A: My name is Ana Iris Santos Batista and I’m from the capital of the Dominican Republic.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: I’ve been a natural for around 2–3 years. I didn’t really decide to become natural. At a certain point, I just stopped using relaxers and hair dyes. It wasn’t until I started searching for ways to care for my natural hair that I realized that transitioning to natural hair was not something as rare as I thought.
How would you describe your texture?
A: I would describe my hair as mostly 3b with some 3c characteristics. My hair is very thick and sometimes it can be coarse despite what it may look like. It rejects water and doesn’t really like doing what I tell it to, but I do have ways to tame my mane.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
A: In one month I try to wash my hair only 4 times. Most of the time it ends up being about twice a month. It really depends on if I’m going out or if I have nothing to do. The ideal would be for me to deep condition every time I wash my hair, but my wash day is long enough. The way that I keep my hair moisturized is by dampening it every day with a mixture of water and Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave‐In Conditioning Cream. Most of the time I have my hair down with its natural texture. I also love to “fro‐out” my hair. This requires for me to use heat, so I also limit this to only 2–4 times a month. The styles that I keep going back to are protective styles. My protective styles are a bit different. Protective styles are supposed to last days or weeks so that you’re not touching or dealing with your hair every day. This is however something that I just can’t do. Due to the length and thickness of my hair…leaving any style for a week or longer will give me dreads. My hair coils into itself and just doesn’t let go. If I decide not to do a specific style, I do an updo for about 3 days and then change it up into another protective style.
What does wash day look like for you?
A: First, I begin by finger detangling my hair. I then shampoo and condition with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. After I’m done detangling (after 1–3 hours) and have washed out the conditioner, I remove excess water and add the Garnier Fructis Leave‐In. I then apply some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plop my hair, and I’m done! Unless…I decide to do a style. How long the style takes depends on what it is. A coil out is an extra 40 minutes. A braid out is about 2 hours extra (I don’t braid close to the scalp, and I do medium sized braids). A froed out look is only about 10–20 minutes. A wash and go is about 5–10 minutes. The halo updo is only about 10–15 minutes. This is usually the most tempting, but the one I choose the least.
Describe your favorite go‐to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A: My favorite go‐to hairstyle for days when I’m more lazy than usual is definitely any updo or my froed out look. The halo updo works for pretty much any situation. The fro look just makes me feel free and it goes with my “I don’t really care what you think about my hair” day haha.
How do you combat shrinkage?
A: I’m one of the people that belongs to the very elite group of naturals that like shrinkage. I don’t fight it. I wish I had it. My hair shrinks to some degree, but I don’t consider it shrinkage. If it was up to me, my hair would be hip length and shrink to above my shoulders. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
A: My hair and I are nearly always in battle. My main problem is dryness. My hair literally repels water, but once it soaks it in it doesn’t want to let it go. It’s very emotionally confused. When I’m in the bathroom, I have to literally hurry to put on my shampoo and my conditioner because by the time that happens…my hair has dried. Once I’m out though, my hair takes an entire day to dry completely. It makes it very hard to plan to go out. I tell everyone that they must give me a day’s notice or I won’t be able to go.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
A: Do moisturize your hair daily and do deep condition as much as possible.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
A: Do not use heat daily and do not tug on your hair while detangling.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A: I can be found on:
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/DominicanMerida (recently started it)