Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hair story?
I wouldn’t necessarily say always haha but I am absolutely in love with them now. I’d like to think my hair is simply another physical characteristic but at the end of the day, I most certainly can’t deny that having my hair as it is has played a hand in shaping me. The curls always draw the attention of others, both in positive manner such as admiration and curiosity, as well as on rare occasions some teasing as a kid or ignorant comments. Regardless though, the attention has given me a small platform in a sense, where I felt I had been given opportunities and even the responsibility to communicate my view, a platform to share my voice. That has actually been a confidence booster. So if nothing else, I appreciate these curls for that!
How long has it taken for you to “master” the care of your your hair? Who/what helped you gain mastery?
Oh I am still in the process! Haha no I would say I got most of my hair care techniques through trial and error. As new products and styles have come about, I find my hair routines evolve but I have learned specific steps that suit me and my lifestyle. When I was in primary school, my mum would put my hair into plaits and it would be frizzy in the front like a lions mane by lunch. Don’t even get me started on school picture days, what a process! By middle school my cousin, who has very similar hair to mine, showed me how to do a pony tail. Woo hoo, I was on my way. I felt so accomplished. I was blowing through bottles of mousse, hair spray, JAM hair gel, leave in conditioners from every brand and of course extortionately priced anti frizz and shine serums. It wasn’t until high school that I decided to let my curls “live”. My hair was very long and I used to let it frizz out into a big afro with no products in it. And I mean frizz. It didn’t have much shape but I felt good about it and it cost me less that’s for sure! I would get people who gave me those half compliments like the “I wouldn’t do it but you look … cool” phrase. I got a texturizer the summer after high school as I just felt like a change and was told it would be temporary. After a few months when my volume didn’t come back I cut it out and have been rocking my natural curls since then, about 6 years now.
What is your cleansing hair regime (how often do you shampoo, condition, deep condition and with what products)?
I shampoo around every ten days using an anti dandruff shampoo called T/Gel by Neutrogena. I don’t have any dandruff but back when I used to use a lot of products I would get build up so now I really just like to keep my scalp clean and healthy. It’s more of a preventative step. I use Mixed Chicks deep conditioner on days I shampoo. Days where I wet my hair but don’t shampoo, I use the Paul Labrecque Repair Condition Restorative Protein Mask. It’s a mouthful but it’s an amazing product. I only use two leave in products on my hair; L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil for colour treated hair (protects from UV rays and is very light) and the green bottle Olive Oil brand moisturizing hair lotion (I have been using it forever and the smell feels homey to me so I can’t stop!). There is so much advice on products so I will say, use what works for you! I am definitely going to try some of the healthier environmentally conscious brands when I get some time to sit and look through reviews. I feel like a new woman when I change products haha, it’s a curly girl thang My secret to achieving volume besides not detangling from the roots is using a wide tooth comb on dry or only slightly moist hair at the roots. This without fail gives my hair so much umph! Vava voom I love it! I actually keep it in my purse with me. I have a mini one that has the same width on the tooth its just shorter. Honestly, I cant live without it. I am a volume addict! If you wanna get on my level, getchya one! I got mine at Sally’s in the States for pennies!
What is your de-tangling process?
After applying hair products, if it’s not a day where I shampooed, I will brush from the middle to the ends of my hair with a wooden bristled paddle brush. I like to brush from the middle to the ends of my hair so my roots keep the volume while the curls get some tlc at the tips. It definitely helps keep the ends curly. Now, if I am detangling the whole thing 0.o haha I separate my hair into sections and make sure to apply moisturizer throughout and just get to detangling. I find myself using my wide tooth comb more often then my paddle brush when I am going from roots to tip. It’s more thorough that way.
How do you achieve your daily hair style?
I am really all about that wash and go life! I will admit day one looks a little less lush but that’s a struggle I am willing to face because day two and three look boss! I use moisturizer followed by my paddle brush, working it through the wet tips. Once it’s dried somewhat, I use the wide tooth comb on my roots. Keeping the ends defined and less frizzy really depends on moisturizing it properly and using the brush on them to separate the curls enough for volume but not to make them frizzy. I also do ringlets every now and again. I think people call that a twist out. I did them once on a flight from NYC to LA and although I looked fab when I took them out in LA, on that flight it was a different story. I passed a cute guy in the isle too and thought, I knew I should have done a wash and go! haha no but the curls were so much more defined and had no frizz. I made about 14 twists and left them in for about 7 hours. I used moisturizer and my UV protective hair oil. I don’t know how other people do them but that worked for me. I usually leave my hair out when I sleep. Keeping it in a hair tie or wrap often gives me tension head aches and I typically just don’t like things on my head. If I shower and wet my hair before bed, I like to moisturize it and then put it in a high bun using a clip, not a hair tie. I just twist the hair around into a little ball and then clip it in place. I like the way it looks the next day too. I can take it out of the clip and because its mostly dried, when I untwist the bun the curls are larger and don’t shrink as much so I can just sprits a water bottle on my hair to loosen it and use my comb on the roots (obsessed) to fluff it up.
You live in Europe, can you share where you purchase most of your products so that others may find them as well?
I actually buy most of my products on the American Military base in Germany where my mum and dad live. Europe surely has places to buy the products also but as of right now, I have yet to look for them! I also like to look online for products as you can research the reviews and see recommended products which I find quite handy.
How did/do battle the internal voice that may speak words of doubt about the beauty and worthiness of your natural beauty?
I honestly don’t have an ounce of doubt or insecurity about my hair in all aspects of it, from the tame days to the I broke another comb days, its all love and therefore beautiful. Plus if I am confident, no one has the power to shake that.
What hair product can’t you live without?
My olive oil leave in conditioner. Keeping my hair moisturized is EVERYTHING. In addition, the wide tooth comb… If my place was burning down and I had time to grab one thing, guess what! That comb is coming with mama. Sorry to be dramatic but it feels like that sometimes!!
Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses about natural hair?
Keep your hair moisturized! Moisture moisture moisture. Also GET A TRIM. Don’t be afraid of losing length. Trimming the ends will help your hair grow, TRUST ME. I love my hair stylist! She taught me that and it completely revolutionized my hair care. Definitely have fun. Curly hair never seems to curl the same way twice no matter if you repeat the same steps down to the most intricate details. It has a mind of its own. Respect that and just go with it. Lastly, please just remember, you are much more than a curl pattern. Hair is beautiful and full of expression and all that good stuff but it is hair, and your confidence is worth much more than that, don’t stress.