Mel Burgos

This week, we caught up with 30-year-old Mel Burgos from Arlington, Virginia.

“I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. I served 10 years in the U.S. Navy and am currently management analyst for the Department of Health and Human Services U.S. I am also a new blogger! I’m super excited about this new journey because my ultimate goal is to inspire Latinas and women of other nationalities.”

Curly Essence: Tell us a little history of your curly hair.
Mel Burgos: “I had a long and challenging history with my curls. Growing up with huge, curly hair in my neighborhood wasn’t considered “cool,” and I did everything to hide them. I did the designated French braid, I straightened it, and eventually did the unthinkable and relaxed my hair at 13. I loved my straight hair until my curly roots grew in.”
C.E.: How long did you find yourself in the transition to natural hair, and why did you make this decision?
M.B.: “Well, my transition lasted a year and a half. I cut off 9cm of hair in 2010 due to a horrible experience. I made the decision to go into this natural journey because I was tired of fighting against my hair.”

C.E.: What is the hardest part of your transition?
M.B.: “The hardest part of my transition was accepting that my hair does not define me. I’ll be honest, I get tons of compliments on my hair and I appreciate every one of them, but I am more than my hair.”

C.E.: Explain to us how you care for your curly hair.

Mel by Pete Monsanto
M.B.: “I try to wash my hair at least every five days. Also, I use steam every two weeks using my Huetiful steamer. I use the products from the brand Dark and Lovely Au Naturale. For the styling, I use a combination of Sebastian Potion 9 and Ecostyler gel, and I end up using the diffuser for no more than 15 minutes and finish with argan, jojoba, or grapeseed oil.”

C.E.: Is there a secret that you can share regarding your curly hair?
M.B.: “A secret? Hmmmm, well I do scalp massages daily with a little grapeseed oil on my fingers, and I take two biotin vitamins daily, as opposed to the recommended dose of 1!”

C.E.: Are there rules that your friends must know about your fro? (example: NEVER, IN ANY WAY PUT YOUR HANDS ON MY HAIR!)
M.B.: “Please just ask to touch my hair!”

C.E.: How do you see this new movement back to our roots?
M.B.: “I think back to our roots is necessarily new, but it is now definitely concluded. It gives me a sense of pride in using my natural hair as well as a platform to show my nieces that curly hair is absolutely gorgeous.”

C.E.: If you had to envy, who’s curly hair do you admire?
M.B.: “I would not say jealous, but I really admire Diana Ross. I must admit that I really love her daughter Tracee Ellis Ross, who talks about embracing who you are, fashion and beauty secrets — I’m a big fan of her site and her videos on YouTube.”

C.E.: What do you think of this movement? Do you think #GoNatural is a fad?
M.B.: “I love that the natural movement of the hair allows us to embrace our natural beauty without any changes. I feel fortunate to have the best of both worlds, I can use my curly hair one day and the other straight. I do not believe that being natural is a fad, because there is a certain feeling of confidence that you win when you just embrace yourself.”

Mel by  Malek Naz

C.E.: What products do you recommend and what can you not live without?
M.B.: “I recommend it and can not live without Dark & Lovely Au Naturale (shampoo and conditioner), Sebastian Potion 9, and Ecostyler line clear gel.”

C.E.: What is the best thing about having your hair in form of S?

M.B.: “Well, for me, the best thing about having curly hair…my friends can identify me in the crowd LOL.”

Mel photographer by Malek Naz