Growing up, I always wished that my hair was different.  I get a lot of compliments for my healthy, thick, and straight-ish dark brown hair, but to me, it was plain and boring.  I couldn’t style it because even after spending 12+ hours styling my hair, it reverts to its original state in just 30 minutes.

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Storytime: My Boring Hair

One of the many instances of my stubborn hair was during my cousin’s wedding, the summer before eighth grade began.  The hairstylist had to use two bottles of hairspray, a whole pack of bobby pins, and rubber bands (the office supplies ones) to get my hair in place.  Thanks to my hair’s resistance, I attended the event looking like I had a shiny coat of grease on my hair ☹️.

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It was during first grade, however, right before my dance showcase, that I started wishing that my hair was different.  We were all wearing the same outfits, but our teachers thought something was lacking, so it was decided that we would all have matching curls.  When it was my turn, to my embarrassment, my hair didn’t curl.  The assistant was taken aback and tried over and over to get it to look like the others, but to no avail.  She eventually gave up and said, “You just have to perform like that, I guess.”

It still remains as a hurtful memory because at the time, I was made aware of my differences and how I couldn’t be like the other girls in the team.  Despite being one of the better dancers, performing in the front, I remember feeling ashamed going up on stage because of how my hair looked.  My entire elementary school years were spent bugging my mom to get a perm because at least then, my hair wouldn’t be so different from everyone else.

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The High School Solution

In high school, there were more (East) Asian people, all with different hairstyles.  Some had a Japanese straightening perm or a wavy perm, while a good portion did have their natural hair.  Among them, there were also those who had stubborn hair like mine.

Some of my closest friends that had stubborn hair like me would also come to with curly/wavy hair.  When asked how they achieved that look, they would all have the same response, braids.  According to them, sleeping in semi-dry, braided hair was the simple solution to it all.  You didn’t need to invest in a hair curler or hairspray because braids achieved the desired curls.

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Taking their advice, I tried this technique, but to no one’s surprise, my hair was back to normal by the end of the bus ride to school.  I didn’t give up, determined to make this work for me, and tried different numbers of braids, in different styles.  Some days, I would French braid my hair in four pieces.  Other days, I would just braid my hair into as many pieces as I could.

Long story short, that still didn’t work for me and I resigned myself to having boring hair until the day I died.

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A New Hope

One good thing about my boring hair is that it’s long and healthy.  This kind of hair is perfect for donating, so that someone can experience having hair, even if it’s a wig.  So, while I grow it out, I gave the hair curling thing one last try.

This time, I decided to use these foam curlers that my mom has had for ages.  She bought them a few years ago at a Korean beauty supply store and says that they work like a charm.  Though she doesn’t use them often, when she does, it’s for creating a subtle wave at the ends of her hair.

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(MY) Inferences About Foam Curlers

While my mom never actually taught me how to use them, here are some conclusions that I’ve made about using this product

  • Like braids, use semi-dry hair because the water makes hair more pliant
  • Section off your hair into equal pieces to roll – my mom has 16 rollers, so I divide my hair accordingly.
  • When you roll your hair, start with the roller ~three inches from the end – essentially, you’re rolling your hair up towards the roots, but you also don’t way the ends to stick out and not get curled.
  • If possible, sleep in them – foam curlers usually have a clasp, you can easily sleep in them without ruining your hard work and let them dry in that shape completely.
  • Pro tip: to get “curlier” hair, twist your hair before rolling them in a curler.

When I roll my hair, I roll inwards instead of outwards because I like the rose bouquet effect it leaves when I remove the curlers.  In my opinion, rolling outwards gives more of a beach wave look, a bit of an overplayed look.

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Why Foam Curlers

I can’t speak for all types of hair, or even represent every Asian because not every race has the same type of hair.  In my opinion, foam curlers are perfect for creating really natural looking curls because not every curl looks exactly the same.  However, if you want curly hair, this method probably isn’t going to help you achieve that look.

As mentioned earlier, my mom only has 16 curlers.  While I do have thick hair, it was sufficient in getting my hair up.  Obviously, the more hair you have, the more you should consider buying more curlers.  People with thin hair would probably have “better” waves with the same number of curlers, only because they’re using less hair per curler.

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If these reasons didn’t convince you to give foam curlers a try, here are two more reasons: no heat and no wasting money.  Using a curling iron means that you also have to buy heat protectant to put on before curling and hairspray for after curling.  Without the former, you can damage your hair follicles on this hot styling rod, and without the latter, you’ll lose your curls within a few hours.

And while it takes a bit longer to use curlers, foam curlers perfect for getting ready to go out later in the evening or relaxing with a face mask and Netflix the night before.

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Click here to check out some foam rollers.  Also, check out this hair roller from Etude House that a few of my friends love!

IMAGE CREDIT: Vanity Rex
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