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Seriously Natural Spotlight: Marissa

via Global Couture, LLC

Hi my name is Marissa Donegain. I am 27 years old, married with two beautiful children and I am a hairstylist from Long Island, New York. I have been blessed to have naturally curly hair, and always embraced it growing up until my high school years when the almighty flat iron became popular. There wasn’t a day that went by that I did not straighten my hair, it became a daily ritual. At the sight of a wave, I’d make sure I’d get rid of it right away. You could say I was a obsessed with bone straight hair. I knew nothing about the damage I was causing, or the amount of hard work I’d put into regaining my natural tresses.

How long have you been natural?
When I became a salon owner, I really learned about how much heat could alter our naturally curly manes. From there, I began doing my research. In July 2012, I decided to take better care of my hair and began my natural hair journey.

What motivated you to transition? Where you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I became motivated to transition after coming across a few fellow “curly girls” on social media. I fell in love with their uniqueness and how proud they were of their beautiful locks. Although I did not have a relaxer, my hair was damaged from too much heat styling. I used to be able to wash my hair and allow my hair to air dry into a beautifully curly mess, but due to the heat damage I would wash my hair and it would fall flat, straight and extremely frizzy. My roots were curly, and my ends were straight. My Instagram curly hair hero @SunKissAlba literally saved my hair! From watching her tutorials, I began to follow suit. I knew that I did not want to make the big chop, so like her I gradually took 2 inches here, another 2 inches there off of my ends. This continued over the span of about a year and a half, until all of my straight ends were gone.

How would you describe your hair?
I would describe my hair as being full with bouncy curls. I have 3B-textured hair, with some characteristics of 3C hair.

What do you love most about your hair?
What I love most about my hair is its versatility. I never feel limited when styling my hair!

What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
I had over processed blonde hair, and dyed it to my naturally dark brown hair color. I threw away the products I owned that were packed with sulfates and those awful drying agents, and replaced them with all natural and sulfate free products. I started washing my hair once a week and did weekly deep conditioning treatments. The most memorable part of my journey was between my first and second month when I noticed that the new products were working and I began to see the change in my hair! I remember being so excited to see the difference in the way my hair was less frizzy, more moisturized, and my curls were beginning to look more defined! I have found that my hair journey has been really easy when I was able to wash my hair and leave it curly for the week. At times, I struggled with the idea of straightening my hair because I really loved the look, but I didn’t want to reverse all of the good I had done. I realized that when I wanted to achieve straight styles, I had to make sure that I had enough time to set it and take the time to properly carry out the process with the least amount of damage possible. It was an adjustment, but over time I was able to find what works for me and my hair.

What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’ ?
My all time favorite transitioning hairstyle was the straw set! I wanted to wear my hair curly, but with my ends being straight, it was hard to achieve that look. I watched how to do a straw set on Youtube, and learned to do it on myself. It became my go –to hairstyle for a while. I got the look that I wanted, with minimal heat (sitting under the dryer), I packed my hair with natural oils, all while camouflaging my straight ends which allowed me to avoid the big chop.

What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I have a received so many great reactions to the change in my hair. As a salon owner, many of my clients were excited to see the change because for those who were like me, they found a stylist who could speak from experience and guide them on the same journey. I was able to offer advice that not only backed my testimony, but they had visible evidence that solidified the products and the process. I was always excited to share my hair story, and hearing their positive feedback motivated me to embrace my journey and not give up!

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I usually wash my hair once a week. I use DeVa Curl No Poo Shampoo, rinsing with warm water, and DeVa Curl Conditioner rinsing with cold water to close the hair cuticle. I always use a wide tooth comb to detangle. To keep damage to a minimum, I use an old cotton T-shirt or a microfiber towel to pat away the extra moisture, never rubbing to dry, just gently squeezing. The same day I wash my hair, I deep condition as well. I use Organic Coconut Oil, Shea Moisture’s Restorative Conditioner & Reconstructive Finishing Elixir, twist into a bun and leave overnight. The next morning, I do a light co-wash to take out the excess oils. While my hair is dripping wet, I spray Shea Moisture’s Thickening Moisture Mist on my roots and massage that in. I use about a palmful of Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie and the Curl and Style Milk, and a quarter sized amount of Amika’s Curl Defining Cream in quarter sections of my hair. I comb it all through, “scrunch” my ends upward and allow it to air dry. It usually takes about 3 hours for my hair to dry. During the drying process, I make sure not to touch my hair in order to avoid frizz. Once it is dry, I flip my hair upside down and massage my roots to add volume. After this, I gently separate my curls to create a fuller look. If my ends appear to be a little dry, I usually add a small amount of coconut oil to add shine. At night, I use the pineapple method to tie up my hair. This allows me to keep the shape of my curls when I am ready to style for the next day. Styling for the next day is simple, I use cool water in a spray bottle and dampen my hair to refresh my curls, but not dripping wet, and I don’t add additional product. I usually like to wear my hair down, free of any clips etc. I am a huge fan of 2-3 day hair. As the week goes on, I may wear a bun to hide frizz.

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
My favorite YouTuber is SunKissAlba (looove her), she really changed the way I viewed my hair and played a major role in my transition. I’m also a fan of TarenGuy (IG), Naptural85 (IG), GlamTwinz334 (YT), CurlyAndBeautiful (IG), and of course Global Couture!!

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Transitioning is a process; it isn’t going to be something where you see results the next day. Stick with it, and you will be so proud of the results! Trial and error plays a major role, just because it works for one doesn’t mean it will work for you. Become a sponge and learn as much as you can! Your hair will thank you for it!

Where can people find you for more information?
Instagram & Twitter: @RissVIP 


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Leave a Reply


  1. Pretti Uneek
    February 13, 2014 / 4:01 pm

    Great. post. Nice to see what salon owners think and what they use on their hair. It was interesting to see what made her decide to straighten her hair.

  2. Seriously Natural
    February 13, 2014 / 6:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing!