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lycd1.jpgAlthea Eggleston, the mother of two young curlies, says she has been on a “quest” to find ways to manage her two daughters' textured tresses so they won't have to go through what she did.

“My mom started to straighten my hair when I was 11," recalled Eggleston, who brought her entire family to the event. "You can become a slave to relaxers. I want to give my children the freedom to love their natural hair.”To find that freedom, Eggleston joined dozens of curlies and more than 60 stylists (traveling from various cities in Texas and beyond) for "Love Your Curls" day hosted by NaturallyCurly.com on Nov. 11 at Pink Salon in Austin, Texas.

“It’s about giving people access to the best information, stylists, and products for curly hair,” says Michelle Breyer, co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com. Breyer was joined by Shari Harbinger and Ana Paula Cota of New York’s Devachan Salon, who spent the day with curlies, showing them a myriad of techniques to style their locks.

“We’ve changed our expectations, the way we see curly hair, and the way we approach curly hair,” Harbinger told the crowd. “You’re the one responsible for your hair. You have to be the interviewer when you walk into a salon.”Harbinger and Cota also showed curl-centric stylists how to approach curly clients during an afternoon session for professionals.

The curl experts demonstrated step-by-step cutting and coloring techniques.

“It’s exciting to see the acceptance of curly hair,” says Joy Rudisill, a stylist who flew in from her of Joyfully Curly salon in Charlotte, N.C. to learn new tips to bring back to her curly clients.“I love it! It’s a whole new beginning for me,” adds Renee Lynn Orsone, a stylist from Dallas, Texas, who was in search of curl-cutting strategies.

  Ella Eggleston

For Georgia Bramhall, a stylist at Pink Salon in Austin, hearing different perspectives from the many stylists at the event was also helpful.“It has been very educational," Bramhall says. "I would do this again. I always learn something new.”Throughout the day, friendships were forged over curly fellowship. NaturallyCurly member Michelle Seabrooks and Cynthia Williams bonded over their shared experiences with their super curly hair. After the event, they went to lunch and then to Williams' apartment, where Seabrooks got to watch Williams' entire hair-care routine, from start to finish.

"It was a great place to meet other women who are having the same struggles with their hair," Seabrooks said. "I feel like I made a new friend."Over the course of the day, several curlies were even chosen from the crowd for tress transformations. Eggleston’s 3-year-old daughter, Ella, was one of the curlies chosen to receive a makeover.For Ella, the experience was possibly life-changing. After Harbinger was finished with her, she couldn’t get enough of her freshly styled ringlets. She rocked her curls from side to side, as she gleefully watched them bounce in the mirror.

“They look great,” her mother said, looking on with proud approval. “She really loves her hair!”

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