As a woman of color, I was always told that if I dyed my hair, it would all fall out.

I decided that I would go for it anyway. My biggest fantasy since middle school was having beautifully colored hair, but it seemed impossible to achieve. When I finally convinced my mother to allow me to try my hand at being a DIY colourist, I watched every video on YouTube about how to dye hair. Unfortunately, all of these videos showed how to dye straight hair. I tried it anyway.

Source: @offbeatlook

In my earlier days of dyeing my hair, I had to fight the frizz monster who kept robbing me of curl definition—something I have never had a problem with before. I finally had the color that I wanted, which was a huge accomplishment for me, but now I had to figure out how to restore my curls to their former, healthier pattern.

Since then, my life has consisted of trying out every method of strengthening and moisturizing my hair that I can get my hands on. I have a very specific hair care routine in which I usually co-wash, use only products that are sulfate-free, and end the routine with a very light curling gel.

I love cleansing conditioners like the Pureology Smooth Perfection Cleansing Conditioner because it’s gentle on my hair color. I always add a leave-in conditioner at the end to keep my curls happily hydrated. The As I Am Leave-In Conditioner is lightweight and not sticky. After using a water-based product, I incorporate an oil into my hair like the Chi Tea Tree Oil which moisturizes and nourishes my hair. I end my routine with my holy grail for curl definition; the Deva Curl Light Defining Gel which provides definition without creating crunchy curls!

Source: @offbeatlook

I have always felt most beautiful when wearing my hair out with a side part on the right side of my head. My curls love to be free and allowed to naturally grow in the pattern they want to make. I feel so much happier with my hair and myself when I allow my hair to do it’s thing.

However, having hair in my face doesn’t always appeal to me and sometimes you need to wear that lip gloss that somehow sticks to half of your head of hair after the faintest breeze, so half-up half-down styles are my go-to.

I have experimented with different ways of drying my hair from blow drying to blow drying with a diffuser, finger coiling to flexi rods, towel drying to air drying. I found out the method that works nearly a thousand times better for me is simply air drying.

Source: @offbeatlook

After five years of learning more about how my hair interacts with different products, and through a lot of trial and error, I have finally gotten my curls to love me as much as I love them. They coil much tighter nowadays and appear to be significantly healthier as well.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past few years has been to experiment until you find something that you love! For me, it was hair dye, which is the channel through which I express my personal style. For you, it might be getting the most volume out of your hair as possible or even a specific haircut, but you never know until you try out what appeals to you without worrying about what your mom would say.

What are your holy grails that help you restore your curls?

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