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Image:@manesbymell

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

From a young age, my hair has always been a big part of my life because, well, it was so BIG. That's what everyone would point out. My mom, always having to buy more conditioner, my family teasing me and making (loving) jokes about it, and strangers always wanting to touch it. It was a frequent topic of conversation, but I was okay with that. I genuinely loved my hair from the start, never wishing it were different because it made me feel different, unique, special. I didn't always know how to take care of my hair nor did anyone else, but through a lifelong journey of trial and error and by doing it myself, I figured it out. That self journey taught  me so much about myself, and my struggles inspired me to help others going through it, too.

What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?

Embracing your natural hair is an acceptance of self, and wearing your natural hair out is an expression of self. I accepted I was a strange, wild child a long time ago and as a kid my hair reflected that, which I absolutely love! I've always seen the uniqueness as what makes you so special. If you got it flaunt it!

Image:@manesbymell

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

Creating educational content for social media as a resource to share all the information I know about curly hair has been so rewarding. I have inspired and helped so many other curlies embrace their hair and that’s a beautiful thing.

How do you protect your curls at night?

Bedtime is bonnet time. I can’t sleep without it. Tyeing a silky/satin scarf works too but its not the same level of comfort and security my bonnet gives me. It’s basically a part of me now. As back up I also have satin pillowcases which I love, not just for my hair in case the bonnet pops off, but for my skin. Total game changer!!

Who is your curl crush?

My seester, Amanda is my curl crush. Besides myself of course because you should always be your own curl goals! But her curls are a different pattern from mine, and she’s had a very different relationship with her curls, one that is very relatable to many. The shame and embarrassment, to the damage and the transitioning. She is a prime example of how powerful knowledge is. The more she learns and the more time that goes on, her hair gets better and better. Her journey is inspirational and I am so proud of her curls in so many ways!

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

I can’t live without a brush. The joke is always "oh you can’t brush curly hair" or the rule is "you shouldn't brush curly hair", but I love it. I use a denman brush for detangling, product distribution, and curl defining. It's a must for my routine!

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

I believe to get the best out of your hair, having a hair schedule with different routines is great to follow so you can satisfy every need. There is no one product or line that will do everything for you. Brand specifics are very personal as well and although I have some preferences, the basic products I need are a clarifying shampoo, moisture shampoo, all the conditioners from wash, conditioner, deep conditioners, leave-ins, a curl defining cream, gel, mousse, oil. Sounds like a lot, but when you know your hair you know what to use and when, you need to have those options!

Image:@manesbymell

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

No challenges, only lessons! In my experience working with every hair type and not just my own, you need to have an open mind that everyone is different, has different needs, and will have their own routine that works for them. Learning about our differences helps us to respect one another's journey and learn from them as well!

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

Regularly taking care of my hair when it needs it keeps it healthy. More hair means more maintenance, and more maintenance results in more hair. I am also gentle with my texture. I won’t do anything extreme to my hair if I don’t think it can handle it. Like colouring processing or heat styling on already compromised, fragile hair. I do these things occasionally because in between I take extra care of my hair to repair any harm done. Besides treating my hair regularly with specific treatments and conditioners, the best thing that has allowed my hair to grow is low manipulation styles and continuous wear of my natural curls. You need to let them be and they will be curly!

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

Self love is the root of it all, and it’s what matters most. Understand that the curls are an extension of your beauty. Loving and accepting yourself, the things you cannot change, and recognizing the beauty in that will bring happiness. But like all journeys, these things take time. Remember the hard times and bad hair days, take photos, and one day you will look back and be amazed with yourself by how far you’ve come. And remember that it’s only hair. You are so much more than that. So if you have a frizzy, bad hair day; try to put on a fierce face and own it! And to get through your journey, hop online for help. There’s a whole world of curly girls that will support you through this too because we’ve all been there, we all get it. You aren’t the only one with the frizzy curly hair anymore, were all in this together!