Kicking off Natural Selection’s celebratory new series, Pomp and CURLStance, we have Bianca. Southern-raised and Indian-bred, she shares with us a curl story infused with culture and humor.
C: Tell me about your curly hairstory.
B: I’ve had curly hair since my days as a wee lass. My mom has straight, shiny, beautiful Bollywood hair and didn’t know what to do with my tangly, frizzy mess so she cut it into a boy cut when I was a toddler/preschooler. That worked but then she had to carry around a fat boy in a dress, so she grew my hair out and gave me bangs. That was a DIS-aster, Because then she had to carry around a young girl with frizzy pubes on her forehead…every mother’s dream.
By the time I got to kindergarten I rocked the look every Indian girl rocks: middle part + two braids. Occasionally I got to wear twists and big-ball hair ties (is there a word for those? bo-bos?**) when my black housekeeper/babysitter did my hair when my mom was at work. As I grew up my hair became a very important part of my identity. I don’t think there were 5 years of haircuts that didn’t end in me crying after even the smallest trim. I’ve always wanted my hair to look as close to perfect as possible, even in elementary school
C: When and how did your “learn” how to do your hair?
B: I learned how to do my hair when my friend Rachel gave me a book called “Curly Girl, It’s More Than Just Hair, It’s an Attitude” for my birthday, either freshman or sophomore year of college. Up until then I had figured out the basics of curly hair: no combing, lots of product, avoid excessive touching once dry. But that book, though it was given in a joking manner, CHANGED MY LIFE.
I was originally all about following the rules exactly, would do the whole pin up my canopy, etc, but now I save those things for special occasions. I have passed that book on to many-a curly girlfriend since then, and thought about giving it to many more wayward looking curly girls I see around me.
C: What’s your current regimen and what products do you use now?
B: I like to keep it straight up sub-continent. Indians love to use oil in their hair (that’s what that smell is). Men, women, babies, all massage lots of oil into their hair essentially as conditioner and let it sit for a day or two, then wash it out. My grandma uses Amla oil, which I think is probably the most popular, and has quite the overwhelming stench, in a good/bad way. But my mom modified it for us and I’ve been doing the same since I was a child: after every washing: 2 quarter-size drops of baby oil to coat my hair, but not to the point that it’s oily per se, just shiny.
Occasionally I’ll use DevaCurl Angell gel and some hairspray if I’m going out or it’s going to be sweaty (aka april-november). I LOVE Aveda Shampure shampoo and conditioner: love the smell, love the uber-conditioning action, don’t love the price. (Please note that each one of my products is Indian, either in usage or name. weird. I thought I was just joking when I wrote that subcontinent thing.)
C: Any tips/tricks/techniques you’d like to share?
Tips: Don’t let people touch your hair. You try too hard to make it look good. Don’t feel bad about (lightly) smacking someone’s hand when they reach out and try to “play”. What they’re doing is separating your curls and it’s total bull**** because separation= frizz. I have been known to get testy with a certain photographer on Alpha Phi composite photo day….two years in a row.
Advice: Get bangs, even if you’re scared. You’ve probably wanted them your whole life but thought/was told you couldn’t do it. Well, you can. People will complement you incessantly on your chic sexiness and your courage. Your self-esteem will sky-rocket. Then you’ll get tired of straightening them every morning and grow them out, but at least the urge will be out of your system.
C: If you could use three words to describe your hair, what would they be?
How about four words: often imitated, never duplicated? Ok hold on, this is true at least: needs a trim.
C: Would you rather dry brush your hair everyday or cut (and maintain) a curly mullet?
Curly mullet. ONE OF US needs to be a risk-taker. BAM.
**I call them “pretties”, Fidel calls them “bolitas”, some people call them “knockers”, but I would say that this is one of the world’s greatest mysteries.