Why One Curly-Haired Babe Regrets Relaxing Her Mane

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Curly2 copyPhoto: Courtesy of Curly Essence.
This week, we caught up with Rimona Bahere, an Eritrea-born photographer and artist living in the Netherlands. Although she's still in high school, her philosophy on owning who you are is an outlook we could all snag.

Curly Essence: Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Rimona Bahere: "My name is Rimona, also known as "rimoonhb,” or "rimonahb,” on social media. I’m a high school student with lots of interests and ambitions. I’m mainly focused on school and photography at this moment. Besides that, I love music, partying, art, and hanging out with my friends. I’m probably the laziest person you’ll ever meet, but I'm not really proud of that fact. At the same time, I’m a really fun and outgoing person.

RELATED: Take A Peek At This Curly-Haired Beauty

Curly Essence: Tell us a little about the history of your curly hair.
"I’ve been through a lot of phases when it comes to my hair. My mom was a hairdresser, so she was always the person maintaining my hair, and she was the one who took care of it, with lots of pleasure. After a while, when I was around 12, I really started hating my frizzy hair. I begged my mom to relax it, but she kept saying no because it would really damage my hair.

After a while, when I really drove my mom nuts, she said okay, and relaxed my hair. I was happy, but just for a while. After four months, I had hair loss and my hair was completely damaged. It took me two years to completely have my own natural hair back (I had to cut it weekly; I I hated it). After that, I promised myself never to use any chemicals in my hair.

I’ve already mentioned that I am really lazy, right? Well, that’s my whole problem. I really don’t do that much to keep it healthy. Months flew by, and my hair was getting in really bad condition (you could almost say that I had a rasta). Then I realized I had to go to the hairdresser, and she decided to cut almost half of my hair. I literally cried, but it’s a lesson for next time. So here I am, back to my own natural curly hair, trying to keep it healthy, and trying not to make mistakes I’ve made in the past.

How long did you find yourself in the transition process back to natural hair, and why did you make this decision?
I saw the hair loss from of the chemicals, and how my hair was damaged by it. I had two options: I could keep using the chemicals and and have more of my hair fall out, I could look terrible for two years while it grew out, but have my own natural hair back afterwards. I chose the second one, and I’m happy I did.
Curly1 copyPhoto: Courtesy of Curly Essence.
RELATED: Is Mineral Oil Or Vegetable Oil Better For Your Hair?

What was the hardest part of your transition?
It wasn’t hard, although I was kind of scared to show my natural hair to the world. People mostly saw me with straight hair — some people didn’t even know I had curls! I was kind of nervous, but from day one I had really positive reactions, so I didn’t mind after that.

How would you describe your texture?
I have really small curls when I come out of the shower. When it dries, my hair is kind of dry, less curly than before, and has more of an afro texture. My curls do stay defined at the end, though, more like a type 3C/4A.

How do you care for your curls?
If you asked me this question a couple months ago, I would have answered, ”I wash it with shampoo and conditioner, and that’s it." I’ve changed my habits, though! I wash it about three times a week with special shampoo and conditioner for frizzy hair. While washing it, I comb it through gently, so it won’t tangle. When I’m finished, I put 100% Moroccan argan oil in, and, I try to make a pure biologic mask every week containing mayonnaise, olive oil, and avocado. It makes my hair shiny and less likely to break.

RELATED: How Often Should You Wash Natural Hair?

What products you recommend, and what can you not live without?
John Frieda's frizzy hair line, including the shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner. And, the argan oil, which is perfect for curls!

Is there a secret that you can share concerning the way you treat your curly hair?
I don’t do anything special. The routine I described beforehand is everything I do!

How do you see this new “back to our roots” movement?
I love it! I love when black women show off their natural hair. It shows strength, confidence, and beauty. It’s a pity that there are still a lot of women out there ashamed of their natural hair. I’ve been there, but trust me, this was one of the best decisions I’ve made in the last few years! My hair has become my trademark, and I’m proud of it!

Ana Rita D' Almeida and Denise Sonnemberg — two Lisbon-based twenty-somethings behind the blog Curly Essence — know that you are not your hair. Still, there's no reason not to celebrate the natural hair movement, and now, the ladies are bringing their expertise in everything from the best leave-in conditioners to the top travel spots straight to R29.