It wouldn't be true to say that I've always loved my natural hair. For years, I did everything I could to never see my real hair. I concealed my curls underneath extensions for years at a time. My strands were severely damaged from overusing hot tools in my high school years. I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, and all I wanted was for my hair to look like everyone else's: straight and silky. Over time, I began to realize that my deep yearning to succumb to societal beauty standards and conform to a culture that was not my own was detrimental.
In 2016, I made a public promise to myself to embrace my natural hair. I wrote about it, which was a very revealing, transformative experience. I haven't looked back since.
Thankfully, my mindset on my natural hair has shifted. Each time I wear my curls, sans extensions, I get more and more comfortable in my own skin. Thanks to my first-ever styling session with DevaCurl, I felt the most confident yet. I removed my extensions a few days before. Then, along with the DevaCurl team, I visited The Curl Whisperer salon in Miami for my curls styling session. Here's how it all went down.
Step 1: Shampoo and Deep-Clean
I must preface this with the fun fact I was wearing sewn-in extensions for three months straight before this curl treatment. In other words, my natural hair needed a lot of love. The great thing about sewn-in extensions is they're a protective style that allows you to not touch your real hair for months on end. The not-so-great part is that your natural hair isn't receiving the moisture and nourishment it needs. After I take my extensions out, my hair is always extremely dry and thirsty. Nonetheless, I was excited for this tender-love-and-care session for my curls.
My stylist began by rinsing my hair and lathering DevaCurl's Buildup Buster all over my scalp and hair. This scalp massage felt like heaven because I hadn't touched my real hair in months. This product is made especially for ridding your hair of buildup without stripping away the good oils—perfect for my hair post-extensions. It's also made with Abyssinian seed oil and jojoba, so it has intense moisturizing benefits.
Next, she shampooed my hair with this tried-and-true gem. It's one of DevaCurl's OG best-selling products because it's a non-lathering formula that gives your hair and scalp the deep clean it needs while maintaining healthy oils in your hair. I crave the tingly sensation it gives my scalp on wash days. The peppermint, grape-seed oil, and rose felt so invigorating and soothing on my scalp.
Step 2: Detangle
When you're trying to revive your curls after they've been in braids for months, a good hair mask is essential. After washing out my shampoo, the stylist massaged this creamy blend of seaweed, rice, soy and wheat proteins, and sea lavender into every nook and cranny of my curls. This reparative combo of ingredients is strengthening and moisturizing and breathes life back into damaged hair. My hair isn't damaged, but it was stressed out, so letting this marinate on my strands felt like an added bonus.
With the Deep Sea repair mask still in my hair, the stylist started the detangling process, which is crucial for healthy, full-looking curls. She parted my hair into sections and patiently worked her way through every single strand. I was amazed at how tedious and detailed this process was. Can you tell I don't have the patience? She used a spray bottle to drench each section of my hair in water. Then, she used this Wet Brush in certain areas. It has special IntelliFlex bristles that are designed for detangling.
In other areas of my hair, she used her hands to pick a part tangles and finger-comb through my curls.
Step 3: Condition
When my hair was detangled, it was time to add even more moisture, so she used this creamy conditioner. The combo of olive oil and botanical ingredients felt so nourishing. My curls truly felt as soft as my favorite silk pillow. My stylist stressed the importance of using water-based products for a hefty dose of hydration. To open my curl cuticles and penetrate the products even deeper into my hair follicles, I sat underneath the dryer with this conditioner on my hair for 20 minutes.
Step 4: Styling
The prep work took most of the time because my curls weren't in the best condition. But when my natural hair was back to life, the fun part began. I always get excited when it's closer to the time I get to see the final product. My curl specialist used one pump of the above styling cream…
…along with a light squirt of this light, defining gel. Using the spray bottle, she took tiny sections of my hair and massaged this product in from root to tip. What I love most about this combo is that the product dissolves instantly once it touches my hair and boosts moisture. The issue with many styling creams and gels is that gross crunchy aftereffect. These both did the exact opposite. Once again, her patience astounded me. She used her hands to finger-coil each and every spiral on my head.
This took about an hour.
To dry my curls, I reclined the chair, held my head back, and it took two stylists to diffuse my whole head of hair. The rush of air felt so soothing. This might have not been the fastest process, but it was well worth the wait. Afterward, my curls were shiny, frizz-free, and the most defined I've ever seen them in my 26 years of living. See for yourself.
My Curls Before
Frizzy, undefined, tangled…
My Curls After
Frizz-free, detangled, shiny, bouncy… And my ringlets stayed strong overnight. They were still gorgeously defined the next afternoon from my styling session.
There was a time when I used to be deeply insecure about my natural hair. Because of this, I hid my natural hair underneath extensions for years so that I could conform to a standard I thought was considered beautiful. Thank God I got over that. I never thought I'd see my curls and genuinely feel confident and powerful. Thank you, DevaCurl, for giving me a newfound love and appreciation for my natural hair.
Next: I asked 24 women their favorite products for natural hair. Find out which products made the cut here.