Former Bachelor Star Serene Russell Talks Her Must-Have Curly Hair Products
Image Source: @Justin Macala

You may have spotted Serene Russell posing for your favorite shoots and swimwear collections. Still, she won many of us with her compelling energy as a contestant on Season 26 of The Bachelor and Season 8 of The Bachelor in Paradise. As a well-versed queen alternating through many hats, nothing can replace her crown of glory, the crown of her natural hair. 

As a biracial woman, Serene has endured many ups and downs, with her curls not being welcomed in all spaces. She has also experienced trial and error with dyes and breakage, but now she uses her platform to endorse self-love, starting with hair confidence. 

Although she is no longer a teacher, Serene is taking us back to school with lessons on maintaining healthy strands on the go.

What was your relationship to your hair growing up?

I grew up in Oklahoma, where I was the only biracial kid in my class. Sometimes, I felt like my hair wasn’t as accepted. Even if my hair is presentable, and I’ve brushed it and done all these things to it, sometimes people would look at me strangely for wearing my hair up in a curly bun or styling it where I felt cute and comfortable. It’s similar to the stigma of women not wearing makeup to work. Why is my natural hair not fully accepted? One of the biggest things I noticed as a teacher was that many kids said, “Oh my goodness, you have curly hair just like me.”

It takes time for people to get into a rhythm, and even with people who are super big into curly hair influencing, you often see their hair on the very best days. I don’t know about you, but my hair dries differently whenever I get out of the shower. I think it’s about learning and accepting that your hair is changeable, and that doesn’t mean it’s not presentable because it’s different every day or because you don’t have a perfect routine. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so I think curly hair is beautiful and special.

How did you and your mom bond over hair?


“My mom is white and learned how to do braids to help me with my hair. She killed it and I will still have my mom braid my hair to this day. “

My mom herself has pretty curly hair. She has 3B hair, so she’s familiar with curls and knows they’re all different. My 3B textured hair is different from her 3B hair. However, she recognizes that you have to do certain things to keep the hair moisturized. I look back on my school pictures from my childhood, and my mom killed it.

She was always doing fun braids with zigzag parts. I think she taught herself and became great at it. I appreciate my mom’s willingness to learn about my hair and not letting me straighten it as a child. She always encouraged me to embrace my curls.

As a cast member of The Bachelor, do you feel that your natural curls were embraced during filming?

Former Bachelor Star Serene Russell Talks Her Must-Have Curly Hair Products
Image Source: @serenebrookrussell

Yes, they wanted me to be however I felt most comfortable. I did end up wearing my hair primarily straight just out of convenience because I know that I can silk press or straighten my hair and leave it alone for a week. When you’re being told to get ready in 10 minutes, sometimes it’s just easier if your hair is already done.

That was a big learning experience for me because we were traveling worldwide. Traveling from country to country in different climates, spending 14 hours on a plane and getting off was a huge adjustment. My skin was suffering, my hair was suffering, everything was suffering. For me it was a matter of what I felt like I could do quickly. I do think there is a misunderstanding of how long it can take to do curly hair sometimes, so I leaned more towards the silk press when I was on TV.

Former Bachelor Star Serene Russell Talks Her Must-Have Curly Hair Products
Image Source: @serenebrookrussell

I learned some hair tips and tricks when I was in Mexico filming for the Bachelor in Paradise. When we filmed the finale for the show, I straightened conditioner into my hair, and that was how I escaped having frizz because you’re in a different country. You’ve only packed what you have and you’ve been there for however long it may be, you’re kind of at the mercy of the people around you to find hair products for you. So that was one thing I did but would not recommend unless you’re in a bind. I thought about using protective styles, and I wish I had more knowledge before going to paradise.

Now I am growing into the beauty space while being an advocate and representative for curly haired boys and girls. The biggest difference in my life since reality TV that I’ve noticed is so many people commenting or messaging me, especially when I wear my hair styled curly, celebrating it and saying, “My daughter has curly hair or my son has curly hair.” Seeing people in the media embrace their curly, textured hair is so good for them. I think that’s been one of the biggest differences for me since the show, and it has changed my life. It’s made me grow a new appreciation for my hair.

What does your hair regime look like? 

I wash my hair once a week. If I’m wearing it straight, I do a co-wash halfway through the week, where I wash my hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. I’ve found that my curly hair tends to get more dry than my straight hair. So, about halfway through the week, I reintroduce that moisture back into my regime, and I feel like that has been the most helpful for me.

What brands of products are you using to lock in hydration?

Image Source: @serenebrookrussell

I just started using Pureology’s Hydrate Collection, and I was pleasantly surprised because it’s not necessarily geared towards curly hair. It’s a hydrating line that works well for my hair. I must be very careful with hydrating products because my curls can get weighed down easily. Lately, I have been loving their hydrating line and their smooth line. 

I also have multiple textures all over my head, but my hair has mostly 3B and 3C textures. My hair is so fine that I can’t use many oil treatments because they will weigh it down. So, it has been a learning curve my whole life learning about what to do with my hair. I think what we’re learning now as we learn more about curly hair is that every head of hair is unique.

What advice would you give women trying to reverse heat damage without having to do the big chop? 

Former Bachelor Star Serene Russell Talks Her Must-Have Curly Hair Products
Image Source: @serenebrookrussell

I had some chemical damage done to my hair a couple of years ago. I was like a level 10 blonde at one point, and my hair was very light. People automatically look at my hair and assume “okay, this is gonna take a while, she’s got coarse curly hair,” but my hair lifts very quickly. It reached the point where my hair was transparent, stretchy and coming out in clumps. I tried ApHogee Protein Treatment, but you must be careful to avoid protein overload.

It brought my clear, stretchy curls back to life. I really just had to get a trim after that. I would say if you have really bad chemical or heat damage, do not just run to get the big chop. Give your hair a little time to bounce back. If you’ve blown out that cuticle with heat or chemical products like bleach, you can reintroduce that protein and continually balance it with moisture.

From curl embracement to damage and TV styling, Serene has walked us through her hair journey and how she’s loved it from every season. 

For more tips on gaining confidence in your hair journey, click Texture Tales: Shriya on How She Gained Self-Confidence After Embracing Her Curls

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