Being a full time student can take a lot out of you! How do you stay fab while carrying a full workload? Our April Natural Fashionista proves that it can be done. Say hello!
My name is SheRea DelSol, but folks usually address me by my pseudonym SheDel or by my social media handle, My Thrifted Closet. I was born and raised on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands and I am currently a master’s student pursuing a Master’s of Fine Arts in Documentary Film. Blogging is my #1 hobby and my mom still doesn’t get it LOL.
How long have you been wearing your hair in its natural state and what made you decide to take that step?
I big chopped on January 15, 2011 after transitioning for five long and hard months (LOL) and only two weeks shy of my 19th birthday. As of today, I have been natural for a little over four years and I have never thought of going back, hunty. Unlike many women, I didn’t receive a relaxer at an early age. My mother was totally against relaxing my hair even though I was lobbying for straight, “grown up” hair. After having a relaxer for only three years, I decided to return to natural for a number of reasons: 1. I was tired of spending money going to the shop; 2. I didn’t have a dependable ride to take me to get my hair done; 3. I was tired of the breakage (My hair never seemed to pass neck length even though my hair was at least shoulder length prior to relaxing); 4. I wanted to work out and not worry about *sings* “sweating out my blowout, sweating out my press” (The working out part didn’t last very long, but I had good intentions); and 5. I felt basic. Because I sweat so much in my scalp, I only wore my relaxed hair in a struggle ponytail or under a beanie. So, going natural just made sense.
What do you love the most about your natural hair? What challenges have you had and how were you able to overcome them?
I love that my natural hair is versatile. Even though I don’t play in Sassy (that’s the name of my hair), as much as I used to, I love that I can wear her in a bunch of different styles: wash n gos, updos, perm rod sets, twists, roller sets, etc. She can be everything and anything I want her to be. As much as I love my hair, I have definitely faced some challenges. The biggest challenge, however, that b-word: breakage. Because I have fine strands, Sassy is VERY prone to breakage. I have to be super careful or else it’s going down. I strictly finger detangle and I protective style as much as possible to decrease breakage.
Describe your hair care routine.
So let me preface this by saying that it just depends! If Sassy feels dry, I moisturize or deep condition. If she is shedding/breaking excessively, I do a protein treatment. I listen to her and I don’t just do things just because.
- Deep Condition/Protein Treat-Yes, I deep condition on dry hair. Here’s why. I alternate between a protein treatment and deep conditioner every time I wash my hair.
- Cowash- Shampoos are the devil. Ok, not really, but I prefer to cowash unless I have product build up and need to seriously clarify.
- Oil Rinse-I attribute my length retention to this practice. If you want to learn more about oil rinsing and how I oil rinse, you can check out this video.
- Condition-I add my conditioner directly on top of my oil, finish my shower, and then rinse!
- Air Dry, Leave In, and Seal-Because I have low porosity hair, I air dry my hair for 15-30 minute-then I apply my leave in. I follow up my leave in with an oil, butter or pomade to seal in the moisture.
- Style- My favorite style is now the hanging bantu knot out. I used to love the wash n go, but Sassy is not feeling them lately. Time to hit the drawing board. I use gels and creams as stylers.
Do you feel that wearing your hair in its natural state has changed or somehow affects your overall fashion sense?
I actually started thrifting in April 2011, just a few months after I big chopped so I would say that my fashion sense and my natural hair have evolved together. College was a time for self-discovery so I learned a lot about myself and who I wanted to be. I do think that I take more fashion risks because a lot of the things I wear, wouldn’t quite mesh with my former straight hair (in my opinion). In that way, my hair makes me feel doper.
How would you describe your personal style? Who or what inspires you?
Hmmmmm, IDK. I never know how to answer that question. My personal style is whatever I feel like wearing in the morning. IDK, I guess I don’t want to box myself in. However, I am inspired by the many men and women that I see across the internet. I can’t pin point a specific person but there are so many regular folks like me who are amazingly dope and they are my truest inspirations. I don’t rely on high fashion, or Vogue, or whatever, real people are my inspiration.
What’s the fashion scene like in NC?
You know, I have no idea. I really can’t speak for the entire state of NC. All I know is my small community. I know some awesome men and women that inspire me to stay on my A game, but I confess, I’ve just been wearing a lot of t-shirts and jeans lately because graduate school is royally kicking my butt.
ONE? Yikkkkkeeeesssss. Um, probably my black harem pants. I can dress them up and down and they are so comfortable. It’s like I’m walking around everyday in leggings, yet l look like I tried, even if just a little bit.
These days, many women are turning to styling pieces they already own (I’m one of them!) as well as staying fab on a budget. What are some of your favorite budget-friendly spots?
Definitely thrift stores. I am an avid thrifter. However, when I am not thrifting, I shop at Forever 21 and Rainbow. Somehow, I make it work lol.
In terms of styling your natural hair:
Figure out whether styling on wet, damp, or dry hair works best. This will save you a lot of bad hair days. I have found that my hair responds better when I style on damp hair. Allow your hair to fully dry. Nothing is worse than waking up in the morning to damp/wet hair. This just leads to frizz and a hot mess on your hands.
Don’t expect your hair to look like the chic on Youtube. Based on your texture, state of your hair (wet, damp, or dry), shrinkage, etc., your hair may not turn out like your idol’s and that’s okay. You can achieve YOUR best style, not their best style.
Advice to newbie naturals:
Learn YOUR hair. I used to follow other people’s hair routines on Youtube and that ended poorly. My hair was dry, breaking, and not doing so hot. When I began to take the time to learn MY hair, things turned around.
Growth doesn’t come overnight. A lot of us want long hair, but you have to realize that it takes time. Enjoy your hair at every awkward stage and HAVE PATIENCE.
Products are NOT important. I am often asked. “What products did you use to grow your hair?” Products did not allow me to retain length, technique did. I constantly switch between products, but my routine is consistent.
Thanks for sharing your story SheRea!
To keep up with this Natural Fashionista, be sure to connect with her on her social media channels below!
Click photo for larger image