- Edition 7, Chapter 3 -

MEL | ROCK YO RIZOS

by Alexander Brebner


Mel Burgos is starting over, hair-wise. After founding RockYoRizos.com and working in the haircare industry, being a panelist for hair talks, doing commercials, videos, and constantly testing hair care products, she shaved off all her curls. “There were so many reasons,” she explains, “but all of that took a toll on my hair, so I really needed to start from scratch and work with products that really work with my hair, and not just try everything.” Her emotional shearing, documented in a video on her blog, is worth watching.

Mel is of Puerto Rican heritage, and wanted her blog to have a latin flavor. “Being that I live in DC,” she says, “It’s like ‘Rock Your Boat,’ and I was playing with words and I loved ‘rock your curls,’ and rizos means curls in Spanish.” As with many important changes in life, the blog started during a particularly bad breakup. “I wanted to turn all of that energy into something creative. Everyone kept asking me what I do with my hair, and I love talking about it, so I decided to channel that energy into my blog. From there it just took off.” It led to starting her own t-shirt line, traveling around the world, and meeting people through social media. “So,” she says, “my hair has taken me to a lot of different places. Even here.”

Even though Mel’s identity has been informed by her curls, she hasn’t always been immune from the temptation to straighten. “Throughout my younger days I did not like my hair curly at all,” she admits. “The last time I did a relaxer in my hair I was 13; that’s when the Spice Girls came out, and Mel B was running around with her hair curly, and we had the same initials, so I said, ‘Okay, this is the time to wear my hair curly.’ Easier said than done, though. She recalls it being a big deal, “because it was something I was so self conscious about. There was extra work that needed to be done for it to look ‘manageable,’ but I didn’t really realize how beautiful my curls were on their own until I started caring for it myself, and loving it myself. Once I embraced it, there was no going back. But it did take some time.”

Mel regards her hair as a record of personal history – emotional, energetic and nutritional. “We all go through things in life, but I felt like I was carrying that energy in my hair,” she says, elaborating on her decision to start over. “If you eat well, sleep well, if you take care of yourself, your hair grows out according to what you put inside. So I’ve taken a lot of time to make sure that I’m okay, not only emotionally but in my diet, how I’m working, and who I’m working with. I’ve noticed a huge difference. So I’m really excited to see how it grows out and how it looks.”

I always cocktailed my products, using a leave-in conditioner and a gel, and then a serum, then an oil to give me that shine. But I’m finding now that less is more.
 

The health of Mel’s new hair is due in part to New Wash. “That’s all I use. I don’t even need conditioner,” she says with surprise and relief. Her former cleansing regimen, a weekly three-hour process included, “detangling, washing, conditioning, deep conditioning, and steaming. I have a steamer at home that I used with my deep conditioner to hold in moisture longer. And then styling after that.” She is also learning to appreciate the simplicity of Hair Balm. “I always cocktailed my products, using a leave-in conditioner and a gel, and then a serum, then an oil to give me that shine. But I’m finding now that less is more.”

Curls don’t need to be contained, or have to be neat. That’s not what curls are about.

During her visit to our studio, “I had my hair washed and styled by Wes, and he kind of trimmed me up a little bit. I’m at that awkward stage that everybody talks about. He gave me a little shape, and styled my hair with Hair Balm. And it feels amazing, I love it. Within 15 minutes, it was great.” But she is laying off her former color experiments for now, saying, “I do have the itch, because everyone has such great color here, but I’m really enjoying my grays coming in; they are my natural highlights now, and I want to see my natural color come out and not alter it in any way. Now I just want to have fun with the haircuts and have a different style each month.”

When asked about the most common curl misconceptions, Mel replies, “I think when curls are left alone and free, not trying to have the perfect coil, the perfect definition, the way they grow out of your head doesn’t need to be classified. Curls don’t need to be contained, or have to be neat. That’s not what curls are about.” Amen.