always wanted to do it, but I’ve never had the courage to do it. My family encouraged me to take the leap and even did my hair for me.” ~ Ayanda
On more of a “learning” note, here’s what Sarah had to say about the hair colours she’s tried, “Green is a terrible colour choice. It takes forever to wash out and goes a swampy colour before going back to normal. So, I had to wash my hair with bicarb for a while. I also decided to go Khaleesi blonde, despite my hairdresser saying it wouldn’t suit my skin tone. After a year of bleaching, I got to a dark ash blonde/yellow and back-peddled very quickly. She was right.”
After all the fun and games of dying your hair, don’t forget to give it some TLC. We’d recommend trying the Dove Nutritive Solutions Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner to repair and deeply nourish your hair.
Memories with friends
Messing up your own hair is one thing, but have you ever accidentally done it to a friend?! *cringe*
Our last story comes from someone who’s lived to tell the tale of how she messed up her best friend’s hair. Tessa shares that, “when I was a teenager, I rolled my friend’s hair and couldn’t get one of the rollers out so I simply cut it out without her knowing to this day! We’re now both in our sixties, she lives in New York and still does not know that she went to the club (which we were not allowed to attend) with a rat bite on her head.”