A Curly Girl Dishes On Why She'll Always Stay Natural

3Photo: Courtesy of Curly Essence.
UPDATE: This post was originally published on April 29.
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Tell us a little about the history of your curly hair.
Well, I was natural my whole life. I had huge, soft-but-kinky-hair which I always kept braided. I didn’t know how else to wear it because of the lack of styles for natural women in the media. My mother never relaxed my hair, but as I grew up, I felt pressure from high school and the media to straighten it. I relaxed it for about a year and a half until I got tired of it. I’d lost my curls and my hair was weak and breaking because of the heat and the chemicals. I couldn’t put up with the maintenance; it just wasn’t worth it. So, I cut it off and now I’m nearing two years of being natural again!
How would you describe your texture?
I have soft, fluffy hair. I believe it’s the 4A type, but I don’t think hair charts are accurate. I feel like my hair is just a jumble of textures and I can’t really categorize it, but for now I’ll go with 4A.
1Photo: Courtesy of Curly Essence.
How do you care for your curly hair?
I don’t like it when my hair takes up too much of my time, so I wash it once a week, condition it, and apply olive oil. I do twist-outs and braid-outs at night to stop my hair from tangling and to achieve the afro look.
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My favorite part of my routine is when I have an old twist-out and want to revamp the look. On dry hair, I apply some conditioner, then some coconut or olive oil, and then I twist out the hair. The result is usually a humungous fluffy fro like the one I have in the pictures.
What products do you recommend and what can you not live without?
I absolutely am in love with Burt’s Bees' new line of shampoo and conditioners. The "baobab" scent is my favorite. I also love the pomegranate scent. Beside that, the conditioner is very thick and creamy, so I use it as a leave-in conditioner on my hair. It’s 99% natural and it doesn’t contain any sulphates or parabens. It’s really great for my twist-outs and braid-outs.
I use any oil that I happen to have. I usually use coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or almond oil, but right now I’m just using olive oil from the grocery store. I’m not a product junkie; I minimize my product use.
2Photo: Courtesy of Curly Essence.
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How do you see this new “back to our roots” movement?
I absolutely love it! Women, especially women of color, are embracing their natural hair. A lot of women these days refuse to let society dictate how we wear our hair anymore. It’s great seeing everyone love themselves without conforming to society’s standards of beauty.
I believe it’s not just a movement, but it’s also a realization that we are beautiful without any alterations. I would love to see this more in my country, Zimbabwe, because I feel like a lot of women still believe that straight hair is better than curly hair. But, I know we’ll get there.
You can find Cheryl here.