How long since you last found yourself falling into a hair envy YouTube spiral? You start looking at a short video clip, posted by a gorgeous naturalista with the most perfectly styled hair… Oh, that curl perfection. Your heart leaps with excitement because you know that this... THIS is gonna be it! She has the answer to all your hair woes, which hold the secret to you having incredibly defined, shapely natural curls that will evoke envy in the eyes of every natural girl you meet…
Until you get a couple of minutes into the video, and you see that she’s using a product you already tried a few months ago that left your hair with a giant halo of frizz by lunchtime.
So you see another suggested video right below- let’s click on that, cos her curls are rockin’... But then she starts demonstrating a technique you tried out a while back, but that one didn’t work for you either, because your shrinkage issues weren’t cooperating and your curls sprung up into a tightly-wound ball, instead of being transformed into her beautifully bouncy shoulder-grazing daydream style.
You start getting a bit grouchy. Why do all these girls have perfect curls, with seemingly minimal effort? It doesn’t make any sense. They’re smiling and looking totally untroubled by the whole hairstyling experience. You watch them holding up an unending selection of “miracle working” products, cheerfully showing the camera the bottles, some of which you recognize... because you’ve tried them before (unsuccessfully) on your hair. It seems like sorcery that they’re demonstrating how easily these potions and techniques can work magic on their curls.
So you click on the next vid queued up, and realize that something is not quite right. This YouTube exploration should be making you feel inspired and excited to try some new techniques. You were hoping to get a boost of confidence, to feel proud to own a head full of unique and interesting curls, and feel the warm fuzzies of being a part of the natural hair movement. But instead, your hair envy is ramping up into overdrive, until you’re practically glowing green. Is this really how those curly naturalistas wanted us to feel? We think not.
Here at Urbanbella, we know that with things we’re exposed to in the media, we need to take most of it with a grain of salt. And how we perceive natural hair beauty is not exempt from that rule. Although it’s great that the media is moving toward celebrating naturally curly hair more and more, there’s still a missing link in how they’re presenting curly hair to us, and how they’re subtly suggesting we should see its beauty. They may not be intentionally pushing us to only see certain natural types as beautiful, but whether they’re doing it consciously or not… They’re still doing it.
Our mission is to encourage each and every one of you to love the hair God gave you, and to not be discouraged when we see other women trying products and techniques that don’t work quite the same way for us. It just takes a little experimentation and adjustment of our hair care routines to see beautiful results for our own hair types and banish that feeling of resentment for good.
There are a multitude of reasons why some things that work for others might not be working for you. So, before you decide you’re just destined to be unhappy with your natural hair and get absolutely consumed by hair envy, let’s take a look into some of the reasons why you’re not doing yourself any favors by coveting the curls on someone else’s head.
Your Curl Type Is Different
Have you noticed that most of the popular YouTubers championing natural hair have a similar look? When you start really noticing these details, it doesn’t take long to see a common thread emerging. Curl type comparison is a major contributing factor in our hair envy woes.
Usually, YouTube models have a 3C Curl Type... which is a pretty lucky curl type to be blessed with, as it’s nicely curly- but not too tightly wound. They can rock a Wash ’N’ Go with ease, minimal products and very little effort, and it looks great. But many of us have not been blessed with this perceived “perfect” curl. So what about the rest of us? Are those of us who have Type all of us with thiswhich programs us subconsciously to belive that this is the only “beautiful” natural curl that exists.
So what about the rest of us? Many of us weren’t blessed with the joys of 3C curls- the easiest curl type to manage. So are those of us with type 4A-, 4B-, and beyond just destined to be cursed by the perils of hair envy forever? Absolutely not. We just need to recognize the differences between us and our hair idols, and adjust our expectations accordingly. Remember that different curl types will always achieve different results, and while products can provide some volume and diameter to curls, they will not completely change your hair texture.
Your Porosity Level is Different
If you’ve seen a YouTube model who claims that she has the same curl type as you, you’re guaranteed the same results when you use the products she’s recommending, right? Think again.
While her curl type is the same as your hair, she hasn’t mentioned a word about her porosity. That’s probably because she’s lucky enough to have consistent porosity all over her head, so it isn’t a factor that she needs to personally consider when applying her product. Your hair might however have high porosity at the back, low porosity at the front, and medium porosity on the crown. So if we try and emulate her technique and use the same amount of product all over, or not adjust our amount of product for the areas where we need to apply more or less accordingly, we won’t see similar results.
Another point to consider when thinking of porosity is the quality of products we can get away with using. Your favorite hair inspiration naturalista might be able to use cheaper products and achieve a good result with them, because she has lower porosity hair that’s less prone to frizz and can look more polished without needing to invest in premium products with lots of really hydrating oils. If you’ve got higher porosity hair, you’ll need to splurge more on higher quality products that have the moisturizing ingredients and hold you need. Recognizing these differences and making little upgrades can make all the difference.
Your Moisture Level is Too Low
If you’re wondering why your idol has super polished curls but yours aren’t looking as glamorous, it might be because your hair moisture isn’t quite up to scratch. Behind the scenes, your favorite YouTubers might be deep conditioning and steaming every other day, while you haven’t given your locks a treatment in months, yet you’re expecting the same results.
Here’s a hair difference that you can definitely do something about. Try increasing the frequency of your wash days and the quality of your products, and you’ll look forward to shinier hair and better curl definition. This is probably the secret your favorite YouTubers have been doing to get that manageable hair you’ve been lusting after.
You’ve Got Shrinkage Levels to Factor In
You might have noticed that your hair springs up a lot more than your favorite hair heros, even when you’re doing the exact same thing as them with technique and product application.
If they don’t have the same considerations with shrinkage to factor in, your hair will likely appear shorter or spring up more during the course of the day. This can turn us into green-eyed monsters when we spy their slideshows of time-lapse photos, showing their style still looking the same on day 7.
But having a different level of shrinkage isn’t always bad news, ladies! The beauty with having a more tightly wound curls will mean you’ll have a better bushy afro and more volume, and they might even be envious of you for that!
You’ve Got More or Less Volume
Does your favorite YouTube model mention the natural volume of her hair in her videos, and discuss how this affects the final result and how it lasts? If you’re trying to copy their style to a tee with very different results, you might have a different volume level in your hair.
If your hair volume is naturally bigger or smaller than theirs, you’ll notice that your styles can turn out looking dramatically different. Your stylist can point you in the direction of what sort of styles will complement your particular hair volume, and find a cut that will work with your strengths. That way you’ll have a style that suits your particular volume level, so you’re not in an uphill battle always trying to pouf your hair up or flatten it down to look the same as your inspiration.
You May Have Some Heat Damage
Why is it that your favorite YouTuber has uniform curls all over and can just whip her hair into shape with the greatest of ease, yet you have some straight pieces along the perimeter of your hair?
Perhaps you’ve got some heat damage that’s the cause of those telltale straight sections, where your hair elasticity has given up after one too many blow dries. Paying special attention to those pieces with heat protectants will prevent further damage in the future, but sometimes they’re just too far gone and you’ll need to trim those ends off. Your hair idols might have been more careful with their strands when they do heat-style, so instead of being jealous of how healthy their hair is, you can take a great page out of their books and give your hair some extra love next time you’re using heat to achieve your styles.
Instead of falling into the trap of hair envy, and feeling like you can never look as good as your online muse with the most amazing curls, take action and work with your stylist to work out how to achieve similar results on your hair.
We’re here to help you find your tribe and surround yourself with women sporting all sorts of different hair characteristics, who are all rocking their styles with confidence and pride.
And remember… Even your most idolised hair inspiration models might fall victim to hair envy once in a while… They might just wish their hair was more like yours!