Marketing coordinator Cyntelia Abrams was walking down the hall at Design Essentials two years ago, bemoaning the fact she needed another relaxer, when a visiting stylist suggested she go natural instead.
Abrams, who started working for the Georgia-based haircare company in 2005, had experimented with low-lye relaxers, but she had never been quite ready to embrace her natural texture.
"I hadn't seen my natural hair since I was five years old," Abrams says. "Growing up, I never thought natural hair was pretty."
She decided to transition to her natural hair. "I was still wearing my hair straight," says Abrams during an interview at 'Fro Fashion Week in Atlanta.
A year and a half ago, the light bulb went off. She said it was time that she finally embraced her natural hair— kinks, coils and all.
"I can't just love my natural hair when it's straight," she says. "I realized—this is my hair. It was time to get comfortable in my own skin."
Although she still wears her hair straight every now and then, Abrams says she wears it natural most of the time. Usually, she just wets it and goes.
And Abrams's acceptance of her own natural 'do is reflected by Design Essentials, which is committed to natural hair. The company developed its Natural Hair Care System— a collection of curl definition products infused with a combination of natural butters and oils to maintain and style loose wavy to tightly coiled hair textures. Each product is specially formulated with a blend of nourishing natural ingredients such as jojoba, cocoa butter, coconut oil, soy and almond oil to better meet the individual needs of each hair type. The ingredients provide the intense moisture that natural hair needs and the curl definition the natural consumer desires.
"We love natural hair," Abrams says. "We're committed to natural hair. This isn't just a trend. It's a lifestyle and it's here to stay."
Cyntelia shares her favorite products and tips:
"I usually style my hair by doing a Wet Two Strand Twist Set. Tips for achieving the best results with this style:
1. Detangle before twisting. Detangling helps to remove any hair/coils that have shedded during shampooing and conditioning. Detangling also creates a smoother curl/twist once the style is dry and taken apart.
2. Sit under a dryer. I've found that my twists are more defined, with no frizz, when I sit under a dryer versus air drying.
3. Allow hair to stay twisted for at least 1 or 2 days before untwisting the hair. This allows the wave/twist pattern to form for more curl definition with the style once twists are taken apart."