What Teen Vogue journalist Brianna Monè learned about her hair at this year’s CurlFest.

When I was 12, I got my first perm. Compared to other girls my age, I was little late to the game. Because I had a mom who did hair, I always wore braids, plaits, buns, and the occasional bantu knot-out — so I never really knew what my hair or curl pattern looked like prior to getting a perm. By the time I was 14, I was over having permanently straight hair and hated the fact that people thought I cut my hair (due to breaking ends). I decided to grow my perm out and transition to see what my hair even looked like, as well as start the journey of educating myself about kinks, curls, and coils.

This is something I can also personally relate to! Growing up in a predominately Asian community having curls compared to straight locks was seen unusual and it definitely made me self-conscious when there was nothing to be sensitive about.

Now what is CurlFest you ask? CurlFest is created by the Curly girl Collective organization and is the world’s largest natural beauty festival – amazing right?!  It celebrates the beauty of natural hair from curls as loose as ringlets to tight coils! This festival collaborates and partners with companies such as IMAN, Shea Moisture and Mielle Organics.

So what did Brianna learn from CurlFest?

1. Natural hair is beautiful! Seeing the versatility and beauty in the various hair styles, colors, and curl patterns made me appreciate my hair, and adore how other women showcased their hair.

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Curlfest featured cornrows, twist-out, wash-n-go, twists galore, and anything else you can think of. I saw green, pink, and gray hair, and it made me think differently about colorful natural hair. TIP: To keep up color-treated hair without damaging it, deep conditioning is key.

3. Intricate cornrows and braiding patterns are great protective styles. A lot of women who rocked this style said that they make it easy to keep natural hair healthy all summer long. TIP: Protective styling is great for the summer and winter, when the weather is more extreme.

4. Anyone can be educated on — and celebrate — natural hair. Among the hundreds of attendees, there were partners, friends, and non-people of color who came to learn and appreciate the natural hair movement. Many of them said that they enjoyed the experience because their hair is the complete opposite.

5. Hair is an outward expressions of who you are. The hair at Curlfest was stunning and unique; not one person looked the same. The variation was so refreshing to see; why look similar when you were born to stand out?

6. Community and representation are so important. From families with young children to the supportive atmosphere, more events like Curlfest are needed. It’s important to show the beauty of embracing what you’ve been given without trying to alter it. As Beyoncé said, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

Original Article by Brianna Monè http://www.teenvogue.com/story/curlfest-best-natural-hair-tips

Image by Hannan Selah