Discovering two-strand twists changed Elsita's life, and her curly hair!

NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!

Elsie Loyola: My name is Elsie Loyola, but everyone calls me Elsita. I'm thirty four and from Puerto Rico, where it's humid 24/7…day and night! 

I'm an aesthetician--a makeup artist--and a dog lover. I'm also the middle child in my family, and the only one with big, thick curly hair. I got my texture from my dad's side of the family.

NC: How and when did you start embracing your curls?

EL: I hated my curly hair when I was younger. I got relaxers and perms through all of my childhood but my hair still looked like a mess. In my twenties, I saw an episode of "What Not to Wear" which featured an African American woman with short, thick natural hair. I thought, "How's he going to straighten her hair?" The stylist, Nick Arrojo, didn't blow dry her hair straight…instead he used a leave-in conditioner and hair gel, sectioned her hair and finger twisted it. Her hair, once frizzy and dry, was now beautiful and full of smooth ringlets! I washed my hair and tried the technique. I was immediately hooked! 

NC: What's your current routine? 

EL: I recently learned about the "Curly Girl Handbook," Devachan Hair Salon, and Lorraine Massie. Now my whole routine has changed. I stick to thick, creamy conditioners and I used curl custards and puddings. I co-wash once a week and style my hair in two-strand twists. I also shampoo once a month to remove any buildup. 

NC: So from start to finish, on a curly day, what's your process?

EL: I start with a mango/banana/coconut/olive oil pre-shampoo mask, which I leave in my hair for about an hour. Then I co-wash with conditioner, Pantene Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner, or a sulfate-free shampoo. Next, I use Tresemmé Split Remedy Conditioner or an olive oil hair mask and leave the product for ten minutes before rinsing with cold water. I rinse with my head upside down so the product runs through the entirety of my hair. 

After showering, I don't towel dry…I squeeze excess water out with my hands. Then I spray my curls with a mix of water and setting lotion, section my hair and use more leave-in conditioner. Finally, I use a final hair oil or thick curl custard and do two-strand twists. I usually leave my hair twisted for a day or two. Once I unravel them, my hair can last up to a week!