Antonia Gentry Loved (Then Hated) Having A Wolf Cut

The actor and Aveda partner talks about her best and worst past haircuts and loving a lazy curly hair routine.

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Antonia Gentry might be the ultimate curly hair guru. Not only does she have the most enviable leonine curls, but she also has the zen of a person that’s really put her hair through the ringer and come out the other side with a full appreciation for her natural texture. Her journey includes bleaching, straightening, and even chopping it all off at 17 years old before going to college. “It's actually so cliché,” Gentry laughs. But the experience was transformative for the actor. Without her longer hair, she says, “I was able to focus more on myself, so that by the time my hair started coming back, I was really able to see myself in a new way.”

It’s no surprise now, that the 26-year-old Ginny & Georgia star has been tapped by Aveda for a partnership promoting the brand’s new Be Curly Advanced hair care line. Admittedly lazy about her hair routine, Gentry shares how much she loves how the products have cut down time in her weekly hair styling (and she’s really tried everything). Below Gentry chats with NYLON all about her full wash day routine, her favorite styling hack, and a harrowing wolf cut experience.

What was your relationship with beauty like when you were younger — especially with your hair?

When I was younger, it was harder. I didn't think much of my hair or anything like that until I got to middle school. Then you start going through puberty and start changing and now suddenly with all of your girlfriends it's about putting on makeup or looking a certain way. For me, it was a little complicated because I didn't exactly fit in with the standards at the time. With my hair — which was actually long, healthy, and beautiful — I never really felt like I was beautiful because it was different and misunderstood and not as easily accepted as having straight hair. I wanted to hide my hair and make it do things it wasn't supposed to do so that I could fit in a little bit more, which is unfortunate.

But now, I think I've grown out of that and I've come to a place where I love my natural hair and I feel beautiful and like my most authentic self when I have my natural hair. Even whenever I do try other hairstyles, it's not from a place of hiding, but from a place of expression and experimentation. That distinction is the difference between how I viewed beauty as something that I couldn't attain when I was a kid, versus now, where [beauty] can be anything you make it. I'm really grateful for that journey that I went through.

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Do you remember if there was a turning point when you felt ready to embrace that part of yourself?

I don't know if there was a specific moment, but I did chop all of my hair off when I was 17 and going into college, because my hair had gotten so damaged from straightening it every day. I think I also bleached it. I was doing crazy things to my hair — much to my mother's horror. Then at one point I was like, “I just have to chop it all off.” So, for a couple of years — well, for a year before it started growing back out — I had a little curly pixie cut fro going on, and honestly, I felt amazing. If I could go back, I would. But I work and you kind of need your hair to be a certain way.

When I had a short little curly pixie, I felt so free and amazing. Starting over from scratch helped me realize how much I did love my hair and how good I felt when I didn't have to think as much about what my hair looked like. I was able to focus more on myself, so that by the time my hair started coming back, I was really able to see myself in a new way. It's actually so cliché.

How did you learn how to best care for your curls and what worked best for you?

I was lucky enough that when I was younger, my mom took care of my hair — up until I was maybe 15. That's when I was like, “No, Mom, I want to be different!” By the time I had to restart, it was a lot of trial and error. I had to check with my mom, asking her what she thought I should do. I had all of these products and was trying everything to see what worked.

Part of why I am so excited about the Aveda Be Curly Advanced line is because when I tried those products to see how my hair would react, I really could see and feel what it was doing to my hair. Even now, I feel more confident in my hair routine than just a couple of years ago.

I feel beautiful and like my most authentic self when I have my natural hair.

What’s your current hair care routine?

Let’s start from wash day. If I need to fully reset my hair, I'll go in with the Be Curly Advanced Shampoo. But, if it's sort of just a quick rinse, I'll go in with the co-wash. [After shampoo,] I'll throw on the Be Curly Advanced Masque for a few minutes in the shower. I love the masque. It makes my hair feel very buttery, makes detangling easy, and it literally only takes about three minutes. Once I rinse that out, my hair is very soft and moisturized, which makes it so much easier to then go in and style.

Styling is literally only two products now, which is crazy, because before it was putting like 10 different things in my hair to get something to work. I use the Curl Perfecting Primer on my hair, and then I go in with the Curl Enhancer Cream. I have very fine hair and the cream doesn't weigh my hair down — it keeps it fluffy and bouncy. And then I just diffuse and let my hair do its thing.

Then I don't even have to wash my hair for another five days and my curls stay intact. I'm so lazy, I love the lowest maintenance hair routine possible. I feel like it's really hard when you have textured hair to find that balance and I feel like I finally found it.

What's your favorite hair tip or trick you’ve ever learned?

My hair is a texture that can be weighed down very easily because it's fine and I don't really like it when it's too flat at the top. So, when I diffuse, to add volume at the roots, I take little hair clips and just sort of pin my hair up at the roots. As my hair dries it sets in a more raised shape, when I want my hair to be a little bigger.

Is there a hair trend you've tried that you really regret? Or is there a look you’ve always wanted to try?

I really wanted to try a wolf cut — like a shag for curly hair. And then I did try it. That's sort of an all-in-one answer.

It looked great for the first month. Then as it started growing out, I was like, “This was a huge mistake.” The layers were not layering after a while and it just made my hair look crazy — it was looking way too geometric. I could not do the upkeep.

What’s your best advice for anyone who’s still honing in on their curly hair technique?

Be patient and be kind. It'll come to you, you'll learn. That's the beauty of curly hair — you just have to learn it — and then in the end, you'll realize how versatile and lovely it can be.