“I want princess hair!”
“I want princess hair!,” she told me as I attempted to work her beautiful curls into two sleek side pigtails. “Princess hair?” I asked, confused that my 3-year-old had begun to think about hair types and how she measured up to the often, straight-haired women and girls she saw on the children’s shows we frequently watched together. “Yes,” she said, quite confidently.
Still confused, I asked, “But what’s princess hair?”
“It’s long and goes down and down,” she said without skipping a beat.
I never really imagined that I would have such conversations with my daughters about their hair. I assumed that because I had stumbled into sort of learning to embrace the beauty of curls and waves, they would, too. I was their example, after all. Right?
But in that moment, my daughter taught me something I had missed in my ideas about hair and my daughters: they aren’t learning everything about hair from me. Also, in thinking more about how I “embraced” my own hair, I came to realize that perhaps I wasn’t even the best example of a woman who loved hair that didn’t always fit the mold of what some would call “princess hair.”
I became a natural in high school, kind of unintentionally. My hair was breaking off and I kind of liked the curls that my mom called “new growth,” so I thought “Why not?” I went natural, but without the proper tools to have healthy hair, I didn’t have healthy hair. My staples then were press ‘n curls and blow outs. No one ever saw my “real” hair then because I never felt like it was presentable enough to wear in public.
Then, in college, I did what I called “slick back” ponytails and scarves and anything else that either hid or tamed my mane into loose looking waves. I didn’t like big hair, or my big hair. I liked curls, but controlled curls and waves that moved when I wanted them to and behaved the way I wanted them to.
I was natural, but I didn’t really like my hair. For years, I just tolerated my hair, made it do things that were not in its best interest because in my head, I still bought into some version of my daughter’s immature notion that long, straight princess hair always reigns supreme.
Long hair, hair that hangs instead of curls up is beautiful. But so, too, is hair that isn’t, hair that’s not naturally curly and big,
“It is all princess hair. We all have princess hair because we (the women and girls who wear it) are all princesses,” I said as I fluffed her curls. Removing my ponytail holder, I fluffed mine.
“You do have beautiful, curly princess hair. And so do I.”
Have you had similar experiences with your daughters? How has your hair journey impacted how you teach your daughters about hair?