When I first started using Pinterest, as with most interactive platforms, I was overwhelmed and underwhelmed by it. The idea was simple enough–you “pin” pictures to a board, or boards, that reflect your favorite interests, ideas and wishes–but doing so just didn’t seem like much. Pinning stuff? And I found the search for specific things and images annoying at first. It reminded me of Tumblr, but just definitely less GIF-fy.
I think I created my account sometime in 2013, but only these past summer months I began to truly enjoy what Pinterest had to offer. I’ve even added the app to my iPod Touch and I’ve truly gained the concept of using it for DIY projects, discovering new products and stories and elevating ideas, especially in the categories of health, makeup and hair. Funny enough, what really grabbed my attention in the beginning with Pinterest was pinning pictures to my foodie board, the recently re-titled “A Second Helping of Food.” Before I moved on to the aforementioned rubrics, I was obsessed with pinning food and drinks. Nothing was more exciting to re-pin than a glass of blueberry lemonade accompanied by a recipe (but I will digress now).
While one-time, I was searching under the tags of “curly hair” (it reads as “curly x”, “hair x” in the search box), and after re-pinning a few tips and one cute hairstyle or two, I came across a comic strip of a curly hair character that immediately read to me as fun yet neurotic. Otherwise known as, my cartoon-self, it was called “Tall N Curly.”
The comic you read above is the first I found from Tall N Curly and I loved it. It was hilariously accurate in highlighting the up and down emotions of having and maintaining naturally curly and kinky hair. And its lead protagonist (whose name is literally Tall N Curly in the comic) easily goes from exhibiting an aplomb reaction to her roommate braiding her straight hair to get beachy waves as opposed to doing it to keep her tresses from getting tangled (as most curly hair girls tend to do) to utter and complete manic mode when her hair gives in to the rebellious mind of its own and succumbs to shrinkage and frizz!
Tall N Curly is a lot of fun to read and it’s autobiographical. The creator of it honestly shares on her “About” page (on the official Tall N Curly website) that as a multi-racial girl growing up with naturally robust curls, she actually enjoyed her hair but her mother, who she identifies as White, felt she had some difficulties when trying to wash and style it back in the day. At one point, her mom had even cut the creator’s hair n a near-mullet style to make it easier for her. (You can see the photos on that same “About” page). So like all textured hair girls, Tall N Curly’s creator has had some great and crappy days with her locks. She included that she’s been natural for ten years and is a staunch advocate against relaxers, which she too has subjected her locks to in the past. (She doesn’t fault you if relaxed hair or chemically straightened hair is your preference. But she definitely wants you to think twice about it!) The “tall” part of her character is also truthful, as in real life, the graphic designer and illustrator is 5’11 and a 1/2. And for all you hair know-it-alls that are good with the labeling of hair types, she says she’s a between a 3B-3C. According to NaturallyCurly.com, a “3B” is: “more voluminous” with a “smaller circumference” than 3A, but also “not as shiny as Type 3a curls, and the texture can be coarse and dense.” A “3C” type: “resembles tight corkscrews” and tends “to be higher in density and coarser than type 2 or 3 hair, giving it more volume.” This type is also “finer in texture” and “packed tightly together.”
If you’ve got some time to spare, you can easily spend a half hour reading and laughing with Tall N Curly as its translates the everyday life of curly hair. Cartoon-wise, it reminds me of Bill Amend‘s family shenanigans comic strip of Fox Trot (a total trip if you’ve ever read it!)
Tall N Curly touches on all the hot and classic topics of the curly hair life such as being a product junkie (that perpetual hope that you’ve possibly (once again) have found “the one” leave-in conditioner that will last longer than 45 minutes), the eagle-eye mental countdown of when your hair will give up on you on any given time of the day (aka less bouncy, shiny or moisturized hair) and the agonizing reality of how shampooing and conditioning your hair can literally be an all-day event. In real life, these scenarios are truly annoying and can even bring about tears! But Tall N Curly finds the beauty and the humor is having hair that is seeminly unorthodox and capricious!
And if your curly hair type is not exactly like Tall N Curly’s or even through more a meticulous break down, you feel as if you don’t even look like the comic strip character, don’t feel as if you can’t relate to the cartoon. As curly-haired individuals, we have all been through likewise tribulations and triumph days, and Tall N Curly is relatable whether you’ve got a TWA (teeny-weeny afro) or a little past your shoulders thick and it looks like its growing upward spirals. And it’s time for an honest moment here. Within the Black community, it almost always felt as if our biracial sisters have had it easier when it comes to hair, but Tall N Curly proves otherwise that they sometimes too go through the same bullshit too in getting curls, waves, and kinks and coils just right. (Though I can say there is a difference in the struggle between the Speak Now album era of Taylor Swift waves and undoubtedly Black and proud ‘fro of Richard Pryor‘s daughter’s Rain). I don’t look like Tall N Curly skin-tone wise and I think my hair is more 3C than 3B (I’m currently transitioning my full head back to natural as I nurse my processed straight ends to health. And instead of the “big chop” I’ve done a “minor chop” with my ends), I’ve found a spirit animal in Tall N Curly.
TallNCurly.com has your complete resource on how the comic strip came about and even some social commentary on hair trends, body positive articles and personal stories, but use this Pinterest tag to see a lot of a comics in one place!