Donna was featured on March 1, 2012 when she was more than a year into her transition to natural hair. We caught up with her to get an update on her regimen now that she’s au naturale.
D: My name is Donna and I am originally from Michigan, but reside in Chicago.
How long have you been natural and how did you decide it was time to complete your transition?
D: I wanted to go natural for a year or two before I actually transitioned. I loved the look of natural hair and the versatility that came with it! Being a new resident of Chicago for graduate school I decided that it was more convenient to stop getting relaxers than driving back to Michigan every time I needed to get a touch up since I didn’t know any stylists out here. My last relaxer was the end of January 2011. I transitioned for a little over a year and a half. I think at the time I was shooting for 2 years, but the difference in textures became too much of a hassle. Once I “big chopped” detangling and styling became SO much easier! I have been natural for 1 full year now.
How has your regimen changed since you completed your transition?
D: Now that I’m completely natural I’ve been experimenting with wash-n-go’s and have finally found techniques and products that work for me. I still wash and condition my hair at least once a week and either pineapple at night or just sleep on my satin pillowcase. Since recently coloring my hair, I usually co-wash my hair twice a week after wearing my wash-n-go for 2 or 3 days.
Do you have any hair goals?
D: I love big hair and would love for my hair to be about armpit length, curly. Right now I’m experimenting with color for the first time since going natural. I have a single color (dark brown) process all over, and half a head of highlights with darker roots. So far I love it! I think it adds a lot of depth to my curls. I like to try new things, so I will probably dye it red in the future and back to black when I get tired of the highlights.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
D: My go-to styles are twist outs, flat twist outs, wash-n-go’s, and puffs. My favorite oils are argan oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. My staple styling product is Olive Oil Eco Styler Gel. I like doing wash-n-go’s now that I know how to define and elongate my curls, and they’re pretty simple and can be done in the morning. Through trial and error I’ve found that gel gives me the best hold and stretch than any other product. I apply it from roots to ends and smooth it through. Then I add more water and shake my head to separate and clump the curls. I have a tutorial that goes into more depth on my YouTube channel. In the summer months I air dry, but in the winter I diffuse. I also like twists outs because they can last all week and give me big hair. And I love doing protective styles like Marley Twists, Senegalese Twists or Box Braids to promote length retention and give my hair a break.
What does wash day look like for you?
D: I rarely shampoo my hair (maybe once a month) and I co-wash once or twice a week with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration or Aussie Moist Conditioner. I deep condition or pre-poo with my own conditioner-oil-honey mixture, or Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque. For leave-ins I use Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Repair Cream, Giovanni Direct Leave-In or Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia. If I’m doing a wash-n-go I style my hair in the shower while it is soaking wet and let it air dry or diffuse.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
D: A mega puff is the easiest style for me to do when my wash-n-go or twist out is not looking so great.
How do you combat shrinkage?
D: Stretching my hair in twist outs or weighing my wash-n-go hair down with water when drying/diffusing helps combat shrinkage. Once my hair is completely dry I can also stretch my roots with my dryer and concentrated nozzle to elongate and create even bigger stretched hair.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
D: I had some heat damage in the front of my head from transitioning with weaves. In the summer months I was flat ironing that hair to match the extensions almost daily. I recently cut the damaged hair off so I don’t have a problem with it anymore.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
D: Co-wash/deep condition frequently and protective styling.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
D: Too much direct heat and infrequent trims.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
D: My YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/donedo05 has lots of hair, makeup, and cooking tutorials! My Blog and Instagram are updated daily with my hairstyles and makeup looks, along with photos of my clients and their Marley Twists, Havana Twists and Senegalese Twists.
Website: http://thedonedo.com/donedo/HOME__.html — Featuring some of my photography portfolio and some of my artwork.