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Introduce yourself!
K:
Hello, everyone! My name is Karla and I was born in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic to be exact. I left my country when I was 10 years old and I now live in Rhode Island where I’m growing in my career as a teacher.

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
K:
I’ve been natural since October 2012 and I have no regrets about my decision. I only wish I would have done it sooner. I had been toying with possibility of returning to natural for a long time prior to me finally doing it, but was hesitant because I knew I did not want to transition. I knew that I’d want to do a big chop and taking that plunge really terrified me. I worried about not being happy with how I looked with short hair, and I also worried about regretting my decision, especially due to the fact that relatively speaking, my relaxed hair was ‘healthy’ and long. I was religious when it came to my hair appointments for wash and sets, and I never missed my touch ups every six weeks. My hairdresser could always count on me as a faithful client.

Nevertheless, I finally decided to face my fears, stopped postponing my decision, and went for it. One afternoon (October 7th 2012), I grabbed the shears my sister used for her bangs and forced my mother to cut off all of my hair. All the way down to the little bit of new growth I had. I had to force my mother to do it because all the while I’m asking her to do it I’m crying my eyes out, so her fear was that I’d regret my decision immediately thereafter. However, I thankfully never did. I wanted to return to natural because I no longer wanted to conform to what most of society considers to be beautiful. I wanted to learn to accept the way my hair looked. Accept the way it grew naturally out of my scalp. I needed to embrace the fact that God did not make any mistakes. Moreover, accepting and learning to love my natural hair was akin to me displaying and expressing to the rest of the world that I embrace and am proud of my African roots. I am very proud of the fact that the country I was born in is racially diverse. It has a rich history comprised of African ancestry as a result of the slaves that were brought to the country. It is rich with our indigenous ancestry, and also our Spaniard heritage, which resulted in us speaking the language I so love.

How would you describe your texture?
K:
I really have no clue about how to categorize my hair type. If I had to guess I’d say between 4a-4c? If I were to wash my hair and leave it without any hair product it would feel very dry and brittle. My strands are coarse and very tightly coiled, however I have the loosest coils in the back of my head, the tightest coils in the middle, and medium coils in the front. I’m unsure if this will make sense to anyone, but I’m going to say that my hair is thin and dense at the same time. It looks dense because of my tight coils, especially as I near wash day, but for the most part it’s pretty thin.

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Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
K:
My styling regimen over the course of the month really only consists of 3 hairstyles: my coily afro, a sleek low bun, or a high messy bun. For my coily afro I’ll start off with freshly washed hair using my VO5 products, then I use a few products to moisturize and define my coils. Right after I’ve washed my hair, I’ll dry it a bit with an old t-shirt and re-wet it with a mixture of mostly aloe vera juice and some water; then I thoroughly coat my strands with Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Curls Unleashed Leave-In Conditioner followed by Proclaim’s 100% Pure Coconut Oil. Next I add 3 crèmes to my strands: ORS Curls Unleashed Curl Defining Crème, Beautiful Textures Moisture Butter and Beautiful Textures Curl Control Defining Pudding. After adding these 3 crèmes my hair looks white due to the liberal amounts of product I’ve added, but I just attach the diffuser to my blow dryer and use it on my hair for about 15 minutes (I don’t completely dry my hair this way) and voila, my coily fro is set to go! I can rock my fro for a week and a half to 2 weeks and it looks great during this period of time.

As needed I’ll use ORS Curls Unleashed Curl Boosting Jelly or Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel on my edges, and perhaps once during this week and a half to 2 week period I’ll need to water-bag my afro (Naptural 85’s term) using my spray bottle with aloe vera juice to spruce it up a little, but other than that this hair style is pretty good to me. All I do every night is divide my hair into 6 sections with hair ties to make sure that my afro doesn’t flatten out and get matted. I remove them in the morning, fluff, and the afro is back in full effect. If I want to change up my look I’ll just grab all my hair and put it in a high (small) messy bun, leaving some coils out for a ‘romantic’ look. And thirdly for my low bun all I do is wet my hair with my aloe vera concoction, add L’Oréal EverStyle Smooth & Shine Crème, One ‘n Only Argan Oil, and generous amounts of Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel and I’ve achieved my low, sleek bun. To get the bun looking pristine I tie a headscarf on my hair while I finish getting ready, and then I’m golden! Additionally, I make sure to do a good moisturizing treatment every three months when I color my hair using Ion Color Brilliance Jet Black Cream Hair Color. I have other products in my arsenal, but the aforementioned ones are the ones I use most often. I also definitely plan on using some other products I’ve learned about on this website, which were mentioned by Style Icons with a hair type similar to mine.

What does wash day look like for you?
K:
Wash day for me happens every week and half to 2 weeks. I do not do co-washes because I use a lot of product and I have a lot of build up, so co-washes would be of no use for me. When I first returned to natural I spent so much money on different shampoos and conditioners and on different styling products looking for that holy grail. But for now, I’ve settled for VO5 shampoos and conditioners, which work well for me. When I wash my hair I finger detangle then quickly run a wide tooth comb through my ends. I don’t fully detangle my hair every time I wash because this usually results in me losing a lot of hair. How can one differentiate between shed hair and hair that’s breaking? Maybe someone can help me with this… The reason I opt for finger detangling, although my hair gets tangled easily, is for fear that the hair that’s left in the comb is hair that’s breaking and not shed hair. To remedy the fact that I do not often completely detangle my hair every time I wash it, every month and a half to 2 months I have my mother detangle my whole head. I sit between her legs and she sections off my hair into small sections then braids each section after it’s been detangled. It is so easy to style my hair every time she does this (¡Gracias, mami!).

Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
K:
My go to hairstyle without a doubt is my afro. This style lasts me for a long time and it requires minimal upkeep. All I need in the mornings is 5 minutes to fluff it, spruce up my edges, and I’m all set to get my day started.

How do you combat shrinkage?
K:
There isn’t much I can do to combat shrinkage because my hair is so coily, so I’ve learned to live with it. Shrinkage does not bother me to the point that I’d resort to straightening my hair with heat to achieve more length. Ever since I embarked on my natural hair journey, I’ve not used heat to straighten my hair and never plan on doing so. I only use my blow dryer with a diffuser, and whenever I decide to straighten my hair, I plan on using Naptural85’s heatless method.

What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
K:
As I mentioned above, my problem is differentiating between normal shedding and breakage. Can anyone help with explaining the difference? I am always sure to be extra gentle with my strands so that I do not cause any breakage.

What are 2 do’s for your texture?
K:
2 do’s for my hair texture are (1) moisturize, and (2) periodic detangling. When my hair is dry it looks and feels brittle, and it looks lackluster overall. My hair is very thirsty, so I make sure to coat my strands with products that work well for my hair to keep it happy. Another must for my hair texture is to periodically and thoroughly do a good detangle because my hair can get matted easily.

What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
K:
2 don’ts for my texture are (1) constantly detangling (no matter if my hair is dry or wet) because this causes breakage. And (2) a lot of manipulation because styling can also be rough on my hair, so I try my best not to do this.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
K:
I did have an Instagram account but I disabled it because I found myself spending too much time on it. Nonetheless, I’ll be sure to check the comments section in my feature in case anyone has any questions or suggestions for me. Thank you for reading my feature, ¡hasta pronto!

Meosha

Just another lover of natural hair and expression.
- Style Icon Coordinator for BGLH

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56 Comments on "Karla // Multi-Texture Style Icon"

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Tanayzha
I think you are my hair twin!!!! How did you get your hair into a sleek bun? As for breakage I’ve noticed it’s all about your washing technique. You have to wash your hair a certain way in order for you to not get a lot of breakage. The way I wash my hair is that when I’m shampooing it, I’m holding my hair taunt in place so that it doesn’t tangle. Just like Naptural85 in her video this is what I do https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbSOwGvl5sU at 1:07. This helps a lot! I wash my hair in a downward motion like in… Read more »
Durelene Francois

Gorgeous hair I wish I could wear my hair like that, it would get too dry and knot crazed

Chrissie

For the first time in my life I have edges envy!

Marilyn Kirksey

I enjoyed your post. As a fellow teacher, you also are an inspiration to your students:). I have only been natural for six months, but I am enjoying the journey:). I love your hair accessories- I also have a healthy collection:). Happy and healthy hair journey! Enjoy the rest of your school year!:)
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Youngin girl

My heart is racing. Your story is interesting.

Hansy

Love to see a fellow Dominican featured here. You and your hair are gorgeous, and those head bands are to die for. Checking headbands DIY videos on youtube as I type lol.

lee

Beautiful thru and thru! And those babyhairs yaaaassssss!

Dee

your skin!
is so clear!
flawless.

Nadia

Love your hair! It looks so similar to my texture and curl pattern. You definitely have some 3C in your hair.

Durelene Francois

She looks 4a-c to me I didn’t see any 3c

Elle

I like your post!!! My hair is similar to yours. I am glad you shared because I get so caught up in the products. I simply stopped doing that and chasing after the trends that now my hair is healthy and happy. Ty for sharing it keeps me motivated to stay natural. It will be two years this May!

Karla C.

Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary, Elle! I can’t wait for my two year anniversary and wish I could fast forward sometimes, but at the same time I’m actually loving my current length, too. Thank you for you comment 🙂

bonnie

I’m so happy I discovered your post! I’ve been natural as long as you have..same month even! And was worried my hair wasn’t as long as it should be. I’ve been hiding my hair with braids till it gets to a reasonable length, but after seeing yours I think I’ll start wearing it out!

Karla C.

Bonnie I know exactly how you felt, I would always compare my length to that of other naturals and would feel like my hair wasn’t progressing or that I was doing something wrong. But once I stopped comparing I was able to appreciate how far my hair has come… So go ahead and rock your natural hair girl, I know you’re going to love how you look at your current length!!

Natasha

This is my hair! But mine is 4a in the back, 4c in the middle and confused everywhere else! Beautiful hair and person, it seems and I loved reading your responses.

Karla C.

Natasha, thank you so much for the compliment!! 🙂

Rochelle

OMG you are the first person I’ve ever seen on here with my exact hair type! I have 4A- C too!!! 🙂 The only difference is that my medium curls are in the back and my loosest are in the front. I have one year’s worth of growth now but I don’t really wear my hair in a full ‘fro much. I shall be rocking it this summer though after exams. Best of luck on your journey. Your hair is AWESOME!!!! :’)

Karla C.

Rochelle, you better rock that fro this summer!! Lol. You’ll find that the more you play with different fro styles (frizzy vs more defined coils) and accessories when styling your fro, the more you’re going to love your look. I like my fro so much now that I seldom style my hair in buns. Good luck with your final exams 🙂

Vera

Love your curly ‘fro. My hair looks a lot like yours except my hair is thicker–thinning with age–and the curls in the front are looser. I’ve been experimenting with wash and gos seeing what products/routine works best for my hair and me. I get tons of shrinkage, but I don’t think there’s much I can do about it. I love the curls, and last pretty much all week.

Karla C.

Vera, thanks so much for the compliment! I, too, am still experimenting with different products, but for now I’ve found some that will suffice… (I have a few I’m planning on trying in the future). You and I seem to have reached the same conclusion, we have a lot of shrinkage but have learned to accept it/love it. Coily hair is beautiful, too!!

Kimira Jewels

Your hair is beautiful! I think we might be hair twins except yours is longer! I wish you had an instagram. Maybe you will reconsider. I would follow it in an instant! :o)
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Karla C.

Omg, Kimira!! I totally agree with you; from your picture it seems like we have the same hair type (I’m loving that, hair twin) lol.

Kimira Jewels

Thank you for the compliment! Do you have any social media accounts at all? I have all of them. Lol. Instagram, YouTube, etc. So if you do, please let me/us know (cuz I am sure that I am not the only one here who would love to see more of your beautiful hair). Or click on my name and it will take you to my website with all my links at the top! :o)

I wish you all the best with your hair journey!

Nayha

U’ve inspired me to go natural! Im half indian/south african Colored and my naturals are weird! But by reading ur feature ive made up my mind and decided no more! Ima go Natural and embrace my natural hair! Thank u!!! And i loveee Ur HAIR!!

Karla C.

Nayha, I’m so glad you’ve made the decision to go natural. I’m telling you, I don’t think you’ll regret your decision; on the contrary, you’ll wish you had done it sooner. Enjoy the beginning of your natural hair journey!

coffeeandfingernails

Hey, l love this piece. On typing, there is a wide range of opinions as I’m sure you know, but your hair looks a lot like mine and I consider myself mainly 4b withgenerous amounts of 4a sprinkled throughout. I’m currently in the DR working and am a grateful follower of Go Natural Caribe who feels like a one woman natural movement.

Karla C.

Thank you for telling me about the Go Natural Caribe blog, I checked out her blog and immediately saved it on my favorites; I will definitely be following her 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to comment and I wish you all the success with your work in the Dominican Republic.

Kenya L.

I love how you embrace your texture and length and wear the afro. Not all of the different styles that tug and pull your hair. I have the same question as Hannah. How do you get the sleek baby hair or edges? I also want to know what product you use to get the slick high bun in pic 11 and do you start with wet hair? Thanks

Karla C.

Hi, Kenya! Thanks for your comment. For my edges, I use mainly two gels: either my Ion Curl Solutions Curl Spray Gel, or my Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel. As for my slick buns, I do this hair style on freshly washed hair that’s been detangled and is still wet, I make sure to use generous amounts of the Eco Styler Gel and then I tie a scarf on for about 30 minutes while the style sets. I can keep that style for 2 to 3 days. Hope this helps 🙂

Kenya L.

Thanks.

Kira-lee
Love your hair! As someone mentioned before, shed hair is hair that has naturally come out of your scalp as it has reach the end of its cycle. So you will see the white bulb at one end to represent that. We shed on average 100 to 150 hairs a day. So over your one and a half to two week wash period the ball of hair after detangling should look pretty dense lol. Of course breakage would not have the white bulbs and is very obvious when the strands are short. What I do is collect all my shed… Read more »
Karla C.

Hello, Kira-Lee! Thank you for elaborating on the previous commentor’s explanation, now I won’t be as paranoid thinking that I’m doing something wrong to my hair. What a great idea of yours to track your shedding by taking pictures after every wash; I will do this, too, to make sure the amounts of shed/broken hair isn’t increasing. Thank you very much for the idea!!

Andre

In Love!!! She’s amazing!!

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iamnotasian

interesting

norris

goodbye

Djanira

Rhode Island!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

Love it all 🙂

Karla C.

Rhody, Rhody, Rhody!!! Lol

Siedah

I think I’ve found my hair twin! Our coily/curly ‘fros are so similar. Lol. Beautiful!

Karla C.

Thank you, Siedah 🙂

geri

i wish she had instagram! her beauty and style are inspiring. good post

Karla C.

Thank you so much Geri! You are very beautiful, too. 🙂

Kimira Jewels

I wish she had an instagram too!

April

Love it 🙂

Queen

I’m still transitioning (9 months post) but I feel like you’re my hair twin! Gorgeous hair 🙂

Karla C.

Thank you, Queen! And congratulations on your hair journey. 🙂

hannah

i really love your hair and you know i respect you for doing the big chop and your reason for it sometimes I’m afraid to wear my natural hair out because many people have the stereotype that being hispanic you should have long “good hair” but I’m learning to embrace it and let go of the opinions of others cause either way people are going to talk. Once again beautiful hair and how you get your baby hairs so sleek.

Karla C.

¡Hola, Hannah! I give you praise for deciding to embrace your natural hair texture and not worry about what other people may say/think. I am certain that you will not regret your decision. And btw, thank you for your kind words 🙂

hannah

Thank you girl!, appreciate it:)

Chat1

I love your hair. And the headbands are adorable 🙂

Elle
Absolutely adorable, and I love the daisy headband! I have the same fluffy ‘looks dense but is actually compact’ hair. I just smiled when I read that you get your hair combed by your mom! “accepting and learning to love my natural hair was..displaying and expressing to the rest of the world that I embrace and am proud of my African roots. I am very proud of the fact that the country I was born in is racially diverse. It has a rich history comprised of African ancestry….indigenous ancestry…and also our Spaniard heritage” Brilliant quote! I feel the same way… Read more »
Karla C.

Hi, Elle! This is the reason why I like this site so much, it’s a great way to connect with other women who take pride in their ancestral African roots as you said. Thank you for your kind words 🙂

Resa

Your hair is gorgeous and I love your why for going back to natural! Shed hair will have a little white tip at one end the follicle has completed its life cycle so you’ll see the white tip. A broken hair will not have the white tip. Thanks for the tip on how you keep your fro you don’t use any water or any aloe vera juice to refresh in the morning? I would love to only need five min in the morning for my fro

Karla C.

Hi, Resa! Thank you for telling me about the difference between shed vs. broken hair; I’ll keep that in mind next time I wash my hair.

Sometimes I’ll spritz my water and aloe vera juice mixture in the mornings to refresh my hair, but I sometimes prefer the frizzy look so plenty of times I opt to not spritz. 🙂

Brianna Love

Love EVERYTHING! 🙂 Your hair is BEAUTIFUL!

Karla C.

Thank you very much, Brianna 🙂

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