amixa-ray calzado + clara too
C U R LY CHRONICLES ON CURLY HAIR CARE + HISTORY
A B O U T C U R LY C H R O N I C L E S
Here we intend to provide a snapshot of curly hair care information and history. We conducted informal interviews to gather insight about curly hair, and compiled it with secondary research in this e-book. Our aim is to educate those who do not yet know how to care for their hair.
Please note that we are not scientists or hair care experts, so what you will find in this booklet is less of an instruction manual than a story interwoven from our own experiences and those of our participants.
It’s a story that is incomplete, so we encourage our readers to keep learning and exploring. We want to remind you, reader, are beautiful - no matter what your hair texture is, or how you choose to style it.
TABLE OF CONTENTS ABOUT THE AUTHORS CLARA’S STORY
CURLY HAIR CARE HAIR TYPES
HAIR OIL & TREATMENT
HAIR CARE TIPS
CASE STUDY SANDRA OH
HISTORY OF HAIR TAMING CURLS THROUGH THE AGES
BLACK PANTHER PARTY
CASE STUDY DIANA ROSS
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
C L A R A’ S
My hair is wild, sensitive, and
Eventually a lightbulb turned on
carefree. I was born with
when a friend told me that my hair
stereotypical Asian straight hair, and
was probably curly, since her other
when I was young, I was taught to
friend with frizzy hair actually had
simply shampoo and condition it, and
naturally curly hair. Through
always comb it out after showering.
obsessive Internet research and constant experimentation, I learned to care for it, and I am still learning. I’ve learned that I am more than just Chinese - I have some Indian and African ancestry as well, which may have influenced my hair type.
I now see that my hair is a gift, not a curse, and I thank God for its beauty. Sometimes it’s still a pain to take care of, but I appreciate it so much more now than ever before, and for me it’s come to
Me with baby bowl cut
represent the fact that who I am is alright - that I don’t need to change myself to be beautiful.
My mom gave me coconut oil to apply after showering when my hair mysteriously got frizzy in middle school. It stayed frizzy for a long time - my friends encouraged me to straighten it, as they said it would look better.
I have also come to see that many girls of different hair types want what they don’t have - curly girls want straight hair, and girls with straight hair want curly hair. My wish is for my friends and everyone around me to see the
I felt embarrassed about my hair - one time my friend said my hair was weird as she was styling it. I kept it up in a bun or ponytail all the time.
beauty of their natural hair.
2 0 1 5
2 0 1 3
2 0 1 6
2 0 1 8
2 0 2 1
2 0 1 9
2 0 2 0
Photo by Julia Chao
A M I X A - R AY ’ S
It was difficult to manage my hair
I disassociated myself from being
growing up. I loved brushing my hair, but
Filipino with my appearance and fell into
it created frizz and damage. Tied up and
the emo/alternative subculture. I fell in
hidden away to be forgoten about until I
love with the look and tamed straight
had to shower. Which I would dread, the
hair, fun colors, and all surrounded in
thought of waiting for my hair to dry and
black colors. It fit with my music taste
get tangled when I sleep. The only
and I didn’t know many people of color
person who took the time and care to
in the genere, but the aesthetics and
deal with my hair was my mother. Even if
sounds of the up and coming bands. I
she would tease that I had such a lion’s
personally wouldn’t say I denounced
mane. She would twist, tie up, and braid
being Filipino as I had and still have a
my hair out of my face.
healthy relationship with my family. However, in the image of general Filipinos, I wasn’t interested in fitting into. Eventually, I got into damaging my hair with straight perming my hair, bleaching and dying it fun colors, and using hot tools.
In 2014, it all started to break and become weak with years to come, so I eventually chopped it off into a pixie cut. This became a revitilization with my hair. Being a little more natual with my hair, less bleaching, and cooler temperatures with styling tools. I still prefer my hair Mum fixing my hair, Christmas ‘97
straight, but now I’ve become more accepting of my curls. Being
I didn’t feel pretty, I didn’t look like other
knowledgable in keeping my hair happy
Filipino girls, and I definitely did not feel
and healthy on days I don’t style it.
Asian. As a child I looked really Chinese with my baby hairs and fair skin and
It’s been a love-hate relationship, but I
aged looking Polynesian as my curls set
appreciate the identity and freedom my
in and darkened skin as the melanin set.
hair has given me to this day.
Which personally I don’t mind now, but when you’re profiled for everything but your exact ethnicity feels invalidating.
It’s crazy and wild in a good way since it's hard to tame. I think the idea with my hair is to keep it wild and keep it maintained and “good towards other people” just so you seem approachable. - Jay
Doodle by Jay
C U R LY H A I R C A R E
Do you know your hair type?
TAKE THE QUIZ
HAIR TYPES The Hair Typing System was created by a Black American hairstylist, Andre Walker, in 1990.
The more oval and asymmetrical the shape of your hair follicle is, the more curly your hair type is.
The scale ranges from:
Straight - 1
Wavy - 2
Curly - 3
Coily - 4
Hair is classified in alphabetic order from A-C to understand how textured the hair is. For example, 2B is a medium patterned wavy, and 4C is very coily tight curls.
This is a basic understanding of hair pattern. However, your hair type can change depending on external heat styling, coloring chemicals, and treatments. Internal hormones and medications can also have an impact, but your basic hair pattern is based on your genes.
Straight, Fine Soft, shiny, hard to curl, hair tends to be oily, hard to damage
Straight, Medium Has body, volume and fuller than 1A
Straight, Coarse Hard to curl, resistant to curly styling: bone straight
Wavy, Loose Waves Fine and thin, relatively easy to style. Loose ‘S’-shaped pattern
Wavy, Defined Waves Defined waves, tends to be frizzy and a bit resistant to styling
Wavy, Wide Waves Wider and defined waves, will frizz easily and fairly coarse
Curly, Loose Curls Thick and full with body, frizzy. Definite curl pattern with combination texture
Curly, Tight Curls Bouncy ringlets to corkscrew spiral shaped curls
Kinky, Defined Full of tight coils, very defined ‘O’-shaped pattern
Kinky, Z Coil Little less defined kink pattern, has more of a ‘Z’-shaped pattern 4
HAIR POROSITY Hair porosity is about the health of your hair: how it retains moisture (holds onto water) and how oil treatments and hair dyes react to your hair. Being able to profile the porosity of your hair can also help with determining a proper hair care wash and treatment routine. Of course, there is no absolute method for determining your hair porosity, as results may vary on sensitivity and ingredients. It may take some trial and error; however, understanding the basics will help determine a pathway to your hair goals.
There are three levels of hair porosity.
Low Porosity: These cuticles are closed and lay flat against the hair follicle. Low porosity hair is very smooth and has a very nice sheen in darker colors. This level of porosity may be deemed visibly healthy, but it is not well moisturized. Low porosity hair can be prone to being dry and tangled easily. The lack of moisture in low porosity hair can be remedied with oil treatments, used before a wash or in your wash products.
Medium Porosity: These cuticles are slightly open. This is the easiest porosity to manage and maintain. If you use any treatments, be sure to use a clarifying shampoo up to twice a month.
High Porosity: These cuticles are widely spaced. High porosity hair is prone to being extremely dry, frizzy, and tends to snap easily. It takes in treatments well, but it will not be able to retain products to help the follicle. To treat high porosity hair, use protein treatments, moisture-rich products and oils before washes, or try hair masking.
All hair types and hair porosity can benefit from remembering that hair is dead and we should aim to prevent further damage by doing the following
Oil treatments before hair washe Use non-sulfate shampoo Use deep conditioners or post-wash leave-in conditioner Get regular hair trims, bi-yearl Reduce heat with any hot tool Switch hair ties and pillow cases to those made of silk or satin materials
Hair Porosity Test Here are two methods to test your hair in determining your hair porosity.
Float Test Take a few strands of hair from your brush/comb or from various parts of your head. Drop them in a bowl of water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. If your hair floats, you have low porosity hair. If it sinks, you have high porosity hair.
Slip’n’Slide Test Take a few strands of your hair and slide your fingers towards your scalp. If you feel little bumps along the way that means your hair cuticles are open, you have high porosity hair. If it’s met with no bumps, you have low porosity hair.
WALKTHROUGH Photo by Samantha May
HAIR OIL & TREATMENTS Fractionated coconut oil is different from your standard table coconut oil, due to the fractionating process that refines the long chain of fatty acids to a medium chain. This form of coconut oil penetrates and grants benefits to your hair and skin.
The fractionating process helps the oil to retain a liquid state even at room temperature, unlike cooking coconut oil. If it smells like coconut and looks like coconut, it’s meant for consumption. If it looks like oil and does not have a scent, it’s meant for external use only meaning hair, skin, and body.
Argan oil, also known as Moroccan oil that is extracted from the seeds of the argan tree, absorbs into the skin with ease. It is high in Vitamin E, and known for healing scars, sun damage, irritation, or aging as its a natural antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory polyphenols promote healing and have protective UV properties when used on your skin and hair. On top of sun damage prevention, argan oil can help with hair loss, and helps hydrate and lock moisture in.
For hair, argan oil can play various roles, including treating from the scalp, conditioning the hair, and aiding protective styling.
Oil Treatment Tip When oil treating your hair be sure you liberally coat your hair section by section. Leave it in for 30 minutes or wrap it up over night. Wash it out.
As for scalp treatments, leave it in no more than 30 minutes.
Oil + Wash Product While this is not the most common way to oil treat your hair, it can deposit nutrients.
Add in a few drops of your choice of oil in your conditioner, then lather it from the mid shaft to your hair ends.
CHEMISTRY + OILS
Jojoba oil is very similar to the sebum (natural scalp oil) we produce. Therefore, it doesn’t interfere with the scalp’s natural balance. This helps with possible dandruff issues from the scalp while working on the the body of the hair. It deeply penetrates the hair follicle, functioning as a treatment from the inside out and promoting thickness. It’s a great leave-in conditioning treament before your wash or as an additive booster to your wash products.
Sweet almond oil comes from almonds specifically grown for sweetness. It is filled with Vitamin E, fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, and magnesium, which all helps with reducing breakage and helps the hair growth. It’s ideal for treating dry hair, dandruff-prone scalps, slow growth, or hair-loss.
One ideal usage is to warm it up in your hands and rub it into the scalp, leave it in for 15-20 mins or overnight, then wash it out. You may also add a few tea spoons to your shampoo and or conditioner. You can also use it as a post wash conditioning oil, followed by brushing it out and air drying.
HAIR CARE TIPS These are primarily suggestions about how to change your habits and be more cautious with your hair care. Topics this section will cover range from hair tools, bedding, hair ties, hair brushing, and wash day routines.
Be aware of the temperature of your styling tools. From flat irons, hair dryers, to hair curlers, it is extremely important to keep the heat under 200º C / 400º F to avoid damaging hair. One method to keep your curls intact is to apply heat and then give them a cool shock with the cold setting.
For nightly hair care, as mentioned before, switching your pillow sheets and hair ties to silk or satin materials can reduce the friction that breaks up the curl pattern. Another method of keeping your curls intact is by tying it up into the ‘pineapple bun’. This is where you gather all of your hair and place the ponytail at the crown of your head. This way, only the nape of your neck will have contact with the pillow. Other items such as a night cap or bonnet can help cover your entire head. Lastly, consider Dutch or French braiding your hair down in two to four sections.
Hair brushing should be limited to times before or in the shower. It can also be used as a method to help reshape and redefine your curl pattern while your hair is wet. Consider a wide paddle brush if you have long hair and oval brush for shorter hair. Brushing your hair from the ends of your hairs to the base of your scalp can help reduce tangles and damage. A boar bristle brush can help distribute hair oil if you wash your hair every other shower day.
Having specific wash days rather than shampooing daily can prevent the over stripping of natural oils your scalp produces to keep your hair healthy. Consistently washing your hair can be the reason why your hair feels extremely oily without a wash everyday, as your scalp is overcompensating for the oil being stripped from it. Having a set amount of days between washes can also help the scalp with any irritation.
A wide tooth comb will detangle your hair without tugging at any knots. Your hair is the most vulnerable when its wet. Use any leave-in conditioners, moisturisers, and gels at this point. Then, plop your hair in a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel. This will help with holding your curl pattern, and will reduce frizz once fully dried.
Doodle by Kevin
I make the front look nice, but the back is just curlpocalypse... Parents would make snide comments about it in Korea. ‘Oh, he has curly hair. He probably needs a haircut’. - Kevin
SANDRA OH Star of “Killing Eve”
Sandra Oh is a Canadian American actress known for her roles on Grey’s Anatomy and Killing Eve. Her naturally curly hair defies the stereotype of sleek, straight Asian hair. Elle writer Andrea Cheng, who grew up being ostracized for her curly hair in Hong Kong, notes that Oh helped her accept her own Asian curly hair.
In East Asia, curly hair is considered more messy and unpresentable, due to association with Southeast Asian hair. Because there are many Southeast Asian laborers in these countries, it is considered to be a sign of lower class status. By wearing her hair curly, Oh makes the statement that being a curly-haired Asian woman can be glamorous too.
“For the first time in my life, thanks to Oh, I’ve begun to embrace my hair in all of its wild, unruly glory.”
- Andrea Cheng, Elle 13
HISTORY OF HAIR
TAMING CURLS THRO
A brief look at natural hair supp
African hair, which was often elaborately styled, was shaved by slave traders in order to humiliate them & alienate them from their culture and identity.
New Orleans enacted the Tignon Law, prohibiting Black and Creole women from wearing their natural hair uncovered, resulting in use of head wraps.
Female slaves used butter knives to curl their hair to look ‘more presentable’.
Even after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, a mixture of lye, potato, and egg was used to straighten Black hair, which could cause burning of the scalp.
O U G H T H E AG E S
pression in America
1 9 0 6
The first patented flat iron was invented by Simon Monroe - a prototype for the hot combs that would be prevalent in Black America up until the 80s. They could easily cause accidental burns, and were later linked to hot comb alopecia.
1 9 5 0 s - 6 0 s
Use of clothing irons to straighten hair becomes popular among both Blacks and whites.
1 9 5 7
Ultra Sheen, an alkaline hair-straightening treatment for afro textured hair, is invented by Johnson Products.
1 9 6 9
Afros become popular with the Black Panther movement, which encouraged Black people to wear their hair naturally.
B L AC K PA N T H E R PA R T Y Embracing Natural Hair
The radical Black Panther party arose
While the afro was a powerful
during the 1960s, decrying the use of
symbol, it ran the risk of trivializing
straighteners and relaxers as a form of
the movement. Activist and icon
oppression against Black people, who
Angela Davis, the Black Panther
were being forced to change their
member pictured below, is
appearance to fit into white society.
remembered largely for her
They used afros as a “middle finger to
unapologetic afro. She laments that
white beauty aesthetics” (Wheeler).
her legacy has been boiled down to
Kathleen Cleaver, a prominent Black
Panther Party member, viewed the rise of the afro as “a new awareness among
Bobby Seale, another party member,
black people that their own natural
decried the profit that white
physical appearance is beautiful and is
corporations made from selling
pleasing to them.”
Black hair products during this era.
“The pertinent history of my legal case is empty of all content so it can be [made into a commodity] for the advertising industry”.
- Angela Davis, 1994
"This was my first really big step toward self-degradation: when I endured all of that pain, literally burning my flesh to have it look like a white man’s hair. I had joined that multitude of Negro men and women in America who are brainwashed into believing that the black people are “inferior”—and white people “superior”—that they will even violate and mutilate their God-created bodies to try to look “pretty” by white standards.”
- Malcolm X on getting his hair straightened with potato, eggs, and lye
from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965
Curls always bounce back. There’s this airiness, this positivity vibe to having curly hair. When we have a good hair day, and our curls are just amazing, it makes your whole mood better.
South African-Indian female
Doodle by Mika
DIANA ROSS Nickname: “The Boss”
Diana Ross is one of the most iconic Black entertainers in American history. As the lead singer of The Supremes, Ross is well-known for her beautiful, voluminous, and versatile hair. She wore many hairstyles throughout her career, ranging from bobs to her signature afro to free-flowing curly hair and many more.
Despite her fame and status, Ross insists on doing her own hair and makeup without the assistance of a glam squad. Her daughter, Tracey Ellis Ross, launched curly hair brand Pattern Beauty. Ross was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama, who said “Diana Ross’ influence is as inescapable as ever”.
Diana’s hair sparked a recent wave of fervor for natural hair in Hollywood. However, with the appreciation of natural hair comes the downside of appropriation. Khloe Kardashian wore a kinky hair wig to a party celebrating Ross, which caused a controversy about whether or not it constituted cultural appropriation. For a white woman to mimic black hair is a deep insult to the long-suffering of those who have fought for the right to wear their natural hair.
https://www.elle.com/culture/ https://www.bustle.com/articles/189044-a-brief-disturbing-history-ofmovies-tv/a20111146/sandra-o all-the-times-society-straightened-afro-textured-hair
https://www.smithsonianmag.c https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-1994-12-04-199433806 om/smart-news/harvard-new7-story.html
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thank you to our participants, who shared their stories and insight with us and provided the inspiration for this booklet.
Thank you to our professor, classmates, and alumni for the constant critique and encouragement.
Thank you to our friends and family- we couldn’t have made it all this way without you and your love and support.
And thank you, reader, for taking the time to engage with our work.