In our latest series, My Middle School Beauty Blunders, NaturallyCurly editors discuss that one awkward phase we sometimes wish could have come with a redo: our pre-teens.

Below our Managing Editor, Cristina, discusses an important beauty lesson from her middle school days.

In middle school, I remember a lot of frosted makeup.

Silvery frosted lips, frosty eyeliner, maybe even some light blue eyeshadow. Needless to say, it was not good.

Like other curly girls, I hated my “poofy” hair.

I was trying (in vain”> to straighten it using many ineffective methods, like straightening it with a curling iron, Velcro rollers — I think I may have even attempted a clothing iron (see photo above”>. I was also getting haircuts that were not meant for curly hair, like Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel” and lots of flippy layers that looked cute on the girls with fine, straight hair but only made my hair poofier. I remember breaking a lot of butterfly clips trying to style my hair.

My biggest beauty blunder was trying trends that worked for other peoples’ hair and bodies and trying to force them on my own.

This lead to so much disappointment. I wish I knew then what I know now about hair types. This was made worse by the fact that my friends and I liked to dress up and do our hair the same.

Advice to my 7th grade self: it’s cool to be different.

You don’t understand it now, but one day it will be your job to love the hair that you hate so much.

My favorite hairstyle was wearing two French braids. (It’s funny that the same hairstyle is actually trending right now.”> I think my style icons at the time were the girls from Clueless, and Clarissa Explains It All.

I remember often going to school and field trips dressed up in the same outfits as my friends. I think it’s pretty indicative of what made me feel secure at the time. Everyone was wearing the same clothes, the same hair, the same Jansport backpacks even. I spent a lot of time trying to be like other people, and I wish I had spent that time working on learning and loving myself instead.

Want more from Cristina? Of course you do.

Follow her on Instagram @cristinacleveland and read her curly hair journey

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