This Natural-Haired Beauty Dishes On Her Must-Have Hair Products

Untitled-5Photo: Courtesy of Curly Essence.
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.
This week, we caught up with Laura Lewis, an 18-year-old beauty from The Netherlands! She told us she's 50% Nicaraguan (Creole and Native American) and 50% Dutch.
Tell us a little about the history of your curly hair.
"No one else in the family has my hair, not even my sister. When I was born I had straight black hair, when I got a little older my curls stared to show. But then, at the age of four, my hair went completely straight, which I think comes from my Native American side, and eventually lightened up to very long, light-brown waves. But, when I was 13 my hair started to change extremely quickly. I started to learn about how to maintain my curls and started looking for the right hair products, which cost me a lot of money. So far, my hair has changed every year — it's getting curlier every day, so I’m constantly looking for better hair products." 
Untitled-1Photo: Courtesy of Curly Essence.
How long did you find yourself in the transition stage — transitioning to natural — and why did you make this decision?
"When I was 12, I hated my hair; I had friends with straight hair and was very jealous because I knew how easy it can be to style and maintain straight hair. What I didn’t know at that time was that my hair was changing. I used to wear it in a bun every single day, and before I knew it, my hair was already down to my waist. It took me such a long time to find the right products, and still, everyday I learn something new about my hair — curly hair never gets boring, but it can be very frustrating at times."
What was the hardest part of your transition?
"The hardest part was knowing what was good for my hair, what kind of salons I should go to. I used to ask every curly-haired girl I knew for new hair products and tips."
How would you describe your texture?
"Soft and bouncy."
Explain to us how you care for your curly hair.
"Curly hair so sensitive, so I always make sure I use a good moisturizer or oil that also protects my hair from heat, sun, and wind like mango oil. I only wet my hair three times a week and wash it once a week. To check the condition of my curls I stretch it a little and see if they bounce back. That’s when you know your curls are in good condition."
Untitled-4Photo: Courtesy of Curly Essence.
What products do you recommend?
"First, Kruidvat Cremevoeding (this is a Dutch brand and is not available in any other country) but this product has been my favorite for more than years. It’s a vitamin moisturizer, and if you can ever get your hands on it, I highly recommend it. Second, SoftSheen-Carson Weave Nouveau Moisturizing Lotion. I can’t live without it, and it smells so good and really moisturizes. I also love SoftSheen-Carson Weave Nouveau Finishing Spray. This works really well on dry hair: Just to add a some extra moisture and shine."
Is there a secret that you can share concerning your curly hair?
"My secret is my diffuser. I seriously can't live without it. I always use it on the cold setting to minimize any possible damage. I’m obsessed with big, curly hair so this helps a lot to really lift the curls up from the roots."
What do you think of this new "back to our roots" movement?
"Fantastic! Natural hair and skin are the best. I think everyone should embrace their beauty. I love diversity and that’s what makes everyone unique." 

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