Penny Gabrielsen

NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!

Penny Gabrielsen: My name is Penny Gabrielsen. I am a wife, a mother of two high school boys and a full-time music teacher.

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


My hair was a bit more likable in the 80s when big hair was the trend. I would blow it dry and then use hot rollers on my “shaggy” layers. I was actually fortunate to have curl because it gave my fine limp hair much needed body and fullness. In college, I was more comfortable with letting it go natural. It certainly gave me more time to spend on my studies and work-related activities.

NC: What is your current routine?

PG: Currently, the hair diffuser and I are best friends!  I just scrunch, spritz with hair spray and go. This takes only about four minutes, so I get to spend more time with my athletic boys. And because it is natural, I don’t really worry about being out in the wind or humidity.

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Penny Gabrielsen

NC: What are your favorite hairstyles to wear with your curls?

PG: My hair is ultra-fine, so layers look best. I am sporting a shoulder-length bob at the moment.

NC: What about your hair stylists?

PG: My stylist is great. She understands that my hair will shrink quite a bit. It seems to spring to life after some of the weight is removed, and she knows the perfect length for my bangs.

NC: Does having curly hair affect your everyday life?

PG: People with curly hair are sometimes labeled “cute.” I felt I had to work hard to be taken seriously by my friends and family. I have to admit that, every now and then, I will blow it dry for smoothness, especially on a date night with my husband (although he loves it curly). When I do straighten it, my favorite product is Joico smoothing balm. It has an incredible fragrance and tiny gold specs that sparkle in the sunlight.

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

PG: I am grateful for my curls. I remember lots of friends who paid a great deal of money for a perm, but my wash-and-go hair is easy to care for and manage.

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