Embracing Protective Hairstyles Is a Way to Honor My Blackness as a Latina
I'm not going to lie: my journey to embracing my natural hair has been a complex one. I went natural when I was in high school (2003-2004), years before the natural-hair movement became popular in my communities. However, the hairstyles I was able to do on my own as a broke teenager were limited. I jumped at the chance to get a wash and set when I could foot the bill, but I usually resorted to phoning a friend to do my hair, especially when my sister didn't want to use me to put her cosmetology skills to use.
As a teen, I rocked cornrows and box braids with my real hair — no extensions — as if my life depended on it. I'm talking designs galore! If y'all remember back in the day how folks went wild over Allen Iverson's hairstyles on the court — that was me. Even though I felt cute and confident (and my family accepted my obsession with braids), I would still experience my fair share of microaggressions regarding my hair. I was constantly finding myself having complex conversations around what was considered "good hair" versus "bad hair." While there were family and friends who embraced my braids and protective hairstyles, there were still quite a few who tried to convince me that I looked my best when I wore my hair straight. It was frustrating, to say the least, but I still did as I pleased when it came to how I chose to wear my hair.
One of the investments I made to help with upkeep for my protective styles, and even my curls, has been the Rev Air ($399) — it's been a game changer. I can wash my braids and dry them with zero issues and zero damage.
Growing up, I never wore weaves or wigs, but most of the Latinas in my life did. And now that I'm older, I find myself having fun trying new protective styles. I even rocked a lavender wig that I never thought I could pull off. Hair is the way I choose to express myself.
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