Michele finds that embracing her curliness has unexpected side benefits.

The goal of my quest to grow out my chemically straightened hair and go back to my natural roots was simply to have curly hair again. But like most journeys that we embark on in life, this one has reaped unexpected benefits along the way. So thanks to my curly quest, here’s what else has happened:

1. My skin has gotten better. I’m so impatient for my hair to grow, grow, grow that I’m doing whatever I can to help it along. That means eating foods that contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids such as avocados and salmon and more protein. My hair does seem softer and shiner and it is growing. But my hair isn’t the only thing that’s reaped the benefits. It’s also made my skin soft and supple and alleviated my dry skin.

2. I’ve lost a few pounds. This is likely the result of the aforementioned healthy fats and protein I’m eating to get shiny, fast-growing hair. Because healthy fats and protein fill you up and because I feel like every morsel I put in my mouth should help my hair, I’ve slashed my usual sugar consumption and haven’t been eating as many gummy bears, Swedish fish and brownies. Now my clothes are a little looser and my body feels leaner, too.

3. I’m saving the planet. Who knew that turning my home into a “Shampoo Free Zone” who be a plus for the environment? That’s because shampoos that contain harsh detergents like sulfates, among others, get washed down the drain and into our oceans, polluting them with their chemicals. By giving up traditional shampoo and only cleansing with Devacurl No Poo and Devacurl One Condition, I’m helping reduce pollution, one shower at a time. And since I don’t rinse out my conditioner, I’m using less water than I used to. Lastly, by tossing my flat iron and blow dryer I’m saving electricity, too.

4. My kids’ hair looks gorgeous. Sure, most kids naturally have shiny, bouncy hair and my two kids, ages 8 and 5, are no exception. So far neither of my kids has curly hair (though my daughter is dying for even a hint of a wave), but I still use only DevaCurl No-Poo and DevaCurl One Condition on them because I realized that curls or no curls, why rub their heads in chemicals when I don’t have to? As a result, their hair looks even better, feels softer and isn’t as tangled as usual. This is key in the summer when they’re swimming in the pool and immersing their heads in chlorine twice a day!

5. I’ve saved tons of time. Committing to go curly meant I also committed to no more salon blowouts or hair straightening treatments. The time I’ve saved goes beyond the actual time for the hair straightening appointments (about four to five hours at a time) or blow out appointments (about an hour). I also got back the time I used to spend stressing out about the weather or planning my days in advance based on my hair. When you let your hair go natural, you can do what you want, when you want. Want to go spinning tonight? I can! In the old days I’d skip a workout because I just got a blow out. Or I’d have to go because I had an appointment for the next day and needed to get one big sweaty workout in before the next few days of making my blow out last. Just explaining this in writing is exhausting, so reading it must be too. Imagine living it!

6. I was told I look younger. A lot younger! Yes, someone who works in my mother’s office said, “You look like you’re twenty five.” (I know he’s on the payroll but I think he’s an honest guy.) That in itself is worth the long road to going curly! Just think of all the Botox and plastic surgery women might not need if they just embraced their curls!