January 24, 2014

Cherrelle is Naturally Glam!

My name is Cherrelle. I am 28 years old, a wife, and mother of 3 (1 boy and 2 girls). I graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana (BS in Chemistry) and Drexel University School of Public Health (MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health); so I'm kind of a science nerd. I grew up and currently live in New Jersey where I work for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. I also write children's books. My first published book, entitled "Feedies", will be released February 11, 2014. My second book is a natural hair children's book that will be released in mid-2014.

How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for about 18 months. I started transitioning in July 2012 and cut my relaxed ends in April 2013. At one point I was addicted to my flat iron. I couldn't leave the house unless ALL of my hair was completely straight. Since April I have only flat ironed my hair once. It felt like it took forever and I didn't really like the outcome. Heat-free is the way to be!

What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
My daughters were my motivation for transitioning. I've always had long relaxed hair, but when my first daughter was born her hair made me wonder about my own. My only experience with my natural hair was one of painful combing, hot combs, etc. But, my Princess's hair was pretty easy to manage when properly moisturized.

When I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter, I stopped perming my hair. I transitioned because I wasn't quite ready to part with the hair I've had my whole life. While transitioning I would rotate between flat ironing and flexi rods.

When I felt my first spiral of curls under my relaxed hair, I just knew I had to cut my hair. In April 2013 (after much debate) my husband chopped off my relaxed ends; the first time I ever wore my hair short.

How would you describe your hair?
Freshly washed and conditioned: My hair is very shiny and curly.
Once completely dry: my hair is very soft, curly and prone to puffiness and frizziness. The center of my hair is a lot more coarse than the rest of my hair.

What do you love most about your hair?
I love the freedom I feel with my natural hair. When my hair was relaxed, I would stress about a lot of unimportant hair related things. I stuck to a specific routine: perm every 3 months, wash/condition every two weeks, wrap at night, flat iron in the morning, wear bone straight EVERYDAY. Rain and pools were the enemy. I was okay with my scalp being burnt, as long as my hair was straight. With natural hair, I don't have to worry about a lot of these things. I'm especially happy that I freed myself from the price I used to pay to have my hair done at the salon (I always paid extra for having longer hair).

What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
This journey has been a mixture of both easy and difficult moments. But, cutting my hair was by far the most memorable moment of my journey. As I mentioned before, I have always worn my hair long and as straight as I could get it. The most exciting thing I ever did to my hair was cut bangs in the front a few years ago. So when I told my family I was going to cut off all of my hair, no one believed me. Actually, I didn't even believe myself because I changed my mind about a thousand times in that one week. So, one day in April I got the nerve (and a pair of scissors) and just chopped off a huge chunk of hair so that I couldn't change my mind again. Shortly after my husband cut the rest into a cute little pixie.

What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
While transitioning, I loved using flexi rods to curl my hair. But its so easy to quickly get tired of dealing with two textures. Currently, my favorite style is the CurlHawk. Its so easy and works with braidouts, twistouts, Bantu knots, or a wash n go.

What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I believe that cutting my hair and going back to natural was one of the best decisions I have made. But, I would be rich if I had a dollar for each time someone said, "Girl! Why did you cut all that pretty hair!" That was all at the very beginning of my journey. Now, I generally only hear positive words; my aunt recently told me that I inspired her to go natural :) There are a lot of people who are curious about natural hair, so its common for me to get caught up in a long natural hair discussion pretty much anywhere (Walmart, hair store, Chuck E Cheese, Church).

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
Cowash my hair twice a week with Tresemme Naturals.
Shampoo every two weeks with Pantene Pro-V Relaxed and Natural shampoo.
Deep condition once a month with coconut oil.
Depending on how I feel after I wash and condition my hair, I may two strand twist or braid my hair (for a twist out or braid out in the next morning).
For twist/braid outs I use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Curling Souffle. If I'm feeling a bit lazy I will wash n go using Herbal Essence Hello Hydration of Aussie Moist as my leave in.
*Coconut oil for detangling and deep conditioning
*Jojoba oil as a sealer
*All Shea Moisture products
*Olive Oil Eco Styler gel to lay those edges
I love trying new things, so I will be trying Camille Rose products next.

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
My all time favorite YouTuber is Naptural85. While transitioning, one of my friends suggested I check out her videos for ideas on dealing with long natural hair. Her videos are inspiring and definitely kept me away from perming my hair again.  I also love Mahogany Curls, Hey Fran Hey, My Natural Sistas, Nikkimae 2003, and Cassandre Beccai. My favorite website is CurlyNikki.com. I just wish I knew about it earlier in my hair journey.

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Take care of your body because you only get this one. We all spend a lot of time on our hair and making sure that we look nice. But what about the condition of your health. Eat healthy, drink lots of water, exercise and the evidence will shine through to your outer appearance (skin, nails, and hair).

Where can people find you for more information?
Instagram: @itsreallyrelle
@feedies_world (for more information about my first published children's book)
Twitter: @itsreallyrelley
Facebook: facebook.com/cherrelle.Shelton
facebook.com/Feedies (for more information about my first published children's book)

Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.
Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at globalcouture@aol.com.

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