My name is Dominique Payne and I’m from Memphis, TN. I love the South, but I also love to travel. I’ve lived in Madrid where I was constantly confused for being Dominican (lol). I’m a Financial Analyst on a path to a bright career. My passion is dance and it’s something I desire to get back involved with in the future. One of my goals is to reopen my dance studio business with bigger, better plans. Ever since I was born, my mom would always put pure olive oil in my hair. For generations, it was something that my family had been doing for years. At the time, I didn’t understand why my mom would always put that “cooking oil” in my hair (lol). She literally always bought the one in the cooking aisle at the grocery store. My mom used to put my hair in ponytails most of the time as a child. When I got a little older, she would use this African cherry oil sheen spray and a curling iron to straighten my hair because it was a lot to deal with. I didn’t start doing my own hair until I was in 6th grade. The only thing I knew how to do at the time was put my hair in high ponytails and roll it up at night. I used to put anything in my hair, which didn’t always work out. I specifically remember this one particular day when I was having a bad hair day. I had just washed my hair and was trying to comb through it. I even tried using a brush, but I just couldn’t get it through. After struggling to get my hair detangled, I ended up breaking both the comb and the brush because my hair was so matted. And I just stared in the mirror and cried my little heart out because I hated my curly hair. I just wanted to be like the other kids at my school with straight hair. That memory will stick with me forever. This is the first time I’ve actually told that story! Since I didn’t know how to manage my curls, I would straighten it all the time, which took HOURS to do. My arms would always hurt so I took a lot of breaks (lol). I did this for years and years until I started noticing the damage I had done to my hair. I started losing my curl pattern and my ends began to split and break off. Once I made the vow to go natural, my curls became even MORE curly and my hair’s health slowly started to restore itself. I think going natural has made my hair grow even faster. It may look short sometimes because of the shrinkage, but I don’t mind it. As long as my hair is healthy, that’s all that matters to me.
How long have you been natural?
I started my natural hair journey back in September 2011. So, it’s been about a year and a half now since I’ve been natural.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
Two words…Heat damage! I just could not take it anymore. People would always say how pretty my long straight hair looked, but little did they know my ends were so unhealthy from all the flat ironing I would do to it. I even got highlights twice which also added to the damage. One day, I started researching on YouTube how to get rid of heat damage. I saw before and after pictures and videos of other naturals who had gone through the same thing. Everything I was learning was definitely an eye opener because it was my first exposure to the natural hair community. All I kept thinking was how gorgeous their natural hair was and how I wanted to repair my hair’s health so that I could wear my curls beautifully too. That’s when I decided to transition to wearing my hair natural. And by transition, I mean going from using heat to using no heat & using harsh chemicals to using only natural and organic healthy hair products. I did not have a relaxer in my hair. To be honest, I really never understood what relaxers, perms, and things of that nature were and I still don’t (lol). So instead of waiting forever, I decided to just go ahead and get rid of the bad part of my hair. I chopped off about 4 to 5 inches to get rid of the heat damage. I wanted it all gone! To some it’s not much but for me, it was a “big chop” because my hair had never been short. Luckily, it was still shoulder length after I got it cut. I was so happy and relieved to have gotten rid of the dead weight (lol).
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
I would have to say the most memorable part of my hair journey was just finding out that there are so many other naturals that are just like me who have shared the same experiences. Knowing that gave me a sense of acceptance and that it was okay to be natural and proud of it. Other than trying to educate myself on all the bad and good ingredients in hair products, everything has pretty much been smooth sailing. I did a lot of research before I went natural, so I felt prepared. I had to go through some trial and error with certain products, but I eventually found the ones that work best for me. Every day is still a learning process. Just like everyone else, I have my lazy days when I don’t feel like doing anything to my hair and it gets all frizzy. But I don’t let my hair get too crazy though (lol).
What are some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos?
Before I got rid of all my heat damage, I would mostly wear my hair in buns because I hated how limp and lifeless my dead ends looked. I don’t do much to my hair. I’ve recently learned how to achieve chunkier curls by twirling my hair with my fingers. It makes my curls so bouncy and playful. If it’s not in a bun, it’s usually down. I love the wild, messy look! “Curly Hair Don’t Care” is my motto!
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
It’s still surprising to me how much more compliments I’ve received on my naturally curly hair than when I used to wear it straight. I get compliments just about every other day from random people and other naturals, especially if I’m out and about. I also return the compliments when I see other people rockin’ their natural hair. People always ask me what I do to my hair or what I put in it. Ever since I can remember, my family has always loved my hair. My mom even told me that when she was pregnant with me, she always prayed that I would have good hair (lol). Even though they didn’t want me to cut my hair (from the heat damage), my family has been very supportive in my decision to go natural. Each compliment is so refreshing because it motivates me even more to stay natural and to love and embrace my curls each and every day.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I have a pretty simple hair routine, or at least it’s simple to me (lol). Heat tools are a BIG no-no for me. I absolutely do NOT use any heat whatsoever, nor do I have the desire to! I like to massage my scalp with either tea tree oil or coconut oil and then finger detangle my hair with coconut oil before I get in the shower. I wash my hair about every 2 weeks with DevaCurl No-Poo only at the roots. When rinsing, it cleanses the rest of my hair without having to directly apply more product. I also deep condition my hair on wash days with either coconut oil or Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Masque by sleeping with it in my hair overnight and rinsing it out the next morning. I try to co-wash twice or at least once a week with DevaCurl One Condition depending on how lazy I am (lol). I always follow up with one of my favorite conditioners, which is currently Shea Moisture Restorative conditioner. I love it so much! I rake it through my hair with my fingers and let it sit until I finish showering and shaving, etc. When I’m done, I rinse about 95% of it out. Once I get out the shower, I always apply products on drenching wet hair. Because of my length, I now have to apply product in sections (four). I use about a quarter size amount of Shea Moisture Thickening Growth Milk and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie on each section. Then I finish it off by putting a dime size amount of olive oil or jojoba oil on my ends. And that’s it! I let my hair air-dry. When it’s about 80% dry, I tilt my head over, shake my head, scrunch my curls, and (very carefully with my fingers) lightly massage my scalp to get volume without causing frizz. For night time, I put my hair up in a pineapple and sleep on a satin pillowcase. I even take it with me when I travel (lol). I spritz my hair every morning with cold water to reactivate the products that I already put in it. Depending on what my hair needs, I may reapply a little bit of oil or conditioner to give my hair a boost in between wash days.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I love NaturallyCurly.com! This website has been a BIG help during the initial stages of my hair journey and finding out my curl pattern, which is type 3b Curly Spirally or Corkscrew for those that follow the CG (Curly Girl) method. My favorite YouTuber for naturally curly hair is SunKissAlba. She doesn’t know it, but she has played a HUGE role in my transition to natural and healthy hair. I’ve purchased a lot of the products that she uses and they have all worked so great on my hair mainly because I think our hair types are very similar. Another YouTuber who I adore is elleraquel. She was actually the first YouTuber I came across when learning about natural hair products. I like to think we have become social friends since we chit chat sometimes on Instagram (lol). Because of these ladies, I was inspired to create my own YouTube channel to share my knowledge, experience and what I’ve learned throughout my natural hair journey with other curlies out there! As for blogs, I follow SunKissAlba’s blog, Chime Edwards’ blog, and now your blog!
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I wish I hadn’t have hated my curls back then. If only I would’ve taken care of them sooner and realized that all they needed was a little T.L.C. Everyone is uniquely beautiful, so embrace your natural beauty!
10. Where can people find you for more information?
You can find me on
YouTube channel: DPayne8 (more videos to come J)
Facebook: Dominique Payne
Where do you go for your natural hair support? Shout them out. Leave comments below.
Thank you Dominique! I think the best part of going natural for me was finding out there was a community to support me in the process. I don’t know what I would have done without the vloggers and bloggers that answered my questions.