NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!

Carissa Siordia Vasile: My name is Carissa. I am twenty-seven years old and a busy mom of three little ones! I was born and raised in Southern California.

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

CSV: I have always had a love/hate relationship with my hair. I am the only one in my immediate family with curls and my mother did not know how to care for and style my hair. Growing up, I washed my hair almost every day (yikes!) and used cheap conditioner. No oil care, no knowledge of techniques...nada! I was always fighting with my hair and trying to straighten it or drown it in my brother's hair gel. The heat, sulfates and silicones only made my hair dry and frizzy. Eventually it lost its curl and I was left with dry, confused waves. It wasn't until about three years ago that I started to learn how to care for my hair type. Since then, I have gained a better understanding of how my hair is different from straight hair and I have learned how to work WITH my waves and curls instead of against them. The result is a renewed relationship with my hair. We get along fairly well now. I prefer to wear it natural rather than scorch it with a flat iron. Healthy curls are better curls! 

NC: What is your current routine?

CSV: I wash my hair with a moisturizing shampoo every two to three days. My favorite shampoo/conditioner combo is L'Oreal EverSleek. But since I have three kids, I can't always spend money on the good stuff. When I'm in a pinch, I buy big bottles of Suave Professionals Almond & Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner. It works well for me and for my daughter. 

After the shower, I leave my hair in a hair turban for ten minutes to let it dry. Then I scrunch in a bit of Eden Body Works Coconut Shea Natural Leave-In Conditioner. If I'm in a rush and heading straight out the door, I scrunch in Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Mousse. Sometimes I blow dry my bangs but lately, I leave them curly.

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

CSV: 100% natural oils! Ditch the silicones (or at least as much of them as you can)! I love to use a mix of 50/50 argan oil and sweet almond oil. Coconut oil is fantastic as well. As far as tools go, a curling wand comes in handy when I'm working second- or third-day hair and a few curls are out-of-place and funky. 

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

CSV: I don't have a lot of time to do my hair so I often leave it loose, sometimes with a small section on one side pinned back. On occasion, I'll braid my bangs straight back and pull the rest of my hair into a curly ponytail.

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

CSV: I use the pineapple method or twist my curls into a top knot. 

NC: What about your hairstylist?

CSV: It's difficult to find a stylist that really knows how to work with wavy/curly hair. Most of them blow dry my hair straight after they cut it. I have a stylist that I go to when I need something done..but only if I can't do it myself. I have been trying to become as self-sufficient as possible when it comes to my hair. It's amazing what you can learn online. I've gotten to the point where I can trim my own hair and bangs. It's a huge money saver! 

NC: What reaction did you get when you went natural?

CSV: Some people didn't even know that I have curly hair! One friend recently commented on the fact that I've really come a long way with my hair. She has known me for at least eighteen years and she saw the battles I fought with my hair.

MORE: Scarlett’s Curly Hair Journey

NC: What is the best thing about being curly?

CSV: Curls have so much character! Everyone who has curly hair knows that one person's curls are different from any other person's curls. They're like a fingerprint...they make you unique! And when they are healthy, they are smooth and easy to manage. I'm all for that! 

NC: How has having curly hair impacted your life? 

CSV: Growing up, I was teased about my hair. But now that I've gotten the hang of my curls, I feel confident. I get compliments on my hair and I have accepted myself more than I did before.

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

CSV: Learn your curls! It is so important to know your hair type. Not everyone's hair will respond to a certain routine or certain products in the same way. Also, remember to nurture those curls. Stop the heat battles, put away the flat iron, and bust out the moisture! Your curls will thank you.

NC: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects.

CSV: Right now, I am busy with the little ones: 5 months, 2 years, and 6 years. As the baby gets a little more independent, I hope to get back to my vintage inspired jewelry store on Etsy. I also hope to go to graduate school in a year or two to work towards my Master's in Social Work.

MORE: Petra's Curly Hair Journey