Woman smiling with big blonde super curly hair


IG: @goldynaps

Student and social media influencer

Known as Goldynaps on social media, Yana is a recent college graduate who is continuing her studies for her master’s degree. Sharing her natural hair experience has enabled Yana to help other women learn to embrace their curls and guide them through their own natural hair journeys. She finds this to be the most rewarding and fulfilling part of being an influencer.

Favorite Products

DevaFresh, Leave-in Decadence and Super Stretch


curl talk with Yana


Tell us your transformation story! What inspired you to start your curl journey?

I started my curl journey because I got to a point where I felt like I had no other option. I had been getting relaxers my whole life and my hair was really badly damaged. In my senior year of high school, I decided to get a pixie cut to get rid of all the damaged hair, but I continued to relax and straighten it because I wasn't comfortable with my curls. Of course, eventually even my short hair became extremely damaged. It became clear to me that I would have to go natural for my hair to grow.


How did you feel about your hair when you were growing up? And how do you feel about it now?

I hated my hair growing up, but for me and a lot of other black women, it is so much more than just hair. Within the black community, hair is a very central aspect to your experience as a young girl; routine relaxers were the norm. I was brought up to believe my natural hair was unprofessional, ugly, and altogether unacceptable. I believed all of those things wholeheartedly. Today, I couldn't imagine myself any other way than with my fro.


Any tips for members of our community who are just starting to go natural and unsure how to start?

Just go for it! If it's something that you've been considering or thinking about then do it. I'm a huge proponent of big chops because you really are learning to love your hair from ground zero. It's not easy, you will get frustrated. My biggest tip is to learn your hair porosity ASAP because that really determines what products will work for you, and also deep condition once a week! If you follow those two tips your journey will be a lot easier.


What’s your favorite hair tip/trick/hack in general?

My favorite tip is to refresh your hair with steam from the shower. Usually when I go to sleep, I wake up with my hair all mashed up, but when I take a hot shower, the steam reinvigorates my curls! It's an easy tip that will save you from having to buy a steamer and cut down your refreshing time.


What are your favorite DevaCurl products?

My favorite DevaCurl products are DevaFresh, Leave-in Decadence, Heaven in Hair, SuperCream, Ultra Defining Gel, No-Poo Decadence, and Super Stretch.


Do you change your routine with the seasons/weather? Or do you typically use the same products year-round? Why or why not?

I don't change my products based on the seasons/weather. I've noticed that when my go-to products stop working for me, I need to switch up my application technique rather than the products themselves. For example, if I go somewhere with a drier climate it's better for me to apply my products on soaking wet hair rather than damp hair. If I'm going somewhere humid, it's better to apply extra gel for additional hold, rather than doing just a leave-in and curl cream. Switching your technique can help.


What’s your favorite part of being curly?

My favorite part about being natural is how versatile my hair is. I can go from a wash-n-go, to a twist-out, to a puff, to a blow-out, to a protective style, to a braid-out. The list goes on and the options are limitless if you're open to learning how to work with your hair and your texture.


When do you feel most beautiful?

I always feel beautiful! I feel my most beautiful when I'm confident, and ever since I learned to love myself—as corny as it sounds—that confidence has been unwavering. Even when I'm having an awful breakout, or my hair isn't done, or I'm bloated from eating too much cheese, in my heart I know I'm a baddie!


How would you describe your personal style?

Probably eclectic. I love fashion, and staying on trend, but I like to wear it in a way that’s unique to me! I think to do that you have to get your inspiration from a bunch of different places, and also know yourself well enough to know what suits you and what will look good on you.


What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care means knowing when to put myself first. That might come off as selfish sometimes but being selfish might be what you need to do to heal. Maybe it means skipping out on going out with your best friend and having alone time. Maybe it means getting out of a toxic relationship. Maybe it's just putting on a face mask. Self-care is so broad, and can mean different things to different people, but at the end of the day it comes down to taking the time to put yourself first.


What is your full beauty routine like? Do you spend as much time on skincare/makeup as you do hair?

My everyday routine is so simple. I struggled with cystic acne for a long time and tried about every skincare product known to man, but recently it all cleared up when I completely simplified my routine to: Fresh Soy Face Wash, Cerave Moisturizing Cream and SuperGoop! Unseen Sunscreen. I don't really wear much makeup. I've learned to fit my makeup routine into my hair routine to save time. I love to air-dry for a bit before I diffuse. Generally if I'm doing a full face, I'll do my makeup while air-drying.

Yana's Deva Transformation