It’s been 11 years since Leona Lewis was crowned ITV’s X Factor champion, where we were familiar with seeing her bouncy boisterous curls on show every Saturday night.

However, the talented singer has recently opened up about the terrifying health scare which stopped her from straightening her hair, for good.

Leona Lewis: the health scare that stopped her from straightening her natural curlsLeona, now 32, began straightening her natural curls shortly after signing her first record deal, when she was just 20. She soon bowed to the music industry’s preference for a sleeker, more glamourous look. Leona recently opened up about what really happened to Glamour Magazine. She said:

“I entered the music industry with thick curly blond hair… I couldn’t help but notice that I was surrounded by images of straight hair: on TV, in movies, and in real life.

Gradually I started wearing my hair straight too, especially on photo shoots, where a lot of stylists didn’t know what to do with curly hair.”

Leona Lewis: the health scare that stopped her from straightening her natural curlsMore recently, we started seeing Leona return to her curls. Why? About 18 months ago, Leona decided to abandon the straighteners after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease , a chronic autoimmune condition which can cause sufferers to experience fatigue, aches, hair loss and rashes. Leona confessed that discovering she had the disease left her “devastated.”

Her symptoms seemed to appear out of the blue. The singer says she experienced sickness, tiredness and pains in her neck and throat. Leona said:

“When my symptoms were the most severe, I could hear my body telling me that I needed to slow down. I started to feel tired during performances.

I began taking medication but I also turned to my mum who is a master herbalist – to help heal my body naturally. I just got to a point where I wanted to start over physically and emotionally. I started eating better and I stopped straightening my hair.”

Leona also told Glamour that she started using natural hair and skin products. She said:

“This inspired me to create a safe beauty brand for women, which I’m working on now, but I still had hesitations about wearing my hair curly at first. I had forgotten what it looked like – or what to do with it.”

Leona Lewis: the health scare that stopped her from straightening her natural curlsSince returning to her hair roots, Leona has re-discovered how versatile her curls are and is embracing her curly hair once again.