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Natural hair journey with Akhilaa

From a young age, I remember just despising my hair. I would always complain how frizzy and “poofy” it was.

Unlike my sister, who was born with straight hair that later turned curly like mine, I’ve had curly hair all my life – but I didn’t know it back then.

You see, I was always taught to take care of my hair with sulfate-ridden shampoos, silicone filled conditioners, and taught to maintain my hair with the infamous hair brush. On top of that, the technique of drying my hair was no better. I remember my parents drying my hair with a regular towel, rubbing it quickly across my hair to speed the drying process.

Natural hair journey with Akhilaa

My combed out hair tied back in a ponytail when I was in 6th grade. It is hard to find a picture of me with my hair down during this stage. I prefered tight buns, braids, and ponytails since I felt they contained my hair.

Up until the summer before seventh grade, I didn’t know I had curly hair. According to many stylists and salons, I just had some version of bad straight hair. Looking back on the advice they gave to blow out my hair weekly, and to invest in a straightener, I cringe. If only they could see my ringlets today!

I would blowout or straighten my hair for rare special occasions, but at the same time, I hated the use of heat, and I hated the way my hair layed flat across my head- it looked so unnatural. Much of the way I viewed myself was through my hair, and I just remember talking about how much I hated it a lot. It seemed that no one on the internet or in the salon had a solution for my hair, other than to straighten it! It made me very frustrated, mad, and lost. Much of time I settled for a tight bun as a solution to contain the unmanageable frizz.

It wasn’t until the summer before seventh grade I stumbled across a video that said something along the lines of the following: “Begin to embrace your waves and curls by putting the comb down! Combs disrupt your curl pattern!” At that moment, everything made sense! Whenever I came out the shower I would have vague ringlets that I would eventually brush out. It was such a relief to finally know what my hair was! It was curly! Not some blob of frizz that all hairstylists had told me previously!

Natural hair journey with Akhilaa

The exact reason why you shouldn’t brush curls when it is dry!

After empowered with this new sense of knowledge, I traveled through many curly hair videos looking for the secrets and tips I had been missing! Armed with all this knowledge, I eagerly chose to begin my hair transformation that same day!

That day I used whatever I had at home- a rock hard gel my dad had in his drawer but never used, the Pantene shampoo and conditioner I used at the time, and a leave in cream I can’t recall the name of. Once the process was completed, I was able to see my hair as it was meant to be! (Although it was obviously not as healthy as it is now, so my hair just kept getting better from that point with the use of proper practices and products! The products used in my first transformation contain ingredients unhealthy for the hair and body.)

Natural hair journey with Akhilaa

Both these pictures were taken just a year after I started going curly! Treating your hair in a healthy manner will surely show results!

My parents were quite reluctant over the idea of me not combing my hair, and many other people were as well once they saw my new hair. (Many people thought I got a perm since my hair was curly, so it was definitely a process to explain to them my new care regimen! There are so many funny stories!) But the results spoke for themselves! My hair, the feature I used to hate the most, became my favorite thing about my appearance. Over time it became an iconic feature people remembered me by.

The summer before 8th grade I chopped my hair into a pixie, which was amazing! The feeling of having no hair on your shoulders and feeling free makes cutting my hair an unregrettable decision. Plus, growing my hair back allowed my hair to be even healthier!

My slightly grown out pixie during a performance! I had gotten it straightened, since the growing out phase for a pixie is difficult, and goes through a point of different length hairs growing every which way! Straightening my hair allowed my hair to stay put for the night, and allowed me to have bangs- which I really wanted for my performance look!

Currently, my hair is all grown back to its original length! I have been curly for 4 years using the Curly Girl Method, and my younger sister has taken my advice to embrace her ringlets as well! We both get compliments on our hair whenever we leave it down! While my mom still straightens her hair, I still believe she will join team natural one day!

My hair is unique and beautiful, and it took me a while to realize that. I am so glad to be able to share this knowledge with my friends, family, and now my readers. (It also took me a while to compile all the knowledge I have gained- so stay tuned for all the articles coming your way!)

Natural hair journey with Akhilaa

My beautiful defined 3A curls after a wonderful wash-and-go! That day, I used the Alaffia Everyday Shea Lavender Shampoo, Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Conditioner, and Eco Styler’s Krystal Gel.

My hair journey has influenced other aspects of my life – non-toxic and all-natural cosmetics and skincare, organic food products, purchasing from ethical companies, etc. I have come to learn about all curl types and many beautiful protective styles. It is funny, because I used to wish for straight hair- now I wish my hair was curlier! Nor could I ever straighten my hair now – that would be a like to a punishment for me! Your hair journey will surely change you for the better in multiple ways.

Lastly, when in doubt during your hair journey, remember you look best in the way you were meant to be!

Akhilaa Lakshmin

I am a high schooler from North Carolina, originally from New Jersey. I am passionate about reaping the benefits of Mother Nature and embracing naturally curly hair! I love to sing and create music, which is a passion of mine I always try to exceed in.

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