What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
Growing up my hair was always short and full of loose curls. I remember my mom teaching me to be gracious about receiving compliments on my hair, even on the days I didn't like it. As a little kid I was a goldilocks blonde which eventually changed to a darker and darker brunette just like my mom.
I think the hardest part of growing up with curly and short hair, was getting mistaken for a boy sometimes. That was sometimes a more difficult comment for me to get past. It's not a comment most little girls want to hear.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally wavy hair?
I've always embraced my waves and curls on some level. I've only straightened my hair maybe a dozen times. I was always an extreme minimalist spending no more than a minute or two on my hair in the morning. But at the beginning of 2018, my hair was a disaster. It was greasy and limp and I had no idea what was wrong. This led me to discover the curly girl method which saved my hair! In hindsight, I now know that I had tons of buildup on my hair which was causing a good amount of my problems.
By embracing the curly girl method I have learned so much about my hair and met such a great community of women (and men)! In particular the Instagram curly community has just been so warm and welcoming.
What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?
One of the empowering things for me on this journey is learning to love to nurture my hair. For the first time in my life, I think about what I put in my hair, how I do it and what my hair needs. It's a total 180 flip from before I started the curly girl method. Spending time on my hair has become a hobby. I of course still have days (or weeks) were I do the bare basics because I need a break, or have other things happening in my life.
This journey has also helped empower me to take on other changes in my life, by being more proactive about my health, wellness and household management. Its funny to say that doing my hair started it all, but it really has!
How do you protect your curls at night?
I always sleep on a silk or bamboo pillowcase. Most of the time I also wear a buff to give my curls extra protection.
On nights when I sleep with a gel cast, or sleep in the crunch, I use a silk scarf. I tip my head upside down and tie the scarf on my head. I find this protects my curls and the cast the best, plus I get to pretend to be a fifties housewife when I go look in the mirror before bed.
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Who is your curl crush?
What's your curly girl essential you can't live without?
A blow-dryer with a diffuser. It helps my hair dry faster, have less frizz and be even bouncier!
What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
My number one favorite product is my Hair Repear Ultimate Hair Towel! It helps speed up my dry time without causing frizz. Seriously this towel is magic and better than any other microfiber towel or t shirt I've tried. Some of my other favorite go to's are SheaMoisture's Manuka Honey Mask, As I Am's leave-in conditioner, Dippity-do's Girls with Curls Mousse, my Thermal Haircare Hot Head, and Bouncecurl Light Creme Gel to name a few.
What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?
About four months in I overloaded my hair with protein and then over corrected resulting in my hair being over-conditioned. Fixing each of those problems was a challenge and having them happen back to back meant I suffered through a long string of not great hair days. I found it difficult to find the correct information about over-conditioning since it is often misdiagnosed as hygral fatigue in the curly community. The two conditions are extremely similar, but over-conditioning means you didn't damage you hair which I found very comforting to know.
Cutting out as much moisture from my hair as I could was tough, but I was able to get my hair back on track. I ended up sharing lots of the information I had learned and hope its been able to help other curlies avoid the same situation.
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Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health?
Doing regular deep conditioning treatments helps give my hair such amazing bounce. This combined wit the "squish to condish" method had really helped me make sure my hair stays well hydrated. I also love adding a rice water rinse to my wash routine every few weeks for a nice kick of protein!
It took me a while to understand that all hair, regardless of porosity needs both protein and moisture. Learning the best way to maintain that balance is still a journey for me, but being conscious of having some protein and some moisture worked into my routine has made a world of difference!
What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture?
On days I am frustrated with my hair, I find it helpful to remember all the ways it connects me to the people I love. My mom has the same curls as me and it has always made me feel close to her. Plus, I've had many people remark that my curls remind them of my paternal grandmother's hair. This is especially meaningful to me since she passed.
So think of all the wonderful men and women in your life connected to your natural texture. And find other people with the same hair! Having a community to share your struggles and frustrations is so valuable, whether its in person, through social media like Instagram or Facebook, or even through NaturallyCurlly.com. A supportive community will help you accept other people's textures and hopefully accept your own.