curly woman on a laptop

Photo by Tempura -- Getty Images

When NaturallyCurly got its start almost 20 years ago, the core of the site was CurlTalk. That's where our community slowly formed, providing us with the ideas and the energy for NaturallyCurly.

Our CurlTalkers were loyal and passionate, coming back multiple times each day to check in on conversations or start new ones. They helped create the curly vocabulary that we now use – words such as plopping and pineappling and CG (The Curly Girl method). They took our 2-4 Curl Type key and created the nuances of 2b and 4a. They created "Grow-Out Challenge" threads where they could get support as they transitioned from relaxers to their natural texture in the days before blogs and YouTube.

Products were created on CurlTalk. CurlTalker Jessica McGuinty's experiment with flax-seed gel recipes turned into Jessicurl, a curl favorite sold around the world. AG Hair Care used CurlTalk feedback to develop its Re:coil Curl Activator – a 13-year-old product that is still the Canadian company's bestselling product.

When I was doing research for our book The Curl Revolution: Inspiring Stories and Practical Advice from the NaturallyCurly Community, I found a treasure -trove of great tips, anecdotest and recommendations on CurlTalk.

CurlTalkers initially came for hair topics, but their friendships flourished. Hair boards were soon joined by topics ranging from politics to books to fitness. There were spirited debates about every topic imaginable. A thread debating the merits of E-Z Cheese was hundreds of pages long. The PT Cruiser elicited hundreds of posts. Looking for "Better than Sex" brownies?

The community has celebrated thousands of births, weddings, graduations, new jobs and other accomplishments. They've mourned with sisters who lost loved ones, and rallied around members sad enough to consider ending it all. (At least one life was saved by a frantic CurlTalker who tracked down a woman on the brink of suicide).

On Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of CurlTalkers gathered online for support. They checked in on their friends in New York and Washington, DC, to make sure they were okay. CurlTalk was their safe space – the place they knew they were sure to find friends at any time of the night or day.

CurlTalk grew into Curl Gatherings – a precursor to meetups. "Any Columbus, Ohio curlies?" "SoCal Curly Meet!"

As other areas of the site grew, CurlTalk took a backseat. But CurlTalkers kept coming back, even though technical issues and all matter of SPAM made it increasingly difficult to do so.

You asked us – begged us – to fix CurlTalk. It's taken a while, but we've finally done it.

Earlier this month, we launched a new, improved CurlTalk with a number of new features including:

  • Elegant new design with improved legibility

  • Better spam-killing capabilities

  • Dedicated moderation team (including Gretchen Heber, who co-founded NaturallyCurly, and has always been CurlTalk's biggest cheerleader)

  • New "Best of CurlTalk" section that highlights top discussions

  • New points system rewards long-time and prolific posters

For those of you who loved CurlTalk but left, we hope you'll come back. For those who have never been there, please check it out.

CurlTalk