I was a teenager in the ’80s. Living in the ’80s meant you had to have big hair.

And big hair was a necessity for people of all races. Whether it was a teased out, crunchy (from excessive hair spray) ‘do; a squared off, high-top fade; a magnificated mullet; voluminous bangs with a swoop-to-da-side; or a huge waterfall effect, nearly everyone had big hair.

I was no different. Sort of.

When I discovered mousse, I had big, no, huge hair. Okay, perhaps that was only in my dreams. It wasn’t huge; it just looked…normal. I’ve always had thin hair, and when I was still relaxing it, it looked especially thin. I was in desperate need of volume—even just the regular, non-’80s volume. Enter the dawning of mousse. Mousse was heavenly hair in a bottle. Along with volume, it could condition, impart sheen, and clean the house, too. (Don’t question me, child; it did, okay?)

There was a brand of mousse in particular, Halsa, that worked fabulously for me. Besides its other wondrous attributes, it gave me what no other product could: hold. Most of the time, my hair wouldn’t hold a curl, and in the dead of summer, forget about it. Halsa to the rescue!

The first week after a touch-up was the worst for me: My hair was flat, and because it resisted the relaxer, my stylists always used a very hot curling iron to further straighten my hair. This made my hair appear even thinner. I hated the way they would style my hair; it looked like my hair was plastered to my head. That wasn’t VoluptuCurl-worthy hair!

I’ve come to realize that, on most occasions, I wasn’t trying to follow the ’80s fads. I just wanted to look my best and not like a mutant. That’s probably what helped me when I decided to go natural. I wanted to do what was best for me.

I’m relieved that I’m comfortable with doing what’s best for my hair—no matter what people think. And that I survived mile-high hair.

I encourage you to do what’s best for your hair. And I mean best. Sometimes, we naturals are so militant and staunch in our positions about having natural hair that we offend others in our quest to make natural believers of everyone. It was a friend’s words that almost caused me to miss the wisdom of going natural because of how she talked to me about going natural.

However, don’t miss out on good advice because of someone’s choice of words or the manner of their delivery. It doesn’t hurt to educate yourself about haircare, ingredients, and the science behind hair. Remember: Just because you may have a regimen or tradition, it doesn’t mean it’s always the best thing.

I had to learn that—and I had to apply it in many areas of my life.