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  • Curly Hair Is Beautiful! How This Group Helps Kids Embrace Their Natural Waves And Curls

    Expose your child to people with beautiful healthy natural curls so they don’t feel alone.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
Curly Hair Is Beautiful! How This Group Helps Kids Embrace Their Natural Waves And Curls
PHOTO BY courtesy of Ria Fernandez
  • Are you still fighting those curly locks after three months of lockdown? Perhaps the quarantine is a good time to “let it go” as your 4-year-old daughter loves to belt out on repeat. Now might be a good time to allow your mane to take its natural course and rediscover the beauty of those “quarantine curls.”

    Finding an ally in Curly Girls Philippines

    You will not only find new girlfriends but plenty of effective tips on how to manage your curly hair in the Facebook group Curly Girls Philippines (CGP). It was founded by 33-year old Ria Fernandez in August 2018. Before the lockdown, the group had around 39,500 members and just three months later they are up 41,300.

    “Because so many of us get our hair straightened, curly hair has been fairly invisible for a long time. Many girls thought nobody else was going through the same thing they were experiencing, and they felt they had nowhere to go for help,” says Ria, who grew up in Cebu but currently works as a multimedia developer in Australia. She keeps the FB group active together with eight other administrators.

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    Some of the women from the Curly Girls Philippines group, which has over 41,000 members.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Ria Fernandez
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    CGP was born when Ria practiced the Curly Girl Method, a haircare approach for textured hair (wavy, curly, coily) that uses curly-safe products and techniques. Before she knew it, she found herself giving advice to curly girls who wanted to know how the method works. “My inbox was flooded with questions and messages. Instead of having to repeat my answers over and over, I decided to create a private group to centralize the information that I had,” she tells SmartParenting.com.ph

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    The FB group became a platform not just to educate curly-haired Pinays on how to do the CGM but also a venue to share their experiences and struggles with their hair. Ria herself shares how a teacher made a harsh comment about her appearance for the entire classroom to hear when she was 9 years old. Since then she hated her hair and sported a pixie cut until college.

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    "Curly hair is ugly. Curly hair is messy. Curly hair is not professional."

    Moms, be a role model to your curly-haired kids

    Moms often join CGP so they can properly care for their children's natural locks.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Ria Fernandez
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    In a recent CGP survey, it was found out that of 3,168 women respondents, 3,050 members said they straightened their hair previously. Only 118 said they never did. “That is a staggering figure regarding self-image,” says Ria.

    She points out that mothers play a role in stopping this stigma by becoming role models to their children. “If your actions inform them that curly hair is unacceptable, your child will believe it too. If your child is being bullied or teased, always assure them that their curls are beautiful and that they don’t have to change what they look like to fit in.” She adds that it helps to expose your child to photos of people with beautiful healthy natural curls so they don’t feel alone.

    And because it has helped empower her, Ria says it will be helpful to practice the Curly Girl Method if you are a curly-haired mom yourself and teach it to your daughters — and even sons.

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    Here she gives six simple tips from the method, some of which you can start applying on your ‘quarantine curls’.

    1. Avoid hair products that contain sulfates, silicones, waxes, and drying alcohols.
    2. Use either a microfiber towel or a cotton shirt to dry your hair. Do not rub your hair to dry, just squeeze to remove excess moisture. Rubbing on a terry cloth towel is what causes frizz.
    3. Brushes are damaging to curls, stop using them.
    4. Don’t comb your dry hair. You can use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair when it is soaking wet and covered in conditioner.
    5. The keys to healthy curls are conditioner and water.
    6. Stop using heat styling tools because these are damaging to curls.

    “There’s a whole process to curly hair care and can’t be covered in just a few tips,” says Ria but through CGP, everyone can educate themselves on Curly Girl Method. “We trade tips, provide help, and celebrate each other’s progress.”

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    Breaking prejudices

    Ria shows shots of her hair before and after the Curly Girl Method. Look at those beautiful ringlets!
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Ria Fernandez

    "The discrimination we face is very real,” says Ria. “We have stories from members about being bullied in the workplace or being forced by their mothers to get damaging rebonding treatments. One member even experienced her boss actually brushing her hair without her consent. Another was told by her supervisor that her hair isn’t ‘aligned with company branding.’"

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    It wasn’t until she reached her 20s that Ria decided not to fight her curls anymore and instead grow them proudly. Newly empowered, she also discovered the Curly Girl Method, created by British Lorraine Massey, along the way that taught her how to manage her curls better.

    Among Filipinos there are a lot of prejudices against curly hair but it usually boils down to these three things, says Ria: Curly hair is ugly. Curly hair is messy. Curly hair is not professional.

    “Curly hair is still seen as these things because most people aren’t used to seeing curls being worn proudly and because our society has been told for years that straight hair should be the norm. Even curly Pinays have these prejudices about themselves,” Ria says.

    She adds, “We have members who only realized that their curly hair was fine after joining the group. It’s like a point of clarity for them after believing a lie for so long.”

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    Check out Curly Girls Philippines at www.facebook.com/groups/curlygirlsphilippines

    Want to try cutting your child's hair during the quarantine? See parents' DIY haircuts here!

     

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