Oct 7, 2011

NATURAL LEADER: Dominique does it her way!

Dominique sports her short relaxed 'do
Tell Us about Yourself (Age, Career, Where you're from, what brought you to Nashville)? Hey! My name is Dominique, I’m 26, I’m a full-time graduate student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN and I work part-time serving that white stuff – frozen yogurt, that is. I’m originally from Ft. Lauderdale, FL and I moved to Nashville, TN in 2003 to attend the ILLUSTRIOUS Fisk University. FISK FOREVER!! I left in 2010 to move to Memphis for grad school, which is where I currently reside. However, Nashville will always have a place in my heart because that’s where I grew into the woman I am today.

Let's get into it - Why did you choose to stop relaxing your hair? Lord, this question! Well, first, this isn’t my first time going natural. I’ve actually attempted going natural five times and was successful twice.

March 24th 2009, I gave myself my LAST and final relaxer for the rest of my life. I have been basking in the natural glory ever since! I chose to go natural for THE final time because I was getting bored with straight hair. I’ve always been bored with it, to be quite honest, which is why I always attempted going back to my natural texture. Having my hair relaxed was very limiting as far as physical activity and for me it came to the point where it just wasn’t worth it anymore. I couldn’t sleep a certain way, I couldn’t go out if it was muggy outside because my edges would peek through, I couldn’t get crunk in the club because I’d sweat my hair out, couldn’t exercise – couldn’t do nothin’! It just wasn’t worth the hassle.

How did your family and friends react to your choice?LOL I’m laughing just thinking about it! Okay, all those times I attempted to go natural in middle school and high school ending up with me relaxing because my parents weren’t having it. My daddy hated it, my mom hated it, my aunts, uncles and cousins hated it.

When I came home from my BC my sophomore year of college, my mother said I looked like a “lil’ boy” and my daddy stopped talking to me for a week! He was livid. Like all the other times, I kept getting met with opposition from the people I cared about the most so I ended up relaxing it to appease them. I just wanted their approval and if I had to relax to get it, that was something that I would have to do.

When I went natural in 2009, my family didn’t like it BUT they liked it better than the first time I did a Big Chop because when they saw me in 2009, it had grown out longer than the original BC my sophomore year of college. I had it in a ponytail with the waves poppin’ like popcorn so of course it was more “acceptable”. Now that’s it longer, they’ve come around a bit more but they’re still not thrilled with it. They love to tell family members that I went away to college and became a pro-Black, militant, mini-Black Panther. Sounds good to me; what’s the problem?

Did you do a big chop or did you transition?I did a Big Chop. I went to the barbershop about a week after my last relaxer. I had the barber cut it and shape me up. I LOVED IT! It was a shock at first, even though I only had about 4 inches of hair at the time (Halle Berry cut), but I just went home, brushed the residual hair off my clothes, put some make-up on and went out.

What is your current hair care routine?Let me preface this by saying, I’m lazy. If I had to choose between co-washing and taking a nap, the latter is going to win every time. Therefore, my routine is NOT set in stone.

I’d say about once a week I co-wash with Mane-N-Tail conditioner (FI-YER!). I always work in sections so I’ll mist my hair with my moisture mix (aloe vera juice, water and leave-in), finger detangle & put my hair into 8 sections. Then I’ll get in the shower, put Mane-N-Tail on each individual section, being very generous with the product, and finger detangle again. Then I’ll take my wide-toothed shower comb and go through the section one more time to make sure I got to the ‘nitty gritty’. I work one section at a time, re-twisting each section before moving on to the next. I rinse the conditioner out while the twists are still in, slap a little leave-in on it, a lil’ coconut oil, and braid it up for a braid-out.

I don’t use shampoo but I do use a bentonite clay cleanse once a month. I just add Apple Cider Vinegar to bentonite clay until I get a yogurt consistency and apply that to slightly damp hair. Let that marinate for an hour or so, or until I’m done with my nap (lol) & rinse it out.

Oh! I almost forgot the most important thing! Every two weeks I do a deep condition with my hair steamer – I use Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner then sit under the steamer for 20 minutes. After the steamer I proceed to slap some leave-in on it, seal it with coconut oil or either blow it out (using the tension method on cool setting) and braid it up OR just braid it up.

List some of your favorite products?I’m probably the least product-junkyist person on this earth. If I had to choose my favorite things, they would be aloe vera juice, coconut oil, Shea butter & Mane-N-Tail conditioner. Besides bentonite clay, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Organic Root Conditoner, that’s all I use PERIOD. I’m not into products, to be honest. I like to keep it as simple and homegrown as possible.

So, what is your ultimate goal: Length or Curl Definition?I don’t have a goal, per se. I DEFINITELY don’t care about defining my curl. I’ve worn my hair curly maybe twice. Each time I wore my hair in its curly state, I got more compliments from black women THEN than I ever do when I wear my hair kinky – let that marinate. I eventually want to loc within the next 5-10 years so I’m letting my hair grow for that purpose. I’m not length or curl obsessed at all – I just try to take care of it and the rest will happen on its own time.

What do you LOVE about your curls? What do you wish you could change? I love everything about them to the point where I wouldn’t change a got dern thang!

Do you have a hair idol, any celebs, or bloggers you follow?I love me some Corinne Bailey Rae! Her hair is just so thick and full, it’s sickening! I used to follow MopTopMaven but she’s no longer blogging - but hun-nay, her hair? That right there? Please! Amazing.

As far as blogs, I follow Black Girl Long Hair and CurlyNikki – not necessarily for advice because I’ve been in the game for 2 ½ years. I basically know all I need to know to continue being a lazy natural. I read CurlyNikki more so just to laugh – Nik is hilarious!

What would you like to tell someone who's struggling on their natural journey? I would just say do what feels right to YOU. Do what would make YOU happy. If you’re not happy, what’s the point? Remember that it’s your hair & your choice. Don’t do something to appease others because while they’re happy because of what you chose to do for THEM, you’re gonna be unhappy because you didn’t choose what to do for YOU.
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