What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
Growing up, having curly hair was my biggest insecurity. My mother has type 4 hair and she was picked on as a kid because of it. So, raising daughters with curly hair was a constant worry for her. From a very young age I was taught to tame my curls so that people wouldn’t think I was “unkempt.” I subjected my hair to every straightening process out there, in an effort to reach the standard of beauty I was taught. If my hair wasn’t straightened for an event, I would have rather missed it than to show up with my curls out. I absolutely hated my textured hair and did not know how to manage nor care for it.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?
After my daughter turned 18 months old, her wavy hair started to become more curly. As her curls became more discernible, I found that I did not know how to manage her hair. My wake up call came one day when we were getting ready for a family photo session. After I had straightened my hair, I brought my daughter into the room and also straightened her hair. When we met up with my good friend who was also our photographer, she looked at my daughter and asked, “Where are your beautiful curls?” It hit me at that very moment that I was beginning to instill in my daughter an aversion toward her beautiful naturally textured hair.
What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?
The most empowering moment of my natural hair journey thus far, happened one day while I was browsing the curly hair product aisles at Target. I was reading the labels of different products when an older Middle Eastern couple approached me. The woman did not speak English, so the man was translating for her. He said she loved my curls and wanted to know if I would help her find the right products for her hair. I learned that under her head covering, she had curly hair and did not know how to manage it. I was overcome with joy when I realized that the natural hair journeys of a young Latina and an older Middle Eastern woman brought us together in the middle of a Target. It was truly empowering to be there in that moment with that woman.
How do you protect your curls at night?
I have a large satin bonnet I use over a high, loose pineapple on day 1 and day 2 curls. I rarely use it after day 3 curls.
Who is your curl crush?
It’s impossible for me to choose just one! I have a deep appreciation for every curl type, so I have a few curl crushes. In no particular order, my curl crushes are:
- Yancy IG @borinquena80
- Nelly IG @nellyscurls
- Sydney IG @__sydneylynnn
- Lester IG @lesterjaviermoreno
- Bryan IG @chukybrown
What's your curly girl essential you can't live without?
My curly girl essential I absolutely cannot live without is my Peach Black Tea & Vitamin Fusion deep conditioning mask by The Mane Choice. This mask has helped to restore and nourish my curls and greatly reduced the amount of shedding I was experiencing at the start of my natural hair journey.
What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
I wash my hair two times a week. On a regular wash day I use the Peach Black Tea shampoo, then mask (10-15min), and finish with conditioner by The Mane Choice. On days when my hair feels extra dirty or like there’s buildup, I like to use the Mongongo Oil Exfoliating Shampoo and Hydrating Conditioner by Mielle Organics. I rinse with cool water and wrap my hair in microfiber hair towels. I always use a leave-in conditioner. My favorites are the Moisture Balance Leave-in Conditioner by BounceCurl and Crowned Collection Leave-in by Shedavi. I follow with a gel. My favorite gels are Crowned Collection Wash & Go Styling Gel by Shedavi and Dippity Do Girls With Curls Gelee. I use my Denman brush to define my curls and then diffuse on low cool setting. I then finish by separating my curls with Righteous Roots Oil and I use a pick to fluff for volume.
What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?
The most challenging moment of my natural hair journey thus far was going to my first fancy event without straightening my hair. For years I was told that curly hair is not fancy. Even after choosing to go natural, it was very difficult to see myself in a dress, with my makeup done, and my hair not straightened and to think “I love how I look.” More than changing my hair regimen, changing my mindset has been the toughest battle.
Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health?
I do not stick to very cookie cutter methods. I have found that avoiding heat, rotating my products every few months, and getting my hair trimmed religiously has helped to improve my hair’s health.
What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture?
If you are struggling to love your natural texture, you are not loving yourself to your full potential. Do not let anyone define beauty for you. Each woman is beautiful because she is rare and unequaled. With each step you take to restore your hair to its natural texture, you are freeing yourself from the prison that is society’s standard of beauty. It’s time we stop allowing others to make us feel inferior for having textured hair. Buy the products that moisturize your natural hair, find a hair regimen that makes your crown glow, learn to oppose the negative voices with positive affirmations. Your inner voice is the one you hear the most, let it be positive, uplifting, and full of love.