The story of a curly girl’s life: Some days, you fight with your hair. Sometimes it really, truly seems like your hair has a mind of its own and is trying to work against your efforts just to make it look halfway decent. Your strands go flat and straggly despite your scrunching and bunching them. Or the triangle thing happens. Dear God, the triangle thing. These are the days when you just surrender, admit defeat and toss your hair up in a bun. But then, of course, there are also those days when your ringlets come out shiny, bouncy and beautiful, perfectly adorning your head and framing your face, and all you want to do is take a gazillion selfies. In even better cases, those good hair days actually do last all day. This is why you keep fighting the fight. Those days of feeling amazingly beautiful are when you remind yourself that your hair is a blessing, and when you know the sacrifices you have to make to achieve and maintain that perfect look are worth making:


1. Waking up super early so that you have enough time to wash and style it.

Nope, you’ve never been able to just brush it and go. You’ve gotta go through your whole routine, and it can be a lengthy process. It’s kind of like the idea of “beauty sleep” in reverse. But when your hair still looks as awesome at 4 PM as it did at 7 AM, you don’t mind feeling a little sleepy.


2. Dedicating one entire drawer to hair products.

Your mind is still blown by the fact that straight-haired people don’t need to buy products other than shampoo and conditioner. You have a ton of different ones, and you’ve gotta make sure you have enough storage space for all of them.


3. Avoiding winter hats

Yes, it is 30 degrees outside. Yes, your ears are cold. And yes, wearing a hat would make sense. But it would also make your hair look terrible, and once you arrive indoors and remove the hat, you’ll be rocking the top-matted-down-triangle-look hardcore. No, thank you.


4. Rinsing with cold water

Cold-water rinses make for significantly healthier and stronger (and therefore better looking) curls. Cold-water rinsing doesn’t feel comfortable or pleasant, but hey, it’s only for a few seconds.


5. Never rolling down your car windows

Sigh. Yes, it would be nice to feel the cool spring breeze blow through your hair while you drive—if you knew it would fall perfectly back into place when you arrived at your destination.


6. MONEY

Having beautiful curls doesn’t always come cheap. Maintaining them and keeping them healthy requires a specific kind of care with specific products, and they can be pricey. Not to mention, when it comes to purchasing heat styling tools, the $30 straighteners are definitely not going to cut it.


7. Avoiding chlorinated pools

Not only is chlorine extremely damaging to curly hair, it also produces the “I just stuck my finger in an electrical socket” look. You’ll take hair that looks and feels healthy over a dip in the pool.


8. Traveling to find the right stylist

Not just anyone can cut your hair—you need to find someone who knows exactly how to handle curls, and knows which cuts and styles work for them. (I.e. Not your nearest Supercuts.) And you may have to go a little out of your way to find this person. But leaving the salon looking spectacular—and having a stylist who understands how important it is that you do—will always be worth driving a few extra miles.