Katherine Fulwood, Development Assistant, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Katherine Fulwood was 21 years old when she saw her hair in its natural state for the first time. It had been a few months since she chopped her chemically relaxed strands to half an inch, and thousands of tiny curls had replaced what was once lackluster and flat.

Fulwood’s hair journey began the summer before her senior year of college. After fifteen years of routine relaxers, she wanted to discover her hair’s natural texture. She figured it was curly, but how big were the curls? Was it cashmere soft or bristly like coarse wool? She had many questions, and a major haircut could answer them all.

Four years, five trims, and twelve inches later, Fulwood’s curly hair rests on her shoulders. Here is how she maintains her look:

Curly Care

Most mornings begin with a co-wash. Fulwood prefers Pantene Pro V’s Moisture Renewal Conditioner and Herbal Essences’ Hello Hydration. Deviating from the label’s instructions, she quickly finger combs the conditioner through her hair and skips the rinse.

As the conditioner softens each curl, Fulwood divides her hair into four parts and massages each section with the curl-defining Cantu Shea Butter. While the conditioner and Cantu set in her hair, she wraps a t-shirt around her head to absorb excess moisture without disturbing the curl pattern.

Every two weeks Fulwood shampoos, conditions, and detangles her hair. If she’s been diligent in the weeks leading up to the wash, this process takes only 15 minutes. And like any attentive curly-manned girl, Fulwood listens to her hair, deep conditioning with Pureology’s Essential Hair Mask as needed.

Straight

About six times a year, Fulwood straightens her hair. She begins with Aveda’s Sap Moss prewash, which moisturizes and detangles hair before cleansing. Fulwood follows Sap Moss with Pureology’s “expensive, but great” smoothing conditioner because of its higher moisture content that protects her hair from damage.

After rinsing, she creates four equal sections in her hair and rubs coconut oil through her strands. She then locks in the oil with a dab of Pureology’s Super Smooth Relaxing Serum before twisting her hair into tight knots.

Fulwood refuses to apply heat to her hair immediately after washing, noting that wet hair is more susceptible to damage. Once her hair is dry, she uncoils the knots and blasts her hair with a Helen of Troy blow dryer on medium heat. She then sweeps small sections through her Curl Masters Ceramics flat iron.

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