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Image: miashantill

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

Growing up with textured hair was challenging for me because I didn’t know how to care for it. I begged my mom for a relaxer and she finally allowed me to get one when I was about 13 years old. All of my textured hair friends had relaxer so I guess it kind of felt like a rite of passage for me.

What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?

My healthy hair journey began in 2013. For the majority of my life I’ve had below shoulder length thick relaxed hair. After dying my relaxed hair, I experienced an extreme amount of breakage which caused damage and forced me to cut my hair. After growing it back to its original length, one year later, I decided that I wanted to go completely natural. I’ve always thought that curly hair was beautiful but like many women, I didn’t know that I too had kinky curly hair. I wanted to finally embrace it. I decided to transition instead of doing a big chop because I wasn’t comfortable having short hair again.

Image: miashantill

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

The most empowering moments in my hair journey come from the many women who ask me for advice about natural hair. It encourages and motivates me to continue to be consistent with my regimen and learn more about my hair type.

How do you protect your curls at night?

My nightly routine is pretty simple. I pineapple my hair, wrap a silk scarf around it and cover it with my silk bonnet. The process takes less than 2 minutes.

Who is your curl crush?

My ultimate curl crush is Monica Stevens aka MoKnowsHair. I’ve followed her since the beginning of my hair journey back in 2013 and her knowledge of hair has helped me tremendously with my own hair journey.

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

Some of my essentials include: clarifying shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, leave in conditioner and aloe vera gel. The styling tools that I cannot live without are my tangle teezer, hooded dryer and steamer.

Image: miashantill

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

I try to stick to a weekly wash day schedule. I shampoo my hair with a sulfate free shampoo. Next I put my hair in four sections and I add my conditioner. I always detangle my hair with conditioner. After I rinse it out I apply a hair mask or deep conditioner and I sit under the dryer, steamer or conditioning cap for about 30 minutes. After I rinse my hair I apply my leave ins and gel. My favorite leave in conditioners are Fortyfy’d Naturals leave in conditioner and Intense Hydration Potion and my go-to gel is Uncle Funky’s Daughter curly magic curl stimulator.

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

The most challenging moment of my natural hair journey was when I first transitioned. I transitioned for one year and it was a struggle trying to blend two different textures. Wash days were especially hard because my hair was weak and finding creative hairstyles were a struggle because I was used to wearing my hair straight.

Image: miashantill

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

Yes, deep conditioning my hair weekly has improved the texture, elasticity and overall health of my hair. I rotate between using a steamer, heat cap and hooded dryer when I deep condition. I have low porosity hair so heat helps the deep conditioner penetrate my hair shaft.

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

I know that taking care of your natural hair can become overwhelming but don’t give up. Get to know your hair type. Find out what your porosity and density is and do your research. Your hair is unique so don’t compare it to anyone else’s hair. Be patient and stay consistent.