CAIRO — There’s a TV commercial from the 1980s that some Egyptians remember well: Two women stand at a mirror, one with thick, dark curls, the other draped in sleek, glossy tresses.
“My hair is curly,” says the first, pouting slightly as she struggles with a comb. “I would love to style it nicely for this wedding.”
“Curly hair — not a problem,” the other woman reassures her. “Come, we still have time.”
One application of Glatt Schwarzkopf straightening cream later, the first woman is back at the mirror, the comb gliding easily through her smoothed-out hair. “My hair,” she coos, “is lovely.”
Hair Addict, an online forum and hair-care company with about 500,000 social media followers across Egypt and the Persian Gulf. “Then when I did, I got so mad at myself and society. Now when I look at natural hair, I see the amount of character it reflects and the amount of independence.”
@curlytalks on social media, had posted that “the same people who used to call my hair ‘mankoosh’ and ‘akrat’” — which roughly translate to “messy” and “coarse” in Egyptian Arabic — “are the same ones asking how I style it now coz they’re trying to do the same.”