BEFORE (Ayesha Malik) 700

What is your hair type?

3a

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

I felt like I was the ugliest thing in the world. Growing up, I didn't look like any of the Bollywood heroines and I definitely didn't look like anyone from the Brady Bunch.

There was a scene where Marsha brushes her hair 1,000 times and I thought that was the secret to straight hair. I followed her method and it didn't work out for me. Girls like her scarred me for life!

What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?

I saw beautiful black women online embrace their natural hair - something I have never seen in person. I live in Alaska, so there is not much diversity here. The few women of color that I grew up with definitely did not wear their hair natural. But in 2012, when I first joined Instagram, I saw hundreds of black women wear their hair curly! It inspired me to drop the hair straightener.

ayesha 2 700

How have your family, friends and co-workers reacted? What was your response to them?

I straightened my hair every day for years. Until one day, I accidentally went to school with wet hair. As my hair started to dry, my ringlets emerged. My hair was big, full, and curly by 4th period.

People were shocked. Jaws were dropped. These two boys wanted to propose to me. As they were arguing who was going to marry me, I walked away and met up with my best friend - who has straight, blonde hair. Only her reaction mattered to me. To me, she was the epitome of beauty. But to her I have "the most beautiful hair in the world!"

How did you transition to wearing your natural texture?

It wasn't until 2015 until I started being strict with the CG Method.

AFTER (Ayesha Malik) 700

What is your current hair regimen?

I use JBCO & Red Pimento oil on my scalp to generate hair growth. I do this the night before I wash my hair.

No Poo and Arc Angel Gel.

My current routine is on my YouTube channel. Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lflIngQz_I

Are there any techniques or methods that have made a big impact on the way your hair looks?

I diffuse my hair upside down with a DevaFuser. I plop my hair onto a microfiber towel and dry my roots until they are 80% dry. I use cool, low air so this takes a long time, but I have to do it for volume.

Ayesha 700

Image: @spisha

Any advice you’d like to give other women who may be in the transition phase or need some encouragement in their hair journey?

Accepting your hair in its natural state is a political statement. You're telling the world that you're not going to conform to someone else's beauty standard.

And you know what, your ancestors had curly hair. You clearly inherited it from them. So show you're proud of your heritage and be who you are supposed to be!

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