My hair says I am a survivor and I have a beautiful story to tell.
Devri Velazquez

I got diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease in 2011 and had to start a whole bunch of heavy medication, including a form of chemotherapy. Since my hair was changing and becoming more brittle and fragile, I decided to start transitioning. That’s when I rocked a sew-in weave and wigs for the first time in my life. I also stopped getting chemical relaxers, which I had been getting once a month since I was 5 years old.

As a pre-teen and teenager, I experimented with color and became addicted to the honey blondes and fire engine reds. I also got my hair braided by neighborhood friends and went to the salon for my relaxer appointments each month. I was known for having long stick-straight hair that fell down my back.

What made you decide to go natural?

My hair started changing due to chemo and other medication. It wasn’t able to withstand the strength of a relaxer anymore, so I transitioned for a few months until I finally did my first big chop in the salon. Then I did another big chop at home a couple of months after that and never looked back.

How has your family, friends, and co-workers reacted? What was your response to them?

My family loves my hair and they supported my decision because it was the obviously healthier one for all that I was going through. Every now and then my mother teases me for having ‘dry’ or ‘wild’ hair but then she always follows up with offering to help me to twist it.

What has been the most memorable moment of your hair journey?

Going wig shopping in my first year of treatment was fun and liberating. I felt like each style, color, and length transformed me in a matter of minutes.

Source: @monique_rdz

What hairstyle(s) made you feel the most confident?

I feel like a completely different person every time I rock Marley twists or an intricate braided style.

What was your transitioning hair regimen?

A lot of Moroccanoil Curl Definer to blend the two textures. I also loved (and still love) Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner.

What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?

I have literally hundreds of articles dedicated to this, so I won’t go into too much detail -- but I definitely stick to all-natural, sulfate-free, silicone-free, water or oil-based, clean and reliable products to help retain moisture and just the amount of definition I like without weighing down my big volume. DevaCurl, SheaMoisture, and Camille Rose Naturals haven’t let me down for years.

Any advice you’d like to give other women who may be in the transition phase and need some encouragement?

Trust your intuition, do whatever makes you feel good. At the end of the day, it’s your hair -- you have the right to rock it however you please.

What inspired you to go natural? We'd love to hear from you, comment below!

Want more fromDevri? Follow her on Instagram @devrivelazquez

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