Celebrity actress loves the versatility of having natural hair

Keisha Knight Pulliam

Keisha Knight Pulliam as Rudy on "The Cosby Show"

You frequently wear your hair straight. Do you style it yourself? How do you protect your curls?

I do my own hair most of the time, unless I’m working. What I do is wash and condition it, detangling my hair in the shower while the conditioner is still in, and then rinse it out completely. I think a lot of the problems people have is that they don’t rinse their hair good enough… but if you can run your hair across it and it squeaks… literally… then it’s clean. I then blot dry with a towel until the majority of the moisture is gone. Next, I divide my hair in sections and lightly blow dry with an air concentrator attachment and a brush. Finally, I apply a little Aveda Brilliant Emollient Gloss as I flat iron it. That’s all I do. I’ve learned that less is more—it keeps my skin clear and the overall result is much sleeker.

Another thing to be mindful of is how often you’re heat styling. I don’t put a lot of heat on my hair. Once I wash it and flat iron it, I rarely touch up. I don’t flat iron it again until I wash it again. As I’ve gotten older, I believe the heat has tamed my curl a little.

What is your nighttime routine? How do you preserve your curly or straight styles?

I usually wrap my hair at night when it’s straight to keep it smooth. The next morning, all I have to do is brush it down and keep it moving. My hair gets greasy fast, so by day 4, it’s ponytail time! I usually have to wash every 5-7 days because my hair is very oily.

When I’m wearing it curly, I’ll throw a scarf around it to help my edges lay down, so I don’t wake up with my hair all over the place.

What is the best thing about being curly?

I think the best thing about being natural is the versatility. You can achieve so many beautiful and different styles. Although not every natural has healthy hair, I do feel that avoiding harsh chemicals promotes healthier hair. You can do more with it because it’s less fragile.

Tell us about your current or upcoming projects!

"House of Payne!" They picked us up again and we’re in the process of shooting 41 episodes. The first one should premier very soon, they’re playing reruns right now, gearing up.

Is there anything you'd like to say to the NaturallyCurly/CurlyNikki community?

I’d like to say that I’m really happy that CurlyNikki.com exists because so many little girls only know what they see on TV. They don’t realize how beautiful their hair is or that they should embrace it. I think by showing and being role models to young girls, it will allow them to embrace their curls, embrace themselves, much, much sooner than women like you and me. They need to realize that we’re all different, but it’s all beautiful. There is no one way or one thing that is more beautiful than the other.