Naturally Fierce Feature: Karina

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1. Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey.

I am Karina Batiste and I am 23 years old. I was born in San Diego, California and raised in Port Arthur, Texas. I currently live in Houston, Texas, where I work as a Speech Language Pathologist- Assistant.
2. How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
I have been natural since August of 2016 and I didn’t start embracing my curls until about 3 years into my natural hair journey. It was a huge change for me and in the beginning although it was exciting to have curls, it was hard for me to accept the length. It was also difficult for me to figure out what products work best for me and a routine. I straightened my hair constantly in the beginning stages because of the length, which caused heat damage.
3. What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I was a Big Chopper. I needed a change before I left for college and I rarely did anything new to my hair when it was relaxed so I cut all of my hair. It was a defining moment in my life to really accept myself and my natural beauty without the comfort or “crutch” of my hair. When I chopped off all of my relaxer I had about 3 months of new growth. Talk about a huge change!
4. How would you describe your hair?
“I ain’t got no type.” No seriously, I honestly cannot put a label of a curl type or pattern on my hair because I literally have waves, kinks, coils, and curls. The back is of course more curly and course and the front is more wavy.
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5. What do you love most about your hair?
I love the versatility of my hair. As much as I say “I don’t know what to do with my hair,” there’s really endless styles that I can do with my fro from wash and gos, to three strand twists. I can rock my shrinkage in a wash and go or embrace the frizzy gigantic fro. There’s really no limit and I love that factor.
6. What has been the most memorable part of your journey?Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my journey was about 3 years ago when I finally accepted my natural hair and stopped straightening it. I cut off all of heat damage, cut out sulphates and parabens and really started to take care of my hair. I started to embrace my length and curls and allowed my hair to flourish in its natural state by using only natural products.
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7. What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’
Since I didn’t transition, I didn’t have a transitioning hairstyles, but I do style my hair in protective or low maintenance styles often. My go to low maintenance style is wearing two strand twists for a few days then untwisting for a bomb twist out. As for protective styles, box braids and marley twists are my faves.
8. What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
My experiences have made me really accept my hair journey. I love when people ask me how I style my hair or what products I use or even give a simple compliment. As I’m helping them by answering their questions, they’re helping me really be comfortable with my hair even if society thinks its a “mess” or “unprofessional.”
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9. What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I wash my hair weekly (shampoo, condition, deep condition) and style in either two or three stranded twists. My current staple products is the Blueberry Bliss line from the Curls line. The reparative leave in, twist n shout cream and curl control paste are my absolute faves. I also love the Almond Mint Oil from Mielle organics.
10. How is dating with natural hair?
I asked my boyfriend what he felt about dating someone with natural hair and he said you definitely have to get used to cuddling with hair in your face lol. On a serious note, he has been really supportive of me and my journey. He was there in my TWA days and has enjoyed the process with me. He’s my personal hair photographer as well!
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11. What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
My favorite natural hair Youtuber’s are Naptural85, simplybiancaalexa, and MahoganyCurls. Their videos are always so fun and informative. Whitney and Jess are the two who really helped me embrace my hair and my journey. Even if I just washed my hair, I want to re-wash my hair and style it just like their videos! As far as blogs, halfietruths on Instagram is my hair twin! Although she’s not strictly a natural hair blogger, I can relate to her in a lot of aspects of life from her just being so real and open with life issues.
12. Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Don’t let society define you and your hair. It’s so easy to get discouraged about wearing your natural hair in the corporate world because of the stereotypes that come with natural hair. Our hair gets called “nappy”, “messy,” “unprofessional,” or “wild” and I say we should embrace it and change the outlook of natural hair in the professional world. If more women (and men) would rock their hair as is, we can change the stigma.
13. Where can people find you for more information?
You can follow me on Instagram @karinabaileyrae and keep an eye out for my upcoming Youtube channel @karinabaileyrae.
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