Originally published on December 19, 2017
By the time I was in the 4th grade I was already getting my hair blown out. I got my first relaxer in the 6th grade. I probably would have begged for it - but I’m Dominican and my mother is a hair stylist, so I didn’t have to. Unfortunately, Dominicans - and a lot of other cultures affected by COLONIZATION - are very unaccepting of their naturally textured hair and they are obsessed with straightening. I know things are in the process of slowly changing (thank God) but for decades that's how it's been. All young girls idolize straight hair. It’s all they see on Television, magazines, and a very high majority of all the women around them straighten their hair. To make the long story short, straight hair is a huge part of growing up for Dominican girls and it's a huge part of your beauty regimen as you age. For example, a few months ago I had a job interview and I went to my mom's house after. She went on to tell me that if we were in the Dominican Republic I wouldn’t dare attend an interview with my hair that way(aka CURLY AF). She laughed and said they might not even let me in.
In my junior year of high school, I started getting the Brazilian keratin treatment. Goodbye Dark & Lovely! Goodbye ORS! This was another level of straight. I was in love. Then! I went to college. By this point, I had convinced myself that I didn't like curly hair. I hadn’t seen my natural hair since I was a young child - but I kept telling myself things like “I like myself with straight hair” and “curly hair is not for me.” College was, however, one of the first times I saw women embracing their natural hair. I was mind blown. I had 1, never seen so many women with curly hair and 2, some even had LONG hair. Long curly hair?! That's a thing?? “Pelo malo” (nappy hair) grows? GTFO. I never thought about it much until now but I think one of the things that attracted me so much to the sorority I joined was that a lot of the sisters had curly hair. Although at this point I was still telling myself it wasn't for me I was truly intrigued. Their hair was so beautiful to me I really couldn't get over it. The very first sister I met is and will forever be - HAIR GOALS.
Fall 2013 I made the decision to stop chemically straightening my hair. I can't say it was one particular thing that caused me to make that choice - it was more like a combination. And to be honest, I was tired. Tired of hating my roots. Every time they started to show I would cringe and count down the days until Winter break so I could fly home and “tame” them. I think I just decided that I was over disliking the hair that grew out of MY head. I’m sure that at this point the “natural hair movement” was well on its way and bloggers were starting to blow up on social media but I wasn't influenced by any of that (I wasn't even aware). The only people that I would consider to have influenced me were, like I said previously, my sorority sisters! Lambda Theta Alpha for my curious people.
I flew home that winter break and did what I considered to be a big chop. I cut my hair from a little below bra strap length to right above my shoulders. And what did I do after this cut you may wonder?! I blew my hair out. LOL. I had been getting the Brazilian treatment for a few years. There wasn't an ounce of bounce or wave in my hair and I really didn’t know what else to do. Pictured here is a selfie right after my haircut. Although I wasn’t doing the chemical treatments I continued to get my hair straightened (blower and flat iron) on a regular basis.
I really thought I was “transitioning.” I often thought “wow, my hair still isn't curly? What the heck is going on?” I remember once I even thought maybe God was punishing me for hating my natural hair for basically my entire existence. Ridiculous, I know. But I was honestly confused.
Talk about HEAT DAMAGE right? I really had no idea that by continuing to press my hair I was damaging it. I was even doing weekly DIY protein treatments and deep conditioning - BEFORE going to the salon for a wash and set. Fast forward to my college graduation. I straightened my hair for the last time in May 2015. (with the exception of my baby shower May 2016 - I was highly encouraged by mother lol and my curls weren't nearly as poppin as they are now so I gave in for fear that I would hate the pictures because my hair looked crazy)
Now ladies (and gents? maybe?) your girl is fully natural and obsessed with all things curly! It took me every bit of the last two years to educate myself on my hair and on how to take care of it. I follow almost everyone with natural hair on YouTube. If you have type 3 or 4 hair, I’m following you. I know I don't have type 4 hair… but you know how much you can learn about length retention and moisture from a female with waist length type 4 hair?! Spoiler: A LOT. They are truly some of my favorite bloggers. Honestly, I am not even a fan of the popular hair typing system created by Andre Walker and that’s why I refer to my hair as “Dominican Curly.” I have 2-3 different curl patterns and they can easily change any given wash day depending on how I style. Knowing your hair porosity is much more helpful but maybe we can discuss that another day. I guess if I had to pick I would say it's mostly 3B & 3C, low porosity, and medium density in terms of thickness. Hair type can be useful though like for example if you're trying to find bloggers or YouTubers with similar hair textures. I always like when they mention their porosity as well. Below are a few random pictures of my hair in 2017. They are in no particular order I'm just trying to show you the best "texture shots" I can find. And that shrinkage is a liar. This year I got two haircuts! One "Deva cut" and one cut I gave myself.
I’ve watched hundreds of natural hair videos and routines. I take bits and pieces from different girls and I personalize it for my own hair. I’m so extra. I have an entire notebook of notes. I research everything. Just because a few people say “oh aloe vera is great for your hair” that isn't going to convince me to try that. I have to look into it on my own - really find out what an ingredient does and what role that would play in my routine. I take product reviews super lightly as I know a lot of it is promotion and I don't really care for intricate hairstyles because I believe too much manipulation can cause unnecessary breakage. That amigas, is what led me to start this blog. After so much trial and error and watching and reading almost everything that internet markets about our hair - I have learned that the most natural and simple approaches are what has worked the best for MY hair. I think that there is a gap in the online hair community about how to actually take care of your hair, keep it moisturized and retain length. I know a few bloggers here and there are very simple naturals and do provide a lot of great DIYs (@Naptural85 for example - long time FAVORITE) but even her, for example, I have used some of her ideas as a starting point for mines or to learn about certain ingredients. At the end of the day, my hair is different than hers and I can't just copy whatever she does. So that may be the same for you as well.
I have a lot of recipes in my notebook that I have been working on for a while and a lot of new ones that I plan on working on in the future. I’m really excited to be sharing them with you guys and I decided to make this blog as opposed to a YouTube channel or Instagram account because I want to keep my content as raw, organic and original as possible. Knowing your “hair type” is not enough. I can show you what I use and I can tell you that I love it. But the natural life is about trial and error. You have to really get to know your hair and figure out what works for you. At the end of the day, I’ve learned that hair care is much more about technique than actual products. You should be intentional with what you do and why you do it.
My point is simply to show females (especially my Dominicana sisters) that curly hair care can be simple and inexpensive!
Did you transition? Or have you always been natural? Comment below. I would love to hear your hair story and whether or not your ethnicity/background had any influence. If you want to transition!! Now is a great time to start.