*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
D: Hi all, I’m Dionne. I’m a chi town girl, born and raised! I’m currently in my last semester of graduate school for my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, May 2012 please hurry up lol! I also work in Social Services with individuals with developmental disabilities, and plan to pursue a doctorate degree after a much needed semester or two of rest!
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
D: Making the decision to go natural didn’t start off as a conscious one. I have a now 6 year old daughter who at the time was 3 going on 4 and has a very tight, coily curl pattern and I wasn’t sure how to really care for her hair properly. I began getting a lot of pressure from family members to relax her hair, which I knew was not an alternative I was interested in. So I began searching Youtube for advice on how to care for her hair and in the process I fell in love with natural hair and decided my daughter and I would continue this journey together.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
D: My last relaxer was in September of 2009. I transitioned for almost a year and did the big chop on August 26, 2010. I transitioned with roller sets, two strand twists, buns, flexirods, bantu knots, and braidouts. I would also in the process cut a couple inches off every few months before the actual big chop.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
D: Going natural has increased my confidence level, influenced my personal style, and just given me an overall since of pride in every aspect of who I am as a black woman. It has totally broadened my idea of beauty.
How would you describe your hair?
D: I would describe my hair texture as confused lol, but seriously I have a few different textures throughout my head and it even feels different to the touch. Some areas are very soft and fine and others are coarser and more tightly coiled. My hair is also pretty thick, and has a mind of its own.
What is your regimen?
D: Honestly I don’t have much of a regimen these days, although I started off with a very strict regimen in the beginning. I would wash and deep condition almost every week, and was a major product junkie. These days I just kind of go with the flow. I wash about every 2–3 weeks and deep condition when I wash. After that I usually do braidouts. Those are my favorite. Sometimes I wear twistouts, or I just wear my hair in twists.
My favorite go to products include Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Deep Treatment Conditioning Masque, coconut oil, castor oil, Eco Styler Gel, and Giovanni Shampoo and Direct Leave In Conditioner.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
D: I do utilize protective styles from time to time, as well as just being patient and gentle when detangling. Cowashing helps with moisture as well as using a good leave in (Giovanni Direct Leave In and Moisturizer) and sealing my hair with coconut oil and castor oil.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
D: I’ve learned that for me doing too many wash and goes leads to crazy single strand knots, which I have to go on a search and destroy mission to get rid of, so I’ve learned to utilize more stretched styles like braidouts.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
D: I would say the best thing I do for my hair is keep it moisturized and stretched as often as possible, although I still enjoy a good wash and go from time to time.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
D: Yes, I can be found on YouTube, my user name is djsimmons83.
Anything else you want to add?
D: Just to love your hair and try not to compare it too much to other people’s hair. It’s cool to admire a beautiful head of hair, but never forget how beautiful your own hair is, and also just be patient if you’re a new natural. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what comes in time.