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

Growing up with curly hair was interesting. I didn’t know I had curly hair for years because my mom would brush my hair and put it in a ponytail before I got on the school bus every morning, and after school, it would still be up for sports. I cried because it was so tangled and it hurt when my mom brushed it. I have very thick hair and it would take about 20 minutes every day just to untangle it and by that point, it was just a big poof. I didn’t know I had curly hair until around 13 years old when I did the big chop with the cutest pixie cut and it just grew out completely curly and I was now responsible for styling it.

What made you decide to embrace your naturally wavy hair?

In my senior year of high school, I was watching all of these television shows like Will and Grace and Sex and the City with these gorgeous leading ladies with curly hair. Sarah Jessica Parker and Debra Messing were my inspiration. Lorde just came to the music scene and everyone in my school thought her hair was so cool and I would say “I have that too”, but a the time I didn’t from the damage of straightening and I wanted to be “cool” too. So this desire to be cool really changed my life because now I’m more of myself and me then I’ve ever been.

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

I did the big chop in 2016 and realized that I didn’t need hair to feel beautiful. I didn’t need long, straight hair to feel myself and sexy. As my hair grew out, I learned what it needed and it sort of felt like I was learning what I needed for myself. Once I realized all of this information on curly hair, people would come up and ask me “what do you do?” So, I started my curly “insta-blog” @curly.bailey and I’ve helped thousands of people embrace and learn to love their hair all while still being my complete self on social media which can be hard. The biggest thing I get from my followers is “thank you for being you and thank you for helping me love and embrace my hair”

How do you protect your curls at night?

I sleep with my hair just sort of out and about. I’ve tried the satin and silk pillowcases, bonnets, and scarves, but it’s always bothered me when I sleep. So I just wake up and touch up curls or areas that need it. If you have a good wash day and product line up, your days to follow will hold up!

Who is your curl crush?

Definitely Debra Messing in the first season of Will and Grace! I loved Sarah Jessica too! It was the 90s and they were just thriving with those curls! Also, I help “curly mentor” a girl named Ava Deharo. She’s 14 and I wish I was smart enough to start my curly journey when I was her age! She is so great and my curly hero for embracing her natural hair at such a young age! When you’re young all you want to do is fit in sometimes, and she’s embracing who she is and that’s amazing!

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

A leave-in conditioner, I think it goes unnoticed a lot! But that really primes my hair before styling products. I don’t even consider a leave-in a styling product because it’s automatically in my routine.

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

Now, I don’t need a lot of product since my hair has been so healthy, but they don’t call me a product junkie for nothing. My favorite combo is a cream, gel, and mousse in that order. Rizos Curl Defining Cream is my ride or die cream! For gel, I love Jessicurl’s Spiralicious Gel, or Innersense I Create Hold Gel. For mousse, I love Innersense Volume Foam or Dippity-Do Girls with Curls Mousse. A lot of people are shocked that I do mousse last, but try it!! You won’t regret it! It’s such a lightweight product, I couldn’t imagine putting it before gel which is such a heavy holding product.

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

The comments I get from people. I’ve heard everything under the sun, from “you look like you got electrocuted“ and “did you stick your finger in a light socket” to “your hair looks like a Christmas tree”. It’s hard to feel sexy and confident when people don’t get curls or natural frizz that comes along with it. I remember it’s my natural hair and apart of me so I embrace myself fully.

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

Deep conditioning once a week has changed my life, it really hydrated my curls back to life and really trial and error. That’s not technically a method, but you’ll find what works best for your own hair if you try. You may find someone with the same exact shape, or color, or length or similar pattern, but their routine may not work for you. That’s why I’ve never asked anyone with a similar pattern to my hair what they do. We share and talk, but I have to figure what works for me. Also, the mousse after the gel was a game changer!

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

I know it’s hard, but what’s harder is trying to fit in, it’s harder to change yourself and your hair to fit a standard that’s not you. What’s easy is when you finally embrace yourself and everything about yourself which includes your natural texture. It’s a beautiful life when you fully embrace yourself. You’ll have a fulfillment inside you, you never thought you needed. Give it a try, and find out. If you don’t like it, you can go right back, but that connection with yourself and your hair is something you owe yourself.

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