Monday, August 6, 2012

Curly Haired Indian

 Last Friday I walked into a shop at Amcorp Mall that sells hair products and accessories. As I entered, I heard a customer whining to the sales staff at the counter about her hair. Said customer was a middle-aged Indian woman with long freezy hair down her back.

When she noticed me, she gave me a look and told the staff at the counter: " You see lar, we Indians all have this kind of hair only." I was quite amused that she was putting me in the same category as her, considering that I don't have a huge lump of friz bobbing down my back.

If only someone had given this woman some sage advice about managing her thick mane, maybe she wouldn't be whining and hankering after silky-smooth stresses - which she naturally cannot have unless she resorts to rebonding and rebonding till death, by which time she might no longer have any hair left.

If only someone had told her that maybe she should not have her hair that long! And that perhaps she should trim it a little, every few months, a little layering perhaps.....? A hair mask twice a month, a leave-in conditioning treatment for nights, oh there are various ways to manage hair like that.

It will never be utterly silky soft to the touch. But hei the notion that hair should be like that, was sold to us by shampoo manufacturers. Tried those shampoos.....? It does not work ok, unless your hair is naturally like that.

Just like how everyone has different skin tones, body-shape, personality, so does hair type vary too, so don't crucify your hair as bad because it does not cascade like silk, coarser hair can be fun too, for one it can hold a style longer than straight and fine hair.

Indian and Curly

There are two types of people who will denigrate an Indian with curly hair - another Indian and Chinese hairdressers ( Does this sound a little racist? But it's true, so there.....)

Once a nice friendly Indian man, who naturally thought he was all that when it came to fashion, told me what a fine looking person I was, but pity about the hair. "You should do something about it, it looks bad." To which I blinked and said:"Oh? But I deliberately styled it like that." And he went like uh...oh? Naturally I was too polite to tell him that he should brush up on his manners and social skills.

Rarely will you find a Chinese hairdresser who will compliment you on your curls. If they do, they are not that hard-up for business, and have been exposed to many hair types, as should most hairdressers.

The majority will keep telling you, how thick!!! and unmanageable your hair is, and keep pushing the idea of rebonding down your throat, until you actually start entertaining thoughts of it, not because you want straight hair, but because you just want them to stop!

At this point an image of you with long straight hair, clad in a white dress, running across a meadow with sunflowers, and smug hairdresser in the background - RM300 richer, floats before your vision, then you snap out of it, pay her RM35 for the wash n cut, and vow never to go back there.

 Hair type and ethnicity

There seems to be this common perception that all Indians have frizzy, curly, thick manes. Not true. I don't know if all Black Americans, Africans are born with frizzy hair and small tight curls, but that is definitely not the case with Indians.

Our hair type varies. It has got nothing to do with skin colour either as some more ignorant people might assume. There are many dusky toned Indians with very straight hair, or soft waves, and there are fair skinned Indians who have thick, coarse or curly hair.

Seriously when will these Chinese hairdressers break out of their circle of ignorance.....hmm?


dharzie said...

I truely apprieciate curly hairs, look at my photos in my blog:, curly hairs captivates the eyes of others. . . .

Irene C. said...

cause they are un-educated properly and has not been exposed to mix with other cultures..meh not only hairdressers la... also in corporate world if 95% are Chinese, you will see this character posed some similarity. Don't be mad but pity them because they are so backward in thinking.

Jothi said...

Hi dharzie! I won't denigrate straight hair, it has it's beauty too. But yes there's certainly something to a mop of curls ;)

Jothi said...

Thanks for dropping by Irene. We're already in the 21st century, yet such backward thinking still persist. Sigh.

Asha said...

This is the story of every curly haired girl. Whenever we go to a salon, they always push for getting the straightening done instead of letting us know how to manage natural curls. Because if they do that, they money minting straightening business will go haywire. Check out here how you can get the beautiful curls in simple easy manner
It is all about how you apply products in curly hair. Now who needs a hair stylist after this :)

Nephretiti Washington said...

This is so true...

Divya said...

I can relate to every word in this post!! Even the dialogue "You should do something about it"....And I have given a similar response as you!! Lol..

It is so true that we curly and wavy people need to accept our hair and learn to manage, care and style them based on our natural hair's requirement.

We curly haired Indians who have already embraced our naturally curly/wavy hair should encourage our co-curly Indians to fall in love with their hair. :)

I blog about how to care for and fall in love with our naturally curly and wavy hair in India. Please do visit and provide your feedback at