M: My name is Mercedes. Some people may know me as Two Dollars Richer. I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio. Houston, Texas however, raised me. I’m a Southern girl at heart.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
M: I went natural without even knowing it. Honestly, I had no clue as to what being natural entailed. Basically, I was in middle school and realized two things. The first one being, I didn’t like the perming process. You know, the burning, itching scalp, the possibility of my hair falling out, and having to get a perm every couple of weeks was the worst to me. The second one, and I can’t believe I’m admitting this, was that I hated going to the hair salon my mother was taking me to. I didn’t like the ambiance of the salon, the man doing my hair, or the location. I asked my mother if we could stop going and that was the last time a perm ever touched my head. It’s been about 8 years since.
How would you describe your texture?
M: I have very densely packed, tight curls, which some would consider as 3c.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
M: I tend to wash my hair every three to five days. If I don’t, my scalp will start itching like crazy. I deep condition every week if I have time. Wash and Go’s had to be created with me in mind because that’s all I do. If I’m in the mood to switch it up, and this rarely happens, I will. As far as straightening my hair, I always deep condition beforehand with either a homemade treatment or Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque. I use a leave in conditioner, usually Aussie Leave-In Hair Insurance, Biosilk Silk Therapy (a little goes a long way), and the Chi 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray to tame my curls.
What does wash day look like for you?
M: First, I ask myself some questions to determine how wash day will begin. If my scalp is itching or I feel as if there is product build up, I will use Shea Moisture’s Organic African Black Soap Purification Masque. It is definitely one of my favorite products. Relieves an itchy scalp in no time. Now, if it’s time to deep condition my hair, I will use a homemade avocado deep conditioning treatment or Shea Moisture’s Deep Treatment Masque. If neither of the two is required, I will start with my regular routine. I wash my hair with Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Shine Shampoo and condition with Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Shine Conditioner. Afterwards, I will section my hair and detangle each section with a homemade aloe vera leave in (The recipe can be found on Black Girl with Long Hair). My preferred oil for the recipe is coconut). To finish, I use Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie. Air-drying is my preferred method. Blow dryers are used if I’m in a rush.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
M: I’m not sure if this would even be considered a hairstyle, but I just let my curls do their thing. I love to leave my curls loose and all over my head! If it’s way too hot outside for that, I will pull my hair up into a loose bun. Lately, I’ve been rocking my version of Janelle Monae’s pompadour. It doesn’t take long at all. Give me three minutes, a hair tie, some bobby pins, and I’m done.
How do you combat shrinkage?
M: I don’t have a problem with shrinkage. My hair is still pretty long in its natural state.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
M: The crown of my head is extremely dry! I always give it some extra TLC by making sure it hasn’t been overlooked and is thoroughly moisturized.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
M: Moisturize those strands—each and every last one of them! Having dry hair isn’t fun to deal with, especially when it comes to detangling. Also, if you are straightening your hair, please use a heat protectant! Of course there are other precautions you have to take, but using one is a step in the right direction for protecting your hair from heat damage.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
M: Don’t go to a beautician that doesn’t understand or specialize in natural hair! I’ve made the mistake once. NEVER AGAIN! My hair wouldn’t curl back up after being straightened at a local hair salon. After calling the beautician to figure out why, crying for hours, and letting my hair soak in deep conditioner for 48 hours straight, it finally went back to normal. Well, after a couple days. Also, don’t give up on your hair. It may be frustrating whenever certain products don’t work anymore or your hair is suddenly giving you problems. Embrace each challenge and share it with other naturals.