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Image: @curly_colleen

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

My nickname was lion's mane and for good reason. My mom didn't know how to do my hair and there weren't nearly as many curl friendly products on the market. As I grew up, I was constantly told by boys how much better I looked when I straightened my hair.

What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?

After I had my third baby, my hair started falling out due to back to back pregnancies, over-processing and straightening my hair. I realized that I was just running from who I was meant to be. Embracing my curls had more to do with accepting myself and being content with who I am. I decided to stop trying to fit in and start embracing my natural curls. Now I have the best of both worlds!I am fully loved by those closest to me, and they know and love me as Curly Colleen.

Image: @curly_colleen

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

Finding out that the thing I grew up disliking is my superpower. "Our greatest strength is our greatest weakness". Throughout high school and college looking pretty meant straightening my hair. I wouldn't let people know that I had curly hair because I didn't want them to make fun of me. Now, I have the honor of connecting with thousands of people through my blog and Instagram all because we have one similar bond...Curly hair! The curly community is so supportive and empowering and we actually "get" each other.

How do you protect your curls at night?

I do a quick scalp massage using oil and mix a bit of leave-in conditioner in my spray bottle and spritz it over my hair for added moisture. I always sleep on a silk cap.

Who is your curl crush?

I'm currently obsessed with Lisa @curly_n_fab and Lindsay @goldilocks_1117. Both of them have hair similar to mine and they have mastered it.

Image: @curly_colleen

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

A good deep conditioner. There is just something about incorporating a deep conditioner into your weekly or bi-weekly routine that hydrates your curls and gets them looking fabulous!

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

  • I use a deep conditioner once per week because my hair is very dry and still a bit damaged.
  • Then I style with DevaCurl leave-in decadence, Kinky-curly curling custard, and finish with Aussie instant freeze gel.
  • I apply these using praying hands method to help encourage curl clumping.
  • Follow up styling with what I like to call a hybrid drying method.
  • I plop my curls in a t-shirt for 15 minutes, clip my roots, diffuse for 20 minutes, then let it air dry.
  • Once my hair is completely dry, I use my leave-in conditioner to gently scrunch out the crunch.

This regimen typically lasts me 3-5 days.

Image: @curly_colleen

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

Bringing my curls back to life. I had curly hair growing up but after I had my third baby my hair was severely damaged and had no body. I never thought it would be curly again. It took a good year of going back to my natural color, salon deep treatments, and learning to love and care for my curls at home. I could not have brought my curls back to life without the curly girl method!

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

Yes, there are so many!

  • Finger coiling during deep treatments and styling helped bring back a lot of curl definition.
  • Praying hands method has helped preserve curl clumping.
  • The bowl method has helped maintain moisture.
  • And plopping has helped increase curl pattern as well as decrease drying time.

I share all of my tips for these methods on my Instagram page to help other curlies along the way.

Image: @curly_colleen

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

It's a journey. Some days, I still struggle to love my curls, and other days I wouldn't trade them for the world. I think having curly hair is just a constant reminder to love and accept the way we were made. Love your curls and treat them well, and they will bloom for you.