Posts Written OnMay 2017

Natural Hair Journey: Rae’s Story

There’s nothing more I hate than hearing, “Oh, I didn’t know you had lupus.”

How would you know?

Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disorder, where my immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. It can affect any part of my body – my skin, my joints, my organs, even my hair.  But it is a silent disease, there’s no way anyone can tell by simply looking at me. That’s the difficult part.

There are days I’m not feeling well, where my muscles and joints are tired and achy. But you can’t see it.

And when other people can’t see what’s wrong, it’s hard to explain. But there was one part of experience that people could see.

Almost three years ago, when I was diagnosed with systemic lupus, my hair began to fall out.

After transitioning and then a big chop, I wasn’t prepared for this.

I’m not even sure what happened. Maybe my body went into shock from the meds.

Whatever it was, I couldn’t touch my curls. Any manipulation and I would end up with clumps of hair in my hands.

My hair was falling out and I had absolutely no control over it. I tried everything. Going to salons, getting treatments, and nothing helped.

So I turned to weave.

Before this, I had worn a weave. It was always an option. But I always knew I could take it out and my hair would flourish. But during this time, it was mandatory. I had no choice.

That was hard to accept.

I had to take one sew-in out and get it put right back in.

I started to hate it. But I felt like lupus was eating my hair alive and I believed I looked crazy without it.

Eventually my poof came back. But my texture was different. I had to learn to work with my new hair all over again.

But I cherished my curls, so much.

Losing them made me realize what I once took for granted. And the regrowth of my golden locks motivated me to take care of them, to ensure they were as healthy as they could be.

I often wonder what I would do if I ever lost my hair again, because my curls are truly a part of me.

I can only hope it would be easier for me to accept, because at least this time, I’ll know that I’ve taken the time to cherish my curls while I’ve had them.

Now, I’ve started loving my hair even more than ever before.

Have you or someone you’ve known ever lost their curls? Share your experience in the comments below.

Rae is a Florida native, and graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. She started blogging in 2015, and later moved to NYC, landing her first job at Black Enterprise Magazine. She now attends New York University. Today she continues to blog, sharing her big city experiences as well as her love for natural hair and fashion. 



Curly Updos

Has anyone here ever gone to the salon to get curly updos?

It’s kind of the most insane experience. First they have to straighten your hair (which they charge you extra for), and then they spend another hour, re-curling your hair.

Can someone please explain to me how on earth that makes sense?

Oh right, it doesn’t.

And guess what? You don’t have to live this way! You can actually start with your natural hair when you want to create a formal curly hairstyle. Shocking I know.

“Natural, curly hair is instant updo hair,” says Mia Emilio, Senior Stylist at Devachan NY, and curly updo QUEEN.

Whether it’s prom, a sweet sixteen, a wedding – you have options. To prove to you it’s possible, we teamed up with Mia to create four simple curly updos you can do at home. Yes, really.

Supplies you will need: Hairspray. A lot of Hairspray.

Bobby pins – the really strong, large ones. If you think you have enough of them at home, you probably don’t. Go out and buy another pack. Be prepared to never see them again after this. You guys know the drill.

Half Up, Half Down

This simple romantic style takes ten minutes, and approximately 25 bobby pins.

Step 1: Start with second day hair, that way your curls are fuller and more voluminous. Section your hair, by drawing a line behind one ear, over to the other.

Step 2: Create a base, for some added height. Take the middle of your top section of hair, lift the curls up, and gently tease with a comb, raking towards the scalp in short strokes. Bring the hair down to create a slight bump for height, and secure in place with bobby pins.

Step 3: Even out the “bump” by using the tail end of a comb, or a smooth chopstick, to lift curls within the section.

Step 4:  Take the top left section of your curls and bring it across towards the right side, the hair should cover the bobby pins from bump. Pin the hair in place. Repeat on the other side. You can leave a few curls out in the front or pin them all back.  Finish with a lot of hairspray.

Low Side Bun

Fun fact this look took 47 bobbypins. Yes. Forty seven. #CurlyHairProblems.

Step 1: Create the half up, half down look from earlier.

Step 2: Take the right side of your hair and loosely roll it in towards your nape, and to the left. As you roll place pins in vertically from the nap of your neck towards the top of your head. This will secure the roll in place.

Step 3: Gather all of your hair, and starting from the ends roll your hair up, over itself towards your ear until a bun is formed.

Step 4: Secure with pins. Finish with a lot of hairspray.


High Bun

Ever tried to put a sock bun into curly hair? Bet you regretted that decision. Turns out curly girls have enough natural volume to create this look, sans spongy accessory. But you will need bobbypins. Obviously. I used 45. Where do they even go you guys?

Step 1: Create a slicked back ponytail, to get the edges extra smooth, mist the back of a comb with hair spray, and smooth it over your hair.

Step 2: Split your ponytail into four quadrants.

Step 3: Tuck and roll the first section up and over towards the center of the ponytail. Then secure with pins. Repeat with each quadrant, to create a “four leaf clover.”

Step 4: Use bobbypins to blend the section together and pin down any pesky curls that stand up.


Slick Backed Bump

A little bit edgy, this fierce look plays up the dimension of curly texture. Start with second day hair for extra volume.

Step 1: Start by sectioning off the front of your hair. Draw a line up from the middle of each of your eyebrows towards the crown, creating a triangle like shape, secure up and out of the way with a clip.

Step 2: Of the hair that remains, section from the front to behind your ear, pull this hair forward. Mist it with water. Use a comb or a brush to smooth these curls back towards the center of your hair. Secure by pinning bobbypins vertically. Secure with hairspray. To make it extra smooth, mist the back of a comb with hair spray, and smooth it over your hair.

Step 3: Take the “triangle section” of your hair and divide it in half, pulling one section forward and another back. Use a comb to tease the back section as much as possible. Bring this hair back and create a “bump,” securing it in place with pins.  The ends of your curls should lay over the vertical bobbypins from the previous step.

Step 4: Use a chopstick to elevate the teased part of your hair, creating a dome-like shape. Cover the teased hair, with the remaining front section and pin in towards the scalp to secure.


Which of these looks is your favorite? Do you have any go-to curly hairstyles for formal occasions? Share with us in the comments below!

Mother’s Day Letters: Barbara, Maya, and Talia

My Dearest Talia,

You are so fortunate that your amazing luxurious curls are something to be admired and sought after, and not regarded as a challenge to be tamed and forced into a supposedly trendy ‘do.

As a child, I was the only Jewish kid in a middle class neighborhood, where I was also the only one with curly hair. As such, I was regarded as an alien. Back then, nobody knew what to do with curls, especially in the Middle West.

In 1943, when I was eleven, the movie “For Whom the Bell Tolls” came out. Ingrid Bergman’s character sported one inch curls and she looked adorable. (No doubt she had a perm.) I was very taken with the look and wanted the same cut — which Mr. Dory, my mother’s hair cutter, gave me. It was perfect for me. However, it was a one-time deal, probably because it required very frequent cuts.

Later on, I became Mrs. Doctor’s Wife, and had to look more befitting of my position on the social totem pole. I was expected to go to the beauty shop weekly. I went through the whole megillah – a wash and set on rollers, sitting under the dryer, and the comb-out which transformed my hair into a bouffant puffy ‘do. Toxic clouds of hair spray made the entire edifice stiff as a board.

Then in 1968 I had a disaster, something went wrong when a hair dresser straightened my hair. Her broke off all the hair on the top of my head, and he felt so bad that he bought me a postiche of curls that attached to the hair that remained on the sides.

That was the last time I had my hair colored and straightened.

Later I met, hairdresser, Tom, who encouraged me to cut my hair short — and at that point I was liberated!

Now, my curls aren’t as exuberant as they used to be. They’re grey, and not as thick and luxuriant as they once were, but I still get compliments and that makes me happy. I’m grateful they are still there, because in a sense, they define who I am.

It’s been a lifetime of struggle, a constant ebb and flow of finding the right people to help me with my curls. When I was growing up, nobody had ever heard of a beauty shop exclusively for people with curly hair. Lucky you! I am glad that you haven’t had as long of a struggle. I’m thankful that my hair ties me to you, to your mother, and to my other children. I’m proud of our lineage.

With All My Love,

Nana B


Mother’s Day Letters: Kai and Kaikea

My daughter,

Kaikea, you carry a strong name, one from our Hawaiian ancestors, it means “the flowers that blossom with the morning mist.”

I carried you for 9 months, felt you grow and make little flutters in my tummy. During those 9 months of pregnancy, I thought about what sort of mother I would be to my daughter. I was honestly worried. Through my pregnancy I indulged in many amazing books, so I could learn about self-love, self-worth, and how to be a beacon of light. The more I read, the less stressed I became. I knew I had gained the tools and knowledge to teach you how to love and accept yourself!

A lot of my life I struggled trying to please everyone all around me and at the end of the day it just made me absolutely miserable. My physical appearance used to be the only thing that mattered, until you came along.

I struggled everyday on my hair journey to love my natural curls. But when you came along, I knew that I didn’t want you to feel the same insecurities about your own hair. I realized that the battle with myself was internal, not external. I realized that I had to be strong, so you could be stronger. I had to be wise so you could be wiser. I had to love myself so you could love yourself more.  And so I began my journey to loving my hair, that translated into loving myself as a whole.

It is my hope that insecurity (whether it be about your hair or body image) will never stop you from doing what you love to do. I hope you pass along the knowledge of love and self-acceptance to others that so badly need it.

 You, my STRONG, FIERY, FIERCE, SASSY, daughter, will be a confident, successful and self-loving little girl. The one I didn’t get to know until later in life. You will be surrounded by messages of self-love and self-acceptance, and will have these golden tools to help you grow.

Most importantly you will have me. I will always try my best to mentor you and lead you onto the right path. Whether it’s your hair, or body, or whatever doubts come your way, I promise to always be your light. You were the guidance that I needed and I promise to always be your guidance.

You need me, but I NEED you just as much baby girl! I love you so much!




Happy Mother’s Day: Letter Series

There’s an undeniable bond between mothers and daughters, especially when it comes to their curls. This Mother’s Day we’ve asked families to share their stories through letters. To discover more, click the images below.

Eliza shares the shocking moment with her daughter that inspired her to go-natural. Read letters from Eliza and her daughter, Amaya, here.

3 generations of women, inspired by each other, share their curl journeys. Read letters from Barbara (grandmother), Maya (mother), and Talia (daughter/granddaughter) here.

Kai shares her struggle with insecurity and how her role as a mother inspired her to be strong and independent for her daughter’s sake. Read her letter here.

Mother’s Day Letters: Eliza and Amaya

Dear Amaya,

Growing up, I got a lot of mixed messages about my hair. Grandma kept my hair in curly pigtails and I always looked forward to Titi Steph doing my hair into all different kinds of awesome styles. Some people thought my curly hair was absolutely beautiful, and others called it unmanageable, even “bad hair.”

The TV shows and movies, the magazines I saw in stores, and the products I used, all featured women with straight hair.

And while growing up, getting my hair straightened at the salon was a treat. And as I got older, I got it done more and more.

Pretty soon, I started straightening it myself, using chemicals and flat irons. When my hair wasn’t done I would say it looked “crazy” and that I needed to have my curls straightened.

Your dad would tell me to let my curls out all the time. My response? I couldn’t – because I had “bad hair.”

By way of friends, books, neighbors, magazines, TV, movies, and even our own family, I had grown to think that the only way I was beautiful was if my hair was straight.

In many ways the images we see teach us to dislike ourselves or make us want to be like someone else.

When I found out you were in my belly, I loved you fiercely, instantly. I called you “she” before I even knew you’d be a girl.You were born with a full head of beautiful hair. As you grew older, your hair got curlier and curlier, and I was surprised and sort of amazed by it. There were times I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I blew it out.

The day you told me you wanted to wear your hair straight because you liked it better, I honestly wondered where you got that idea from. For a second, I was really confused.

Then your father pointed out that since you were a baby, I had been taking you to the salon, where I’d get my hair straightened.

Without even realizing it, I was teaching you the same things I had been convinced of – that your curly hair wasn’t beautiful. That straight hair = beautiful hair. By constantly straightening my natural hair, by talking it down, and even by blowing out your hair often, I was showing you that your natural self wasn’t beautiful.

I had allowed a negative feeling I had about myself to get to you. I’m deeply sorry for that.

I know you’re only 8, and you might think its “just hair,” but it’s not. It’s a unique part of you. As you grow older, you’ll start to see that people are often scared of things that are “different” – it makes them uncomfortable, they even make fun of it.

It’s my job as your mom to help you love and show your differences, not hide them.

It’s my job to make sure that you are surrounded by positive media that shows all different kinds of people in beautiful ways.

It’s my job to make sure that you know that your natural self, inside and out, is beautiful.

I’ve been growing out my hair since that very day. In the two years since then, we’ve had many talks about curly hair. All the cool stuff about it, some of the challenges. We see curly girls in the street or on the train and talk about how beautiful they are, how there are so many types of curls. I wear mine curly and so do you, and I LOVE IT. We rock these curls, we love them, we take care of them. The bigger the curls, the better!

Is there anything wrong with straight hair? Or straightening it once in a while? Not at all! But I want you to be you. Beautiful, natural, amazing YOU.

The most important thing for me is that I model behavior for you that is admirable – kindness, intelligence, strength, humor, and self-confidence. I pray that you look at me every day and see those things.

Lastly, I want to thank you. Because at only 8 years old, you have somehow managed to show your mother her own beauty. Maybe that’s why heaven sent me a little girl.

I dedicate my curls to you.


May the 4th Be With You! Curly Hairstyles Inspired by Star Wars

Before beginning this post, we recommend you open and play this video, it’ll set the mood.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there were a lot of curly girls, whose options for creative, fun curly hairstyles were bizarrely limited. I mean seriously – has anyone googled curly hairstyles on Pinterest? There’s like nothing there.

Luckily there are some rebels among us who dared to challenge the curly norm. And today, we’re bringing you three of their unique styles on May the 4th, aka Star Wars day, because really is there anything more epic?

I’m glad you asked. Yes. Yes there is. Unique curly hairstyles inspired by Star Wars. Today we are embracing our inner-nerds on the DevaCurl blog.

Happy Dance Time:

In all seriousness, these styles are totally wearable, super easy, and perfect for second or third day hair. By the end of this post, you’ll likely be wondering why you didn’t look to Carrie Fisher or Daisy Ridley for curly hairstyle inspiration sooner.