What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
I actually grew up with straight, blonde hair. When puberty hit, my hair started curling, although at the time, it looked more like 'frizzing and poofing up' than actual curls. It looked like Mia Thermopolis' hair in The Princess Diaries, before they straightened it. I would always have these beautiful, defined curls at the nape of my neck, but they were always covered in a layer of frizz. It never occurred to me that I had actual curly hair; in my head I just had 'frizzy hair with some nice curls underneath'. People asked me if anyone else in my family had hair like me as well, and I always said "Umm, no, not really...". Turns out, my mom, dad brother and sister ALL have wavy/curly hair! Of course, they hadn't been taking care of it properly either. We have never been educated on how to care for it.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?
When I met the guy who is now my boyfriend, about two and a half years ago, I was still straightening my hair pretty much daily. There had to come a time that he would see my hair in it's 'natural state', and when he saw it, he said: "You shouldn't straighten your hair anymore, your curls are so beautiful!" So, I decided to ditch the hair straightener, and haven't touched one in over two years. I still had no idea how to care for my hair though, it wasn't until about a year later that I stumbled upon naturallycurly.com. I spent several hours on the site that first time; it felt really good to see and to read I wasn't the only one struggling with her texture. I read up and decided to start with the Curly Girl method. Best decision ever.
What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?
One of the turning points in my curly hair journey, was the first time I got a good haircut from a stylist that knows how to cut curly hair. I always dreaded getting a haircut, it never looked good afterwards, I always had the "triangle shape" problem. The first time my hair was properly cut, the top layer of my hair immediately started to curl up. It was the first time in years I left the salon with a smile on my face.
Another moment that comes to mind, was a couple of months ago, when I asked my mom to indulge me for once and allow me to do her hair. It looked amazing, she had tears in her eyes and switched to the CG method. My brother switched too, and it feels really good to have inspired them and to help them take better care of their hair.
How do you protect your curls at night?
I sleep on a satin pillowcase, and I put on a satin bonnet as well. I've tried pineappling it and using just the pillowcase for a while, because my bonnet got too small and my curls would come out flat and "squished" the next morning. But I missed sleeping with a bonnet, since I feel it conserves my hairstyle much longer and I just think it is really comfortable, so I ordered a larger one which does fit all my hair. I always, always take my pillowcase and/or my bonnet with me if I sleep somewhere else.
Who is your curl crush?
Oof, there are so many curly girls that have helped me learn how to take better care of my hair and that have inspired me to push through, it is hard to pick just one! I'm not on Instagram, but I've become addicted to Youtube-video's. My favorite channels are Jannelle O'Shaugnessy Engels, Manes by Mell, Green Beauty (very educational!), Lana Summer, HiF3licia, and Curlsandblondies (a fellow Dutch girl!).
What's your curly girl essential you can't live without?
Another question where it is hard to pick just one thing! I always have an invisibobble with me (one of those plastic-y hairtie thingies), so I can put my hair up in a pineapple and protect it if necessary when I am on-the-go. Whenever I want to lean back against anything (a chair, the couch) I put it up in a pineapple. And, as I said earlier, I cannot spend the night somewhere without my satin pillowcase and my bonnet.
What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
I wash my hair approximately once a week. If I need to wash it sooner I'll use a co-wash, but I make sure to shampoo it once a week, since my low-porosity hair is prone to buildup. I switch up my routine and products according to my hair's needs, but currently I'm a big fan of the Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Shampoo and Conditioner, and I've recently started using their Natural Mousse Hair Styling Foam, which also works really well for my hair. I deep condition with Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment (no fragrance) and the Jessicurl Hair Therapy Wrap. For 2nd, 3rd and 4th hair, I refresh with some water and Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, which really defines my curls.
What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?
It is not necessarily one moment, but I am bummed that none of my friends have curly hair, or better said: none of them are following the CG method or "into the whole curl-world". They don't really understand all the effort it takes, and they joke about my satin pillowcase and bonnet, for example. It feels kind of lonely, but thankfully, there's an entire loving and supporting curly community out there! My friends do all agree that my hair looks really good compared to before I started my natural hair journey, so I get the last laugh. I get complimented a lot on my hair nowadays. A few years ago, if I were asked about the one thing I would like to change most about my body, I would have said my hair. Now, it is the one thing I am most proud of!
Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health?
Using heat when deep conditioning made an incredible difference, it helps me get a lot more out of my deep conditioning sessions. Also, I discovered Olaplex No. 3 a while ago, and I have to say, it is a game changer! It really does what it says: it actually repairs my hair. I don't know how, but it works.
What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture?
Don't be discouraged if your curls don't look as you had hoped they would by a certain point: it really takes time. And by time, I mean months, years even. My hair is still improving, and I've been following the CG method for a year now. Don't let your friends make you feel silly about taking care of your hair. Our hair is part of our bodies, and it is just as important to take good care of your hair as it is to take care of the rest of your body. Also, do your research. I've learned that ingredients and application methods make a LOT of difference when it comes to how my hair looks. Try to listen to what your curls are telling you, nourish them, love them, and they will reward you with a poppin' style you are proud to wear.