E: Hello my natural sisters! My name is Elyse Destiné. I currently live in Queens, NY, but I’m originally from Haiti “Sak pase!!”
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
E: My whole natural journey is quite interesting because this is actually my second time going natural. I first went natural when I was 18. It was right after high school. That year I had a really bad perm and seeing the bald spot on my temple definitely encouraged me to give it a try. Trust me it was not a pretty sight and till this day my poor little follicles have never recovered. After that horrible experience I was kind of reluctant to perm my hair again, so I decided to give being natural a try. However, the journey wasn’t so great for me.
I remember transitioning for about a year with braids. The constant rebraiding cost a lot of money, so after a while I decided to give my hair a break. And of course I had no idea what to do with it. I tried being natural for a few months, but eventually I caved in to the “creamy crack”. However the second time around I was much older and more mature, so nothing could sway me. I was that determined. This time my sister’s natural hair care regimen inspired me. It started with me cowashing, then using natural products, and before I knew it I had transitioned for 4 months and did the big chop.
How would you describe your texture?
E: Oh Gosh where do I start. My hair is very unique. I have a lot of hair, but the strands are really fragile and thin. It took me a while to understand the texture of my hair because since I have a lot of hair I thought my hair was coarse, but boy was I wrong! One thing I’ve learned about my hair is that it breaks very easily. At first the whole typing system did not help me much because although my hair is kinky it is also very coily. I spent months denying my texture and trying to make my hair do what it simply could not. Now after 2 + years of being natural I can confidently say that I am a proud 4c sister. I have sprinkles here in there of 4b and the back of my hair looks like it’s 4A, but I’m 4c. Typing my hair has definitely guided me with choosing which products to use. Natural hair gurus like Cipriana on urbanbushbabes.com and rusticbeauty on YouTube have also inspired me to embrace my hair texture. So a big thank you ladies :).
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
E: First let me make a quick confession…My name is Elyse and I am a product junkie. Probably the worst out there because I’m constantly changing products. It is so bad that I always forget which products work best on my hair, but lately I have been consistent. I now have an idea of which products to use. In my pictures you will notice my hair looking coily or really stretchy because my hair reacts differently to different products. For instance Shea Moisture usually stretches my hair, so I usually use it to do twist sets and later on complicated updos. Meanwhile using VO5 Conditioner (not Moisture Milks) as a leave-in usually puffs out my hair for a nice puff. So depending on the style I want, I will style my hair with that product on wash day. This summer I found a new love (PJ Issue). I noticed the Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Finishing Paste gives my hair really good definition on wash day for a twist out. This product usually makes my hair look like a fro “wash and go” which I love! On wash day I’ll apply a dime sized amount of VO5 Conditioner to each twist and seal it with the Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Finishing Paste. No matter the season, my styling regimen always includes twisting my hair for a twist out on wash days. I’ll wear the twists until they dry and a couple of days later depending on how the hair looks I’ll style with an updo, ponytail, twist or fro. These are usually the styles that I wear post wash day.
What does wash day look like for you?
E: Wash day for me is no joke! Lol, I don’t know how some sisters wash their hair every 3 or 4 days…but with my hair? Uh uh it is a full time job. So I try to wash once a week or once every two weeks. No matter the season my washing process always includes: Detangling, cowashing and deep conditioning. Right now, this is what I’m doing for the summer:
I apply my homemade banana or avocado/banana (depending on what I have available) hair mask on my dry hair. I find this to be the best detangler for my hair, so I take anywhere from 30 to 35 minutes finger detangling my hair with the mask on while removing any knots or tangles from my previous style. I usually let the mask sit on the hair for about 45 minutes before I rinse it. Now rinsing is also a very special and important part of my washing process. I prefer to wash my hair in the kitchen sink because it makes detangling easier for me. I let the water run throughout my hair making sure that the mask is completely out before I cowash with Tresemme Naturals or VO5 Conditioner. I rarely shampoo my hair because all shampoos dry my hair out. After rinsing I cowash in sections, usually 4 sections just to make sure that the hair doesn’t tangle. Then after co-washing I do 4 or 5 big braids and get ready to style. Lately I’ve noticed that deep conditioning with Tresemme Naturals after the mask makes the hair softer, so I might add that to my regimen.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
E: My favorite go to style is a flat twist imitation in the front and a low ponytail. Since I always wear a twist out I find this to be the easiest style to do when I’m on the run. If I have been wearing my hair out a lot then I’ll do my trusty hair puff.
How do you combat shrinkage?
E: I dont! Lol I will explain…I have learned to work with what I have because my hair and Mrs. Shrinkage definitely have a hate/love relationship. Depending on the style I’m wearing it can work with me or against me, but I have to say that twist out definitely helps out. My hair tangles very easily, it’s fragile and coily, so if I don’t do a twist set after a wash then it looks like I just did the big chop like…yesterday.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
E: My main problem is my crown. I have no idea what kind of texture it is, but it breaks very easily and I try to never use a comb there. Trust me I learned the hard way…
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
E: A do for my texture is definitely stretching the hair. The beautiful thing about my hair is that I can spend weeks without washing it with no problems. My hair loves being stretched and will do anything to avoid water. My hair also loves finger detangling, and it took me almost 3 years to realize that. For the longest I could not understand why I was losing so much hair. I hated wash days and would not wash it for weeks because my hair shed so much. I never realized that my fragile strands could not handle the combs. Ever since I started finger detangling it has made a HUGE difference in my hair. So For anyone with my similar hair texture who is experiencing excessive shedding and breakage, definitely give finger detangling a try.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
E: One don’t for my hair is definitely wash and go’s. My hair is 4c coily and it shrinks a whole lot. I have the smallest coils I have ever seen so they looooove to hug each other. So wash and go’s right now is definitely a no no. Protein is another don’t. It stretches my hair and makes it break very easily. So I tend to avoid products like coconut oil and anything that has protein in it. Raw shea butter is another don’t. I know the horror! Lol it took me two years to realize that shea butter doesn’t do anything for my hair. It weighs it down and makes it very dry. My poor little strands can’t handle the heaviness of shea butter. It’s a very good sealant, but not for my hair.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
E: No blogs or webpage at this time, but you can follow me @lysielyse on Instagram 🙂