What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
Growing up, I did like my curls when they were wet but was clueless of how to take care of them or make them look pretty once dried out!! My hair was mostly brushed out dry, in braids or in a pony tail. I would never leave my hair open and felt really self conscious about myself because I felt like my hair always looked untidy. That made me feel less presentable. I would come across some kids with beautiful spirally curls and would never understand why my hair never looked as defined as that. Even my mom didn't know much about enhancing my natural curls while I was a kid. Most girls would plaster their hair down with oil and I hated doing that especially while going to school. I didn't know any better. No one around me did.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly/coily/wavy hair?
Over time through trial and error figured that not combing my hair after it was washed out and conditioning well really let my curls show, and they were much softer too. I would smooth down my hair with some light hair oil when damp and this would give me a little definition but it wouldn't last long. When I saw the little improvement it led me to seek more information on curly hair care. I liked the change and decided to work on making this better. One day last year I chanced upon the "Curly Girl Method" on a blog! It all started to make sense finally!! I binge watched YouTube videos and I discovered a few curly hair bloggers on Instagram who really made me feel like I can do this!! Their transformation stories made me believe in this magic. There was no looking back from here onwards.
What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?
You know, when I look back at old photos of me in my teens right till my late twenties, there are almost none with my hair left open, even on my best hair days it was always tied up. That made me realize the extent of how much of a hit my self image took. I had zero confidence to let my hair down. It may seem trivial, but after I started the CG method the most empowering moments were when I first started letting my hair down, on my best days and even on days when they were just hanging in there. And that's because I had gone past that point where I'm always occupied with how my hair looks. The CG method has helped me embrace not just my textured hair, but me as a whole at my best and worst. Just being me is empowering.
How do you protect your curls at night?
After a light scalp massage I put my hair up in a loose pineapple with a telephone wire scrunchie or sometimes just leave it open and spread it above my head while I sleep on a satin covered pillow at night. I always use a satin pillow case.
Who is your curl crush?
This one's a tough one because there are so many beautiful curly haired ladies I love!!
I started my CG journey 8 months ago following and loving the curls of @curlsandbeautydiary @desicurly @themestizamuse @powerdomi @marisascurls @curl_pal @chicmedusa and @thecuriousjalebi and I totally crush on all of them to this day!! I've learnt not just about curl care but so much more from them. They're beautiful kind and strong women inside out.
What's your curly girl essential you can't live without?
I need my telephone wire scrunchie and I carry one in all my bags. I have a few spares in my drawer at work too coz I'm always losing them.
Also I'd like to add here that I've recently grown to be quite a product junkie, but if I had to de-stash for whatever reason, the essentials I couldn't do without are Righteous Roots Oil, Vilvah Goatmilk Shampoo, Aaranyaa DC, Ashba Leave In, Arata Cream and Gel. I could use these products for life and I know my curls would be thanking me. ;) Can't live without these for sure!
What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
I wash my hair twice a week. I pre-poo with my Righteous Roots Oil blend. Deep conditioning, like I said, helps me really feed my hair the nourishment it needs on a weekly basis. My current favorite moisture DC is Shea Moisture Manuka Oil & Mafura Oil Intense Hydration Masque and when my hair needs a protein boost I do a DIY Gelatin treatment. I clarify at least once a month or more often if my scalp feels gunky. My favorite shampoo is the Vilvah goatmilk shampoo and in conditioners I love the Aaranya Argan Hair Pack. My all time favorite hair cream & gel are from Arata. Their flaxseed gel is just the best! Gives me shiny defined curls and great hold every single time. Another brand I can't do without is Ashba Botanicals, Indias first CG friendly brand. It's amazing that we now have so many CG friendly products in India, something that we lacked for a long time.
What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?
Coping with the changing climate and managing my curls in accordance with it has been extremely challenging for me. My hair is naturally very frizzy with plenty of flyaways and a lot of new baby hair now, thanks to my scalp massages!! And I live in a very humid place where except for two or three months of good climate ( cool winter months) the rest of the year my hair is constantly trying to adjust to the changes in my hair care routine.
I have learnt to love and embrace the frizz but sometimes I wish my good defined results last longer than a couple of days. I'm yet to find the perfect lineup of products for high dewpoint days. Honestly, I don't enjoy picking up products so meticulously. But it is a learning experience and I hope I can figure this out before the seasons change up again.
Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health?
Deep Conditioner!! This has been a game changer for me. For me, deep conditioning once a week is key to maintaining healthy curls and nourishing them inside out.
Oh yes and scalp massaging too. Righteous Roots Oil has been my constant for months and scalp massages are never the same without it. I can go on and on about how scalp massages and deep conditioning have been key in improving the health of my curly hair. Healthy hair grows from a healthy scalp, and these two aspects are very crucial for me.
For me, technique has always come first before products. I even started my healthy hair journey by practising the methods like squish to condish, styling on wet hair, praying hands, scrunching and pulsing, wet plopping... all of this with non CG products before I made the switch. Believe me, it made things so much easier once I went full CG.
What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture?
There's nothing better than God's gift to you of textured hair, be it wavy, curly, kinky or coily. It's who you are! Embrace it, accept it, give it some TLC and see how it loves you right back!
Especially my Indian sisters, I know you've always been made to feel like you are not enough, your hair is not good enough. Don't idolize those unreal beauty standards. Go make your own! The confidence and satisfaction you get hereafter is unmatchable.
Also, starting the CG method doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. Start like I did, use what you have first and practice the technique. See how your curls clump up, notice how your natural texture gets enhanced, feel the difference. And then think how this can improve hundredfold when you switch to clean label products and follow the CG method more closely. Make it yours and watch your curls thrive! It's the best thing you could do for yourself .