Hair Feature — Shantell Silvestri
Shantell Silvestri is proud of her natural hair and inspires other naturals to love their manes, too. The New Orleans naturalista totes three different hair textures and gladly does the work required to properly care for them. Learn about how she maintains her long locs with a weekend regimen as well as the amazing products she uses to do so in this week’s Hair Feature.
What is your name and where are you from? Shantell S. from New Orleans, LA.
When did you go Natural? Did you transition or did you big chop? Transitioned ! I chose to stop getting perms when I was in high school around 11th grade. [In] 2005, I decided I wanted virgin hair that was not chemically processed.
What prompted you to go natural? After 5 years of not getting perms, I still noticed that if I chose to wear my hair curly it would be extremely dry and frizzy and little to no curl pattern, my best friend was leaning towards the big chop and learning all she could about natural hair in 2010. [She] gave me some great advice about leave-in conditioners and not using heat and about co washing. On August 1st 2010 she big chopped and I declared no heat for4 months and that began both of our journeys.
What is your favorite thing about being natural? The versatility above all. I love all textures and my own hair has 3 different textures and as my hair grows I constantly have to figure it out!
What is your least favorite thing about being natural? Trial and error! With products and styles, it’s always a wish and a prayer with my Wash n Go’s. Twist outs and braids outs are my go-to, but sometimes products don’t work well together and it’s a high puff kinda day!!
Did you receive any criticism regarding going natural? At first I did from random people and friends, but as time went on and they saw that I’m really all about my natural and how I educate many others, it’s like they see it as a lifestyle now and not just hair.
What is your routine? (To include nighttime regimen): Saturday night is wash night. Usually at the beginning of the month I cleanse, condition and deep condition and every other week I use a DIY mask or hot oil treatment and deep condition over night. Sunday mornings, I rinse and style; usually a braid out or a twist out and that’s weekly. Each week, I try to use a different line of set products; I discovered that that works way better instead of mixing product! At night I sleep with an extra long bonnet with my hair up in a pineapple. Only if my hair is looking dull or frizzy by Thursday or Friday, I’ll do a mid week Wash n Go and start all over again Saturday night.
Has your journey inspired your friends or family to go natural? If so, How? Yes it definitely has. I have performed 2 big chops and had 2 other friends big chop. They come to me for advice on products and texture and I help them develop a regimen.
How has being natural shaped your self-esteem? I wear my hair as my crown! It is me; I’m known for this hair now and that’s how I’m identified by my peers and others! As I said before, people come to me for advice and what not and that’s what gives me confidence — the fact that they like the way I take care of my own hair and that they like my advice.
How do you respond when strangers ask to touch your hair? If asked, yes, I allow it because I know natural hair is still a fascination to most. But if it’s an impulsive move I tend to go into defense mode and bob and move!
Knowing what you know now, is there anything about being natural that you wished you’d know before you started your journey? I would have evened out my hair. When I was constantly flat ironing my hair, I had really blunt layers and as all textures grow at a different paces my hair still isn’t the way I would like.
Who are your favorite Bloggers/vloggers? Moknowshair; styledbykami; taryenguy; etcblogmag; msvaughntv; mahoganycurls; smartistabeauty; ravenelyse; and Jessicapettway.
What are your favorite products? Eden body works coconut Shea line and peppermint tea tree oil,coconut oil , sweet almond oil , Shea moisture 10 in 1 renewal system super fruit complex deep treatment masque, eco styler gel, miss Jessie’s jelly soft curls and baby butter cream.
Your go to hair style is____? A twist out with flexi rods.
Who are you hair crushes? Chime Edwards and fro girl Jenny.
Where can you be found on social media? Instagram @itsmeshanny.