Over the next few months, we'll be interviewing wavies, curlies and coilies who have used their textured hair to propel their own business ventures and follow their passion. These women (and men!) serve as inspiration to all of us that, whatever your love in life may be, you can achieve success through it by just being yourself.
We will be sitting down with women who focus their business ventures solely on hair, and others who have just used it as a way to build a community of support around their other passions. It's true. — this textured hair community that we all have helped build is a strong, positive force in the world, and we encourage YOU to use it wisely.
So to kick off our textured entrepreneurs series, we wanted to get someone in the hot seat who knew curly hair from the inside out. Christina Butcher, founder of the hairstyling website Hair Romance which has garnered an audience of over 5 million in just 18 months. She's used her passion for hairstyling to build a website, a social media following and even publish a digital book with a second one coming out later this year.
According to Butcher, it takes passion, dedication and following a potentially crazy idea to the end to truly land where you want to be.
Tell us about your curly hair journey. Have you always worn it curly? When and why did you decide to start wearing it natural?
My hair has changed a lot throughout my life and I love trying different styles. Hair can transform your whole look. A few years ago, I fell into the trend of straightening my hair all the time, but I ended up causing a lot of damage. My hair was completely fried. I had to cut a lot off and nurture my hair to bring it back to life. I started to appreciate my curls when I realized I could lose them. I love wearing my hair curly now.
You talk about how much you used to hate your hair on your site. Can you tell us about that transformation from hate to love?
My hair changed dramatically during puberty. I went from having straight blonde hair to brown curly hair and I hated it. It was fuzzy and always looked a mess, as I had no idea how to style it. To top it off, I had an awful haircut too.
It took me a long time to find a hairdresser who understood my hair, and once I had it cut to enhance the curl, it changed my life. Now I love my hair. Instead of trying to fight my curls, I work with them. The secret is a great haircut and nailing a quick and easy styling routine for your hair.
What is your current hair care routine?
"It took me a long time to find a hairdresser who understood my hair, and once I had it cut to enhance the curl, it changed my life."
I’m always testing out new products for Hair Romance so my styling routine changes a lot. I like to use an argan oil treatment on the ends of my hair, a mousse or volumizer spray on the roots and a curl cream to shape my hair. I usually dry my curls with a diffuser as it’s quicker. I run a serum through at the end to smooth any flyaways.
What are your favorite products?
I love Australian brand Original & Mineral (O&M) who have just launched in the US. All their products are sulfate and paraben-free and contain natural ingredients, plus they smell delicious.
I use their Hydrate and Conquer shampoo and conditioner and love Frizzy Logic for smoothing my curls. I also find Morocconoil products work really well in my hair. I’m a big fan of styling powders like Aveda pure abundance, too.
What are your go-to curly hairstyles?
I really believe curly hair doesn’t need a complicated hairstyle. It looks beautiful as is, so I often wear my curls out. On day two, when it’s a bit slept on, I use a water spray and a serum to reshape the curls, and on day three, I’ll wear it up in a classic twist and pin hairstyle.
Where do you get ideas for all of your hairstyles?
I love fashion, so I’ll take inspiration from runway hairstyles or editorials, but make them more wearable. Often, I just grab a bunch of bobby pins and start twisting and pinning. I’ve created some fun styles that way, too.
How did you get the idea to take this online?
A friend said my hair deserved a daily blog and we laughed about the idea. When I mentioned it to another friend, she loved the idea and it started to grow from there. Soon after, I registered HairRomance.com and I haven’t stopped writing about hair since.
Read on for two quick, easy and only-for-curlies hairstyling how-tos from Christina!
Did you think there would be a massive following or that it could ever get this big?
Never! It’s a complete surprise and I absolutely love it. Hair Romance was my little side project that has taken over everything else and I couldn’t be happier. Who would have guessed there would be 5 million visits to my site in just over a year? I love talking about hair, and this opportunity to keep doing it is fantastic. I want every woman to love her hair and have fun styling it.
Tell us about your social media involvement – specifically with Pinterest. Has the Pinterest movement really helped you as far as notoriety and helping other women with ideas and tutorials?
I’m a visual person, and Pinterest and Instagram are my favorite social media platforms. Pinterest is a huge source of traffic for Hair Romance. I started using Pinterest quite early on, and I share my images, as well as other hair images. I keep my Pinterest page quite focused on hair, so it’s a great place to check if you’re looking for hair inspiration.
You recently launched a digital book, “30 Days of Twist and Pin Hairstyles.” A lot. if not most, of the styles are on straight hair. Do you think that straight hair is more versatile as far as styling, or can these styles also be done on curly hair?
I had to do a lot of styles for the book and with my hair. It was more predictable to style and photograph with straight hair to produce a similar result. My hair is naturally curly, but I blow-dried it straight before styling the looks for the book.
All my hairstyles can easily be done in curly hair. In fact, curly hair since it holds up styles really well. Curls can even make the styles more interesting.
Do you plan on releasing more digital books in the future?
I’m working on my second book, "30 Braids in 30 Days" which will be out later in 2012. Braids are a huge trend, and I have some great new ways to wear them in my book, as well as tips for braiding your own hair.
You’ve been featured in Vogue Australia and a number of other publications. What are your views on how major fashion publications see textured/curly hair?
After a long run of super straight hair in fashion, I’m seeing a lot more texture in hair now. I’d even say perms are back as straight girls try to get the curls.
Any particular trends in hairstyles that we should know about for this year?
Texture is huge at the moment. Messy hair styled with hair powders and sea salt sprays looks gorgeous. The pixie cut is still popular for those that love short hair, and a long textured bob is perfect for those in between.
Could you give us a how-to break down for a signature curly style that is outside the box, as far as typical curly styles go?
I really believe curly hairstyles don’t need to be complicated. There’s already so much going on with curls, a couple of simple twists to pin your hair off your face and a jeweled accessory looks fabulous.
"If you’ve found your passion you should definitely follow it, but there’s a lot of planning that also has to happen to make it sustainable. I’ve worked tirelessly over the last 18 months to be able to make this full time, but I still work on other projects too."
- Simple side ponytail: Loosely gather all your hair to your left side. Take a small section of hair behind your left ear and wrap it around to create a hair band. Pin in place underneath. I teased the ponytail section to make it a little bigger, and pulled some hair loose to create a softer finish.
- Braided headband: Starting above your right ear take a section of hair and split into three. Braid together, but going underneath so that the braid sits on top (a reverse or Dutch braid). Keep braiding, following your hairline and adding in hair to the front sections only. Then gently pull at the braid to volumize it and even the shape. I haven’t secured this at all, just left the ends to go back into the rest of my curls. This style wouldn’t hold in straight hair, but works perfectly in curly hair. It’s also great for keeping your bangs off your face.
Do you have any tips or tricks for women with naturally curly hair as far as styling, fighting frizz, etc?
Fighting frizz starts with how you wash your hair. Pick a good moisturizing shampoo and apply conditioner to the ends of your hair. Some women with curly hair can skip the shampoo all together. Give your hair a rinse with cold water at the end.
Don’t rub your hair with a towel to dry it, just squeeze it gently. Then apply a leave in conditioner or oil to the ends to seal them.
Don’t play with your hair. Once you’ve styled it, leave it alone as it will frizz the more you touch it.
Do you have any advice for women looking to go natural?
Find a good hairdresser and get a good haircut. You need the right shape for your curls to sit well. Ask your friends, or a good-looking stranger where they get their hair done if you don’t know a good salon.
What about following your passion and embracing what you're good at, which is very much what you have done? Do you have any advice for women thinking about taking the plunge?
If you’ve found your passion, you should definitely follow it, but there’s a lot of planning that also has to happen to make it sustainable. I’ve worked tirelessly over the last 18 months to be able to make this full time, but I still work on other projects too, such as freelance writing and social media consulting in addition to Hair Romance.
You need to have a business plan and work out your cash flow before you quit your full time job. Having a plan in place and goals means you can still enjoy your passion and keep your focus to succeed and build a sustainable business.
Anything else you would like to add?
Life can be serious, but hair doesn’t need to be. Have fun with your hair!