fropunzel 1

Image Source: @fropunzel_

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

As a child, having textured hair meant getting the bowrette bucket, pink moisturizing hair lotion, a cup of water, and a brush for my mom so that she could style my hair for the week with a few brush ups in between. When I was younger, I did not realize the value of the crown on my shoulders. I mainly grew up around girls with gorgeous, flowing, long straight hair, and no one really rocked their natural curls. The straight haired girls were considered "the pretty, popular" girls so, of course, immaturely, I wanted the same, and I asked my mom to relax my hair. My hair was beautiful relaxed, but I could never reach too far past shoulder length hair. It was not until I went natural in college that I finally achieved the length I wanted, and realized how much healthier my hair was without the creamy crack.

What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly/coily hair?

Before going natural, my go-to hairstyle was a roller- wrap (curls at the top with straight hair around). I got extremely bored with my hair, and was at the point of just "dealing with it". During my junior year of college, I moved into a house with 3 guy friends and one of their girlfriends who had natural hair. Naturally, being the only women, we started to hang and I began to experience her natural journey. I would watch her style her hair and how it would curl up so beautifully, naturally, but I could not experience this. I wanted to know the untainted parts of myself, and I wanted to learn how to undeniably love whoever that was. I began doing research and started learning the health benefits of going natural, and watching others’ journeys on YouTube, which encouraged me greatly.

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

My most empowering moment was the day of my big chop. After doing some deep research, and transitioning for a year, I randomly decided to cut off my relaxed ends. I thought that because I stopped using the relaxer, my curls would automatically come in. I was still getting my hair straightened every two weeks after I stopped using a relaxer, which meant I was still giving myself heat damage. After washing my hair and preparing to cut it, my stylist determined the line of demarcation was much shorter than I thought. Instead of having curly hair down to my ears, I would have two inches of hair. I hated cutting my hair and would even cry sometimes! He asked if I was sure and started cutting. This became one of the most freeing experiences of my life and gave me so much more confidence as my raw, unaltered self.

Image Source: @fropunzel_

How do you protect your curls at night?

To protect my curls, I use silk pillow cases. Before going to sleep, I usually soak my hair bands in oil. I then put my hair in either one big pineapple or mini pineapples, and wrap it in my satin scarf, I then cover all of this with my jumbo bonnet that has silk on the inside. My bonnet has no band in it so that it does not damage my edges.

Who is your curl crush?

I definitely have more than one curl crush. I absolutely adore Jessica Lewis (Mahogany Curls), Tyjalayah Robertson (naturallylady), Alana Simone (ina90skindofworld), and Kimberly Cherrell. I adore these queens and their curls, not only, because of their hair, but they also influence and encourage their followers to laugh and focus on mental well being as well. They have so much personality, and are not to be themselves freely. I believe these ladies embrace the characteristics of the type of naturalista I believe that I am.

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

My curl girl essentials that I can not live without are water, my Aussie Moist Mega Moist conditioner, and my Michel Mercier Thick Hair detangling brush. These three things help me love on my curls and detangle them with ease and without damaging them. As a thick, oily natural, it can be difficult finding products that are hydrating and moisturizing enough and even harder to find styling tools that don't rip my strands. These three things, however, are game changers and they are definitely my staples.

Image Source: @fropunzel_

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

I always shampoo my hair in the shower and I make sure to follow my hair regimen once every week. I LOVE the Giovanni Creamy Avocado & Olive Oil Shampoo. Then, I condition with Aussie Moist Mega Moist Conditioner while detangling, then I apply my Aussie Moist Mega Moist 3 Minute Conditioner. After rinsing this out I usually use a hair mask and sit under the dryer for about 30 minutes. Once I rinse this out, I apply rice water to my hair and allow it to sit in my hair for at least an hour before rinsing. I proceed with the L.O.C. method with water as my leave in, a mixture of oils, and Cantu's Shea Butter Repair Cream Leave-in Conditioner as my cream before styling.

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

The most challenging part of my journey has been fighting hair damage from using color and bleach. I have fought this battle twice now. It is very frustrating, because coloring hair is a structure altering process, similar to relaxing hair. Both times after coloring my hair, it changed from soft, shiny, and manageable to dry , dull, limp curls. It also causes so many more split ends, and trimming more often is a must.

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

When I detangle my hair, I have learned to put my hair under the running water with the conditioner while brushing though it for an easier detangling process. I also have incorporated rice water into my regimen which has made my hair stronger, shinier, softer, and easier to detangle. The L.O.C. method is definitely a tried and true natural hair staple for hair health as well.

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

I believe you simply need a change of perspective. Your natural hair texture was picked specially for you by God, because it is part of what makes you uniquely beautiful. Whether you can run your fingers straight through it, or barely stick your fingers in it, all textures of natural hair are beautiful. The main focus should be on the health of your hair. The day after I big chopped, I got a sew in, because I did not know how to embrace my curls nor the length, but I was forced to learn how and take out my sew in, because my leave out was too short and kept flying up. I am so happy this happened, because it made me look in the mirror and fall in love with who and what I saw. If you're having a hard time, just find others with similar textures and see how they rock theirs, and maybe it will help you rock yours!