NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Curly Hair is Back

After years of grueling hair-straightening regimens, NECC students are saving precious time by unplugging their flat-irons and embracing their natural curls.

“I save at least an hour when I wear my hair curly,” said NECC student Ana Guerra. “I would have to straighten it the night before and then re-straighten some of it in the morning.”

NECC student Constantine Photis fully supports his classmates to go natural. “If you were born with curly hair that conforms to the rest of your head and body, let it be curly. Just let it be,” he said.

Hairstyle trends seem to have a major shift every decade or so, making it difficult for some to give up their beloved mullets, poufy bangs or faux-hawks. However, today’s college students are on the cusp of an “anything goes” time for hair.  The ’70s gave us the feathered look of teen idol David Cassidy and Cher’s iconic, pin-straight look which was almost impossible to achieve at home — unless you trusted a family member to literally iron your hair on the ironing board in the kitchen. Keep in mind that the styling tools we use today were not stocked at the corner store.  By the end of the ’70s, the unisex Afro became a popular and highly sought after style. However, unless you were born with natural curls, the methods used to create the look were a lot more dangerous than a hot metal plate and involved strong chemicals.

Ah, yes. The perm. Although the wife of inventor Charles Nessler often had her hair accidentally burned off by his early, failed attempts, his cold-wave method for permanently altering the hair was a major trend throughout the ’80s (especially for “hair bands” like Bon Jovi) and is still used today.  Although Jon Bon Jovi’s music career survived the ’90s and beyond, perms started to fizzle out and with the release of 1995’s movie Clueless. Actress Alicia Silverstone had young women chasing after smooth, straightened locks. This trend that lasted 20 years and is finally on its way out.

Unfortunately, the media has had a tremendous influence on how people style their hair. NECC student Bianca Mercado is proud to wear her naturally curly on campus but has experienced emotional distress in the past over having curly hair due to constant images of smooth-haired “beauty” flooding TV and movie screens. “I was always so concerned with fitting in,” said Mercado.

Whether you feel that you need an invitation or not, with trendsetting celebrities like Beyoncé and Bradley Cooper showing us their au natural selves, some may find it easier to try to new things.  Professional hairstylist Jess Hamilton of Haverhill offered some helpful tips for students who want to sport their naturally curly hair on campus.

“Moisturizing products are essential for eliminating frizz and you’ve got to trim those ends at least every six weeks,” she said.


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