Beauty of the Week: Karina

curly red heads

How unique is it to have fire red hair and big curls! It’s particularly special when you embrace both like our Beauty of the Week Karina Gillete. Karina is currently traveling the world and blogging about it on her blog KarinaShanelle.com. We were able to steal some time from Karina to get the lowdown on how she takes care of her gorgeous curls…

1. How long have you been wearing your hair naturally curly?
I get my curls from my beautiful mother, and I’ve been blessed with these coily-curly locks since I was a baby. It took me a while to feel comfortable and proud of my hair, but as I’ve grown up I’ve learned to love it’s uniqueness and versatility. In the last few years, I’ve especially grown to appreciate things about it that I never knew I would, and I wear it natural as often as I can.

2. Can you summarize your current hair regimen?
With such thick, dry hair I’ve really lucked out, because it doesn’t get dirty very quickly. Because of that, I only have to wash my hair every two weeks or so! Once that day comes, though, it’s quite the process. I usually start by applying a conditioning treatment to my dry hair underneath a shower cap and letting my thirsty hair soak that up while I shave my legs and get all my other bathing routines out of the way.

After that, I soak my hair and add a very small amount of a non-sulfate shampoo to my conditioner and lather it through my hair. I then rinse that out and condition again. If my hair still feels like it needs a bit more love and attention, I’ll do a deep condition with coconut oil and let that soak into my hair for an hour or so, then rinse it all out and wrap my hair in an old t-shirt!

I try to avoid towels, since the fibers make my hair frizzy. I wait until it is almost dry, then unwrap it, fluff or fix any curls that have gotten squished or frizzy, and let it air dry the rest of the way!

3. What are your staple hair products? Which could you not live without and why?!
I always make sure I use a heat protectant before I use any sort of heat on my hair, and I love coconut oil as a deep conditioner! I also am weirdly in love with the conditioner that comes with Natural Instincts hair dye, it is honestly the best conditioner I’ve ever used, so sometimes I buy the hair dye just for the conditioner. I use that whenever I can.

4. As a red head and curly girl, does your hair bring you a lot of attention? Is it positive attention?
You know, as a child I was constantly mocked for my big hair, and I used to wish I could look more like my perfect older sister with her beautiful wavy hair. Now that I’m all grown up, I could not be more grateful for, although occasionally surprised by, the adoration and praise that my hair gets constantly. People seem to really love the unique texture and wildness of my locks, and it helps me love them more than I ever thought I could.

5. Since you’re currently living in Tokyo where do you get all your hair products!
Moving to Japan has been a big adjustment for my hair, especially since the water here is full of chlorine and chemicals. My first priority was finding a shower filter so that my hair didn’t have to worry about that anymore.

Other than that, I find that a lot of my American hair products from home could be found at Costco, and I’ve also found a number of really wonderful new Japanese products in beauty stores I’ve stumbled upon while out and about in Tokyo.

Japanese hair tends to have a very different texture than mine, so I do have to be careful with what I’m using on my hair. I need delicate products, so I make sure to ask for help or translate the labels before I use anything new.

6. What are your hair goals for 2017? Are you on track to reaching them?
This year I want to get my hair to the healthiest it’s ever been! My job requires me to wear wigs quite often, and I’m hoping that that will help me give my hair a break from any styling or product. I’m taking biotin, fish oil, and prenatal vitamins to help stimulate healthy hair growth, and I’m trying new things with my hair in both style and regimen.

7. Who is your celeb curl crush?
I really admire Zendaya, not only for her beautiful natural curls, but for the courage she has had to be a face for naturally curly hair in the public eye. There really aren’t very many curly celebrities, and I love that she isn’t afraid to be natural and to be herself.

8. For many curly women it’s a journey to fully understand their hair. It’s a process of trial and error. What was your “Curls Understood” moment (the moment you felt like, “I’ve got this!” or any essential advice you wish you had known at the beginning of your hair journey)?
When I was younger I used to refer to my hair as “the beast” and would joke about how I was trying to “conquer” or “tame” it, although I thought that I never really could. I think the moment that my attitude and perspective on the beauty of my hair really changed was actually when I was 18 and found the right tools and products to be able to straighten it when I wanted to.

Knowing that I had that option available to me made my hair seem so much less of a burden and so much more of a blessing. I straightened it, and realized that I looked like everyone else, which was nice to be able to do when I felt like blending in, but it made me realize that I had the ability to really stand out in a beautiful and powerful way.

Every since then, I love and appreciate my hair for the beautiful gift that it is. I love showing it off and being proud of who I am naturally. I am curly girl, and I can’t be tamed.

See more of Karina…
Site: KarinaShanelle.com
Instagram: @KarinaGillette

Blogging Curls Understood eBook