NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!

Reinilda Fernandez: Hola! My name is Reinilda Fernandez. I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in NYC!

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

RF: It started just about a year ago when I got tired of using relaxers on my hair. I had been relaxed since I was twelve years old and I didn't remember what my real hair looked like. I was curious! 

NC: What's your current routine?

RF: I wash my hair once a week usually with Tresemmé shampoo and conditioner because it really loosens my hair. Then I use a mixture of deep conditioners. I usually change it up so I'm not using the same conditioner back-to-back. Currently I'm using a Dominican conditioner called "10 in 1" and SheaMoisture Deep Treatment Masque.

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

RF: First, I shampoo twice, then I turn on an episode of South Park (or any show really) and detangle with my fingers. This usually takes 45 minutes. I don't usually comb my hair since it's so thick and I have broken so many combs! After detangling, I squeeze the excess water out of my curls and smother my head with Shea Butter and Carrot Oil. I just let it air dry after that! At night I put it up in a pineapple and sleep on a silk pillowcase.

NC: What are your favorite hairstyles to wear with your curls?

RF: I really don't do much with my hair except let it loose or tie it in a poof. I guess I'm pretty lazy with styling it.

NC: What reaction did you get when you first decided to go natural?

RF: It was definitely a mixed reaction. Most of my friends loved it and I'd get stopped when I went out. I always wonder where these pictures random people take with me end up! But my family reacted a little differently. There's a stigma in my culture (maybe not all Dominican families are like this, but I have heard of many) that "good" hair is straight, easy-to-comb hair. Because I grew up hearing this, I decided at the age of twelve that I wanted to get my hair relaxed so that I could have that "good" hair. When I went natural, I had family members tell me that I needed to go back because my hair was "bad" and not as nice as when it was relaxed. I think they have grown to accept it now. Most importantly, I love my hair and the way it grows from my head! 

NC: Did you big chop or transition and for how long?

RF: I've always had really long thick hair so I actually let it grow out at first because I was scared to have short hair. But then I realized that the curly hair growing out was not matching the rest of my hair, so I chopped off most of my hair, all the way to my shoulders. It was almost down to my waist before the chop. After that, I let my natural hair grow to my shoulders and I cut the rest off just recently. This process took about a year.

NC: What is the best thing about being curly?

RF: I love being able to roll out of bed, shake my curls and head out! No brushing, no using a straightener, no worrying about hairs being out of place. It's really liberating to just wear your hair the way it comes out of your head. 

NC: How do you think having curly hair impacts your life?

RF: I get a lot of attention. I've never had so many random people asking to touch my hair. It's nice to get noticed sometimes, but it can get annoying, especially because I don't know where their hands have been! 

NC: What would you tell others to encourage them to embrace their curls?

RF: Be comfortable with whatever grows out of your head. If your hair wants to grow out straight, wavy, curly, kinky…then let it! Don't be afraid to show the world who you really are.

NC: Tell us about your life and what you are up to!

RF: I  am an artist, so I am constantly painting and drawing. I will hopefully be enrolling in The Academy of Art to get my degree in Fine Arts.

You can find Reinilda on Facebook.