Alex Portelli in the Boston College hoodie

NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!

Alex Portelli: My name is Alex and I am currently a junior at Boston College studying chemistry. I am from a town about an hour and a half from NYC. I also enjoy running and baking in my free time.

NC: How and when did you start embracing your curls or have you always enjoyed and embraced your curls?

AP: 

NC: What is your current routine/regimen?

AP: When I condition my hair in the shower, I also run my fingers through it to break up the knots. I let the conditioner sit for about five minutes. Then I rinse it out and apply it a second time, but in a very small amount. My hair feels silky. When I get out of the shower, I apply the gel when my hair is still soaking wet, scrunching the product into my curls. Finally, I use a  microfiber towel to remove the excess water!

NC: So from start to finish, on a curly day, what's your process?

AP: I don’t blow dry my hair, so I either shower a couple hours before I go to sleep or when I wake up in the morning. Blow drying my hair makes it frizzy and going to sleep with my hair too wet makes the curls uneven — I could wake up with one side curlier than the other!

Read More: Real Texture Talk: Deborah Williams

Alex Portelli with glam curls

NC: What about your hair stylists?

AP: I am very careful about who I let cut my hair. I get the Deva Cut, which is a special curly hair cut where the stylist cuts your hair dry and curl by curl, to shape it in its natural state. I found the Deva Cut after a miserable hair cut when I was 14. A woman cut my hair wet and layered it too much. Needless to say, it looked like there was a fair chunk of my hair missing in the back of my head when the curls dried and settled. It took a couple of years to fully grow back. When I’m in New York, I go to Martha Ellen in Brooklyn and am currently looking for a new stylist in the Boston area.

NC: What are your must-have products and tools?

AP: Devachan products have changed my life. I have not yet found another brand that can tame my curls. I use DevaCurl One Condition and DevaCurl DevaCare Arc AnGEL. Different curls may use a different combination of products. I shampoo my hair once a week and I haven’t found that the shampoo brand matters. Once I'm out of the shower, I apply the DevaCare gel and use a microfiber towel to scrunch the curls and remove excess water from my hair.

NC: What reaction did you get when you first decided to go natural? 
AP:  NC: What do you do at nighttime for your hair?

AP: I sleep on a silk pillowcase; it reduces the frizz in the morning. Sometimes I will very loosely pull my hair on the top of my head to prevent the top from getting flat.

Read More: How to Dry Low and High Porosity Hair

Alex Portelli and her sister

Alex and her sister—two fabulous curly girls!

NC: What is the best thing about being curly?

AP: 

NC: Does having curly hair affect your everyday life?

AP: 

NC: What would you tell others to encourage them to embrace their curls?

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