Many of the curlies who spend time on NaturallyCurly embraced their curliness years ago.
As they embarked on their hair journey, they spent hours on websites such as this one learning about how to take care of their curly hair — how to shampoo it, condition it, cut it, and style it.
Information about caring for curly hair is so pervasive, it seems everyone must have encountered at least something about caring for curly hair.
So it's particularly refreshing and eye-opening to encounter a curly woman who's just discovering the options available to curlyheads.
Hailing from Sweden, 40-year-old Monica says that after 18 years of straightening her hair with a flat iron, she now wants to embark on a hair journey to go back to being curly.
A Google search led her to NaturallyCurly.
"All my life I just thought that some people just were blessed with beautiful curly hair and that mine was ugly," Monica (Monipen on CurlTalk) says. "It really never occurred to me that it had to do with the products they used and certain 'rules' of care. I had no idea that there are other instructions for curly hair."
"My whole life I hated my curly hair!" she says. "But I am just discovering it was just because I didn't know how to care for my hair."
Monica is thrilled to have found online resources that can help embark on her hair journey and help her learn to love her natural texture. "Now a whole new world has opened up to me. I'm ready to get started, but I really want to do it right this time."
Her Swedish dad was curly in his youth, and her Nicaraguan mom — whose heritage also includes Spanish and African — is quite curly but she doesn't have much curl education, either, and wasn't able to help Monica.
"During my school years I always had very long hair. My mom would brush my hair straight and I always had my hair braided, into one long plait," she says.
"When I got older, I really hated the plait. I wore my hair loose, but of course brushed it always looked dry and had lots of volume," Monica says. And in a story that's familiar to many curlies, she adds, "I was bullied at school, and one of the things they used to say was that my hair looked like steel wool pads or like hay. This was definitely not a good period of my life."
As she grew up, she says she used mousse for curly hair, but didn't know there were special shampoos and conditioners for curly hair, and so she just used "regular shampoo and conditioner, nothing expensive, just from the drugstore. I would always buy the ones that said for 'extra dry hair,' because that is how I viewed my hair."
She had no idea how to get second- or third-day hair. "After a night of sleep, the curls were gone. So I'd have to spray my hair wet and add more mousse to it, but the result was not as nice as the first day," she reports, in a refrain familiar to curlyheads everywhere. "By the third day I could forget about it; my hair was tangled and just awful, so I had to wash my hair again."
"Washing my already dry hair every other day wasn't really practical. So most of the times I'd just wear my hair in a ponytail or in a bun after brushing it, which was better than the full volume," she says.
Monica is now devouring all the information on NaturallyCurly.com. "I'm so glad I found it. It's going to be very helpful," she says. "I need to get started by buying the right products and right now I'm doing research as to which particular products will be right for me."
Ever helpful, CurlTalkers immediately jumped in to offer Monica support and advice. "You'll find a lot of great info around here," writes bomega. "Start with the newbie threads and figure out your hair properties. From there you'll be able to figure out what it needs."
Ellaj adds: "I can assure you that you will learn a lot here. I learn something new every day. Good for you for embracing the hair your were born with."
It appears Monica's well on her way to embracing her natural texture. "Every now and then I won't straighten my hair straight away but will leave my hair to air dry," she says. "I always have comments by other people asking my why I don't keep my hair curly."
"I am really interested in getting some tips, ideas, and suggestions because my entire life I've never known how to care for my curly hair and I'd like to do it right this time," Monica says.
Do you have advice for Monica? She's over on CurlTalk, awaiting your help!