Did you ever notice that Pakistani society has an odd obsession with straight hair?
While I wouldn't compare the hair stereotyping to colourism, curly hair is looked down on as unruly, messy and just not beautiful. Oh and yes, there are many Pakistani women with curly hair. Hair types in Pakistan are as diverse as our skin tone range; we have them all and they all are beautiful but we favour one look.
I've been there; every time I'd try to explore the potential of my natural hair I'd be mocked for looking 'unkempt' even though I quite liked my wavy look.
Thankfully, in the past year or so, there has been a shift. Women who sought Brazilian blow-outs and Keratin treatments to tame their natural hair are starting to see the beauty in their bouncy curls and it's about time.
A role model for Pakistani women who have been taunted for their 'messy hair' is singer Annie, who decided she's had enough with the curl-hate and started working on curl-power.
In conversation with Images, Annie pointed out, "Have you ever seen those before and after ads? The 'before' girl is always the one with the big rough looking curly hair - that just needs some conditioning to look beautiful - and the 'after' is a girl with straight hair! It's a terrible message that's seeped into the minds of many."
The singer has launched a range of hair products designed specifically for curly haired beauties. She made the announcement in February and piqued our interest not only about the products, but her decision to do so.
Annie revealed that the inspiration for Curlpwr came to her "when I would go to buy products but could never find a product that was 100% curly hair friendly. Whatever item I'd look at, I'd always feel like something could be tweaked in that specific product, maybe something added or subtracted but I was just never satisfied with what was in the market.
"That's when I took courses in the formulation of hair products, specifically shampoos, conditioners and hair creams. I started understanding the process behind formulation. Then I researched formulation companies in the UK and I found a bunch of amazing cosmetic chemists who helped me formulate these products."
The Curlpwr range includes a shampoo, conditioner, a curl defining cream and hair oil. The products are paraben and sulphate free and are meant to provide moisture to the curls, bringing out the best to their volume and shine.
While talking further about her need to promote acceptance of curly hair in Pakistan, Annie laughed and mentioned, "I'm done with being told how unfortunate I am to have curly hair."
"People even tell me that my two-year-old daughter is extremely unlucky to have curls. Right to my face! They say 'Haye bechari, she'll have a tough time when she grows up. It amuses me because I don't see it that way at all."
She added, "I was always made fun of as a kid growing up, especially in school when all the girls had silky straight hair. There was a time when I just wanted to fit in but now I love my hair."
"Seeing the young women in Pakistan, I see that they really need encouragement and awareness about how to maintain and embrace their natural hair. Hopefully I can inspire desi girls to take care of their hair and realise their true curl potential."
Annie's Curlpwr is having its official launch on April 24.