Tell me about yourself!
Greetings Peoples!  My name is Karissa and I am a middle aged Midwesterner and LOVER of natural hair, makeup and ALL things that sparkle.  LOL.  I’m 35 years young and I reside in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I’ve sorta deemed myself a side hustlin’ “crafty jack” because I’ve been encouraged to turn my hobbies into hustles.  My latest hustle is princess appearances.  I’ve been told that I strongly favor Princess Tiana, so being that I love to paint my face and play “dress up” I figured why not give it a go!


Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?

*In my Yonce’ voice* “Karissa roll it up and TRANSITION please…” LOL Being that my head is NOT made for that Big Chop life, I transitioned for over a year.  I FAITHFULLY, rolled my hair with small blue perm rods and created a curly fro look.  I loved the style and wore it often even before I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair so I just decided to stick with it until my hair grew out.

My transition to natural hair was actually a serendipitous side effect of my hair falling out from relaxing it.  I looked up one day and my hair felt like straw and I had bald spots in my temples.  I relaxed my hair every 2 months like clockwork, and in between relaxers I would just relax my edges because I could NOT stand for my edges to look “crunchy.”  My last relaxer was in October of 2008 and I challenged myself to see how long I could go without a relaxer.  I made it to March of 2009 before I got to a point where I wanted to quit.  The very day I had that thought, my mama randomly called me and asked if she could straighten my hair with a new flat iron she purchased.  I told her I was planning to relax my hair and she told me not to do it and to just let her flat iron it.  I obeyed, and low and behold when she finished, my hair was just as straight as it would have been if I had relaxed it.  At that point I was convinced that I really didn’t need to relax my hair ever again.

Had you always embraced your texture?
I was in awe of my curly babies when they finally started to show.  I’ve only been acquainted with my natural texture for the past 4 years.  My mama began giving me relaxers at the age of 5, so I had no idea what my natural texture was until I decided to stop relaxing my hair.

How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
Everyone was very supportive of my decision. On days when I was frustrated and wanted to give up ‘my peoples’ were very encouraging and helped me to stand my ground.  I promise the Lord hooked me ALL THE WAY UP when he handed out my friends and such.  When I finally began to perfect my Wash and Go, my friends told me my hair looks like a Jheri Curl when it’s wet, which is why I now refer to my hair as “Jheri.” She is her own temperamental entity.

Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
I’m thinking I have fine, thick hair.  I’m not quite sure about the porosity situation.  According to the hair typing system, I believe I’m a 3C curly girl.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair? 
Prior to being natural, the craziest thing I did to my hair was use a bleaching/color kit which resulted in my hair being BRIGHT pink.  I rolled with it for quite some time to avoid doing any further damage and having all of my hair fall completely out.  I haven’t really done anything crazy being natural.  I am currently on a mission to permanently color my hair purple without having to go to a professional.  I still have not figured it out just yet, but it WILL happen.  I’m determined!  I’m avoiding going to a professional because I don’t trust others with my curlies.  For now I am using temporary color options to achieve my Purple Jheri.

What’s your biggest hair related regret?
Hmmmmm… I would say my biggest regret is being scissor happy.  I am completely obsessed with my ends.  I NEVER want for them to look all ragged and chewed-on so I find myself randomly cutting my hair far too often.  Earlier this year, I had two “Waiting to Exhale” (the Angela Bassett scene when she found out her husband cheated and she burned all his jive) moments where I, in the heat of frustration, grabbed the scissors and cut inches off my hair.  Presently I’ve been getting better with not laying hands on the scissors because I’ve set a goal of bra strap length curly hair. Pray my strength!

What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I’m an avid cowasher.  I try to wash my hair once a week, but here lately I’ve been kinda lazy so I’ve been stretching it to once every 10 days or so which is amazing because I literally used to wash my hair every other day.

My ALL TIME favorite products/staples are SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner, Coconut Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Aloe Vera Gel (Trader Joe’s brand), As I am Coconut Cowash Conditioner, and ORS Edge Control.  I was a terrible product junkie so these products became my staples/favorites after a long period of trial and error.

My wash/style routine is as follows:
1.  Pre-poo with coconut oil
2.  Wash with As I Am Co-wash Conditioner
3.  Detangle with TRESemme Naturals
    *After detangling I section my hair in small sections*
4.  Grease my scalp with coconut oil and Jamaican black castor oil
5.  Smooth SheaMoisture and Aloe Vera Gel into each small section until the curls clump together.
6.   Use the Edge Control to tame my edges.

I am very heavy handed when I use the SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and I put it on my hair while it is dripping wet.  I let my hair air dry so when I carry on with my day, my hair is actually white from the product.  Once it starts drying the whiteness disappears.  My hair takes about a day to dry completely.

What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
I am the Wash (do a whole lot of extra) and Go Queen!  I’ve tried braid outs, twist outs, and bantu knot outs and they absolutely did not turn out the way I anticipated, so I just let Jheri do her thing.  She loves Wash and Gos and won’t have it any other way.

Who is your curl crush?
MahoganyCurls!!!!  OMG!!!!  Her hair is RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING!!!  Jess if you are reading this… HAAAY GIRL!!!  *waves excitedly*  I straight up stalk her daily.  If it weren’t for CurlyNikki and MahagonyCurls my hair would probably look like 13 day old, dried up taco meat.  I mean Jheri would have NO life!  Whew!  I sincerely thank Sweet Baby Jesus for you ladies!  *hugs all around!*

How do you maintain your hair at night?
I sleep on a satin pillowcase and MOST days I wear a satin loc soc that I made.  Some days I’m too tired to do anything so I just lay my burdens down and deal with the aftermath in the morning.  In the morning when I take the loc soc off (if I do manage to wear it to sleep) my hair is usually sticking straight up so I just dampen it slightly so that it falls.

How do you maintain healthy length?
I’m very patient and meticulous when it comes to my hair (which is why I don’t trust other people to handle it).  I make sure to not get angry with tangles.  If I have stubborn knots, I will stand in the mirror for hours, if need be, to work them loose as opposed to just snapping them off or cutting them out.  I also pay very close attention to my hair that is shed.  I save my shed hair from week to week and compare. (That may sound kinda gross but it’s essential to Jheri’s life.)  If I notice that I have increased shedding from one week to the next I will do a protein and moisturizing treatment.  I also do not use direct heat on my hair.

What’s the best thing about being natural?
The uniqueness.  I feel set apart from the crowd because of my hair.  I love the look of all textures not just my own.  I love the versatility that natural hair offers AND I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about rain or humidity.  It’s a WIN all the way around.

Where can folks find you on the web?
Instagram:  @krates1913
Youtube:  KRATESandJHERI  *DISCLAIMER:  I just created the channel due to strong encouragement from a number of people (I’m shy) so I don’t have any videos uploaded yet but they are coming soon! ☺”