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

Growing up with textured hair in the ’70s and ’80s was a challenge. I had weekly hair appointments at my grandmother’s house so she could wash, comb it out, “straighten” it, as well as braid my hair in two pigtails for my mother for the coming week. I stayed away from swimming pools or beaches for fear my real texture would come peaking through. I loathed the humidity and literally learned to detect it immediately by sticking my head out the door. If my hair frizzed then predictably the forecast would read humidity. My hair never failed me!

What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?

After years of relaxers, my hair simply could not take the harsh chemicals any longer. At the age of 40, my hair began to thin and break off. It was at that point my stylist strongly advised me to avoid chemically straightening my hair. I stopped immediately for fear of losing my hair and began what is now known as the transitioning process. I simply dealt with the two textures until my hair was completely grown out of the relaxer. This process took me approximately eight months.

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

I would have to say the second phase of my natural hair journey. After first returning to natural and proudly wearing my naturally curly texture, my hair became severely damaged due to medication I had to take. At that point, I had to make the bravest decision (in my opinion) of my life and “big chop” my hair. I went from having shoulder-length curly hair to a little over an inch of hair on my head. I really had to dig deep and pull all my mental resources together to wear this hairstyle proudly. It was a very difficult time for me.

How do you protect your curls at night? 

At night I secure my mid-length hair in two “pineapples”. I place one on top of my head and the other at the nape of my neck. I also sleep on a silk pillowcase.

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Who is your curl crush?

My curl crush, of course, is my daughter, the other half of our M.A.D.CURLS duo and @itstayloranne on Instagram.

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

I would say an essential for me is any conditioner that has slip. It is a necessity to avoid unnecessarily pulling and tugging my hair, causing split ends, and worse yet, irreparable damage.

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

My current hair regimen is simply washing or cowashing my hair as often as my schedule demands. I make hair tutorials for my YouTube channel so my hair regimen changes weekly if not daily. The one consistent thing I do and will not waver from is to give myself PLENTY of time to detangle my hair. I refuse to recklessly yank and pull tangles out of my hair in an attempt to speed up the process, as I once did. I have learned valuable lessons that taking your time....leaving yourself enough time to do the job is the key to beautiful, healthy hair.

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

The most challenging moments have been those times when you see division creep into a community that started out as “all inclusive”. This division at times based on hair typing is one of the saddest moments to witness. I came from a generation of divisiveness. I believed that the natural hair movement had moved past that. But I have found sadly, there’s still work to be done.

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

When I mastered how to “refresh” my hair that was a revolutionary moment for my hair journey. The daily washing came to a screeching halt! I embraced the frizz, the big hair, and the bigger hair! My hair was healthier and looked it! It was the best technique and I couldn’t wait to share on our M.A.D.CURLS channel. What I learned from my personal “trial and error” and passed on was to wait 3-5 minutes after spraying your refresher spray in your hair to let it “set” before scrunching out your curls. It’s brilliant!

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

Do not compare! Never compare your hair texture with anyone else’s hair texture even if it is a close family member. “Comparison is the thief of joy” and it truly is. If you are constantly wishing your hair looked like someone else’s or curled like someone else’s you won’t even enjoy your own hair which is unique to you. You were beautifully and wonderfully made. Appreciate who you are and what you bring to this natural hair movement. Each natural “head of hair” is different, as well as each journey.

What's your hair story? Share your story with us here to be featured in our Texture Tales series.