What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
I get my curly hair from my mother who always straightened her hair growing up. My mother’s hair is even curlier than mine. She would often get called “bush baby” when she wore her hair curly to school. The cycle of straightening her hair to fit in passed on to me. I would always feel like I looked untidy and unkept if I left my hair curly. I would get blow-outs since the young age of 7 years old so I could look “neat” for school. I would spend hours trying to get my hair straight only for it to curl back up and get frizzy in humid conditions. I also remember having a few childhood peers (all with straight hair) who made fun of curly hair in pre-school and primary school. This forced me to try any method just to get my hair straight.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?
Besides straightening my hair everyday, I also used to dye my hair very often when I entered university. Although I loved the different hair colors, my hair was extremely dry and brittle. I started to hate my hair even more when it was straight. During 2017 I started seeing a lot of women on Instagram who were embracing their curly hair. I saw many women with the same curl pattern as me and realized that my hair could also potentially look as good. At the end of 2017, I decided to do a big chop and to stop straightening my hair.
What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?
The most empowering moment so far been using my platform to help other women to embrace their curls. My hair is finally in a healthy state and I have learned how to care for my hair. I’m now trying to share my tips and tricks. Second to this, my most empowering moment was doing a big chop. I thought my hair wouldn’t grow back at first!
How do you protect your curls at night?
I usually apply a little bit of almond oil to my hair and protect it with a satin scarf. The almond oil helps my hair retain moisture. I use the pineapple method.
Who is your curl crush?
My curl crush is definitely Jayme Jo. Her hair is so healthy and beautiful. I’ve been following her for a while and she’s definitely #goals.
What's your curly girl essential you can't live without?
Definitely my satin scarf and my diffuser. Wash day for me takes a few hours so I always sleep with my satin scarf to make sure my hair lasts for a few days. My diffuser helps me achieve volume and also shortens my drying time. I definitely wouldn’t be able to wait to air dry every wash day.
What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
I try to follow the curly girl method in terms of products. I shampoo with Sheamoisture JBCO and I deep condition with the JBCO Masque right after shampooing. I only shampoo and deep condition once a week. If I need to wash my hair more than once a week, I use the As I Am Coconut Co-wash which prevents my hair from drying out. When styling, I apply a leave in for moisture and a gel for definition and hold. My favorite leave-ins are: Sheamoisture Raw Shea Detangler, Kinky Curly Knot Today and Jane Carter Solutions. My favorite gels are: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Souffle, Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel and the Mane Choice Crystal Orchid gel.
What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?
The most challenging moment was figuring out how to sleep with curls and also which products to buy. The market is flooded with so many different products but it’s difficult figuring out which one will work for which hair texture. Certain products can also contain harsh chemicals so I had to do a lot of research into the different ingredients that go into hair products. Curly hair is naturally quite dry so it’s important to make sure the products we use are nourishing for our hair.
Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health?
Deep conditioning really changed my hair. Deep conditioning once a week reduced so much off my frizz. My hair also started growing so much faster once I started deep conditioning. I also find that sectioning my hair when applying products gives me much better results. My hair also became a lot more defined once I started using a gel to style. Of course, with all of this I figured out how to balance moisture and protein in my hair.
What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture?
I think that society has certain standards of beauty that have prevented and still prevent women (mostly those with kinkier hair types) from even being able to wear their natural hair. So firstly, I believe that society needs to change the beauty standards placed on certain hair types. Learning to love one’s hair in its natural form takes time and there’s a lot that goes with it given the standards of beauty that certain hair types face. What helped me start loving my curly hair was definitely learning how to style it and take care of it. Once I started getting good styling results, I started loving my hair more and more. Most importantly, trust the process!