Spotlight: Introducing Queen Mercedes

Hello, my lovelies! I know that I was on, yet another mini hiatus, but it's officially summer and I'm back in action! To start the summer off right, here's another beautiful Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) Spotlight Feature! I would LOVE to introduce to you all this #HairCrushWednesday #HairCrushEveryday: Mercedes Moore, also known as Two Dollars Richer on social media.

 photo by Mercedes Moore

photo by Mercedes Moore

Not only is she the ultimate #hairinspiration #HairGoals, but this beauty has a poppin' Instagram and YouTube channel that will make your jaw drop and make you want to follow and subscribe to whatever social media outlet she has. I first came across Mercedes on @myhaircrush on Instagram. I was in awe of her huge, curly hair and she made me excited about my hair again.

With her being loved and adored in the natural hair community and on social media, I knew that I had to have her bless Heythat Jaz with her presence as a Spotlight Feature. I really hope you enjoy this interview with "my friend in my head," because I DID and it made my day. Make sure you check her out on social media so that you can fall in love with her beautiful soul as well. Dios los bendiga (God Bless).

Introduce yourself queen.

Hello, World! My name is Mercedes, but some may know me by my blogging moniker — Two Dollars Richer. I hail from the land of Beyoncé, Houston. And yes, everything is bigger and full of life in Texas, including my hair. My blog was created from a place of love. It is here to inspire you to look effortlessly fly and to make sure your hair always looks fabulous.

How long have you been natural?

Wow… I can’t believe I’m saying this, but about 10 years now.

What motivated you to have healthier, natural hair?

I wasn’t thinking about healthier hair whenever I started transitioning. Now that I’m older, however, I am concerned about my overall health. I try to eat healthier, minimize the chemicals I consume and put onto my body and make an effort to get enough rest every night. Having a strong immune system and eating clean does so much for your mental, spiritual and physical health. I feel vibrant and I get an occasional glow. Your hair will reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Describe your hair by using a song lyric.

“In the end, I’m doing me. That’s all you got to see. Hey, that’s just how it is, but I got a touch of this. I’m a bit too dangerous.” — “Treat Me Like Fire” by Lion Babe

Listen to this song if you’ve never heard it before. It’s one of my favs!

 photo by Mercedes Moore

photo by Mercedes Moore

When did you start transitioning?

The process started in middle school. Around that time, I disliked relaxers and going to the hair salon (Crazy, but I still don’t like going). I told my mother I no longer wanted to relax my hair nor did I want to continue seeing my hairstylist. She obliged and the process started. I did not go through with a big chop. Instead, I had a never-ending grow out where I trimmed my ends as needed until all of the relaxed hair was cut off.

What are the challenges that you've had while transitioning?

The biggest challenge was finding the right styling products. Before I found my current routine, I would drench my hair in gel. When I tell you my hair was crispy, it was crisp. It wouldn’t move, but it kept my curls neat so I was happy. Eventually, I moved onto mousse. It was lighter on my hair. It also kept my curls from frizzing, but I knew I needed extra moisture and hold.

Another challenge was staying away from heat. I had this fascination with straightening my makeshift bangs in middle school. Every morning, before heading to school, I would use a flatiron. Nonetheless, after straightening my “bangs” for months, I realized my curls went limp. Hello, heat damage!

What are some of the struggles that you are face now being natural?

The only struggle I have is gathering the strength to wash and deep condition my hair. On some days, I just don’t want to do it. I can’t do it.

Were the women in your family and your girlfriends supportive when you decided to change your lifestyle? What was their reaction to you going from processed hair to natural?

My mother was more than supportive. After all, she let me decide that I was done with relaxers at such a young age (I transitioned as a child/pre-teen). I already have unconditional love for my mother, but knowing that she has always let me be Mercedes — not anybody else or preconceived notions of who Mercedes should be — makes me love her even more.

 photo by Mercedes Moore

photo by Mercedes Moore

What were the men in your life’s reaction to you going from processed hair to natural?

All of the men in my life love me unconditionally, just like my mother. They were fine with me going natural.

Who is your favorite #haircrushthrowback?

Janet Jackson

What does natural hair mean to you and what has going natural done for you?

My natural hair is an extension of myself. It commands attention and is free, which I love. Going natural has given me the ability to continue defining who I am on my own terms. I went natural when I wanted to and it made me more confident in making my own decisions.

What is your “go-to” hair style?

Rarely do I change my hair. My curls are usually free to roam wild. But whenever I need a break, I’m all for buns. They’re easy to maintain and super cute. Cornrows are to-die-for though. They make me wish I could braid.

 photo by Mercedes Moore

photo by Mercedes Moore

Describe your hair regimen (in detail) and tell us your staple products.

I begin by washing my hair with Trader’s Joe Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo. Letting it sit on your scalp will make your scalp tingle and remove build up. I love the feeling. The only problem is that the shampoo will dry your hair out. For that reason, I condition my hair with either Trader’s Joe Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner or Oyin’s Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner. I like to alternate between the two to switch it up. Once a week, after I am done shampooing and conditioning, I follow up with a deep conditioner — tgin Honey Miracle Hair Mask Deep Conditioner. I let it sit on my hair for 15-20 minutes and proceed to rinse it out. I then dry my hair with a cotton t-shirt. Towels tend to cause friction/frizz, something I try to avoid. Once I squeeze out the excess water (I still try to leave my hair damp), I section my hair. Then I apply Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-In conditioner evenly among the sections. Afterwards, I apply a small amount of Shea Moisture’s Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie evenly among each section. Once those two products have been applied, I let my hair air-dry. If I’m in a rush, I will use a blow dryer, but my curls won’t be as defined. Plus, it dries my hair out.

How often do you trim your ends?

I trim them whenever I feel it’s time to say goodbye to dead, split ends. However, I get a professional to trim my hair at least once a year.

What is your one FAVORITE product that you CANNOT live without?

Oyin’s Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner. It’s my secret weapon for flawless, moisturized, shiny curls. Try it and you’ll fall in love too.

Any hair tips you’d like to share?

Try to stay away from tight ponytails. Less tension means happier edges.

Drink water. You need it for your overall health, which contributes to healthier hair.

 photo by Mercedes Moore

photo by Mercedes Moore

What is your favorite comment and your least favorite comment regarding your hair?

I don’t have a specific favorite. Any positive feedback about my hair makes me feel warm inside. It shows people are accepting and loving my style. As far as my least favorite comment is concerned, I also do not have one. I will say that I have very memorable, unfavorable comments. Overall, I’ve received more good than bad so I try not to dwell on the negative.

Who inspires you during your natural hair journey and who have you inspired?

The natural hair community is inspiring. All of these women and men across the globe owning who they are is ah-mah-zing! They have been willing to teach what they know and have been willing to learn. The community is open to questions, support and friendships. I love it!

I’m not sure who all I’ve inspired, but I hope that I’ve inspired authenticity, and living your best life with love and laughter.

If your hair had a name, what would it be and why?

Damita Jo. It sounds fierce, southern and versatile. Plus it’s Janet Jackson’s middle name so why not?

 photo by Mercedes Moore

photo by Mercedes Moore

Tell us about your YouTube channel. What’s the inspiration behind it?

The inspiration behind my YouTube channel came from my interactions with other people who asked me about my hair. They wanted to know my routine. They asked my opinion on certain products. They were curious as to what they should probably be using. I created my vlog as a way to start answering these questions. It was a way to share what I have learned over the years. I want everyone to have fabulous hair, a fabulous wardrobe and a more than fabulous life. Right now, I feature my hair routines and tutorials. Within the next couple of weeks, I plan on expanding to feature more fashion hauls and tips.

Is there anything that you will be working on this year that we should be on the lookout for?

A bigger and better YouTube channel, featuring more videos and better production. Get ready!

Any words of wisdom for those who are struggling with being natural or transitioning and/or those who are considering transitioning?

Be patient with your hair and ultimately, with yourself. There will be days where your hair comes out flawless. I’m talking about Beyoncé and Nicki you-can’t-tell-me-nothing flawless. You will feel so fly and on top of the world. And then there will be days where your hair won’t cooperate. No matter what you do, what style you try, it will look a mess. It will make you want to crawl back into bed. But remember, you are in the process of learning how to manage your hair (and your feelings). It takes time to learn what your hair needs and wants. You have to make mistakes and figure it out.

In addition, make sure to love your hair and yourself. Appreciate your beauty. Never compare yourself to anyone else! Be thankful for your own unique features and beauty.

For those transitioning, you will get unwanted feedback and positive feedback. You will go through the ups and downs. Just know that the journey is more than hair. It’s about learning more about you.

 photo by Mercedes Moore

photo by Mercedes Moore

To see what Mercedes is up to or to keep up with her Youtube videos, make sure you follow her on:

YouTube: youtube.com/twodollarsricher

Instagram:@twodollarsricher

Tumblr:twodollarsricher.tumblr.com

Blog:ablogbytdr.com