ALLURE: Before stay-at-home orders, did you get your hair done professionally? If so, how often and what was your go-to style?
DARIAN SYMONÉ HARVIN: I definitely get my hair professionally done when I’m getting braids, cornrows, or any style that I add synthetic hair to. But, growing up, my mom was a hairstylist, so I had access to a lot of tools and products — I learned how to do my own hair growing up. So if it's a blow-dry and flatiron, which is how I typically wear my hair, I will do it myself, but I'll go to a salon for trims. And I’m natural. I started transitioning when I was in college, so at this point, I don't have any more relaxer in my hair.
ALLURE: Have you experimented with different colors or styles? In the same vein, do you feel like you have more freedom to experiment since you’re at home?
DSH: I've actually been thinking more about the idea of experimenting with wigs, just because I have had some video conferences or just some things where I am showing myself more on camera. I just want to feel really confident. And I think that sometimes some of the natural styles, especially since I'm still learning, don't look as great as I want them to be on video resolution. And so I've definitely been thinking about it more.
ALLURE: Do you have to be on video calls for work/school? If so, do you feel pressure to look "presentable" on-screen?
DSH: Yeah, I definitely do. I think that there is already a lot of curiosity and lack of knowledge around our hair in workspaces that are predominantly white. And I think now that we are showing up to work in a more digital and virtual way, video resolution can affect the way that your hair comes across on screen. So I definitely feel this pressure.
But I've really been trying to break through [this thinking] that my styles need to look "neater" than what they have been in the past. But also, for example, I do this series on Instagram called “Beauty Headlines” and in my last video, I just had my individual braids. Typically, I like neat styles, but I like styles that look more laid-back and [messy] too. And I was really nervous and self-conscious about going on camera with my hair not looking "kept.” And I just said, "No, I'm going to break through that. My hair doesn't look that bad and if people have something to say, they can say it." No one said anything.
ALLURE: What have you learned about your hair during this time?
DSH: Just that this is hard. I mean, this has not been an easy process for me. I think that, just as I was making time to maintain and to style my own hair when I was out, I am still having to carve and find time to do my hair because I'm still working. And I'm also taking care of myself in new ways. So I don't feel like it's actually gotten any easier. And it still takes time. If anything, I'm still trying to find ways to save time doing my hair.