Did you know there are approximately 200 nationalities in the Netherlands!? There is so much diversity in the Netherlands and for me not a day goes by without admiring all of the diversity I see when other nationalities rock their curly hair. Since 2011, an increasing amount of naturals are leaving the relaxers on the shelves in order to embrace their curly hair.

While conducting research for my graduation assignment, I noticed that many are not aware of the diversity within the Netherlands, so I decided to showcase these curly Dutch beauties and introduce them to you!



Careesa

Caressa Martin | @Kroelenboll

"My parents are both originally from Suriname and moved to the Netherlands where I was born. During my childhood there were very few products available for curly hair. Consequently, I always wore my hair in a bun or braids. However, there were many others who were wearing their hair naturally. Thus, I never felt out of place. This also had to do with my mother who always tried to encourage me to embrace my natural hair. I started relaxing my hair when I was 12 years old. I thought curly hair was too much work and straight sleek hair would be much easier to handle. My mother tried to talk me out of it and told me many horror stories to indicate that I would regret it. However, she gave in eventually.

The last time I applied relaxer was when I was 16 years old. I thought about quitting relaxing for a while because I got tired of the whole process. Going to the salon every six weeks, sitting there for a whole day, never being able to wet my hair, washing and drying my hair. I figured maintaining my naturally curly hair must be much easier than that and less time-consuming. I transitioned a long period of time because I did not big chop. The hardest challenge was to make my hair look "good". It was hard to choose between straight hair or curly hair because of the different textures my hair had and neither one looked very good. My hair was usually in a bun or a ponytail and I just decided to be patient. I also cut my hair regularly but keeping it at a reasonable length. It was a challenge to transition in the period of time when I did because there were hair care products for my hair type available in the Netherlands, but I'm glad I did."

What hair tip would you like to give to your fellow 3a/3b curlies?

"Love your own hair. A lot of us make the mistake by comparing our curly hair to someone else's and that can lead to a lot of frustrations. What makes curly hair unique is that it cannot be compared with each other. The more you love your own curls, the easier your journey will be!"



Kimberly

Kimberley Marchena | @Kimberley_Marchena

"Both of my parents are from Curaçao, which is a small island in the Carribean. I do not really recall much from growing up with curly hair. My mother started relaxing my hair at a very young age. Before having relaxed hair I mostly wore my hair in braids or twists. What I do remember is that washing my hair was time-consuming and painful! I started relaxing my hair when I was 9 years old. I used the relaxer for children, but it caused breakage. After that I started transitioning and replaced the relaxer with a texturizer. But that also damaged my hair. Thus, I started relaxing again until I was 17 years old. My hair [became] very thin and fragile. And I had a lot of hair-loss when I was washing my hair. I wanted my hair to be thick and healthy again, I couldn't even remember how my own hair looked like. So at that very moment, I decided to stop relaxing. I switched between braids and weave for a year and after that, I did the big chop.

In the beginning, the biggest challenge was to keep my hair moisturized. Just after washing my hair and applying products, my hair looked great. As soon as my hair dried it looked like I did not use any hair products. Eventually, I found a good routine to keep my hair healthy. At the moment, my biggest challenge is to retain length. I finally found a routine to keep my hair moisturized. I wash my hair with a co-wash every week. I shampoo my hair once a month or when I have product build-up. I detangle my hair with a good conditioner and a wide tooth comb. Also, I use a mask/deep conditioner. Recently, I started to pay attention to the ingredients of all hair products. I try to use 'Curly Girl' friendly products only. Lastly, to retain length I use hair vitamins."

What hair tip would you like to give to your fellow 4a curlies?

"Try to find a routine that works for you and stick to it. It's important to take good care of your hair continuously. Do not try to compare your hair to someone's else hair. Everyone's hair is different!"



Amber Leemans

Amber Leemans | @amberleemans

"I am mixed: my dad is Dutch and my mom is from Aruba, which is a small island in the Caribbean. Growing up with curly hair in the Netherlands was sometimes really a struggle. Luckily, I have never been bullied. However, I never really knew how to properly take care of my hair. My mom and I would use the 'basic' products, such as ORS olive lotion and Palmer's coconut butter. Back then, there low availability of curly hair care products. I always loved how I could have so many different hairstyles, in contrast to girls with straight hair. My biggest curly hair challenge would be the fact that the texture of my hair changes often. A few years ago my hair was not as curly as it is now. Due to the frequent change of texture, it remains a challenge to seek for the products, which work for me. I am always looking for products, which do not weigh my hair down. Currently, my hair is long and light-weight products help me achieve more volume. Moreover, I need these types of product, since I have low porosity hair.

In the Netherlands, we have so many people with natural hair, but in regular shops, there are barely any curly hair care products for us, I have always found this very disappointing. The only 'curly' products that are being sold are filled with sulfates, silicones, and other bad stuff, which just shows that people really do not know anything about curly hair needs. I got all my knowledge from watching YouTube, reading blogs and reviews.

I now have found multiple products that I know work great for my hair and I tend to stick to these. Although I always like to try something new, I always go back to my valued products and routines. To achieve the volume I want, I always make sure my hair is 100% dry after diffusing it. I always massage my scalp and shake my roots. This increases the volume of my hair without affecting my curl pattern. I don't really use an afro-pick because it tangles my hair. I have to discover how everyone uses their pick without getting their strands tangled."

What hair tip would you like to give to your fellow 3a/3b curlies?

"I have one golden tip, not only for 3a/3b curlies but for others too: If you want to achieve the best results, you should invest in your hair! So get regular haircuts, buy natural products without silicones and deep-condition your hair frequently. Deep-conditioning is key to healthy hair!"



Dutch Curlies

Valerie Broere | @ValerieJosie

"I am a Dutch (Well I have some Norwegian roots)! It is actually quite funny because I had her very long hair with little waves until I was 13. Once, I cut my hair the structure of my hair changed. I really liked it, because I really like the texture of my hair. At the time I noticed that I was one of the few girls with curly hair. Many had blonde, straight hair. I have always felt special and I always stood out from the rest! Especially now, because I have dyed my hair gray. I think that curly hair is every day a beautiful struggle! How they will look like will always be a surprise. But I do not really have bad hair days. My diffuser [is a part of my solution for good hair days]. I really cannot live without it. I always take my diffuser with me when going on holidays. Besides, my always have my mousse and Lee Stafford wax. When I really have a bad-hair-day I wear my hair in a bun."

What hair tip would you like to give to your fellow 2b wavies?

"To make my wash-day results last I always wear my hair in a pineapple bun. Consequently, my hair curls last longer. Many curly girls wear their hair in a bun, but this causes knots in their curls."



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For more on my hair journey, follow me @WhitneyFromTheBlog!