NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!

Kara Barcelo: My name is Kara Barcelo and I am a 3C curly girl. I enjoy sunbathing (when the weather is good, of course), singing and dancing, eating healthy and kicking butt in the gym.

NC: How and when did you start embracing your curls?

KB: I hated my hair as a child because my mom, who has a different hair type, didn't really know how to style my hair. I would always end up with a ponytail braid or big, bushy hair. I hated it! It wasn't until my early twenties that I started to truly embrace my curls. I found that with the right products for my hair type and a good haircut, I actually liked wearing my hair curly! I looked better just being me.

NC: What is your current routine?

KB: Shampoo, condition/detangle, apply product, and go!

NC: So from start to finish, on a curly day, what's your process?

KB: After shampooing, I rinse and apply conditioner. While the conditioner is still in my hair, I detangle with a wide tooth comb or use my fingers. I braid my hair back and tuck the braid into a ball as I finish showering, allowing the conditioner to do its work for a few minutes. After I rinse out the conditioner, I bend over and wrap my hair in a t-shirt to soak up excess water. From this point on, I NEVER run my fingers through my hair — I don't want to mess up the curl pattern or cause frizziness. I like my curls to fall naturally.

After a few minutes, I apply product. I smooth it over my hair starting at the top. Then I work on the sides, the back, and finally flip my head over to apply product near the nape of my neck and at the ends. I may scrunch the ends a little, then flip back over and allow the curls to fall naturally.

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NC: What are your must-have products and tools?

KB: Conditioner is my best friend. Right now, my favorite products is Paul Mitchell Sculpting Lotion, which I usually apply as a leave-in before my styling product. I find that this product gives me awesome curl definition, and it leaves my curls soft and shiny. I also use another awesome product called Aunt Jackie's Curl La La Defining Curl Custard

NC: What are your favorite hairstyles to wear with your curls?

KB: I love to wear my hair down. In the summer months, I often stick a flower on the side.

NC: What do you do at nighttime for your hair?

KB: At night, I pull all my hair to the top of my head, and I use a satin scarf to wrap around the sides most of the time.

NC: What about your hair stylists?

KB: My stylist is a Deva Curl certified stylist. I see her for maintenance about every six months or until the curls on top of my head start getting heavy and I need a cut.

NC: What reaction did you get when you first decided to go natural?

KB: I fell in love. I couldn't believe that my natural hair could look so good on me!

NC: Did you big chop or transition and for how long? Did you ever have curly girl insecurities?

KB: 

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NC: What is the best thing about being curly?

KB: It’s being you. I have come to believe that it’s not about looking like someone else — it's about looking our best as individuals. Learn to work whatever you have been born with! It’s about being and looking YOUR best not someone else’s best. I also found that going natural was freeing. I can sweat all I want at the gym, get in the water and sleep how I want, just being free!

NC: How do you think having curly hair impacts your everyday life?

KB:  NC: What would you tell others to encourage them to embrace their curls?

KB: It's a freeing experience, AND it's cheaper! With the right products, cut and color, your hair can look great! Others can and have done it — so can you. It's a leap of faith for many, but I say try it! It's just hair.

NC: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects!

KB:  MORE: Real Texture Talk: Rhonda Lee