When I was a little girl back in Brazil, I remember pulling my hair in tears and asking my mother why she had made me with curly hair, because I really didn't like it. My father had beautiful 4a coily hair and my mother had gorgeous 2b waves. Both brushed their hair constantly and never learned about texture care, so it's no wonder that I had the same attitude with my 3a+b curly hair.
I lost count of how many times my curls were brushed for photos or blow-dried for church and weddings, because no one had any idea about appropriate ways to take care of my hair, including me.
I grew up believing that I was born with the wrong kind of hair in comparison to what the media portrayed, so I decided to chemically straighten it when I was a teenager (from 13 years old up to 18, retouching every single month). "You look so much better with straight hair" was a phrase I heard a lot. Eventually, I became tired of doing touch-ups monthly. The smells were toxic and I wanted to break the cycle, so at the age of 18, I did a big chop.
Teenager me, with chemically straightened hair.
So, there I was, with a blessed head full of curls, but still completely oblivious to the appropriate ways to care for them. This whole misconception of frustration with my hair continued until December 2016, but not anymore! What a powerful thing to say: NOT ANYMORE!
At the very core of my being, I feel like I am walking the unexplored road. I feel as though by walking this journey, I am exploring uncharted territories. I am the only one in a textured hair family who is embracing her curly identity at full speed after 30 years of living. Isn't this what the entire natural hair journey is about? Self-acceptance. It is about self-acceptance because the very texture that grows out from our scalps have a lot to say about who we are and where we came from. It is my honor and pride to embrace who I am completely. My hope is that by reading about my journey, you can feel empowered to do the same!
My full head of natural curls before The Curly Girl Method in December 2016.
(Notice that the curls were stretched, dehydrated and undefined)
The Starting Point
As a last resort before deciding to shave my head, I decided to have a dry curly haircut with a local Sydney hairdresser in December 2016 after recommendations from a curlfriend.
As I sat in the hairdresser's chair and she began to cut my hair curl by curl, she talked about "co-washing" and "squish to condish". She sent me home with an article to read, which spoke about The Curly Girl Method. Right then and there my curly haired life began to change for the better. I purchased The Curly Girl Handbook, joined a few Facebook support groups and decided to dive head-first into every single principle of The Curly Girl Method.
I removed all the build-up from my hair, by doing a final sulfate wash. After this, I stopped using Sulfates, Silicones, brushes, and straighteners. I began co-washing with Devacurl No Poo Decadence and One Condition Decadence after coming across Ayesha Malik's YouTube channel. I styled my hair with Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner and Kinky-Curly Curling Custard using the "squish to condish" and "super soaker" methods consistently. I also deep conditioned my hair once weekly using Devacurl Heaven in Hair. These products and techniques became my staples during the following winter months and I never looked back, not even once!
How Being Informed Changed Everything
The change in my hair was progressive and consistent, but it didn't just stop there. I wanted to learn and become educated about everything related to curls, because I believe in the power of information. I wanted to be able to read an ingredient list and have a better idea of what that product could do for my hair.
I decided to spend my spare time doing extensive research about the science of curly hair and ingredient functions in products, using online resources from The Hair Science-y Blog and my university library. As the months went by, I gained more understanding about my curls.
3 months into The Curly Girl Method, in early 2017.
(Notice that the curls are tight, hydrated, and well defined)
During that time, I created my Instagram profile as a space dedicated to curls. I wanted to connect with other women who were searching for the same answers that I was. To my pleasant surprise, I came across so many supportive, educative and empowering women! Curly hair became my normal language and I have learned so much from this beautiful community. I am here for the journey and I feel blessed to walk it with others.
My Hair Analysis
During the second semester of 2017, I decided to have a hair analysis done with Wendy (scientist), who is the writer of the Hair Science-y Blog, to fully understand the properties of my hair. This was a pivotal moment in my journey because she educated me about all the features of my hair, my current hair condition and how I could further improve it with suitable ingredients in products. I was fascinated by it! If you are searching for answers about your hair porosity, elasticity, width and suitable ingredients in products, this is something I highly recommend. A hair analysis can help you by providing a shortcut from spending high amounts of money with product trial and error.
A final pivotal moment for me was purchasing the Cultivate Your Curls online course by curl expert Scott Musgrave. Scott is an extremely knowledgeable and humble man who fully understands curly hair and loves what he does. What I love the most about Scott is that he is accessible to answer any questions we may have throughout the course, and the course is life-long, with continuity of support. I feel blessed to live in such a time and age where I can access this resource, especially because I live in Australia and attending an appointment with Scott is something that wouldn't be possible for me. His MAP Method of product application was the final step I needed to cultivate my curls and have even better results in my haircare routine.
If you are searching for a mentor in your journey who has the expertise to guide you in embracing your curls, I recommend the Cultivate Your Curls online course. This is a one-time purchase that will transform your curls for the rest of your life. I know this because it transformed mine. I am very grateful for the opportunity of being mentored by Scott.
My full head of healthy curls, in late November 2017.
Community support is very important when you are in the journey of embracing your natural hair, especially during a transition period. I believe in the effectiveness of inspiration and accountability during difficult and victorious times. To finish off, I would like to share about seven people that I have been encouraged by. They have been beacons of inspiration to me in my journey and I feel privileged to have had the chance to get to know a lot of them. They are full of knowledge, love for people and passion for natural hair, just like I am:
- Verna - Verna is a catalyst in the natural hair community. Her knowledge of hair science and ingredients surpass the limitation of texture. She is always extremely humble and willing to help others in their journeys with grace and integrity. You won't regret following her on Instagram.
- Ayesha Malik - Ayesha was the very first Youtube curly girl who inspired me to find higher standards of products for my hair. She has stunning hair, but not just that. She is the real deal. She has a heart of gold.
- Alyson - Alyson is a knowledgeable wavy who shares her knowledge on YouTube and Instagram. What I love the most about her is that she connects with people and explains things in ways that are easy to understand.
- Evan Joseph - Evan Joseph is a curl stylist and founder of Evan Joseph Salon. His passion for natural textures is contagious and he is so talented! Follow him for curl knowledge and inspiration.
- The Curl Complex - She's a curly girl in Australia who posts on her Instagram to inspire and empower women with natural hair all over the world. She was one of the first curlies with whom I connected on Instagram.
- Mysti - She's a beautiful 2c-3a Aussie curly girl with whom I've been doing the curly journey with. She knows a lot and loves learning new things, just like I do. She is always willing to answer questions and help people to embrace their hair.
- Anjana - She's a curly girl who blogs about curls in India. What I love the most about her is her honesty in her product reviews and journey overall. She's a beautiful woman who loves to help others.
Since witnessing the change that curl education fostered for my curly hair, I have made a commitment to pay it forward. Over 65% of people around the world were born with either wavy, curly or coily hair. My dream is that by sharing my story and the things I have come to learn, you will feel confident and empowered to fully embrace your hair texture. Curl education allowed me to finally accept my hair and transformed the way I care for its health. Now, there is no turning back!
Want more articles like this? Sign up for the Naturally Curly newsletter!
Follow Lindsay Wilson (curlygirlinz) on Instagram for more on her hair journey!