Dorese Bilal Embraces Her Natural Look

The Cincinnati photographer and natural hair influencer pairs her minimalistic style with a touch of her culture.

Photograph by Devyn Glista

OCCUPATION: Dorese Bilal, photographer and natural hair influencer
STYLE: “M
inimalistic, with a touch of my culture”

Why did you start posting about natural hair?

It’s just to help to show that, especially as African Americans, your natural hair is good enough, and your natural hair is beautiful, no matter what type you have. Our hair—specifically, in the 4C [hair type] community—is tighter, real tight curls, and that was frowned upon for so long, and now it’s being embraced. So just showing different styles, ways to wear it, whether that’s your hair, wigs, a wrap—any way to make you feel more comfortable about your hair.

Why is this an important view to share on social media?

When the natural hair movement began, there were a lot of mixed girls being shown with the big, beautiful, bouncy curls. And yes, that’s their natural hair type, but [the movement didn’t include] a lot of representation of people who had hair that looked like mine. Even within that, it was styled horribly. I hated to see so many people online talking about [how] they needed to get a relaxer to make their hair straight, or they constantly had to have wigs or weaves or something other than their hair, and it’s just like, no. Our hair is beautiful. I don’t have thick, lose curls. However, you guys like the way that I style my hair, and that’s important for me to be able to show other people. This is the way you can get a similar look or a completely different look that still fits you that is equally beautiful. It was important to show that there’s beauty in us, and there’s beauty in the different hair types, and to make sure that everyone is included.

What topics tend to garner the most feedback on your Instagram (@itsdoreseb)?

My hair wraps are the most popular.

In addition to tutorials, you occasionally post about tougher subjects. How did you decide to include information about, for example, hair loss?

Right after I had my miscarriage, I sat down with my husband [and asked], “Would you be OK with me sharing this?” I literally looked on YouTube for at least an hour, just trying to find something about how people were dealing with it, and nothing was there. I didn’t see any videos with people talking about how you could have hair loss after a miscarriage, and I know other people who went through miscarriages. It made me think, I wonder if people are experiencing the same thing, and they don’t even know if it’s a possibility.

How did you learn to do hair?

Everything I got was from YouTube University. I started doing protective styling, so doing twists and braids [to save money]. One time I just went to the hair store, and I bought $30 worth of hair, and I tried it on myself, and I did a good job.

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