Chauntihanna Fawaz is a 28-year-old multi-hyphenate content creator and mom of two based in Detroit, Michigan. As an authentic storyteller who vlogs about everything from daily mom life to how she cares for her daughters’ curly hair, we thought she was the perfect person to talk to in partnership with Aussie Kids for the launch of their brand-new book: BeYOUtiful Hair. Here, writer Kaleigh Fasanella spoke with Chauntihanna about her personal hair journey — from relaxers and protective styles to undergoing two big chops — along with how she’s teaching her daughters to love and care for their own beautiful tresses.
My hair journey has been exactly that: a journey. It's taken me many years, and I'm still learning how to care for it in my late 20s. I have 4C hair, which means it’s very kinky and curly — it was often described as “difficult to manage” when I was growing up. For this reason, I wore a lot of protective hairstyles like braids so my hair didn’t have to be done every single day, and by the time I was five or six, my mom used a relaxer to help smooth it out, because that’s what her mom did to her. So basically I never knew what my natural texture looked like until I got much older.
In elementary and middle school, I would keep doing the relaxers or straightening it, because I just thought, “My God, I’m not going to be able to do my own hair.” It wasn’t a quick process, you know? It took hours and hours, so I just stuck with straightening it or doing the protective styles, because I was afraid of doing it myself. That finally changed when I got to high school and discovered YouTube tutorials. I found all of these women out there with hair just like mine — that’s how I learned about all of the different curl textures and patterns and how to properly care for my 4C curls. Finally, I took out my braids and thought, “Hey, this actually isn’t that bad.” And from there, I started going out with my natural hair before eventually doing a couple of big chops to get it to a healthier spot. But yeah, it wasn’t until I was 16 that I saw what my natural hair texture looked like.
It’s been a long journey, and like I said, I’m still learning so much about my hair, even now. But on top of that, I’m learning how to care for my girls’ hair, too. Their texture is different from mine — and from one another’s — so it’s been a lot of trial and error, but I’m glad that I know a lot more than I did when I was young, so I can help them keep their curls healthy. One day a week, we dedicate time to caring for their hair, and I explain to them the importance of conditioning, masking, and detangling to keep their curls healthy and moisturized. I tell them, “If you want your hair to be healthy and to grow, you have to care for it and treat it well.”
Right now they’re still too young to do their own hair — my youngest, Soleil, is two, and my oldest, Amar, is four — but they’re not too young to understand the importance of taking care of it and learning what works for it and what doesn’t. (Like I said, there’s been a lot of trial and error.) Aside from just hair care, though, it’s really important to me as a mom to teach my girls to embrace and appreciate their curls. For instance, whenever we’re watching TV or reading books and the characters have curly hair, I go out of my way to point it out and be like, “Look girls, how cool?” I want to make sure my daughters know their curls are just as beautiful as straight hair.
Luckily, representation has gotten a lot better, but I never really had that when I was a kid. I never saw my 4C hair represented in books or anything like that. Everyone just wanted to have straight hair. I’m thankful there’s more inclusivity now and books out there like Aussie Kids’ BeYOUtiful Hair, because it’s a great way to teach kids at a young age to love and appreciate their hair just the way it is. I know I’ll never be the type of mom that tells my daughters they can’t do something to their hair — unless it could permanently damage it, that is — but at the same time, I’ll always make sure they know just how beautiful their natural texture is. I don't see anything wrong with straightening your hair or wearing protective styles, which I still do, but I never want my girls to feel like they have to do those things because they’re ashamed of their hair. I’m hoping that everything I teach them will stick with them and make them proud of their curls.
Aussie Kids is on a mission to help parents not only embrace —but celebrate!— the beauty of diverse hair types. The brand wanted to create a children’s book that would give parents and kids a chance to bond over shared experiences and learn about hair care together. What’s more, Aussie Kids is donating 10,000 copies of the book: 5,000 books to schools around the country and another 5,000 to families like yours.
BeYOUtiful Hair tells the heartwarming story of five friends learning to love and accept their different hair types ahead of career day at school. Both empowering and educational, this book teaches children that all hair textures — curly, wavy, straight, you name it — are equally beautiful and worthy of celebrating. And that you don’t have to change your hair in order to achieve your dreams. An inspiring read for parents and kids alike, watch BeYOUtiful Hair become your family’s new favorite book.