Good morning! I'm excited because I get to share my first feature in The Natural Hair Chronicles series with you! The main goal of this series is to celebrate different hair textures and encourage those who may be either thinking about wearing their hair naturally or already are. I want this series to be honest yet fun so I have a few things up my sleeves for you! In the mean time, let's meet today's feature!

Katrina Gabrielle hails from Atlanta, GA and not only is she a part of the natural hair community but she is also a style blogger (kudos to that). Although I noticed her personal style first, I couldn't help but take note of the luscious curls that frame her face on any given day. When I first decided to debut The Natural Hair Chronicles, she was one of the first people that came to mind in terms of who I would like to feature. Before even having the chance to speak with Katrina, I could tell that she thoroughly enjoys her natural hair and that is always a great thing to see. I felt that it was only right to reach out to her and find out about her personal hair journey as well as her thoughts on natural hair overall. To say that I gained a little knowledge about the ins and outs of natural hair is an understatement. Check out Katrina's hair journey and thoughts on natural hair below:

Nai's Visions: Thank you for allowing Nai's Visions to feature you. Before we begin, tell the readers a little about yourself.

Katrina Gabrielle: First off, I would like to say thank you for featuring me in your Natural Hair Chronicles! I am really glad I can contribute to a topic I know a lot of people have questions about. As for myself, I am 23 years old and in college pursuing my Business Marketing degree. I aspire to own my own retail business in the future and I use blogging as an avenue that will lead into that eventually. My blog pertains to style and individuality because I believe you can tell so much about a person based off of what they decided to wear that day. There is so much personality and creativity that goes into a single outfit and it is the perfect way to express yourself as an individual. 

A young Katrina
As for my hair, there is a lot of it and it is most definitely a conversation starter. I have struggled with a love/hate relationship with my hair since I was a kid, and really felt like an outcast as the skinny girl with large hair. I had a huge problem with self-identification and just wanted to fit in. I can honestly say now that I love myself, and I especially love my hair because it makes me unique and it truly matches my fun personality! I don't mind standing out; life is more fun that way.  

NV: I decided to create The Natural Hair Chronicles as a way to celebrate the diversity of natural hair while also providing encouragement to others who either wear their hair in its natural state or are thinking about making that transition. How long have you been natural?

KG: I think it is great that you are providing an avenue that puts a positive light on the natural hair topic. It is so easy to give up on your natural hair and the first piece of advice I give anyone going natural, or thinking about doing so, is to understand that their hair is not going to look like the girls off of YouTube or in a magazine. Your hair will only look like YOUR hair and the first step is understand what it needs. 

I have been natural for three years now. In actuality, I was forced into going natural through all of my hair falling out. Since I was a child and all through high school, my mother relaxed my hair. It made it more "manageable" and took away the thick aspect of my curls. When I started college, I decided I didn't want to relax my hair anymore and I wanted to go "natural". I was dying it an auburn-reddish color at the time and wore it straight with a bang. One day I went in, as usual, to get my roots touched up and the woman bleached my hair without telling me. My roots came out a little lighter than usual but she played it off as if that was just the color. Three months later, I decided I couldn't take it anymore and wanted to relax my hair again. We went about the process as we usually did and everything was fine until I washed it out. All of my hair was falling out, specifically around the front and in the middle of my head. I had no choice but to do the big chop. I was devastated and felt like I look like a boy. However, over time the cut grew on me and I really started to like it. As it grew out, I watched YouTube videos, followed natural hair gurus, and learned everything there is to know about my hair's porosity, texture and curl type. After many twist outs, deep conditioning treatments, and hot oil treatments, here I am today. My hair is healthy and in its true natural state.

NV: With so many different hair care products geared towards natural hair, at what point did you develop a hair regiment that works for your texture?

KG: The trick to developing a hair regiment is research. You need to know if your hair has high or low porosity, what your curl pattern is, how to help your hair retain moisture, and what products are actually bad for your hair. I know it sounds like a lot but trust me, you will waste more time, money, and energy on buying products that won't work than if you took the time to understand the beast of natural hair. I have been trying to find a regimen that works best for me since I cut my hair off three years ago. I went through a lot of products and a majority of them were a failure. This is the most frustrating part because you are desperate to find something that will help you tame the mane. My hair is around a 3C in its curl pattern and I have high porosity hair which means my hair's cuticles are letting too much moisture in, making it a tangled, frizzy mess. 

My hair needs leave-in-conditioners, thick products such as puddings, and sealing oils that will close the cuticle off to lock in moisture. I only recently perfected my hair regiment and I have been using it faithfully for about a year. I shampoo once a month, and the rest of the time I co-wash and rinse my hair with cold water only. My favorite products to use are Mixed Chicks leave-in-conditioner or Shea Moisture's Curl Pudding and Curling Gel Souffle. I also seal and soften my hair with either Nubian's Grow & Strength Serum or Olive Oil's Glossing Polisher. Part of my hair regimen also includes getting my hair trimmed by the SAME trusted person every 8 weeks or so.

NV: Speaking of your hair regimen, does it change during the spring/summer and fall/winter?

KG: My hair regimen does not change too much but becomes slightly modified depending on the season. In the summer it is more humid so I co-wash more frequently  during the week, and I make sure to use my favorite hair mask by Shea Moisture at least once a week. During the winter months I will diffuse my hair instead of letting it air dry because it is entirely too cold to go outside with a wet head. This means I will be using the Shea Moisture line more frequently because it forms my curls the best with the diffusing method.

NV: What are your favorite hairstyles to wear on any given day?

KG: On any given day, my favorite hairstyle to wear is just a big, curly fro. I love taking it down out of the pineapple in the morning, spritzing it with some water and doing a little fluffing. For school, my go-to style is definitely the pineapple. You can throw it up and go or sometimes I like to accessorize it with a printed scarf. 

If I am not feeling either of those then I throw it all over to one side and pin it into a side style. I love how side styles accent my face. I am always experimenting and trying to find a new and improved way to wear my hair so it really depends on my mood and what I am wearing that day.

NV: More women are beginning to embrace their natural hair and this has prompted some to believe that natural hair is nothing more than a trend. How do personally feel about that?

KG: Yes, more women are embracing their natural hair and I love that but I do honestly feel like it could just be a trend. For people like me who truly love their natural hair, it will never be a trend because it is a part of us. However, some people see celebrities or their friends doing it and think they can do it too. not knowing how hard it is to maintain. So when the celebrities change their hair, they will too and there isn't anything wrong with that, but that makes it a trend not a lifestyle. I am happy to say that more often now we are going to see more people going natural and being serious about it because there is so much information available today about curly hair. YouTube and Google are a curly girl's best friend! I guess what I am trying to say is that everything is a trend but I believe, for a majority of us out there, the curls are here to stay. In the future we will probably continue to see more people join the natural hair family.

NV: Last but not least, what do you love the most about your natural hair?

KG: What I love the most about my curly hair is that it is so versatile. I have the choice to wear my hair super curly and big or flat iron it out and wear it straight. I can twist my hair up at night and take them down in the morning to have a tamed but textured hair style. Or, I could comb my hair out and wear it in an afro that I can barely see through. I can do whatever I want and I absolutely love that about my hair. Most of all, I love how my curly hair has helped me grow into the person I am today. I had to lose all my hair and slowly grow it back, which not only has helped me to respect my hair, but it also taught me about confidence and self-assurance. My hair taught me the most valuable lesson of all; to love me for me and to be comfortable in the skin I am in. Hair does not make us beautiful. 

Personality makes us beautiful and in the end, that is all that really matters.

- Katrina Gabrielle

To stay up-to-date with Katrina, be sure to follow her on Twitter @ittybiity and Instagram @ittybiitty + check out her blog, Katrina Gabrielle!