Spotlight Series: Meet Rheal

Hi! My name is Rheal Zackaria and I'm a third year Economics major studying at the University of Texas at Austin. I'm really interested in the business side of startups in the tech industry specifically, but I'm also interested in other types of startups as well. Some of my hobbies and my passions include fashion, makeup, and hair and if I had to name a dream job, it would actually be to own a salon. I think it would be so cool and I would literally give up everything just to own my own salon.

Growing up, my mom would always braid my siblings’ and my hair, so we always wore our natural textures growing up. It wasn’t until I hit the age of 11, 12, 13 (somewhere around that time) that my mom didn't have as much time to do my hair and started perming my hair. I would consistently get perms and honestly that was the most detrimental aspect of my hair journey. I started caring for my own hair around the age of 13 and that’s when I began to transition away from perming my hair to straightening it, which was just as bad. I would straighten my hair a lot all throughout middle school and it wasn’t until I got to my freshman year of high school that I tried to completely stop with straightening.

High school was like my natural hair awakening! I began my transition into protective styles and really started going in on them. I mostly wore braid outs because I had no curl pattern back then because my hair was really damaged everywhere. I would only straighten my hair like four to five times a year in high school and when I wouldn't, I would wear protective styles. It was my senior year of high school when I completely cut the heat styling out and only straightened my hair maybe once a year or so.

I haven't been using heat at all for a while now and I’ve always trimmed my ends myself. Now I've officially gotten rid of all the perm damage and all the heat damage and I'm currently trying to get my hair to be at its best state and healthiest. I'm no longer dealing with the transition struggles like heat damage or straight ends but I’m now dealing with the curly hair struggles like having brittle, dry hair and breakage from detangling.

I think of taking care of my hair as a form of self-care for me and I really take time with it.

I’ll schedule my wash days usually on the weekends when I don't have much work to do. I start the process by massaging my scalp and detangling my curls with my hands. I’ll have my oldies playlist going in the background blasting Misty Blue by Etta James or My Girl by The Temptations. It's, a really fun and enjoyable experience for me!

If I could only choose one hair product to use forever it would have to be a product from the Shea Moisture Hibiscus line like the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. It smells so so good and the jar is big enough for all this hair I have. I need a lot of product for my curls to be define and this one really works.