How long have you been natural?
This is something that I’d often debated with myself. I don’t actually know, but it could be in the range of 2-3 years. The reason I don’t know is because when I transitioned, I didn’t intend to. I just stopped using heat/chemicals and out of nowhere, 3b hair came about. I also didn’t know about the natural hair movement or that I was part of it. It just became natural to be a natural.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I transitioned not knowing it and even if I had known about big chopping…I wouldn’t have done it. Due to past experiences in life, I don’t deal well with change. I’ve had hair down to my butt for as long as I can remember really. Even as a child when I heard talks of cuts or scissors, I would hide under my bed. Cutting my hair so drastically would not have been good for someone like me. I actually never cut off any of the relaxed/chemically treated hair. Some people don’t believe me when I say this, but I didn’t. I’m thinking it all just fell out and new one grew in, but I didn’t notice it. I have very thick hair and I’ve pulled out a lot of it so this is a possible reason.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey?Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my journey was the day that I realized that my family would never entirely support my decision. They don’t try to tell me what to do and sometimes they compliment my hair, but most of the time they would like it to be straight. I’m not going to lie though, my hair journey has been right in the middle…just like me. I have received numerous compliments, just like I have received numerous negative comments. You kind of have to take everything people say with a grain of salt. I didn’t always though and that caused some issues for me before and during the transition.
What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
Since I didn’t know I was transitioning, I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I mostly wore my hair down(chemical damage and all). I’d be walking around with a huge smile with my half curly and half straight hair. I also still used heat to straighten my hair during my transition, which I don’t recommend. I didn’t make the heat damage worse but It made the transition take longer because of it.
Any memorable reactions from family or others since going natural?
I have a lot of reactions rushing through my head right now. A negative memorable one was when a family member asked me why I was trying to look black. I have never forgotten that because they just cannot acknowledge that they’re mixed! That day I also realized that gender mattered. My brother doesn’t know he is a natural, but he is. He has hair down to his butt just like me and he doesn’t use relaxers. He mostly keeps his hair in braids but whenever his hair is out, no one tells him anything negative. I got it into my head that it’s because he is a boy. But besides that, I do have memorable positive reactions. This is an ironic memory because I have received negative comments that relate to me being mixed but with fair skin. This black woman with locs stopped me on the street and we had an entire conversation. At the end, she said something along the lines of…”keep being who you are sister”. I was glowing the entire day and just because of that last word.
What is your hair regimen?
*Sigh* The dreaded wash day. The very first thing that I do is finger detangle my hair. I do it just because of how much my hair gets tangled as I shampoo. I shampoo and condition with Hello Hydration from Herbal Essences. They have been with me since I started transitioning. I detangle my hair while it’s wet and with conditioner. I don’t use a wide tooth comb, because of the fact that I have knots on top of knots by the time wash day comes around. After the 2 or 3 hours of detangling(Yes, it takes that long), I wash out the conditioner and put on leave-in. I use Garnier Fructis Leave-In in conjunction with EVOO and just plop my hair. After it’s dried, I decide whether or not I’m leaving it down or doing a protective style. In between wash days I just dampen my hair with a mixture of water and Leave-In to help with the dryness and to revive my curls. I deep condition from time to time but I am just so lazy. Haha.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I want readers to know that you will struggle with your hair. You will receive mixed comments. If you like your hair in its natural state, keep at it. Ignore the negative comments and do you boo!(channeling my inner ShamelessMaya). At the end of the day, the hair is on your head and you can do what you want!
Where can people find you for more information?
You can find me at the following places:
Youtube: Youtube.com/DominicanMerida (will start posting videos next week)
Personal Facebook: Facebook.com/dominikanitasantos