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Image: @thekirstyfiles

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

My hair was mostly wavy as a child and then it got curlier in Junior High and I discovered a diffuser - the same one I use today.  I went for big and fabulous, but somehow at the end high school I came to decide that straight hair was cool and I straightened my hair for the next 4 years.

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

In college, pretty much out of laziness and too many walks across campus in the rain, I began to embrace my curls. It suited me way better than straight hair ever did.  

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

I love it when people let me know that i have inspired them through my Instagram account @thekirstyfiles to wear their hair natural, even better when they have watched my curly hair videos and found it helpful with styling their hair.  This is the most rewarding part.  A number of years ago I was asked to come to New York to give my opinion on a new curly hair product line and I met some amazing fellow curly girls.  Most recently it has been deciding to let my gray hair grow out and the flood of encouragement and support has been been incredible.  

How do you protect your curls at night?

I don't have a good answer, I simply pile my hair on top of my head.  I don't toss and turn much and I have been doing it for long, I think I have trained myself to flip my hair up in my sleep with I move.  Somedays it works, some mornings I wake up and have to laugh.  I definitely keeps my mornings interesting, you never know what you are going to get at the breakfast table.  

Who is your curl crush?

Sarah @caseofthecurls . I love her texture and color, I only know her from her instagram feed but I feel like she'd be so fun to have coffee with.  My other crushes are @curlysue and @curlycailin.ie - I'm obsessed with their shiny locks and think we would have the best time over Gin and Tonics.  

Image: @thekirstyfiles

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

Hmmmm, this is a good question.  I feel like as I've gotten older I gotten much more relaxed about my curls and can roll with a bad hair day and laugh it off.  I do love my good 'ol diffuser, it's definitely on it's last leg being from Junior High (and I'm 40 folks!) I will definitely shed a tear when it finally breaks in half.  The styling gel duo I am loving on wash day is Spiraliscious by Jessicurl and Ultra Defining Gel by Deva Curl.  My favorite refresh product is Oil-In-Cream by Curlsmith.  

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

Oh man - I think I answered that above but to recap...

Innersense Organic Beauty is my favorite shampoo, conditioner and deep conditioner.  I also love my Thermal HairCare Hothead cap and With or Without Hue by CurlyWorld to help combat the brassiness of my curls and make my gray shine!  For styling products its B'Leave-In gel, then Spiraliscious Gel, and Ultra Hydrating Gel, it sounds like a lot but I use the same amount that I would with one, it's just split among three.  It gives me a wonderful balance of definition and control and plumping.  On refresh days I mainly use Oil-In-Cream by Curlsmith.  

Image: @thekirstyfiles

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

I have recently decide to grow out my natural gray color.  I didn't realize how emotional this would be or how patient I would have to be.  Somedays I totally rock it, other days I put a hat on.  It's been amazing to see the community out there cheering me on, but I am far from to the end.

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

Yes!  switching out silicones and sulphates - I will say I am not militant about it but I try to avoid as much as possible.  Also squishing in as much water with my conditioner as I can stand.  @atoya_thecurlyhairstudio has taught me so much about the power of water and moisture, I would definitely recommend watching her IGTV videos and following her feed.  She keeps it simple.  

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

We ALL have bad hair days, natural curls are not meant to be contained - that's the beauty of it.  There is so much awesome information out there and incredible products but it can also be overwhelming so give yourself grace.  Embracing your natural hair is getting to know your best self - the good, the bad and the frizzy days.  And let me repeat we all have them!  As for actual advice, try to keep from using high heat and flat-ironing as much as you can.  Lots of water when you condition and add product to really wet hair.  Find a great hat that you love for the days you just need a break.