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

My mum and Aunt both had very curly hair which I always loved. Mine had been curly as a small child and my mum used to finger coil it into ringlets, but as it grew the weight of it seemed to pull the curls out and I was left with lots of frizzy long waves. It was neither curly nor straight. Once I hit my teens I had it cut to below my shoulders with layers and started blowing it out with a round brush (desperately trying to re-create ‘The Rachel’) hairstyles, but it was always frizzy. Straighteners helped for a while, but I didn’t ever suit straight hair although that became the most fashionable look, and as every curly girl knows, any hint of moisture in the air and the painstakingly straightened locks would turn to a mass of frizz.

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

One day when I was about 17 I randomly decided to see what would happen if I scrunched in some mousse and diffused my hair and I was shocked to find I had some curls and proper waves! I started adding some barrel curls with a curling iron to the top layers and I received so many compliments on my ‘curly’ hair that it became my preferred style. From then on I only straightened occasionally.

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

It wasn’t until I was in a bit of curl funk after having my second baby that I decided to do a bit of online research into curly hair. I literally had no idea there was so much information out there about curls and I discovered the Curly Girl Method and was very intrigued by the idea of co-washing. But there is so much conflicting information on the internet about The CG method and approved products etc that I inadvertently spent almost a year co-washing and styling with silicone-laden products. I had still seen some progress in my curls but once I joined the Facebook Group ‘Curly Girls! (Conditioner-Washing Group for Women)’ I realized I had made a false start. Thanks to the goldmine of knowledge and information and all the stunning curl inspo in that group I started the method for real in December ‘16.

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How do you protect your curls at night?

I swear by my Puff Cuff or Invisibobble to pineapple my curls right at my hairline, fondly referred to as a Unicorn Pineapple. Then I use a buff over for most nights. I also sleep on a silk pillowcase so if I don’t wear my buff or if any curls escape, they are still protected. I love the added bonus of the silk being good for my skin too!

Who is your curl crush? 

Oh, I have so many!! But one standout is Kelsey @lovelifecurls. She has the most gorgeous volume and shape to her hair #volumegoals. Also, I must mention Renee @brunettewithbounce for her beautiful ringlets, I’m a sucker for ringlets!!!

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

It’s really hard to keep it to just one, but probably my invisibobble because it can be used to protect my curls just by popping them up in a pineapple either for working out or for overnight and then when I take it back down again my curls look exactly how they did when I put them up. 

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

My routine varies but my current favorite co-wash is the pocket-friendly Garnier Ultimate Blends Almond Crush Conditioner. It’s an amazingly moisturizing, protein-free little gem of a conditioner! I try to deep condition twice a month and my 2 favorite masks are at either end of the price spectrum, Garnier Ultimate Blends Almond Crush Yoghurt Mask is inexpensive, but a great little protein free mask. My other favorite is the Mahogany Naturals Coconut Water Restorative Hair Mask which does have protein and is absolutely stunning in smell, texture, and results. It deeply moisturizes and strengthens without weighing down my fine curls. My favorite styling products at the moment are Aussie Instant Freeze Gel and CurlSmith Hold Me Softly Style Balm, both are absolutely brilliant products! I can use the Balm, which is a curl cream, without any hard hold gel or mousse over it, which is amazing to me! Finally, Olew Original which is my favorite oil blend to SOTC (scrunch out the crunch).

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Image:@marisascurls

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

I think being a CG beginner was extremely challenging. All the sciencey sounding ingredient names and the lists of good ones and bad ones are really overwhelming, to begin with, and it felt like I would never understand them or be able to know if a product was CG friendly without comparing every ingredient to a list. It takes time and effort, but learning to read ingredients is probably the most important thing you can do for your hair, and you’ll be amazed how quickly you learn what all the ingredient names mean.

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

Squish to Condish really has made a huge difference, taking the time to really work that conditioner and water into my hair and achieve that seaweed feel. I do find though that Squish to Condish can actually give me frizz because of all of the scrunching. But I realized that if I run a very wide tooth comb through my hair after I finish STC and then gently shake my head, it smooths away all the frizz and awesome clumps appear as if by magic.

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

Loving yourself in your natural state, whether that be your natural curls, makeup-free face or something else is one of the most liberating experiences. The transition period while your hair recovers and gets used to being looked after, can be just awful. But it is 100% worth it. Try and have bucket loads of patience, be consistent with your products rather than chopping and changing every week and try out some curly updo’s to get you through the transition period. Then be prepared for glorious waves and curls.

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