(Post Sponsored by Cantu)
No makeup, high messy bun, and random scab on my nose from a killer white head.

My daughter started school for the first time this month. The experience was emotional to say the least. When we moved to California, we chose to live in the city where my new company is located. We did so despite its lack of literal and figurative color (black population is less than 2% and redundant expensive cookie cutter sub-divisions) because the kids weren’t yet school aged and the commute was nice.

During orientation, I looked around and saw not one other child in her class was black, in fact the school was mostly made up of two ethnic groups. I grew up in South Florida, in a sea of cultural, language, skin and hair diversity. There were girls that looked similar to and nothing like me as well. I was able to grow both a strong sense of self and a strong respect/understanding for those who were different. I came to understand there was a unique and diverse definition of beauty.

Now I know that my daughter will not be in this school district long-term, I wouldn’t dare subject her to being “othered” through puberty, which is a fragile time for all. But dealing with a kindergartner who was already aware enough to start asking why no one else has brown skin and why her hair doesn’t  lay flat and straight like the other girls, has made Cantu’s Be You Own Beautiful (#BYOBeautiful) campaign resonate even more!

(See my little girl's hair-care regime here)

I’ve spoken about selfies on more than one occasion and how they can be a tool of confidence but they can also be a mechanism that drives negative comparison and unrealistic standards of daily hair and makeup beauty.
My sister had a set of self installed Marley twists that were a few weeks old, she decided to cleanse her hair with the Cantu Cleansing Cream Shampoo without removing them and refresh the edges with the Twist & Lock Gel. She found that the shampoo thoroughly cleansed her hair without drying and that the Twist & Lock Gel really helped to maintain moisture and shine.The combination of these two products could really yield a soft and defined twist-out.

So I thought about what my own definition of #BYOBeautiful was as I combed my daughter’s hair with the Cantu Coconut Curling Cream for school and helped my sister refresh her DIY kinky twists at home with the Twist and Lock Gel. For me, it was going makeup free if I felt like it. For my daughter to not feel like an alien because her hair was tightly coiled, and for my sister to be able to try whatever hairstyle that tickles her fancy. These were the true definitions of being your own beautiful in my family circle.

For those interested, Cantu is holding a Beautiful campaign and Giveaway that will be running from 9/1/15 to 9/31/15. They are encouraging people to share what #BYOBeautiful means to them (their photos of what makes them uniquely beautiful) using the hashtag and @cantubeauty for a chance to be featured in their posts and to win a deluxe gift box including Cleansing Cream Shampoo (Ebony 2014 Award Winner), Hydrating Creme Conditioner (Curlbox 2015 "Best Conditioner" Award winner), Coconut Curling Cream (Naturally Curly "Best of the Best" 2013) and Twist & Lock Gel (Naturally Curly 2015 Editor's Choice). So please do share what your own definitions of beautiful are.
Be Your Own Beautiful with Cantu! Share your look at @cantubeauty #BYOBeautiful on Instagram and Twitter.