Mixed woman who spent years straightening her hair finally embraces curls

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A mixed-race woman who spent years crying over her Afro hair and damaging it with heat and bleach has shared a moving diary showing how she learned to love herself.

Hannah Connaughton, 21, said she’s always been insecure about her hair because she was bullied at school. She describes herself as ‘visually white’ but ‘has an Afro’.

She spent years straightening her hair and damaged her curls in the process, which caused her a lot of distress over the years and she says made her ‘feel ugly’.

So, Hannah, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, shared a clip on TikTok where she opens up about her insecurities – and asks her followers for advice on how to improve her hair condition, which products to use and how to style her curls.

Lots of people could relate with the insecurities Hannah described in the clip, particularly mixed and Black women – even some celebrities. And soon a staggering six million people had watched the video.


Hannah found herself inundated with tips, encouragement and even free hair products.

The newfound confidence gained from the response to the video spurred Hannah on to experiment with wigs. Eventually she booked herself in to a specialist textured hair salon.

Hannah had been really reluctant to cut her hair, but on advise from the salon and her followers, she finally plucked up the courage to cut off the majority of her locks – the big chop. She removed the damaged hair and could start again with her new hair care routine.


Now, Hannah is rocking her short, curly hair – without straighteners or bleach. And with her new look is a new sense of confidence too.

Film and media student Hannah says: ‘I have been straightening and bleaching my natural hair or wearing extensions since I was around 14 when I first became self-conscious about it.

‘Because I look white, my hair was one of the only things about my appearance that made me look visually mixed-race, so it stood out – people at school would call me a poodle or ask to touch it.


‘When I asked for advice on TikTok because my hair was so damaged, I was overwhelmed by people’s responses and support – and I realised I’m not alone, and so many other people relate to my story.’

Love Island star Amber Gill even sent Hannah a hair care package because she understood what she was going through. She also had messages from actress Skai Jackson, singer Mahalia.

‘Celebrity or not, every mixed and black woman has experiences like mine,’ says Hannah.

‘So many people were telling me to cut my hair short to let my curls grow naturally, and eventually I finally plucked up the courage to book an appointment and started to get really excited to see my hair grow long and curly, like it used to be.

‘I got the chop and I was so nervous, but it was such an exciting and liberating experience and I’ve had nothing but support and people telling me they’re proud I finally did it.’

Hannah, whose mum’s family originated from St Kitts in the West Indies, started her hair confessional videos on April 12th, and had her hair cut on April 27th.

She says that since the chop she has grown much more confident and realised that she should embrace who she is.

‘There is a huge community out there of people like me, and I feel like I fit in and belong for the first time,’ she adds.

‘I want any girl that feels the same way I felt to see they’re not alone and their natural hair is beautiful – self love is the most empowering thing you can do, so try to embrace it.

‘It’s taken 21 years but now I’ve learnt to love that side of myself – and I see that black is beautiful.’

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