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What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
I grew up with blonde wavy, mildly curly hair. I had long hair my entire childhood that was fairly easy to take care of even though there has always been a lot of it. When I hit puberty things changed. My hair went dark and coarse quite quickly. I no longer had hair I recognized or knew how to take care of. I got a men's inspired haircut, which only made my hair curlier. For years I struggled with accepting my hair's coarse nature. I have always had people compare my hair to horse hair or fishing line. It's texture is very strong and I felt like people pitied me for it. Also growing up blonde, people associated me with light tresses, so when it went dark people were always telling me they liked me blonde better. This led to several teen years full of hair dye and straightening.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?
Somewhere in high school some classmates were seen scrunching their straight hair, trying to make it curly. I had spent years trying to not encourage my curls, so this was really perplexing to me. I decided I would see what I could do with my own curls if I encouraged them with scrunching. I unfortunately didn't grow up with a lot of curly haired people around, so straight hair seemed like the norm. Even though I kept dyeing my hair for years, I started wearing my curls consistently from that day on. I didn't know their full potential though for 20 plus more years!
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What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?
I didn't grow up with curly hair knowledge. My hair wasn't as curly as some and not as straight as others, so I felt somewhere in between, often feeling like a wannabe. Finding the curly community of Instagram truly changed that. I found the curly girl method one year ago and could never have seen how such simple changes could not only change my hair, but my self acceptance. The community has given me a great sense of belonging and is a constant source of knowledge for me. Knowledge I definitely had been longing for.
How do you protect your curls at night?
I have fallen in love with wearing a buff at night. I find that stuffing my curls into at night really helps keep them intact. I often don't even need a refresh!
Who is your curl crush?
I have always loved Kerri Russell. Her hair during Felicity was a total dream for me. Even though she no longer wears her hair curly, she will always be my main curl crush!
What's your curly girl essential you can't live without?
My Wet Brush. I seriously cannot imagine my life without it.
What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
I have been pretty low maintenance lately, but I always low poo, condition with Giovanni Smooth as Silk and then style with a leave-in Kinky-Curly Knot Today and a hard hold gel Aussie Instant Freeze Gel is my holy grail. Winter hair has been trickier for me, but I've been doing really well with adding a mousse before my gel lately.
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What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?
I think its easy to fall into what everyone else is using and trying. In the beginning I was desperate to find the one thing that would be game changing. I tried so many things that I kind of lost my own intuition. Once I really started listening to my hair and learning what it likes and doesn't like, I started to really find my way.
Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health?
I do a modified rake and shake with my WetBrush that has been the single most impactful revelation for my coarse hair. My hair really appreciates being smoothed down before styling.
What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture?
My advice is to be kind to yourself. I love the self acceptance aspect of this journey, but that can come in many forms. Loving yourself as you are is multi-faceted and thankfully we are able to write that narrative as we see fit.