Tell me about yourself!
My name is Tatiana Lugo. I am from the Dominican Republic. I currently live in the state of Delaware. I’m a mother of three beautiful children, a plus size model and a student pursuing a career in Liberal Arts.
What was your journey like?
Growing up was very difficult for me because I had curly hair. In the Dominican Republic that was consider “bad hair”. If your hair was curly you were not able to fit into society, get a good job or even go to an expensive restaurant without people staring at you. Having curly hair made you feel like you came from another planet. My sisters and I all had to use chemicals on our hair to get rid of our tresses. This was the normal thing to do. We felt like we had to comply, even thought it meant damaging our hair and scalp, not to mention the nasty smell.
Last year, my employer laid me off of my corporate job. On many occasions my managers would give me written notice for coming to work with my hair in its natural texture. I really felt like I was the problem, so I stopped wearing my hair naturally curly. To fit in and keep my managers happy, I straightened my hair before I went to work everyday for more than ten years. I wanted to cut off my hair and just be bald. So, once I left that job, to be honest, I felt free. I could be me and let my hair down naturally, even if that meant having no money. I’m happy, and it feels awesome.
How long have you been transitioning?
I have been transitioning since May of 2014, and I tell you it feels like I am born again. My journey has been interesting; I do a lot of research on natural products, styles and how to live naturally. I’m a little of a product junky, but I think all naturals divas should be. I have creams, gels, custards, leave-in conditioners, and DIY products; I love them all. When my curls came to the light I was ecstatic! YAYYYY I haven’t seeing you guys in more than 25 years! (Yes, I was literally talking to my hair; I still do.)
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
My family thought I was going through another one of my life phases, (like when I turned 30). But once they realized how delighted I was and the real beauty of my naturally curly hair, they were happy for me.
Describe your hair
My hair is coarse, type 3C, thick and highly porous. It has its own attitude and it reacts better with natural products, especially those from my kitchen.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
The craziest thing I’ve done to my hair was to bleach my tresses (WHY,WHY, WHY did I do such a thing?) Next thing you know I went from Rapunzel to a chicken that came out of a hot tub, not nice!!!
What’s your biggest hair related regret?
My biggest regret is that my hair was controlling my self-esteem and my love for myself. I was letting others define me and judge me for the way my hair looked. I didn’t like myself, all because of my hair. I am a beautiful woman and my hair is a part of who I am. The texture of my hair is not the definition of being incompetent, it is who I am and it makes me unique.
What's your current hair routine?
My current hair routine is: I co-wash every 3 days, when I come out of the shower I apply a leave-in conditioner, moisturizer and custard to avoid frizz. My favorite products are KinkyCurly Knot Today leave-in conditioner and custard. Love them. However, when my pockets are tight, I use my favorite DIY gel, flax seed with aloe vera, and for my leave-in product I use coconut and olive oil. After all of this, I diffuse my hair to at least 80%. My hair is very thick and it can take up to 24 hours to dry.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
My favorite hairstyle is the popular “wash and go” because I admire my curls. I get all of my inspirations from NaturallyCurly. I like how you can find a solution for your problems and share your thoughts.
Who is your curl crush?
My curls crush is SunKissAlba and you Nikki of course; thank you so much I really admire you.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
To go to sleep I keep my curls in a pineapple bun with a satin wrap (because I don’t have a silk pillow case). Although, my boyfriend hates this. But it’s my body. To retained length I use castor oil and coconut oil every night before I put my hair up. I also get a Deva cut every 6 months, which I love.
What's the best thing about being natural?
The best thing about being a natural diva is that I no longer have to please others by putting nasty chemicals on my hair, and I realize that “ me” is not bad at all. On the contrary, I am gorgeous. I’m so proud of myself for being brave and loving myself for who I am. This has been more than a curly hair journey, I feel like it is more of a psychological journey to find “me”. It took me more than 25 years, but I did it, and it has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
This interview was originally published on CurlyNikki.