In our Natural Hair Bloggers series, StyleList profiles kinky, curly and coily hair beauties and share their natural hair (not chemically straightened and often coarse and highly textured strands) care and styling tips. This week, Patrice of Afrobella opens up about why she went naturally curly and how she perfects one of her favorite 'dos, the Tomoka Twist Wrap.

Afrobella natural curly hair

Patrice Grell Yursik's natural curls. Photo: Errol Dunlap

Name: Patrice Grell Yursik
Location: Chicago
Blog URL: Afrobella.com
Twitter: Twitter.com/Afrobella
Natural Since: May 2002


Patrice Grell Yursik always hated the process of caring for relaxed hair. "I hated the smell of the relaxer, the burns I frequently got, having to sit under the dryer...the whole ritual of it," Patrice explains.

And she had "quite the torrid love affair" with temporary hair color. "It was a disaster. My hair was brittle and damaged looking. I big-chopped shortly before my wedding day, and worked it with short spiky hair and a seed pearl tiara. And I've never looked back! To me, natural hair is freedom. For me it definitely meant freedom from what was expected of me. I wanted to care for my hair on my own terms. I wanted to learn what my real hair texture was like. The funny part is, now that I'm natural and I know what my hair truly wants and needs, I love caring for my hair!"

Patrice's Top 5 Natural Hair Care Tips:
1. I detangle my hair only when it's wet, slathered with conditioner. Then I comb from the tip to the root using a wide tooth comb.
2. Don't critically compare your hair to others. The point is to embrace YOUR natural texture, which is distinct and beautiful in its own right.
3. Often we're taught that our hair needs to be "tamed" into submission by any means necessary, when in fact we should treat our hair as gently and lovingly as an antique silk wedding dress
4. Let go of outdated hair clichés that are not natural kinky coily hair. Things like shampooing daily, or brushing 100 times a day, do not apply.
5. Don't let anyone tell you that natural hair means you're limited in your styling options. You can do anything with natural hair; the only limits are skill and your imagination.

Patrice's Top 5 Must-Have Hair Products
1. Coconut oil
2. Ojon Restorative Treatment
3. Deep conditioner (Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery Treatment is a fave, but Queen Helene Cholesterol will do in a pinch)
4. Jamaican Black Castor Oil (available at oilsfromjamaica.com)
5. DevaCurl No Poo

Patrice's Favorite Natural Hairstyle: Tomoka's Twist Wrap
I'm a wash 'n go woman, but on special occasions I will put my hair up with a special hair accessory. Sometimes I use bobby pins to make a fro-hawk.

Here's how I wear my hair up in a puff with a Tomoka's Twist hair tie holding it back. I keep it simple and chic. First, conditioner wash and detangle hair. Next, use your styling product of choice. Wrap Tomoka's Twist around head, and tighten to hold puff in place. Fluff fro and go to finish!