Arnell 1

What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?

Growing up with textured hair in a predominately white area was hard. I wanted my hair to look just like my friend's effortlessly silky straight hair but I never realized how much damage my curls were enduring in the process. I got my first relaxer when I was in 6th grade. Up until college, my hair was chemically straightened. Once I started school, I began to realize the versatility of my natural hair.

What made you decide to embrace your naturally coily hair?

I started my freshman year of college with weaves. I would straighten my leave out daily in between working out, going out, and forget to wrap my hair at night. I realized my hair was suffering. Leaving my hometown and growing into the person I've always wanted to be inspired me to embrace who I am wholeheartedly.

What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?

The most empowering moment in my natural hair journey so far has been witnessing how I inspire my nieces and other close friends to embrace their natural hair.

Arnell 2

How do you protect your curls at night?

If I have time, I usually double-strand twist my hair using my favorite curl cream and oil and sit under my dryer to make sure my curls are dry for the next day. If I'm in a rush, I'll just pineapple my curls with my scarf and use a bonnet top protect my ends.

Who is your curl crush? 

My curl crush would have to be Yara Shahidi or Tracee Ellis Ross.

What's your curly girl essential you can't live without? 

Curls creams! I love a good cream that works as both a moisturizer and gel.

What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share? 

My current curl regimen includes pre-pooing with the DevaCurl Wash Day Wonder Pre-Cleanse Slip Detangler, washing with the Ajaá Naturals Lavender & Honey Coconut Moisturizing Shampoo, conditioning with The Mane Choice's 3 in 1 Revitalize & Refresh Conditioner, using the Curly Chic's Your Curls Conditioned Leave-in, Grape-seed oil, and then the Creme of Nature's Hydrating Curling Creme.

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What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?

Finding the best products for my dry scalp. I've tried so many different oils and butters, but Grapeseed oil is the only product that works!

Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health? 

DEEP CONDITIONING!!! This is what gets my hair through the dry and cold winters in New York. I've also purchased a small overhead dryer that helps with deep conditioning and hot oil treatments.

What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture? 

Be patient and take the time to learn about your hair. Don't compare your hair type to what you see online and on TV. Your hair is unique so embrace it!

What's your hair story? Share your story with us here to be featured in our Texture Tales series.