As a Type 2c wavy, it can be surprisingly difficult to find other wavies with my hair type who rock their natural waves without a curling wand. I've spent more time than I'd like to admit searching for photos, closely studying curl patterns, trying to identify fellow 2c wavies (though I suspect many in our curly community have done the same). As you can imagine, I was very excited when NaturallyCurly reader Mandapandaxo shared her photo on StyleNook. I immediately contacted her to see what she uses and ask her how she styles her hair.

What are your Holy Grail products?

Are there any tricks or tips that you've figured out along the way that have made a big difference in the way your hair looks?

The tips I've learned that have helped me greatly to style my hair are

1. Applying my products to soaking wet hair

2. Brushing my products through or using the praying hands method to help my curls clump together to achieve more definition. Using a Denman brush or one similar to it, (in my case I just use my Shine brush by the brand Wet brush), can help greatly. If you still want to skip out on the brush then the praying hands method is such a great way to not disturb your curls but get them to clump together well.

What piece of advice would you give to a wavy who's just starting out in their curly hair journey and feels frustrated?

Give it time! As much as you want to put your hair back in that tight ponytail or bun don't do it and as much as you want to straighten your hair don't do it! Stay positive, keep a hair journey album so to speak so you can keep track of your progress and look back at them when you're feeling down or frustrated with your hair. Another thing that helped me a ton  was joining the Our healthy hair Journey FB group created by Felicia Jones (@Hif3licia on instagram). Every time I have a question about a method, my routine, or a product, there's always another curly girl there to help me!

How do you get your waves and curls to look defined?

I simply apply products to soaking wet hair (I always use a leave in, cream, and then a gel), brush it all through or use the praying hands method, scrunch, and then diffuse. I take my time diffusing, it's important not to rush that part especially with wet hair. Also, if I see a section or curl becoming frizzy I make sure to stop and wet that area a bit, smooth it out, scrunch and then I proceed with diffusing.

What made you decide to start your healthy hair journey? What has the change in your hair and routine been like?

The only reason I began straightening my hair constantly was because a stylist unfortunately ruined my hair with a relaxer WITHOUT my consent. A lot of people don't believe that to be possible but if you check on google you can clearly see I'm not the only one! My curls were gone, they were lifeless and at the time I had no clue how to get them back so I turned to the blow dryer/flat iron. I was only 14/15 at the time so of course I didn't know about using heat protectant or deep conditioning and so on so I added heat damage on top of the salon nightmare. Curly girls on youtube/Instagram like Sunkissalba, Muchmorethanbeauty, and Hif3licia taught me so much about how to Properly take care of my hair since they went through the journey themselves! Last year I decided that enough was enough and I was going to put all my hot tools away and get my curls back! It has been 6 months now and I still have a long way to go but looking back at how my hair used to be, there's definitely no way I could even think about going back to constantly straightening my hair.

2015 vs. 2017 I only began my Journey 6 months so i still have long way to go but if I can do it SO CAN YOU!

The change in my hair and routine has definitely been a little hard at times, finding the proper techniques and products is and will always be trial and error i feel like but I'm loving my journey and the curly community so much! I'm so happy I decided to finally completely love and take care of my natural wavy/curly hair!

You can see more of Amanda's routine on YouTube and follow her on Instagram as @mandapanda_xo.