One day, I started researching on YouTube how to get rid of heat damage. I saw before and after pictures and videos of other naturals who had gone through the same thing. Everything I was learning was definitely an eye opener because it was my first exposure to the natural hair community. All I kept thinking was how gorgeous their natural hair was and how I wanted to repair my hair’s health so that I could wear my curls beautifully too. That’s when I decided to transition to wearing my hair natural. And by transition, I mean going from using heat to using no heat and from using harsh chemicals to using only natural and organic healthy hair products. I did not have a relaxer in my hair. To be honest, I really never understood what relaxers, perms, and things of that nature were and I still don’t (lol). So instead of waiting forever, I decided to just go ahead and get rid of the bad part of my hair. I chopped off about 4 to 5 inches to get rid of the heat damage. I wanted it all gone! To some it’s not much but for me, it was a “big chop” because my hair had never been short. Luckily, it was still shoulder length after I got it cut. I was so happy and relieved to have gotten rid of the dead weight.
Had you always embraced your texture?
Absolutely not, but I wish I had! I didn’t start doing my own hair until I was in 6th grade. The only thing I knew how to do at the time was put my hair in high ponytails and roll it up at night. I used to put anything in my hair, which didn’t always work out. I specifically remember this one particular day when I was having a bad hair day. I had just washed my hair and was trying to comb through it. I even tried using a brush, but I just couldn’t get it through. After struggling to get my hair detangled, I ended up breaking both the comb and the brush because my hair was so matted. And I just stared in the mirror and cried my little heart out because I hated my curly hair. I just wanted to be like the other kids at my school with straight hair. That memory will stick with me forever! Since I didn’t know how to manage my curls, I would straighten them all the time, which took HOURS to do. My arms would always hurt so I took a lot of breaks (lol). I did this for years and years until I started noticing the damage I had done to my hair. I started losing my curl pattern and my ends began to split and break off. Once I made the vow to go natural, my curls became even MORE curly and my hair’s health slowly started to restore itself.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? How did they react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Ever since I can remember, my family and friends have always loved my hair. My mom even told me that when she was pregnant with me, she’d always pray that I’d have “good” hair (lol). I think the drastic haircut outside of the normal trims was something my friends, and especially my family, had to get used to. They were so used to me having very long hair. Coming from a family of a combination of races and one who values hair so much, I certainly had to explain myself (lol)! Even though they didn’t want me to cut my hair, they have been very supportive in my decision to go natural. My family and friends have now grown to realize that wearing my hair in its natural state is more to me than just a fad. It’s me accepting who I am and educating myself (and others) on naturally curly hair.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
My hair is very fine. It’s even more baby fine towards the perimeters of my head. I’ve always thought that my hair is neither thin, nor thick because it has a mind of its own (lol). So, I’d say it’s somewhere in between. My hair has high porosity; therefore, the products that I use in my hair have to be very moisturizing. I have Type 3b curls (curly spirally, or corkscrew).
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? favorite products! Deets!
I have a pretty simple hair routine, or at least it’s simple to me (lol). I like to massage my scalp with either tea tree oil or coconut oil and then finger detangle my hair with coconut oil before I get in the shower. I wash my hair about every 2 weeks with DevaCurl No-Poo only at the roots. When rinsing, it cleanses the rest of my hair without having to directly apply more product. I deep condition my hair with Dr. Bronner’s organic coconut oil mixed with Shea Moisture Reconstructive Conditioner. I try to co-wash twice or at least once a week with DevaCurl One Condition, depending on how lazy I am (lol). I also use it to condition my hair. I rake the conditioner through my hair with my fingers and let it sit until I finish showering and shaving, etc. When I’m done, I rinse about 90% of it out upside down with my head flipped over under cold water. On drenching wet hair, I apply a palmful of DevaCurl Light Defining Gel by wiping it onto my hair. And that’s it! I let my hair air-dry. When it’s about 90% dry, I tilt my head over, shake my head, scrunch my curls, and (very carefully with my fingers) lightly massage my scalp to get volume without causing frizz. I don’t do much styling to my hair. It’s either down in a wash and go or up in a bun. I like to wear my hair BIG and wild! “Curly hair don’t care” is my motto!
How do you maintain your hair at night?
At night, I apply maybe a dime-size amount of oil and put my hair up in a pineapple. I always sleep on a satin pillowcase so that my curls can retain moisture. I even take it with me when I travel (lol).
How do you maintain healthy length?
I’ve heard so many different things about getting trims. Some people say to get them regularly while others say it’s not necessary. For me, I get professional trims maybe twice a year at a curly hair salon. However, if I notice I have some split ends, I immediately cut them off. I think going natural has made my hair grow even faster. It may look short sometimes because of the shrinkage, but I don’t mind it. For me, it’s not so much my length that I’m concerned with. I’m more focused on having healthy hair. Hair will always grow, but your hair’s health requires more work. As long as my hair is healthy, that’s all that matters to me.
What's the best thing about being curly?
Honestly, the best thing about being curly to me is freedom! I could be having a bad hair day and no one would ever know (lol)! Being curly suits my laziness at times because I can roll out of the bed and just go on about my day if I’m in a rush. Another thing is the instant connection I get with other naturals. I’m always chatting it up with random people as if I’ve known them my entire life (lol). I’d also have to say all the compliments! It’s still surprising to me how much more compliments I’ve received on my naturally curly hair than when I used to wear it straight. I get compliments just about every other day from random people and other naturals. If I had a dollar for every compliment I’ve received, I’d be rich (lol)! I return the compliments when I see other people rockin’ their natural hair. Each compliment is so refreshing because it motivates me even more to stay natural and to love and embrace my curls each and every day.
Where can folks find you on the web?
Facebook: Dominique Payne
YouTube: NiqueNique321 (www.youtube.com/dpayne8)
Blog: Dominique’s Diary (www.NiqueNique321.blogspot.com)