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Please tell us a little bit about you:
My name is Merissa. I’m 28 years old and a Miami, Florida native. I currently work in the healthcare field and I’m a natural hair enthusiast. I enjoy beach days, reading and learning about African and African-American history, watching sports and Netflix, cooking, baking and spending time with my boyfriend, family and friends.
Tell us about your journey so far, transitioning or big chop, recovering from hair loss if any, your challenges, your successes, etc:
I decided to return to natural because I desired a healthier lifestyle and I wanted to inspire other women and young girls to love their natural and authentic selves, unapologetically. Debunking society’s unrealistic standard of beauty also pushed my choice to return to natural and help change the dynamic of what is seen as beautiful. I transitioned for about 8 months and I did my own big chop in my bathroom one day before the date I originally set for myself to big chop.
My biggest challenge was learning how to properly care for and moisturize my low porosity hair. Throughout my amazing natural hair journey I had many successes, failed hairstyles and I dealt with lots of trial and error. I learned so much about my natural hair. My biggest success is being able to maintain the health of my hair.
What is your regular regimen like?
I wash my hair once a week. I use shampoo about twice a month due to the likelihood of product buildup on my low porosity hair and I co-wash the other two weeks. I deep condition with heat after every wash to help the product penetrate my strands better. After deep conditioning, I spray aloe vera juice on my hair and style however I choose for the week.
What are your favorite natural oils & how do you use them?
My favorite oils are extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), grapeseed oil and lavender Jamaican black castor oil. I use EVOO to pre-poo (overnight) and to detangle my hair before washing. I use grapeseed oil or lavender Jamaican black castor oil as my O in the LOC method to seal in moisture.
What are your other favorite hair care products?
I am an absolute product junkie! I have a variety of shampoos, rinse out/leave-in conditioners, deep conditioners, stylers and edge controls. I will purchase and use anything I feel my hair will like. I use and love Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter, Camille Rose, Mielle Organics, OSSAT Naturals, Curls, Crème of Nature, Lotta Body, Aunt Jackie’s, Jireh and Kimble Beauty hair care products, just to name a few.
What’s your favorite way to wear your hair?
I like to wear wash and gos but due to an increase in single strand knots when I wear them, stretched styles such as twist outs or braid outs have been my new favorite go to styles. Also, I cannot forget the always-reliable high puff when all else fails.
Do you have any preferred hair accessories/toys?
What’s the one hair care advice you would give to someone considering going natural?
Be patient. Returning to natural can be overwhelming and scary, but if you remain steadfast, continue to educate yourself on proper hair care techniques and provide your hair with tender love and care, it will flourish.
Do you have any natural hair care idols? Why?
My natural hair care idols are mynaturalsistas (Carmen, Toni and India), Naptural85 (Whitney White), tarenguy (Taren Guy), and BlakIzBeautyful (Jenell B. Stewart). I respect and admire all of these women because of the strides they are making in the natural hair community and in the world. They are truly an inspiration and they helped me prepare for and appreciate my hair journey way before I big chopped. I cannot say enough great things about all of these genuinely amazing women!
Where can we find you online?
I can be found on Instagram @naturallymeriss. My YouTube channels are coming soon – NaturallyMeriss and NaturallyMeriss Vlog Channel.