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Leomary // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Oct 16, 2012

*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally

Introduce yourself!
L:
My name is Leomary Rodriguez, but I often go by Leo. I’m from the Bronx, New York. I’m a media artist working towards becoming an established photographer, art director or cinematographer. I love collaborating with different artists, musicians, photographers, etc. and making dope visuals happen.

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
L:
Early on I was always taught that curly hair was bad hair. Coming from a Dominican household during my personal experiences, curly hair is always called “pelo malo” or “bad hair” while straight hair is always called “pelo bueno.” Because of this toxic upbringing, I initially went natural to get a Japanese straightening treatment or the Brazilian keratin treatment which is like a relaxer, but much more intense with a different type of maintenance.

I figured I had to have natural hair to do this type of treatment, because my hair would fall off if I did this with relaxed hair. But, as time went on, I grew to love my natural hair. YouTube became my best friend. I watched natural hair journeys and tutorials for hours with gurus like Trenellm, nikkimae2003, TarenGuy, even AndreasChoice; women figuring out their beauty with different types of curl patterns. I thought, finally! So many BEAUTIFUL women with different textured hair that I could relate to in so many ways. I began to see my own beauty and wished I saw it earlier. I started to use products that were healthy for my hair and once I became natural the rest of my body followed. From food to toiletries to cleaning supplies, I try to be as natural as possible in all areas of my life. I was relaxed from 1999 until 2008. So I’ve been natural for a good four years. I transitioned and did the big chop in 2010.

How would you describe your texture?
L:
My texture is all of the above. I have different types of curl patterns all around my head; overall I’d say my hair is very thick.

Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
L:
Over a month my styles vary. I used to leave my hair in twists and twist outs, but that causes split ends so I minimize the use of that style. Now I just braid my hair flat on my head overnight and take out my four braids in the morning.

I also use a silk/satin pillowcase since it doesn’t dry my hair the way regular cotton pillowcases would. The best investment I ever made. I think people with all hair types should use this. I used to use a satin bonnet or a scarf, but I move so much in my sleep that it would be on the other side of the bed by the time I woke up.

What does wash day look like for you?
L:
My wash days vary. The short variation consists of conditioning my hair, detangling, rinsing and leaving in a bit of conditioner. Once a month I have an intense wash day where I use a bottle with a teaspoon of baking soda diluted with water to cleanse my hair. After that I use a bottle with bit of vinegar diluted with water as my conditioner. I don’t really measure these things I just go with my gut. After using both diluted items in that order, I detangle with Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner. If I’m on a budget I use Organix Moroccan Argan Oil. After detangling I rinse then leave a bit of conditioner in. Depending on my mood I style my hair by using braids, twists, or simply air drying.

The last thing I do to my hair to finalize any style is applying a shea butter mixture that I whipped up myself with various oils, while the hair is still damp. If I don’t have that DIY shea butter mix I use Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Style Conditioning Milk instead.

Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
L:
I wear yarn braids when I don’t have time to style. I know this might sound crazy since yarn braids take me 12 hours total to put into my hair, but my logic is: I can spend those 12 hours for a protective style that will lock in moisture and ensure hair growth while I leave them in for 2 months. So…12 hours of patience… for 2 months of low maintenance. I think it’s a worthy trade off. Plus, they look like locks the longer I keep them in and I plan to lock my hair soon, so I enjoy this look very much.

How do you combat shrinkage?
L:
I don’t. Shrinkage used to bother me so much, but now it doesn’t phase me. But when I do want to see some length, to try something new I use the banding method. The way I do this is by braiding my hair, putting the braids into a single ponytail and tying scrunchies down the braid. I leave this style in normally until the hair is mostly dry then I take it out and presto! Length.

What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
L:
My crown requires a lot of attention. This is the part of my hair that has no curl pattern, no moisture, and it breaks so easily. I treat it like a baby.

What are 2 do’s for your texture?
L:
My two do’s are conditioner and water. I could never have enough of either.

What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
L:
Bleach and heat. I don’t do flat irons anymore. I also tried to ride this Ombré wave that I’ve been seeing on tumblr and everywhere else. Never again will I bleach my hair. It was too much maintenance and I ended up removing two inches from my hair.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
L:
Of course!
Website: http://www.DirectedByLeo.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/leomary.rodriguez
InstaGram: Leo_The_Gr8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Leo_The_Truth
Tumblr: http://foxxyleopatra.tumblr.com/

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About Meosha

Just another lover of natural hair and expression. - Style Icon Coordinator for BGLH

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Anne Hill
Anne Hill
8 years ago

Girl, yes. This hair is awesome.

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne Hill

Thank you!
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/9gcgsokqu0atyhd430pq.png[/img]

Toya
Toya
8 years ago

Very Lovely! I’m a yarn braid fan too!!!

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Toya

Thank you! I love them in the winter especially, keeps me warm 🙂

Crist
Crist
8 years ago

you + red lips = fire!

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Crist

many thankyous

Barbara
Barbara
8 years ago

Pretty hair and pretty girl! I can’t wait to try yarn braids as well.

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Barbara

You won’t regret it!

Aliyah
Aliyah
8 years ago

I found my hair twin!! lol her hair is similar to mine. I’m glad I found this one!

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Aliyah

haha! I’m glad I have a hair twin out here! Never thought I’d find someone with my texture

Annie L.
Annie L.
8 years ago

I love your hair and your work! Thanks for the great interview and introducing me to your site and your very fun tumblr. I’d like to hear more women across the African-infused diaspora — Latina, Arab — speak publicly about the stigma of good hair/bad hair. Good luck with loc’ing and your yarn braids are gorg!

Foxxyleopatra — Lol!

Curly Queen
8 years ago
Reply to  Annie L.

I agree. Diversity of profiles is a good thing.

Marcia
Marcia
8 years ago
Reply to  Annie L.

Yes I definitely want to hear more too!!

Leomary you have BEAUTIFUL hair! Love those yarn-braids too! Lovely pictures!

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Annie L.

Thanks everyone, for your awesome words! Its crazy, I wrote my college essay on this topic. You make me want to VLog about this though. I can talk about it for days and I’m sure so many more people can too!

DaynaJoe
DaynaJoe
8 years ago

You are a lovely, creative spirit with beautiful hair. It was a treat to read your hair story and to check out your other web sites. It’s very difficult to fight the notions of beauty of ones culture that are just not correct. I hope you continue to draw upon your certainty in all that you do. You are so on the right track. Wishing you all the best with all of your endeavors.

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  DaynaJoe

Wow, thank you for your kind words. I needed to hear this today, very motivational. Much love!

FloridaHoneybee
FloridaHoneybee
8 years ago

Are you a Leo?

I am.

:0)

Leo
Leo
8 years ago

Lol, no but my mom is. I’m a Sagittarius but I have MAD LOVE for Leo’s 🙂

robbi
8 years ago

love the hair!

peacelovenhair.blogspot.com

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  robbi

And the hair loves you! haha thanks!

Alisha
8 years ago

Aww, such an awesome spirit! And awesome hair!

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Alisha

awww thanks luv!

Miss SP
8 years ago

You are beautiful and so is your hair!!! It was great seeing a fellow Dominican on here… that was a plus LOL 😀

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Miss SP

YAS! That’s what I like to hear!

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