3 Ways “Curl Envy” Will Ruin Your Natural Hair Journey


Have you ever heard of “curl envy?” It’s a phrase in the natural hair community that describes the desire to have someone else’s hair/curl pattern instead of your own. Sometimes the phrase is thrown around jokingly when you just really like another girl’s hairstyle, but if you truly have curl envy, you may want to reevaluate your natural hair journey. Especially if you’re a new natural, curl envy can be a real threat to your hair journey.

It’s great to follow other naturals and have favorites who inspire you: this is a community, after all. But be careful not to start wishing you had someone else’s hair because this could easily translate over into how you treat your own hair. Here are some ways that curl envy can actually ruin your natural hair journey.

1. You’ll begin to hate your own hair.

One of the first signs of serious curl envy could be that you start to dislike your own curl pattern because you find another person’s curl pattern more desirable/admirable. And when you hate your hair, you won’t be inclined to treat your hair with love, which could ultimately result in damage. It’s important to learn and love your own hair, so spend time discovering what your hair likes and dislikes, instead of observing someone else’s hair more than your own.

2. You’ll try to make your curl pattern look like theirs.

Once you realize your curls just don’t act the way hers do, you may unknowingly find yourself doing anything to get your hair to cooperate the same way, from over-manipulating the hair to wasting money trying to buy the perfect product, and engaging in hair practices that only lead to damaged hair.

Refrain from using heat, henna, or even color as just a means to alter your curl pattern. All curl patterns and hair types are beautiful, so focus on embracing what you have. Your own hair is unique, beautiful, and worthy of the proper care and maintenance to allow it to reach its fullest potential.

3. You’ll have unrealistic expectations.

You have to spend time getting to know your hair in order to know what’s going to be the best routine for your curl pattern and texture. When you have curl envy, you may find that you have unrealistic expectations of how a certain style or product will make your hair look and feel.

It’s not good to base your expectations of your hair off of someone else’s because you’ll be let down every time. S0metimes even if you have the same curl pattern as another girl, your hair still won’t act like theirs because other factors are involved, like moisture, porosity, thick vs. fine hair, or even how much damage the hair may have suffered.

We always say that natural hair is not a one size fits all, so stay in your lane and take care of your hair. When you nurture your hair from the inside out, it will thank you for it.

Type 4 hair can be undoubtedly prone to dryness and breakage, but it’s no less beautiful. It’s kinky, coily, curly, and awesome, so love it, embrace it, and enjoy the journey.

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  1. Candi Supersweet Stressfree

    I agree with this, and it’s mostly type 4s like me envying girls with looser curl patterns. Saying things like, “it only looks like that because she has a better texture”. It saddens me because although I know we all went natural for different reasons, it’s important to love the hair you have and make it look awesome! I fall more in love with my fro and its versatility every day.

  2. Rosalyn Johnson

    Nice read. I Dont think I’ve ever expierenced curl envy, even during the beginning of my transformation. I felt I had to learn to love my hair early if I wanted to be satisfied. I actually enjoy getting to know my hair.

    • Jenell B Stewart

      Younger naturals will say things that demonstrate their curl envy more so than a mature woman. Often times we just want to emulate what is beautiful to us and it takes time to grow out of that and/or realize our own beauty, you know?

  3. FleetaBe

    I could not have said it better.. we have women straightening their hair wearing weaves and wigs so afraid to wear their type 4 hair. I know it’s a preference but thas why the relaxers were such a success, because no one could accept their texture.

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