HI! My name is Giovanna but I also go by Vanna, I’m from New York City but currently reside in the DMV area. I am a mom, project assistant, and grad student studying Project Management.
How long have you been natural?
I started transitioning during the fall of 2011 and big chopped in January 2012.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
All of my life I ignorantly assumed that I could not stop relaxing my hair, I allowed myself to listen to my hairstylists because my family did not know how to properly maintain my hair so I only had hairstylists to rely on. I found an article in the New York Times featuring NikkaMae2003 and that was the first time I heard of the term ‘natural hair’. From that point on I learned about the side effects of relaxers and the damage they caused, I had also been experiencing thin lifeless hair with no growth retention. I was shocked to find the amount of information I did, I never knew I could find so many resources on natural Afro textured hair care. I already hated my relaxed hair so I immediately started transitioning, I couldn’t deal with the two hair textures because they were so different, so my fiancé cut off all of my relaxed ends for me. The first time that I ever saw my real hair texture was after I big chopped.
How would you describe your hair?
My hair texture is coarse, high density, low porosity and kinky curly/coily. It is also naturally very dry so it needs moisture at all times. Various sizes of coils and curls – type 3c-4b.
What do you love most about your hair?
The thickness, my hair is very thick and one of the things I hated about my hair was how thin it was when it was relaxed. I ADORE thick hair. I also love my coil and curl patterns, and the fact that it’s coarse – I can easily keep a style for days on end because of how coarse it is.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part has been learning which products actually work for my hair and how to retain moisture. I had two setbacks and lost a total of 5 inches of hair growth since I big chopped, so it has been pretty difficult to the point where I considered relaxing. But I was determined to learn how to care for my hair properly and the payoff has been awesome.
What are some of your favorite hairstyles?
I love braidouts, updo’s and wash and go’s.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
My experience has been pretty positive, my mother loves my hair which was a shock because she would always say I had “pelo malo” (bad hair). She is Dominican and there is a huge stigma in regard to rocking your natural hair in the Dominican Republic but she loves my hair which is a step in the right direction.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
My hair regimen is very basic, I wash my scalp with Jasons Long and Strong Jojoba Shampoo, DC with Organicals deep conditioning crème mixed with honey, and style with Trader Joes Nourishing Spa Conditioner and Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk. For braid outs or to seal I use Camille Rose Almond Jai Butter. For conditioner rinses I use V05 Kiwi Lime Squeeze Clarifying Conditioner. And for my edges I use Ampro ProStyle Gel.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, vlogs, or blogs?
My favorite YouTubers are Naptural85 and Denimpixie and my favorite blog is naturalhairhavenbloom.com
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
The keyword is patience! In addition to doing what works best for YOUR hair, reading blogs and watching videos can get overwhelming I know it was for me personally. But use the information provided as a guide or blueprint and from there work on what works best for you. Also you have to work with your hair and not against it, for instance if your hair is always dry and you use heat often your hair may hate heat and you may need to stick with heat less styles.
Where can people find you for more information?
You can find me on Instagram & tumblr – IamVanneLee