By: Sarah Arafat
Flashback to years back when you were just a tiny elementary student at school. You’re sitting in a classroom, and all the girls around you have their hair put in the cutest hairstyles—long shiny ponytails, French plaits and perfectly round buns. Then there’s you, a head full of frizzy untamed curls that led to you being called the Mankoosha. That pretty much sums up the childhood of every fellow curly-head.
Egyptians have always been obsessed with Eurocentric beauty standards. Since before we remember, our brains have been embedded with the idea that the “prettiest girls” were fair with long, shiny and straight hair. Whenever a special occasion came up, the first thing we’d do is get our hair straightened because that’s when we look “our best”. All the women we’ve seen portrayed in the media have always looked like that, and who else would young girls look up to other than the adored actresses in magazines and movies?However, for the past couple of years, the stigma around curly hair has slightly diminished. We’re beginning to see Egyptian actresses and social media influencers rocking their curls. The idea of curly equating to unprofessional isn’t as common as it used to be. There are even Facebook groups dedicated to loving and taking care of your natural curly hair, basically like an online support group. The decision to go “heat free” is in no way an easy one. It takes a while to get rid of all the internalized hate you’ve felt towards your natural curls. Nonetheless, it’s a decision you won’t regret.
The process of letting your curls breathe is pretty simple; never let your hair near heat ever again. Throw out all your blow-dryers and straighteners (metaphorically of course, we’re aware of the economy). Get yourself some leave-in conditione
r (you’ll need A LOT of it), hair masks, sulfate-free shampoo, regular hair trims, and you’re good to go! Because you won’t have tools by your side to help with styling, you’ll heavily rely on products. That will be more like a trial-and-error process. While trying to smooth flyaways without a straightener, apply hair oil, but not too much so you
wouldn’t end up with greasy-looking hair. Dry shampoo will be your new best friend. It can add texture, boost volume and refresh your hair without the hassle of getting it wet. You’ll soon notice your hair feeling healthier and less dry. You’ll notice your mane won’t seem like it was being stripped of as much moisture, which in turn will leave it shiny and way less frizzy after it dried. Keep your routine nice and simple. Play around with it a little bit until you know what’s right for you.
Best of all, your morning routine will get a lot faster and more productive. You’ll find yourself with more time to make yourself a hearty salad for lunch, leisurely scroll through Instagram while eating your cer
eal, and get a head start on answering emails. Really, it’s huge time-saver. Maintaining your hair without heat will take you 15 minutes after the shower whereas if you go to salon you will spend an average of 90 mins doing your hair and going back and forth. You also don’t have to keep worrying about whether your hair is greasy or not; you can always throw your head under the water, and you are good to go.
Remember, the first week is always the hardest. You’re used to a certain lifestyle, where you wake up to somewhat predictable hair. By going heat free you can never expect how your hair is going to act the next day. You are still trying to figure out what works best for it. This stage is a lot of experimenting with products and ways of washing. If you get through the first week, the rest will be a piece of cake. And when you start seeing results, you’ll wish you’d done it sooner!
It doesn’t have to be a lifestyle. Sometimes you will want to get your hair done, so don’t be scared to go heat free thinking that you can’t stick to it. Just like your body deserves a detox after a weekend filled with junk food and desserts, your hair needs some downtime, too. Even if it is for just one week.
Are you up for a heat free challenge? Go 30 days without any heat, and post your picture on Instagram with the hashtag #SeeThruHeatFreeChallenge, and tag us at @seethrumag!