My interview with a dear friend, curl enthusiast, Zumba instructor and the creator of ‘jessknowscurls’ has been one of the most humble and interesting chat ever! She is beautiful and confident inside out. Her honesty reflects on her face and she is a person with whom you can spend hours talking! Let’s see what she has to share with us – believe it to be interesting and useful too
Who are you from your heart?
Curly_Girl_Jess: This is so tough for me. I don’t typically self-reflect. I am a person who loves deeply and therefore I hurt easily. I am very sensitive and not as thick skinned as I would like to be. But from the heart; I try to be kind, considerate and loving in every situation life throws at me. I am not always successful, partly because the sensitive part in me clouds my judgment making me react on emotions rather than rational thinking.
What are the things you love about yourself?
Curly_Girl_Jess: I love that I am always there for my family and friends. I love that I can and want to take care of those I love. I love that I set goals to become healthier and fit, achieved them, and continue to maintain them. And I love that I decided to embrace my curls and take care of them with the same love and passion as I do with everything that’s important to me.
What are your passions?
Curly_Girl_Jess: My passion has always been dance and with that music. Life’s events prevented me from becoming a professional dancer but I found my love for music and dance again in 2012 when I started taking Zumba to get fit (turning 40 was tough) and almost a year later became a licensed Zumba instructor. Now my passions also include fitness. I am licensed to teach Zumba, STRONG by Zumba and recently took a training to teach Body Works and Abs.
Did you ever feel bad in your life about your curls and did anyone make fun of your them?
Curly_Girl_Jess: I didn’t feel bad about my curls growing up but I was clueless about how to take care of them. A friend taught me how to “flat iron” my hair with an actual iron and a book. I always felt more confident and prettier when my hair was bone straight. I know now that was because the media and society convinced me (through ads, tv shows, models, etc) that straight hair was “pretty”. I also watched my Dominican friends grow up being told that those with kinkier hair had “bad” hair and those with finer, straighter hair, had “good” hair.
When did you start to understand your beautiful curls are worth to care?
Curly_Girl_Jess: I started to understand how beautiful curls are worth to care for in 2015 when a friend of mine spoke to me about going natural and not wearing my hair straight anymore. She sent me a link to a video of a YouTuber who she thought had hair similar to mine. That’s when I first learned about Kinky Curly products. I became intrigued and joined several Facebook groups for curly hair and learned all about cutting out sulfates, silicones, parabens and other bad ingredients for curls. I eventually picked up a copy of Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey (w/Michele Bender). I’m about to read The Curl Revolution by Michelle Breyer hoping to learn more tips and gems for caring for my curls from the NaturallyCurly Community
How you take care of your curls? – Your basic routine.
Curly_Girl_Jess: I don’t think there’s such a thing as a basic routine for a curly girl J. But here goes: I co-wash & condition 2-3x a week. I cleanse 1-2x a month and deep condition about 1x week. I also started incorporating Olaplex Treatment No. 3 1x a week.
I apply 1-2 products, usually a styler and gel (or two different gels, using one as a styler and one as my hard hold gel). I scrunch a lot, lately, I’ve been using my Hairremmedie towel to scrunch excess product (but in the past, I’ve used a 100% cotton Tshirt ) and then I decide whether to diffuse or air dry.
But even if I air dry I will diffuse my bangs otherwise they will dry limp volume-less. Once 100% dry I will massage my scalp with a little bit of lavender (or rosemary or peppermint) essential oil mixed with fractionated coconut oil and then scrunch any “crunch” or cast with what’s left on my hands from the oils.
I fluff my hair with my fingers for volume. Picks don’t work well for my hair type
Your Holy Grail product(s).
Curly_Girl_Jess: I will always go back to Kinky Curly Come Clean, Knot Today and Curling Custard. As I Am Coconut Cowash is my HG co-wash. LA Looks Extreme Sports Gel is my #2 HG gel.
But I am a product junkie so there could be new holy grails in my future. I did a November challenge where I used the same products for my wash and go routine.
I’ve been using Genedor Beauty Super Fruit Antioxidant Shampoo, Moisture Resuscitate Deep Conditioning Treatment, and Swirl Curls Gel Styler. Another line I really love that has worked well for my curls is Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Wash Weightless line: shampoo, conditioner, and hair masque. I’m going to try their mousse as well.
I’m more of a gel gal but want to try something different. What I know doesn’t work well for my hair are creams. My hair never absorbs it and they tend to leave my curls weighed down and frizzy.
How do you apply the products?
Curly_Girl_Jess: This could vary depending on the day, how much time I have, etc. Typically I apply my first gel/styler on very wet hair, flipped upside down. I use praying hands, finger comb and/or use a Denman brush, and then scrunch. When done, I take my hard hold gel (like KCCC or LALSG) and scrunch it in upside down then flip upright and continue to scrunch it in all around.
If I see areas that look like they are not coated well, I’ll use praying hands and then scrunch. If time isn’t an issue I will apply my products in sections while upright the entire time and then flip upside down to get the underneath hairs and scrunch.
Any secret tip for curly girls?
Curly_Girl_Jess: I don’t have one secret tip and honestly most of what I’ve learned and shared I’ve gotten from watching other curlies. But I will stress the importance of deep conditioning at least 1x a week, more if your hair needs extra moisture.
Applying products to soaking wet hair is also important for your curls to really absorb them. Scrunching is life. Scrunch often but not too hard, you want to encourage your curl pattern not destroy them.
Never use a towel to dry or scrunch your hair, it will totally suck out the moisture and curls need moisture; microfiber towels, 100% cotton T-shirts are ideal. I also use Shammy towels (a tip from HiF3licia) or my Hairremmedie towel (which is a bit expensive but it’s worth it to me).
When it comes to diffusing, the best method is to pixie diffuse using the low speed/cold air settings, which reduces frizz but does take longer than using some heat, faster speeds and never turning the dryer off during the drying process.
One technique that I’ve incorporated in my routine is to use my Conair Lift Me Comb during the diffusing process on my bangs to help lift my hair from the roots while drying them, I haven’t seen this done elsewhere so maybe that’s my one secret.
How should all moms take care of curly hair kids, even if the moms don’t have curls or don’t know about curl management?
Curly_Girl_Jess: This is a tough one for me. I have a son and he didn’t have curly hair. But if I had to give advice to Mom’s with curly hair kids I’d say, be patient with their hair.
Research hair care for curly kids. Learn your child’s hair properties so you can better care for their hair.
Impress upon them that naturally curly hair is beautiful and to always embrace their curls and most teach them how to care for it early.
I know this one page on IG called ‘growinupcurly‘ by Felicia Jones (aka HiF3licia) that focuses on natural hair care for curly kids. I’m sure there are others.
The mistakes one should avoid with curly hair.
Curly_Girl_Jess: Don’t try to detangle hair while dry or with a brush. Always detangle hair while it’s wet and with conditioner. Finger detangle as much as possible. And only use a wide tooth comb or Denman style brush to detangle working your way from the ends to the roots.
Whom do you thank in life?
Curly_Girl_Jess: I thank my savior Jesus Christ first for blessing me with life every day.
I thank my husband for standing by me through some of my darkest days and supporting me no matter what.
I thank my family for being there for me during some really hard times.
I lastly, I thank my son, my one true reason for living this thing called life. I always aim to impart whatever lessons I’ve learned upon him in the hopes it helps him to one day fulfill his purpose in life and become the brilliant man I know he’s meant to be (FYI, he suffers from anxiety, depression, and PTSD).
I thank my friends for loving me just the way I am and sticking with me through thick and thin.
And I thank the curly hair community for providing so much information and support during my natural hair care journey.
Who is your favorite person or your guardian angel?
Curly_Girl_Jess: My mother, no question! She helped me raise my son during his first 8 yrs and when God decided it was time for her to be with Him she continued to be a pillar for me in life. My son was in 5 car accidents – the last one requiring the need for the jaws of life – and to this day I have no doubt that she is the one watching over and protecting him. There have been so many incidents where I should’ve lost my son but he’s still with us and I truly believe, as our guardian angel, she’s the reason why.
How to be a beautiful person inside out according to you?
Curly_Girl_Jess: By keeping it real.
Who we are inside will determine what people see outside. No matter how beautiful our shell is if we have black hearts and dark souls that outer beauty will never truly be seen by those who truly matter in life. However, if your heart is pure and your soul is bright, it will shine through and people will only see the beauty within when they look at your outer shell.
Your inner message for the world.
Curly_Girl_Jess: Be kind to yourself and others. Try to practice patience. Embrace diversity of all types. Listen to your neighbor with an open mind and heart. And always, always spread love, not hate.
Where can people reach for you?
Curly_Girl_Jess: I’m very new to using social media as a curly hair enthusiast but you can share my
Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/curly_girl_jess
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/MalibuRox72.
What do you think of me in real:
Curly_Girl_Jess: Having only interacted with you with regards to this interview and following you on Instagram I can say you come across as a genuine person who is passionate about your writing and your love for photography and art. You have a strong belief in inner beauty and strength. You struggled with embracing your locks as a child but are on a journey to remedy that and share what you learn along the way with others who can relate to your experiences.
Your website has a nice foundation. I like how you’re organizing your work; I look forward to seeing each tab populated with lots of valuable information on all the things you are passionate about. (Yay!!! I hope so too…Thank You!!!)
Please follow Curly_Girl_Jess on Insta and subscribe to her channel.