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How “Quarantine Curls” Reignited The Natural Hair Movement

With the mandated closures of hair salons across the country to flatten the curve of COVID-19, celebrities like Gabrielle Union have taken the opportunity to embrace their natural hair at home. Around the same time, hashtags like #QuarantineCurls have started popping up on Instagram, where hundreds of users are sharing their stories of how social distancing has inspired them to wear or care for their curls and coils.

During a time of uncertainty and high anxiety, the unexpected natural hair movement that's emerging is bringing hope and a sense of community to women — many of whom are embracing their curls for the first time. We spoke to seven women — from the United Kingdom to Atlanta, Georgia — to learn how the pandemic has changed their relationship to their hair in ways they never could have predicted.

COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
Kaylan Mary in Atlanta, Georgia

Before Quarantine:
In 2018, when I started growing out my hair after shaving off the sides, it entered a transitioning phase following the perms and heat that I was constantly putting on it over the years. That's when I decided to cut off all my damaged hair and go natural. I told myself I was going to try to not put as much heat on my hair. That's when protective styles became my go-to.

During Quarantine:
I had braids going into quarantine, but once they started to get a little frizzy, I decided it was time to take them out. With all the beauty supply stores closed, I knew I was going to have to rock my natural hair for the remainder of the time. It’s definitely not something I’m used to. I was a little overwhelmed and discouraged at first, but eventually I was ready to take on the challenge.

As I take the time to do research on products and techniques that will let my hair flourish, I’ve learned new things about my hair that I didn’t know before. Protective styles will still be my go-to, but quarantine has taught me how to properly take care of my hair, and that’s something I will carry for the rest of my life.
Rhianne in Lincoln, England
Before Quarantine:
When I was 16, I shaved my hair off and wore it like that until I was 21. I decided I wanted to grow it out, but every time I tried to style my natural hair, I felt like I looked like a 12-year-old. So, I wore weaves, wigs, and braids all the time.

I live in a predominantly white city, so I have to travel a few hours to get it done. That was getting really expensive, but I do feel stressed when trying to style it myself. Sometimes, I felt like I had failed as a Black woman by not being able to do my own hair.

During Quarantine:
I've been wearing a weave for a while and was due to get it redone. Once lockdown happened, I knew that wouldn't be possible, so it was time to start to learn to care for my natural hair. I wanted to learn different ways in which I can style my hair without resorting to heat. I've been following a lot of bloggers and YouTubers who seem to do it so effortlessly.

Now, I hope that I can reach a place where I feel happy with how I can style my hair so I don't have to rely on wigs, weaves, and braids all the time. I do like to switch it up, so I will still use those styles — I just don't want to be dependent on them.
Nancy in San Antonio, Texas

Before Quarantine
Growing up, I never really learned how to style or fully embrace my natural curls, so my hair was always worn in a braid or ponytail. Seven years ago, I decided to start flat-ironing it regularly. While I definitely enjoyed the versatility of straight hair, I've always felt somewhat guilty for not loving my natural hair the way I should. In the last year or so, the heat damage started to show — and I had been planning on putting down the flat iron at some point this year.

During Quarantine:
During the first week I started working from home, I realized I would have to start embracing my curls. Any nerves that I had about the process went away knowing that no one would see the awkward grow-out phase. I thought it would be a lot harder to stay away from my flatiron, but I don’t really miss it at at all. It’s been great seeing my curls bounce back over the past few weeks. I’m starting to love my curls more than I ever did before, and it feels great.

Once this quarantine is over, I would love to get a much-needed haircut to further enhance my curls and master how to style them the right way. My goal is to not go back to straightening it. I’m starting to see them in a different light and I hope to keep it that way.
Carmen Sivakumaren in Boston, Massachusetts

Before Quarantine:
Back home in Malaysia, where the weather is very humid, my natural curls are much more defined and prominent. However, I grew up rarely seeing curly hair in the media, and I, like many others, internalized the notion that straight hair was more beautiful, professional-looking, or desirable. When I came to the U.S. over a decade ago, I never took the chance to embrace proper curl care and always leaned toward a straighter style.

During Quarantine:
About two weeks into the quarantine, I realized how much more free time I had. I needed to do something relaxing and self-care-related to ease some of the anxiety that started to set in. This ended up being the perfect opportunity to really take the time to let my curls be free in the comfort of my own home.

Having the extra time (albeit not under the best circumstances) really allowed me to invest in my curls without feeling like I had to resort to heat or styling because I was in a hurry or because I wanted to achieve a certain look. I'm beginning to feel like my hair is beautiful in all its ways and quirks.

I will, of course, have days when I want to blow my hair out, use a hair straightener, or style it differently — but now it doesn't feel like I have to. I can just want to do it, as a little change every now and then, because my natural curls are beautiful as they are.
Brania Aquino in Yonkers, New York

Before Quarantine:
Growing up in a Dominican family, it was traditional to always have your hair pin-straight as curls are negatively referred to as “un pajon" — a word that translates loosely to “puffball" — which isn't seen as professional. So, I've always applied lots of heat and hair spray.

During Quarantine:
With the privilege of being able to work from home, I decided to give my curls the opportunity to take a break from the heat. I’ve been deep-conditioning them more, and I can see my curls making an attempt to come back to life, which is motivating me to embrace them more often.

I’ve always loved seeing others with their natural hair, but now, I’ll be making it a goal to apply less heat and love my hair more.
Foluké in Brooklyn, New York

Before Quarantine:
I've been natural since birth, but I've always struggled with hair management. I started wearing it straight in high school, then wore it natural in college. Despite complaints and concerns from family members, I wore it natural into the working world as well. I've cut it out of dissatisfaction, and I've held contempt for having to style it.

During Quarantine:
Probably my fourth week in quarantine, I realized that taking care of my hair was an act of love and not for vanity or the benefits of others. In washing, conditioning, and moisturizing my strands, I was able to enhance my hair health without focusing on the beauty output. Ironically, this has lead to more growth and beautiful curls. Now, wash day will be a gift and an indulgence instead of a chore.
Alexis N. in St. Louis, Missouri

Before Quarantine:
Back in the summer of 2015, I did the big chop, and I hated it. I’m pretty sure I wore a beanie on my head most of that summer. Over time, I started experimenting with products and saw how defined my curls were. It was fun while it lasted, but I went back to wearing weaves quickly.

During Quarantine:
I knew there was no way to get my hair done at a salon, but I was honestly excited. I didn’t want to risk the damage, so I took down my protective style and I really liked my curls. Previously, I avoided wearing my natural hair because the styling process was so tedious, but this extra time in quarantine has allowed me to be able to play around with it.

I’ve just gotten so much more comfortable with it, and I love trying new styles and products. Now, I definitely see myself wearing my natural hair more often. It changed my overall outlook and comfort with myself.

from refinery29
How “Quarantine Curls” Reignited The Natural Hair Movement How “Quarantine Curls” Reignited The Natural Hair Movement Reviewed by streakoggi on April 09, 2020 Rating: 5

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