On The Couch With Emma!

by Shanti and Antoinette of AroundTheWayCurls 

I'd like to start by learning more about you. What is your name? What is your background? Where are you from? How do you define yourself?
I'm Emma Cole Hart... I was born in New Mexico and lived in Flagstaff, Arizona with my mom, my Aunt Gail and her girlfriend until I was five... when I was five, my mom met my current step dad and we moved in with him shortly after.... A year or two later my little brother was born and we stayed in Flagstaff until I was eight. Money was tight and jobs were slim, so we packed up our lives and moved to a rural town in southern Utah called Boulder Town. I lived there until I was thirteen, which was when we (once again due to job and money issues) moved to Bellingham, Washington, which is where I still am today at fifteen. I live with my mom and step dad, my brother and my best friend from Utah, who's name is America. My aunt and her son Desmond (who's father is from Guinea) (OH! and I suppose I should mention that I lived in Tunis, Tunisia in Africa for a year when I was in sixth grade.) 

We met via your tumblr photo submission where you wrote, "It's always a surprise to people, but I think my picture belongs here." Can you explain what you met by that? 
Well, people always ask me if I'm  half black, or if I have African or African-American in my family because of my kinky hair. I always say "No", and then people just assume that I've gotten a perm (nope!) I reassure them that my curls are all natural and they're always amazed. I've always tried to get myself into the ethnic-hair community because really it seems to be the only place that understands the maintenance and honestly-the personality that comes with super curly hair. I think that part of my wiley personality and free spirit is expressed in my hair, and I find that to come through in more than a few people that I've met that have hair similar to mine.

It is no secret that Shanti and I are both bi-racial with white mothers. At times, I have found it difficult despite having textured hair and being one of the co-founders of this blog to be accepted into the 'natural hair community'. In terms of being accepted and 'fitting in' whether it be family, friends or society related, what has your experience been? 
I lived in Africa for a year when I was eleven. I think that's when I really started accepting my hair. I had this really good friend who was half Indian and her dad was from Nigeria. She had the most beautiful, long, frizzy (in a good way) curly hair that I'd ever seen. She started to encourage me to wear my hair down instead of keeping it up in a bun or a pony tail like I usually did. I really started loving my hair. It was kind of weird because people would give me funny looks when her and I walked around together... usually they just thought I was just super pale, haha. When I came back, it was like... my hair wasn't just natural and fun...it was like some kind of Velcro that attracted old ladies who would just pet me for a few minutes and tell me how "cute" I was.. and how "awesome" my hair was. It was really sweet, but I felt like people were treating me like a phenomenon when I had just learned to accept my hair as a part of my personality instead of something out of the ordinary.

Now, I absolutely love my hair! The guy I'm seeing right now is African-American and we call each other hair twins. His is more nappy and his fro definitely beats mine by far... but it's just a part of me now. He loves my hair. I love my hair. And it's easy to feel comfortable in my own skin and curls.

Have you always embraced your locks? Have you ever considered getting a relaxer? 
When I was a lot younger...about eight... I hated my hair. I wanted desperately for my mom to buy me a straightening iron or get my hair permed straight- it was just too much for me to handle! Now, I'm thanking my mom daily for not letting me do that to my hair, because I really love it now and I love that it's bouncy and hydrated rather than ruined, flat and fried.  

How would you describe your hair? 
My hair is bipolar. One day I can wear it down and it's not frizzy at all. The curls are big and do exactly what I want and I love it and feel confident with it.
Other days, my hair is just a big mess of frizz and almost-dreds. 

From another perspective, my hair IS me. It describes me, and represents all my moods... it can be pulled back and hidden.. it can be braided into tons of little braids who are all different yet a lot alike, or it can be wild and all out there. I love my hair and how it represents who I am. 

What is your current regimen? What products do you use?
Right now- I'm all about the warm olive oil. I love it! It hydrates my hair and keeps it soft. Split ends disappear, and i feel totally rejuvenated. What I do, is i take extra virgin olive oil- or just plain vegetable oil- either one. (canola oil doesn't make my hair smell so olive-y) I heat it up in a pan on the stove, until it's warm, about the temp I take my showers. Then I have my mom or a friend or somebody massage it into my hair, down to my scalp. I wrap a plastic bag around my hair and sleep with it in (adding a towel in helps so your pillow doesn't get all oily) I wash it out the next day and heavily condition it and it feels wonderful. I also use Moroccon oil as a sort of leave-in kinda thing if I gotta get my hair to look less frizzy if I need to go really quick after i jump out of the shower. 
I'm also a huuuge fan  of coconut oil! It's great.... I use it as a leave-in, as a gel- whatever! It smells great, and my hair absorbs it really well so it doesn't feel greasy.
I deep-condition my hair at least three times a week, and only was it about once ever week- or even less sometimes. My hair dries out super easily and washing it too much really does a number on my curlies.
I try to use after-conditioners with SPF in them, because I find that the sun really fries my hair and gives me super bad split-ends.
(EMMA!!! YOU ONLY TALKED ABOUT OILS! You've got to find a good leave-in conditioner! Read this post☺ ) 

Who is your hair idol?
Okay, that is sooo hard to say honestly. I do have to say either my Aunt Connie- or my friend Gigi (who I mentioned earlier) My aunt connie who is my biological aunt's partner of about twenty five years, has really similar hair to me. Whenever people used to ask me where I got my hair (which they did- daily). Despite the fact that my aunt connie and I weren't blood-related- I'd always say "My aunt connie!" I love having hair conversations with her and laughing about when I was a little kid. She doesn't anymore- but she used to rock her hair HUGE and I really respect that in people who have curls. 
What advice would you give to women that have kinkier/textured hair? 
Accept it- realize that it will really make your personality pop! Think about your girls as a nice shirt that accents your eyes- but instead it's your hair that accents your enthusiastic, beautiful personality! That's what has really gotten me. 

Lastly, I want to leave you with a hard question. What would you say to those who will look at this post with contempt and criticize us for showcasing and featuring you because of obvious reasons?
I'm a white girl. Really, I'm Irish, Scottish, Swedish with a little bit of English in there somewhere...I've got no color in me... But that has never stopped me from embracing my somewhat-ethnic hair. It doesn't matter what color your skin is, where you're from or how you express yourself.... it's a matter of whether or not you're going to accept yourself. I definitely do... and my hair is a huge part of who I am so if that means I have to prove that I'm worthy in the naturally curly hair community, then so be it! But why get worked up about people being who they really are? People who don't accept that just haven't accepted themselves and to those of you who haven't, I welcome you to delve into a whole other world of self-exploration and amazement. Your hair (even if it's not kinky) should be a part of that!
To Antoinette and Shanti- I just wanna say thank you girls so much for recognizing me and asking me to be featured on your blog. It really makes me so happy. I recently found a lady who will actually cut my hair without hesitation. She encouraged me to check out some curly hair blogs and that's how I found you guys! Thanks. 

What do you think? Should the 'Natural Hair Police' chill out and welcome Emma with open arms? We vote... YES!

Denise Richards Talks Big, Wavy Hair!

Lately, my Google searches go something like this--

'at home hair thickening treatment',

'naturally volumize fine ass hair',

'mousse for bigger hair'

...and things of that nature. Hundreds of henna, beer rinse, oat flour and sexually inappropriate results later, I happened upon something that caught me off guard. Apparently, Denise Richards has a volumizing hair care line. Denise Richards. You know...actress, model, white she-devil from Undercover Brother... Charlie Sheen's ex-wife? I couldn't help but reach out and I'm glad I did! She's super down to earth, friendly and a fellow curly. She'll also be in the new Tyler Perry movie! #WINNING

CN: Your hair is stunning! It's obviously naturally textured, but how would you describe it?

Thank you! My hair is thick with a bit of natural wave. Although it's very full, I feel like it's gotten less curly over the years.

CN: What was it like growing up with wavy hair? Did you always like it?

As a kid, we always want to be part of the ‘status quo”, which usually means having perfectly straight, shiny hair. I battled with my hair at the time (hey, it was the 80’s!) but through the years I stopped fighting my hair and found a style that works for me.

CN: What are your go-to products?

Speaking of the 80’s…. it’s all about the hairspray! But a much more grown up version, like the Volumizing Hair Spray from my Volume Extend line. I’m currently obsessed with my new line of products- they’re so luxurious and make my beauty routine a breeze.

CN: Tell me of this new volumizing haircare line?

My new hair care line, Volume Extend, is a volumizing line I created with celebrity hairstylist, Cristophe that uses cutting-edge formulas to achieve the perfect balance of volume and thickness without any frizz! It should go without saying, but these products are never tested on animals and are sulfate and paraben free.

CN: What is your current routine? How does it differ when you're working?

When I’m working, I have the best in the biz making sure I look perfect from every angle; I just let them work their magic! But when I’m at home, it’s all about my kids, which means my beauty routine is pared down to the bare minimum. I think the best way to keep it simple is to adopt a beauty routine that keeps your hair healthy and your skin glowing.

CN: As a new mother, I always ask celeb moms this question- How the hell do you do it? How do you save your last nerve while juggling career and kids?

I think it’s important to take time out for yourself. As a working mother, it’s easy to lose yourself in the demands of others, but what’s most important is maintaining a healthy, happy ‘self’. I recommend taking an hour to go for a walk, meditate, spend quality time with your friends – these are the things that maintain sanity.

CN: Any new and upcoming movie projects?

I recently guest starred on 30 Rock and I am currently working on a new Tyler Perry film, “Madea’s Witness Protection”!

CN: Dope. Can't wait! Where can we connect with you on the web?

You can follow me on Twitter (@DENISE_RICHARDS) or on my website at www.DeniseRichards.com. You can buy my products at www.cristophe.com!

On the Couch With Janja

Meet Janja... a gorgeous curly who spends her summers on the Adriatic Coast. Even across the pond, embracing her curls was something she had to learn.

CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you?
While growing up my curls were never constant, so my hair-mood also depended on that. I was an extremely curly newborn, but as my hair grew longer, it became straighter and straighter. Then when I was about to start school, I went to the hairdresser who suddenly cut it all off and left me sitting in front of her big frightening mirror with a huge lion's mane.

Now this sudden image-transition, from that cute little girl with long nice braided (straight) hair to the confused little girl with a big wad on her head, was not so easy to handle for a child. Added the fact that I was growing up in a small Swedish town (not very multicultural back then), surrounded by people with very thin and extremely straight hair, didn't make things easier. I was constantly combing my hair in hopes of getting it back the way it used to be. But the more I combed, the bigger and frizzier it got. My remedy for this state of hair became tight buns and headbands. And as much as I would love to be able to say that I have always embraced my curls, I have to come out with the exact opposite: at that time I felt really comfortable with hiding a big part of myself because that way I didn't have to feel so different.

Later I got really tired of constantly patting my hair down and realized that I would never have thin, straight hair like all of my friends had. All of a sudden, it didn't make any sense at all to hide my hair. I actually liked what was covered under that headband and what was camouflaged by that tight bun!

CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?
Luckily, my parents have always wanted to make me and my sisters feel comfortable in who we are, with everything we've got - including hair issues =) We are four sisters and we all don't have curly hair, but we all do have big/thick hair that stands out. Our parents would always tell us to embrace that and our father is still always adding, "others are wishing they had hair like you, girls!".

In general, people respond very positively to my hair. Actually, I cannot remeber one single negative comment about my hair (or maybe I just ignored those?). I guess mostly you keep it for yourself if you don't like it and compliment it just if you do. Personal preferences should exist and I don't care if everybody does not like my hair.

Occasionally I do wear my hair straight and I like that as well. I like it because it is a small and temporary change. I like it because it is sooo easy to wake up with straight hair, lying there exactly as it was when you fell asleep. I like it because I can wear my hair down without any concern for it to get too big and messy at the end of the day. But then, after a few days, this long, perfectly straight and shiny hair just looks like something that doesn't belong to me. When I touch it, it doesn't feel like a part of me. Then I start to miss my actual hair so much I can't wait to get under the shower and wash my curls back to life again!

CN: What are your must have products?
A good conditioner! I abuse conditioners. I cannot imagine washing my hair without it. I would rather go dirty-haired than do that (charming, I know). I can use pretty much any conditioner, I just need them silicone-free and with a nice smell. The ones that I do love a little bit extra is the DevaCurl One Conditioner, but because I cannot find it in Europe I also like a conditioner from Garnier Fructis Repair & Shine (that I can find ANYWHERE and the price doesn't give me guilty conscious). I also need something to keep my curls from frizzing, so a cream or a light gel works good for me (I want my hair soft when I touch it, so nothing too hard here). Right now I use KCCC, but next I would like to try Darcy's Botanicals.

CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?
After washing my hair, I condition it well and rinse it out just as well. Then I put some more (oh yes!) conditioner in it and just quickly splash it with some water (just soak it, without rinsing it out). To not make a big mess of my curls and in order to not seperate them too much, I don't towel-dry them but just wrap an old t-shirt around my hair to soak up the water, but not the moist. Then I put some creme or gel (no oils for me) in it and let it airdry!

CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?
I spend most of my summers on the Adriatic Coast, where I can just jump into the water whenever I feel too hot and the salty water makes my hair behave very well. It is too hot for me to keep my hair down during the summer months, so I like to just keep my hair wet after showering in the morning and put it all up on the top of my head (then it dries realy slowly, so while walking around with wet hair I get the greatest refresher on a hot day). Another very comfortable solution during summer is to wind a big scarf around my hair. Very simple, very comfortable!

On the Couch With Sharon

Meet Sharon... gorgeous curly who catches grief from CHI guy in the mall!

CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you?
No! I didn't really know how...I never straightened my hair, but I would blow it dry with my fingers which would give me a mass of wavy hair. My curls are now mostly 3a, with 3b underneath.

CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?

Mostly friends & strangers have made comments--all very positive; I thank them! Say how much I love them. The only one who gives me any negativity, is the guy selling the Chi in the Galleria shopping mall; I always tell him forget it, I love my curls!

CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?
Curl Junkie products are my favorites! I use the Daily Fix to wash and then skip having to condish; I use her leave-in, CJ CCCC-lite, and CIAB with a dab of Herbal Essence Set Me Up Gel mixed in for extra hold.

CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?
Argh! I'm having a hard time, but not using too much conditioner (which my hair just soaks up in the winter!), using smaller amounts of products, and doing my hair every other day, or every 2 days seems to help. I also just have to embrace the frizz--a very hard thing to do! But living in Houston is a must!

On the Couch With Shani!

Meet Shani... she helps us to remember that 'there’s more to life than just hair'!

CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you?
No, I can’t say I’ve always embraced my natural curls because I didn’t learn how to care for
them until I was about 23 years old. I remember being a young girl with an afro that was always
brushed out. My mother herself has 3b/3c hair that is a massive explosion of curls! She didn’t
always wear her hair curly either. I remember her blow drying her hair and putting it into roller
sets and then she would blow my hair out and put it in a ponytail.

When I was about 21, I started locking my hair and went through the process of that until I saw Lorraine Massey’s book, “Curly Girl”. At the time, I was working in a bookstore and saw it on the shelf. There I was, with a head full of brown dreadlocks, thumbing through the pages and seeing how gorgeous all these women’s hair was. This was right around the time where natural hair was making a comeback. Being Latina, I always related to my hair being ethnic, so I always followed the trends of Black and Latina women. After buying the book, I committed myself to the idea that I would cut off my locks, and start fresh with a head of curls.

CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?
My mother was happy when she heard I cut my locks off. She wasn’t very accepting of the hair
style because she thought it was 'unsanitary' and very 'unsightly' on me. I expected her to be
happy. A lot of my friends were shocked because my hair was about an inch long, so it was
more that I cut my locks off than the fact that I was going curly. As far as responding to them,
well, I accepted their compliments and occasional gasps gracefully, but I didn’t look at their
responses as validations or rejections. It was outside of the journey that I knew I was beginning.

CN: What are your must have products?

For the moment, I use Suave Naturals Coconut conditioner as a co-wash, then I finish with
Tresemme Naturals conditioner. It does change though and after 7 years on the CG program,
I’ve been through a lot of products and a lot of routines. As far as gels, creams and mousses
go, I have been steering clear of the –cones, parabens, and –xanes. At this moment, I adore
Aussie’s Opposites Attract spray gel. It has a pleasant scent and doesn’t leave my hair crunchy.
I hope to try Kinky-Curly Curling Custard, but that’s the only new product I’ll be trying. Being a
curly girl can lead to obsessive product hoarding which is a real sickness if you think about it.
I’m trying to separate myself from the addiction and it’s been two months since I have bought
any new products. I’m doing good.

CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?
I basically start by letting water run through my hair. I allow it to become drenched. But, it’s
not textbook how it is explained in Massey’s book. My hair doesn’t untangle on its own, so I
use my fingers to separate the curls. Then I fingercomb it until it’s all at it’s length. It’s usually
well conditioned before I go in the shower so I don’t have to put conditioner to detangle it all
the time.
After I rinse, I take Suave Naturals Coconut conditioner and put A LOT in my hair to smooth it through and massage my scalp. I let it sit for a moment while I clean myself, and then I rinse it through. It’s usually very slippery so I rinse and massage at the same time.
After I co-wash, I then condition with Tresemme naturals conditioner. Just regular 3 minutes of
conditioning. I rinse in cold water with my head upside down while scrunching the water out. I
scrunch a couple of more times after I cut off the water and then I take a towel put it over my
back and let my hair relax for a minute. I do my best not to overhandle it while it’s wet. I just let it be. At some point, I spray the gel in, making sure to get the roots and I might scunch again, but it needs to be very wet. After that, I sort of arrange the loose waves where I want it parted and I LEAVE IT ALONE. It takes about 4 hours to completely dry. Sometimes I will take a nap while I rest my face on my arm and my hair is fanned out. It’s like I’m so used to the routine, I never roll over.

CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?
For the summer, I usually bun 4 or 5 days out of the week to keep my ends from being exposed
to the strong sun of Florida. It also takes my mind off of my hair. Sometimes, it’s good because I
can free my mind to do other things besides playing with my hair. It’s amazing how many hours
I have spent, unknowingly, pulling my curls. It’s the best feeling ever, it’s like a drug. Pulling the
curls and feeling it spring back, it’s my guilty pleasure, but it does eventually cause splits and

CN: Anything else you'd like to add
It’s funny because I used to obsess over getting the CG routine done exactly the way it was
described. I was very to the book about it. Then, time passed, hormones changed and I aged.
The realization I have had is that your hair IS going to change. You might have a set of tight
curls today and some event will pass (pregnancy, stress, a move to a new location) and you will
end up with a head full of different textures and sizes of curls. Enjoy the ride! THERE IS NO
PERFECT CURL. My theory is that if the hair is well taken care of and trimmed regularly, it will
reflect that. If you take good care of your body and your emotional state of mind, that will also
show in your hair. I have so many stories I could tell, but they all have the running theme of
whatever happens in your life, it will reflect in your health, state of mind and your hair. My hair
is not the priority in my life. This is why my hair looks good. Some days I’ll see some waves on
the canopy and a thick row of 3b/3c curls underneath. One day long ago I would have been
so bothered by it, but nowadays I look at it differently. I have a relationship with my hair, not an
attachment to it. It has freed me. If you think that curly girls gone straight are the only ones in
denial, it’s not completely true. I was in denial with curly hair for a very long time. Attached to
the idea of what it ‘should’ look like. Detach yourself from the idea that hair shouldn’t be frizzy,
from the idea that all the curls should look the same, from not cutting your ends. And lastly, if
you are a product junkie, it’s important to reign that all in, after all, you could use that money to
buy vitamins or food that will make you feel better as a person. Pick up an instrument or learn a
language. Play with your kids. There’s more to life than just hair!
Muah muah muah XOXO all my Curly Sisters.

On the Couch With Whitney C.

Meet Whitney... yet another Flax Seed Gel fan!

CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you?
I never embraced my natural curls until about a year ago. I constantly fought them with flat-ironing, relaxers, and thermal reconditioning. I was always awkward looking when I was growing up, kids would tell me I should brush my hair in the morning, which I did. Huge mistake, haha! My inspiration to see my natural hair texture was watching Nip/Tuck and seeing actress Annalynne McCord walk on the set with her beautiful curly hair and being confident about it. I pretty much fell in love with her hair and upon searching curly hair on Google I ran into NaturallyCurly.com.

CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?

My family loves my hair, I haven't had a single negative comment from any of them so far. My friends always love my hair as well, a few of the girls actually wouldn't mind if I helped them with their hair. Strangely enough, I get so many compliments on my hair all the time from strangers, which NEVER happened when I kept my hair pin straight. I usually see a lot of people with a baffled look on their face seeing as I look very unmixed but my hair seems to throw everything off. Some people think I perm my hair, some people think I'm mixed, but I have to tell them no, no, and no, I'm full Chinese and yes, my hair is naturally curly. So far I have yet to receive anything negative, even when I go to the bars and wait in the bathroom line with the mean girls they can't help but send a compliment my way.

CN: What are your must have products?
Flaxseed gel! Whoever decided to put that in their hair is a genius. I also love Yes to Cucumbers conditioner, great slip and super moisturizing. I use it to condition my hair as well as a leave-in.

CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?

For my perfect curls, I have to make sure my hair is dripping wet when I get out of the shower. First I scrunch in some leave-in, then a lot of flaxseed gel, then a strong gel if I want a little more hold. After all the stuff is in my hair I scrunch my curls with a t-shirt then let it air-dry until my hair is about 70% dry. After that I'll diffuse to about 90% then put in some roller jaw clamps for areas that need lift and finally air-dry. I use a pomade or jojoba oil to scrunch out the crunch and I'm good to go.

CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?
I use MOP high shine glisten pomade on hot days, it helps a lot!

On the Couch With Rebecca R.

Meet Rebecca... a gorgeous curly that has thrown out the hair dyes and retired her flat iron!

CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you?
Absolutely not. For the majority of my life I hated my curls. I would stand in front of the mirror, shut my eyes as tightly as I could, and hope that when I opened them, my hair would somehow be the smooth, silky stands I desperately wanted. A few times I even cried because I thought my hair was so ugly. All I saw was this huge mass of tangles and dryness and it didn't help that my family would sometimes refer to it as a rats nest. My mother had a hard time dealing with my hair as well. She would get so frustrated sometimes when trying to brush out my hair that once she took scissors to it in a fit of furry that resulted in missing patches of hair all over my head.

When I started doing my own hair, I wore it pulled back in a bun everyday unless it was one of the rare occurrences that I went to a salon to get it straightened. When I was about 15 I begged my mom to let me get a relaxer and she gave in. It didn't get rid of my curls but it softened them and at the time, made them seem easier to manage. I didn't get another relaxer but I did start straightening my hair all the time. Once I learned to straighten my hair myself with the help of a flatiron, I straightened it every week. It took about 3-4 hours each time and I would make sure my hair was stick straight. On top of that I colored obsessively. You can imagine the damage that was done to my hair. It got to the point where the last few inches of my hair were almost stick straight from heat damage.

One day l wanted to see my natural hair and I was horrified at the damage I had done to it. It was stiff and dry and barely curly anymore. I decided right there and then to get my hair back to normal. That's when I started to do research online. I came across Naturallycurly.com and Curlynikki.com and it changed my life. I saw all these beautiful curlies and I wanted to be like that. I wanted to like my hair the way it was meant to be. I didn't want to feel like my self-esteem and self-image all depended on my hair. So after doing some reading I decided to go CG although I do use some cones now, mostly Amodimethicone. The last time I straightened my hair was in October and I've slowly been cutting off all my damaged hair. I've also decided to not dye my hair anymore since that also played a role in my damaged hair. Its gone from below bra strap length to above my shoulders but I'm happy because its healthy. And for once I actually love my hair. I've even started trying to convert other people to go natural, LOL!

CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?
I've been getting more and more compliments the healthier my hair becomes. And my family has started coming to me for advice on hair now, LOL. My mom now says she wishes she had hair like me. I'm just happy I've finally accepted and embraced my hair.

CN: What are your must have products?
I've been rotating between AG fastfood and Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Honey Butta as my leave in. Curl Keeper by Curly Solutions and AG Recoil are my absolute favorite styling combo. I've been experimenting with Ecostlyer as well and I love how soft it leaves my hair. I use The Jane Carter Solution Nourish and Shine to scrunch any crunchiness from my hair and I looove the shine it gives my hair. For deep conditioner treatments I use Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioner and Curl Junkie Rehab. I alternate them every week. For a cleanser, I use Jessicurl cleansing cream.

CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?
After I've cowashed, I apply my leave in followed by curl keeper and use a wide tooth comb to distribute it evenly. I then use Ouidad's Rake and Shake method to distribute the Recoil. I then diffuse and use nourish and shine to get rid of any crunchiness.

CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?
This is my first summer as an official curly so I'm learning as I go. But so far I havent really had any problems with frizz. Although I think the AG fastfood might be slightly better since it has Amodimethicone in it, which my hair seems to like.

1- Soon after starting CG, you can see some of my straight ends
2- A few months into CG.
3- (above) Most recent pic. I'm on the left.

Wavezncurlz- Naturally Glam Hair Idol

Meet Wavezncurlz... a natural that even when relaxed, opted for the curly look!

CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you? I always liked curly hair and I have always worn my hair curly. Even when I was relaxed, I was under-processed (texalaxed as they call it on the boards). I can't tell my relaxed days from my natural days from my pictures because I rarely wore straight styles and since my hair was bulky, I usually wore it up.

It never occurred to me that curls were not cute until I reached my teen years. I was teased for having "big hair" . I started self relaxing in high school which was in the late 80's. I was so happy when the Cosby Show and Different World became popular and featured young ladies with natural African American hair.

In college, I stopped relaxing because I was poor and didn't have money for hair appointments. I also began to wonder why I relaxed when I never wore my hair straight anyway. Every so often, I'd want a change and I found a great hairdresser who would work with my natural hair so I could temporarily have a straight style.

I've been natural for over 15 years now.I wear my hair up (buns, updos, ponies) 99% of time. I get Dominican blowouts or flat iron styling about 2-3 times a year. I never had really long hair when I relaxed. I am close to waist length now.

My mom is my natural hair inspiration. She has been natural all her life. She had the Angela Davis fierce fro when I was young, a TWA in her 40's and 50's, and now she's wearing buns and an occasional straight style.

CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?
People are used to me being curly and outside of those rough teen years, I've had positive experiences with my natural curls. The only complaint I get is from people who ask me why I don't wear it straight more often. Once I explain the time involved and the potential for damage to them, they leave me alone.

CN: What are your must have products?

My hair loves butters and cremes. I've used many over the years. My current favorites are from Qhemet Biologics - Burdock Root and Amla and Olive Heavy Cream, and Afroveda's Curl Define and Totally Twisted Ginger Almond Butter.

I use Creme of Nature shampoo (the old version) or a cheapie conditioner to co-wash.

I use IC reconstructor or Kids Organic Shea Butter Lotion for leave-ins.

I DC once a week but would love to do it more. I've been using the dominican conditioner - Silicon Mix.

When I wear it out in twist outs, I use Kinky Curly Curling Custard over a butter for styling.

CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?
Despite being natural for so many years, I rarely wore my hair out. Plain wash and gos left me with wavy, frizzy hair and no curls. I have to thank CurlyNikki and other curly focused sites for introducing me to twist-n-curls and shingling. These techniques allow me to wear my hair out in a curly hairdo that looks decent. I have to say, my best hair day was due to a Twist-n-Curl.

CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?

I haven't! I am the queen of buns and updos though. Until the weather breaks, I'll be protective styling!

CN: Anything else you'd like to add?
I'm on Naturallycurly.com and Longhaircareforum.com as wavezncurlz. Feel free to hit me up if you have any questions for me. Thanks for this opportunity.

My mom and I in 70's (I was in Kindergarten and wore afro puffs)
A recent Twist N Curl picture

On the Couch with D. Luciani

Meet D. Luciani .... a wavy that looks to a few silicones (namely Amodimethicone, just like me!) to combat the summer frizzies.

CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you?
I have really thick and coarse-ish hair that was a struggle all my life. The worst part for me was it wasn't curly or straight just annoyingly wavy and unruly. I decided to embrace my waves when I became pregnant with my daughter, out of necessity because I didn't have the time or energy to fuss with my hair and blow it out. Plus, I had to get it cut every 4-5wks to thin it out and it became expensive!! I needed to save the money for our baby :0) That was 7 yrs. ago.

CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?
Most people like my waves and I've actually never had anyone tell me that it looks better straight. I agree my hair looks better wavy.

CN: What are your must have products?
I'm a total Product Junkie so it's really hard to choose. If I had to choose one conditioner and styler that perform well in any weather I would pick Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Fix Conditioner & Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee.

CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?
This varies somewhat with the seasons but I'm finding that plopping and diffusing are musts for me. Plopping to remove excess water and diffusing immediately after to set my hair.

CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?
I'm liking Sally's Hair One Cleanser, it has Amodimethicone but it doesn't weigh my hair down like other silicones do. I've tried a couple stylers with water soluble silicones but didn't get the results I was hoping for. In my wash/conditioning routine it seems to provide a nice base for my stylers, tames frizz and keeps the poof at bay. The stylers that have been working well for me in the humidity (so far) are Darcy's Coiling Jelly, Curl Junkie Aloe Fix and JessiCurl Confident Coils all topped off with a hard hold gel.

On the Couch With Carletre

Meet Carletre... a college wavy that manages to achieve good hair days, while on a budget!

CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you?
Definitely not! I used to straighten my hair every day, and I did this for five years. I would come back to my dorm between classes and touch up the pieces that weren't stick straight. My friends thought my hair was straight naturally - they never saw it any other way! The damage to my hair was the first thing that got me thinking about letting go of the straightener. My ends kept breaking and so my hair never got any longer. One day, I went to the pool and of course my hair got wet, so it began to curl. I felt like a mess and my hair looked frizzy, but my boyfriend calmly told me that he thought that curly hair fit my face shape better. I went home and looked in the mirror and realized he was right - with a long face, straight hair only emphasized it. How ironic that what I had been avoiding all this time was actually the right look for me.

CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?
Everyone loves them. My parents, of course, always liked my hair better curly because parents love their kids "the way they are", and I always hated that reason. But they were right all along, my hair looks worlds healthier and it's just who I am. My friends always ask me if I "did my hair", which makes me glow because I didn't! I never got compliments on my straight hair the way I do on my naturally curly hair.

CN: What are your must have products?
On a college budget, I love everything a drugstore has to offer that fits the silicone and sulfate free regimen. I love Suave Naturals Tangerine because it smells great, it's affordable, and it's so light I can apply it to dry hair and it soaks right in! I also love the Herbal Essences mousses because they are great for last minute touch-ups. Sometimes the simplest things are the best, too - honey, a natural humectant, does wonders for my hair, and apple cider vinegar restores my shine and bounce and gives my hair the moisture it needs. Doesn't get more natural than that!

CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?
My curls tend to be more on the wavy side, so I find that letting my hair air-dry from being soaking wet works best for me. I try not to diffuse - this blows my hair around and causes frizz, and I am trying to stay away from heat damage as much as possible. But the best advice? Don't touch!

CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?
I keep a bottle of honey around and add it to my conditioner when I'm showering. The natural humectant properties of the honey help soak up the moisture in the air. I also find that the more moisturized my hair is the day of a high dew point, the less frizz I get.

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