Curly Hair Chronicles: How I Developed 'Curl-Acceptance' (PHOTO)

"My hair was fried, dyed and generally unhealthy after I graduated high school."
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In our series Curly Hair Chronicles, the women of The Huffington Post share their strategies, struggles and successes with maintaining wavy, coily and kinky-textured hair. HuffPost Green associate editor Jessica Leader talks about "curl-acceptance." Read on to find out how Jessica survived without heat-styling tools and the curly hair products she swears by.

I have strong feelings about my crazy, corkscrew hair. Like most curly-headed ladies, I straightened and blow-dried all throughout high school. And like most curly-haired ladies, it looked like a frizzy, burning bale of hay. However, at the end of 12th grade, girls like me reach a stylistic crossroads. Either you go down the path of $500 keratin treatments for (relatively) permanent and socially acceptable straight locks or you reach the final stages of curl-acceptance. I chose the latter.

It was probably during my gap year before college that I realized I could feel pretty and confident with the curly hair I was given. My hair was fried, dyed and generally unhealthy after I graduated high school. For about six months, I lived a pretty rural lifestyle with no fancy salons to maintain my unnatural highlights or enough power outlets to keep my straightener going without blowing a fuse. Although that forced me to go through a strange "detox" period with my curly hair, I realized how beautiful and sexy it could be once I learned how to care for it.

curly hair

When people tell me that my frizzy 'fro fits my personality, it truly warms my heart. It took me years to figure out how to deal with it, and I still have days when my hair is a hot mess, but I believe my curls are fun and unique.

Here are my general rules for taming "the beast:"1. I wash my hair no more than once a week (sounds gross, but pretty important for curly hair to retain its natural oils), and I only use sulfate-free and paraben-free shampoo. Right now I am making my way through a bottle of Renpure Organics moisturizing shampoo, which leaves my hair feeling and smelling clean.

2. I use extra-moisturizing conditioner for curly hair every day (sometimes morning and night). DevaCurl One Conditioner is awesome. In fact, the entire DevaCurl line makes my hair feel like it's actually getting healthier, instead of being stripped of its natural nutrients.

3. Only a few months ago, I found the ideal cream/gel for my hair. It's called Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls. It is the only thing that doesn't leave my hair crunchy or dried out. (Full disclosure: I originally used it because it has my name on the label and is specifically made for seriously frizzy/kinky hair like mine, which I thought was funny. Luckily, it also turned out to be perfect for my hair).

More inspiration to put down the blow dryer and flat iron:

Mary Pickford, 1920

Curly Hair Icons

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