What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
As a kid I didn’t pay too much attention to my textured hair. I do have curlies in my family, my mom & aunt have always worn their natural textured hair without changing it or flat ironing it. I feel glad that while growing up - school & extracurricular activities were more important than appearance. We got to enjoy our childhood without the pressures a lot of kids face today. It was about the time I went to college that it became a challenge. The most common response you got in a salon was – Why don’t you straighten it. As a teenager & young adult, you’re paying more attention to appearance & taking cognizance of what people are saying about you, a passing remark or joke about frizz impacted much more than it needed to. There was no accessible information on how to take care of textured hair.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?
Just before I joined my first job, I had my hair chemically straightened. It was more to do with the conventional beauty standards & the perception so ingrained that if you wanted to look professional your hair had to be sleek & straight. Curly hair was referenced as unruly & rebellious! I straightened my hair for 7-8 years. Eventually I got over the poker straight-haired look. I got to the point, where I was tired of spending that amount of time, effort into straightening my hair and having to maintain it due to the damage it caused. All kinds of hair textures look nice as does naturally straight hair, but my straightened hair just looked ‘artificial’.
Getting back to natural curls was another journey altogether! If you’re a curly who has been through the interesting 'in-between phase’ of growing out chemically straightened hair – you know what I mean!
What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?
Realizing that my natural textured hair made me feel more like myself! That has translated into me being more accepting of myself & owning my look. My hair is one of the things that makes me unique. Most importantly, the fact that other women & little girls feel encouraged to wear their natural hair like mine. I get messages where women have said they showed my curly haired picture to their little girls & that they loved it & wanted to grow their natural curly hair instead of wishing for straight hair. I also get a lot of people walking up to me to ask if this is my real hair or if I could share tips with them. Prior to going back to my natural textured hair, I never realized my hair was such a noticeable factor about me, that I can positively impact other curlies & encourage them.
How do you protect your curls at night?
I use a satin bonnet or use a satin pillowcase.
What's your curly girl essential you can't live without?
Conditioner and Leave – in.
What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
I try to follow the cgm basics, it's best to remember that there is no perfect product combination. You have to figure out what suits your hair the best.
- Oil - 30-40 mins prior to hair wash (Righteous roots, mycurlstorie's Nune, jojoba, almond oil)
- Shampoo (EarthRhythm’s Murumuru Shampoo bar, Kinky Curly).
- Conditioner – I detangle my hair after applying conditioner. (Re'equil, Earthrhythms conditioner bar, Fix My Curls Mellow). I do gently scrunch my hair while rinsing.
- I try to DC at least couple of times a month. I prefer to DC on clean hair.
- I use a microfiber towel after rinsing & style my hair while its very damp.(Ashba Botanics Leave-in, Kinky Curly, Fix My Curls Stay & for Hair gel – Arata gel, Ashba Gel)
- After I have styled my hair, I usually prefer to let it air dry. I use sectioning clips to keep the hair off my face. If I use a diffuser, I use the low-medium setting.
What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?
Getting through the transition phase to get back to the natural hair texture required a lot of patience. There is only so much one can do with half straightened and half curly hair. You do have to keep trimming off the damaged hair (if you don’t want to go for the big chop all at once). Understanding right techniques, routine and finding the right kind of products that suit your hair type is a great help.
Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health?
Oil massage on scalp and hair, regular DC and ensuring scalp health. I also feel that having a healthy balanced diet really helps with good hair health.
What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture?
Embrace your curls, natural texture – frizz et al! Make cgm a part of your life and don’t let it get in the way of your life! Big Hair, Bigger Dreams! If you’re working on restoring your hair health or are currently in the transition phase – please keep persevering and have patience. It is good to read all the information available, but don’t get overwhelmed with it. Don’t break the bank by feeling like you have to get every product that’s reviewed or is popular – start out simple. Work on getting the technique and routine right. Everyone’s hair journey is different, and time taken is different, you will get there eventually. Be kind to your hair and yourself.