The Comeback of Curly Hair in Egypt

A young woman from Egypt, Eman El-Deeb, chose to migrate from her country because her hair is curly. She moved to Spain, and her naturally curly hair is appreciated there. In Egypt, however, the women mostly chose to emulate the European beauty ideals thus making her feel like she had cursed hair. She claims that the choice she made to leave Egypt was hard, as she had never thought of migrating. She had grown tired and hoped of living in an area where her looks were not a bother for anyone.

Both strangers and acquaintances continuously ridiculed Eman. During the first days when she was working at a bank, she would have a person from the department of human resources ask her to straighten her hair every day. Most women living in Egypt have curly hair. However, they are forced at to begin straightening their hair from when they are children, to be in line with the opinion of beauty.

The Facebook group created in 2016 for helping women care for their natural hair got a tremendous response. Only two years after the creation of the group, 105,000 women have joined it. The group, launched by Doaa Gawish, was because her hair was also making her suffer. Doaa works as an engineer at a firm with American origin. She had given in to having her hair straightened regularly, but she knew it was dangerous. She, therefore, began gathering information on how to reduce some side effects brought by conventional heating.

She got a lot of information and decided she could also help other women. After the group began, most of the followers started sharing the routines they follow for caring for their curly hair. Soon they took the bold step of completely going without using heat on their hair. The challenge for having the natural hair heat free began in 2016 and has been successful since then.

Due to the increased demand, a hair salon for curly hair, in an affluent neighborhood in Egypt was opened. The salon, unlike the rest, works only on an appointment basis. There has been increased awareness, and people are embracing the change. Eman also felt the change when she visited Egypt in 2017. She took a taxi, and the driver complemented her hair, making it the first comment she had received about her hair in Egypt that was positive.

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