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

I didn't know how to describe my hair growing up. I had frizzy, puffy, wavy hair that had a mind of its own. I envied every Herbal Essence commercial. I had my mom buy me their products wishing they would make my hair straight so that I could look "beautiful" as the women on the telenovelas. I kept my hair in ponytails and used a tub of dollar store gel to tame it. I was 12 when my mom had my hair straightened professionally for the first time. They used rollers, a blower, then an actual iron on my hair. An IRON! This direct heat left my hair laying lifeless, but I was hooked! I continued using heat because it was what I always wanted. I feared to get my hair wet because I didn't want my hair to frizz up. I felt insecure whenever the humidity kicked up in Florida.

What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?

My decision to embrace my natural curls was inspired by my kids. My two oldest girls would often see me straighten my hair, while at the same time, I was telling them their curls and coils were gorgeous. The blank stares they gave me in response told me they didn't believe me. How could they? Here I was showing them I didn't even like what grew out of my own head. I was scrolling through Instagram one day for inspiration on how to care for their curls and make them love their hair when I came across @hif3licia hair page full of tips and tricks on how she transformed her own heat-damaged hair into beautiful natural curls using the Curly Girl Method! It opened my mind to the idea that I could do this! I could inspire my kids to love their own curls by learning how to love my own!

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Image:@justlikejackies

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

I began the Curly Girl Method and studied everything I could find on the internet about how to restore my natural curls. It was a bit frustrating at first because my curls were non-existent. Heat-damaged, frizzy limp noodles is what I had and I had to accept that this would be a process and I could not rush it. After going to work for a few months with a halo frizz, half a head of somewhat wavy and straight pieces, I decided to get a Devacut. Afterward, I could not believe my ends were coiling, all my hair was curling; the hard work had paid off! I realized I didn't need to yearn to have something that wasn't naturally meant to be mine; I could be beautiful while fully accepting what God gave me!

How do you protect your curls at night?

I protect my curls at night by wrapping my hair in a satin scarf and sleeping on a satin pillowcase.

Who is your curl crush? 

It's no secret that @Hif3licia, my curl crush, became one of my close friends and I am grateful that she decided to start her page and inspire others. It has helped my girls and I immensely!

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

My diffuser! It's how I achieve so much volume!

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

My current hair regimen is to use a gentle Curly Girl-friendly cleanser, deep condition, then style with a curling cream and strong-hold gel. Some of my favorite products I keep in the rotation are DevaCurl Supercream, DevaCurl Heaven in Hair Moisture Treatment, Bounce Curl Gel, CURLS Blueberry Bliss Hairwash, and Innersense Organic I Create Hold Gel.

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

My most challenging moments have been the hair growth process. I want longer hair, but the longer it gets, the more time it takes to do my hair. As a busy working mom of three, I am not afforded as much time as I'd like so I try to keep my routine quick and simple.

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

Yes, deep conditioning one to two times a week made a BIG difference. I didn't realize in the beginning that my hair was dehydrated. I never deep conditioned before or knew why it was needed. Dehydrated hair was the cause of my frizz I hated so much. Now I cannot skip this process because it has made a significant change in my hair health. 

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

I would encourage them to push past their insecurities and give themselves a fair chance to know what it feels like to love your whole self from the inside out. It's not just about hair — once you embrace that small piece of you, you will see how confident you can become because you realize you have broken out of society's standards of beauty.

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