Tell me about yourself!

Hi there, my name is Michele Santiago and I
am from Sterling Heights, Michigan. I am a 44 year old Elementary teacher, wife,
and mother of 3 beautiful daughters.



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Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why? What
was your journey like?
I was a slow transitioner. My hair had been
relaxed since I was about 10 years old (I didn’t even remember what my actual
hair texture looked like!). I got my last relaxer in November 2011. During my
next hair appointment, I met my new hair stylist (Shaylin Jones) in February
2012.  She immediately encouraged
me to go natural. I did not want to do a Big Chop. Instead, for the next year
and a half, I visited Shaylin about every 2-3 weeks for TLC and trims as my
natural hair grew. The summer of 2013 was the first time I wore my natural hair
and I have not looked back since!
Had you always embraced your texture?
During all those relaxer years, I always
thought my hair was way too unmanageable as my new growth would begin to
appear. I always felt that I “needed” to relax my hair. I expressed this to my
hair stylist and told her that I was “petrified” to transition but ultimately
trusted her expertise. She taught me that I didn’t “need” the relaxer.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural?
What was your response to them? 
My family was very supportive. Not one
person said “Don’t”. My husband especially loves my curls. When I have my hair
straightened for length checks or just for a different look, he always tells me
he prefers it curly. So straight hair may last 1 to several days and then I
have to go right back to my curls! My students have also expressed that they prefer
my curly hair!
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Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick,
highly porous, low, etc.)
My hair is fine and thin and highly porous. I
think the curl type is 3a or 3b (I have never really been sure). I had to learn
through trial and error that my hair responds best without heavy creams and
butters but with lighter products.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you
wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I shampoo my scalp only about once a week
with DevaCurl NoPoo. On most days I Co-Wash my hair with DevaCurl One
Condition. After I co-wash and detangle with a large tooth comb, I rinse out
the conditioner. Then, I use a leave-in (Giovanni Direct Leave-In) and rake or
comb it through with a big tooth comb. All of the
previous steps are done in the shower. Next, out of the shower, I apply Olive oil
(2-3 drops) to seal in moisture and DevaCurl Light Defining Gel. I then scrunch
my hair to help lock and form the curls. I part my hair before I blow dry then I
diffuse with an Ion blow dryer and scrunch out any hard cast left by the gel.
This leaves soft bouncy curls! For volume I use my fingers or a pick at the
root of my hair only and lift all over. Sometimes I vary the kind of Leave-In
but I always use something light due to my hair type.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
I love to wear my hair parted on the side
and down for the most part. I like defined curls with volume (some frizz is
fine). Sometimes I will wear it pinned up in a curly puff using bobbi pins or
small clips. I get my hairstyle inspiration from watching tutorials on YouTube.
Although, I do have to be careful when looking for a hairstyle because as a
woman of a particular age not every curly hairstyle looks becoming on me. But I
am so thankful for the hair knowledge that so many ladies share!
Who is your curl crush?
I have loved watchingTaren916, Shameless
Maya and SunkissAlba on YouTube. My latest crush is MissCharmsie because we
seem to have a similar hair texture (fine and highly porous).
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I maintain my hair at night by putting it in
a pineapple (pulling hair up on top of my head and wrapping an elastic band
around once) on top of my head and then sleeping on a satin pillowcase.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I maintain healthy length by using mostly
natural products. I also take Biotin daily and eat as healthy as possible.
Lastly, I visit my stylist about every 6-8 weeks for trims.
What’s the best thing about being curly?
The best thing about being curly is that
everyone gets to see the real ME! I am able to adhere to my heritage
(African-American), at a deeper level, and not to other people’s standard of
beauty.
Where can folks find you on the web?

I am on Facebook (Michele Jackson Santiago) and at
[email protected]