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!