Important Information Regarding a New Uptown Curl Location and Changing Hours in this Blog!
With the official opening of our Maple Grove location being only days away (salon hour updates are bolded throughout the blog), there’s no time like the present to see how the opening of just one more curly hair salon is a continuation for the giant leap of the “curly-kind.” This week’s blog will celebrate the opening of our most recent location by taking the time to honor and reflect on the past and present pioneers of the curly community.
Uptown Curl in Maple Grove
Tucked inconspicuously among the quaint, european-like streets of The Shoppes in Arbor Lake, the Uptown Curl’s awning’s iconic bold aqua is the first indication of the trendy, elegant interior of the brand new location. Bold edges and spacious design lend a sleek (and COVID friendly) atmosphere while dark marble countertops and huge gilded mirrors add a unique, victorian twist. Gazing at my reflection with my freshly cut hair, I felt like the subject of a famous Victorian painter. If you’re looking for a day of pampering, a Curly Cut and little shopping and snacking is the perfect way to spend your day. Starting October 1st, the Maple Grove location will be open 11-7 on Tuesdays through Friday, 9-5 on Saturday, and 11-5 on Sunday.
A Curl in Time
If you look back through history, curly hair is everywhere. From Greek sculptures to Victorian Paintings to posters of Hollywood actresses, everyone seems to be sporting some kind of wave or curl. You would think this representation would equal the acceptance of all naturally curly hair, but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, many public figures well known for their curls didn’t even have natural curls! According to BeautyBlitz, Shirley Temple’s curls were actually carefully rolled and pinned every day by her mother
The Natural Hair Movement
The fight for acceptance and equality has been ongoing. In an article titled “How Natural Black Hair at Work Became a Civil Rights Issue,” author Chanté Griffin identifies the stirrings of the movement when she writes,
“The first wave of the natural hair movement emerged during the tumultuous 1960s. The “Black Is Beautiful” movement assured black women and men that their skin, facial features, and natural hair were admirable—as is. The activist Marcus Garvey encouraged black women to embrace their natural kinks, arguing that copying white eurocentric standards of beauty denigrated the beauty of black women.”
Natural kinks and coils were often manipulated with heat and chemicals to sit flat, resulting in damaged hair from years of these treatments.
The Rise of Curly Hair Salons
Any curly person who gets their hair cut by a curly hair stylist can attest to the monumental difference it makes. I’ll personally say it’s the difference between waking up and “dealing with my hair” and waking up and ready to take on the world with flawless tresses. You’d think curly hair stylists would be respected in the beauty industry, but Kristy, owner and founder of Uptown Curl shared otherwise, “Curly hair stylists have had to fight for a seat at the table within the beauty industry because we were (and still are) viewed as a “fad” or a “gimmick.” The Curly Community is lucky to have trailblazers who continue to expand the curly world.
In 1984, Ouidad, opened her first salon catering just to curls. She also recognized that no two curls are the same and identified four different curl types and designed product lines for each. Ouidad discusses her inspiring aspirations as an immigrant from Lebanon in her interview with Allure which you can read here.
Lorraine Massey’s “Curly Girl: The Handbook”
First published in 2001 and followed by a 2011 second edition, “Curly Girl: The Handbook” is widely renowned by Curlies everywhere. If there was a college course on curly hair this would be the required textbook. Massey, founder of the Devachan salon, owner of Spiral (x,y,z), and founder of CurlyWorld, a line of curl-friendly hair care products wrote this amazing handbook…full of recommendations for products, styling, and how to embrace the hair you were born with. She is close friends with Kristy and has written two additional books on curly hair: “Silver Hair: The Handbook“, and “Curly Kids: The Handbook.”
The Second Wave of The Natural Hair Movement
The natural hair movement traditionally pertains to people of African descent embracing their natural hair. The second and current wave of the natural hair movement is enjoyed by all kinds of kinky, coil-y, curly, and wavy people. While the first movement was founded upon the struggle for basic rights: acceptance and equality, this second wave is bringing forth a glorious demand for equal representation. The online curly community is growing rapidly, curly-haired role models are providing education, and beauty companies are striving to craft more curl-friendly products.
Remembering the Roots of the Natural Hair Movement
While there is nothing wrong with embracing and caring for textured hair I am mindful as I remember that I am a privileged member of this movement. Privilege takes on many meanings to many people, and as someone who has 2c curls and early, available access to curly hair education, I understand my privilege as being fortunate to enjoy the benefits of a movement without having ever been required to do any of the actual moving (and by moving I mean moving mountains) and am incredibly grateful. Yes, my personal journey to recover my natural hair was arduous, but it was nothing compared to the discrimination faced by the people of color who came before me and those who continue to fight discrimination today. Nor was it close to the hardships faced by women with hair more highly textured than mine who dealt with the stigma that curly hair equalled unprofessional. Kristy eloquently speaks up on this issue, recalling cruel childhood nicknames aimed at her hair and even discrimination in the workplace, “I was denied a job because the interviewer told me my ‘hair wasn’t professional’ and they wouldn’t hire me unless I agreed to straighten my hair in writing.” Kristy turned her suffering into strength. Instead of letting adversity tear her up, she used it to identify and commune with others facing the same problems, “I view curly hair as something that unites us all as one human race because people of ALL RACES (and I mean all) can and do have curly hair. I connect with my clients of color over our mutually shared struggle dealing with our curly hair and the “straight hair beauty standard” – though of course their experience was compounded with racism.”
Uptown Curl’s Expansion
With great curl power comes great responsibility. While Uptown Curl is thrilled to meet the challenge of a rapidly growing demand for curly hair salons and stylists, the balancing act isn’t always easy. In our efforts to reach more curly people in need, we are downsizing our Minneapolis location which will now be open Tuesday-Friday 10-5, Sat 9-5 and Sun 11-5. Your patience and cooperation during this shift allows us to continue our work to reach those who don’t have easy access to curly hair care and education. We are honored to take part in helping others accept their natural hair and themselves.