Whether we like it or not, long, straight hair — often blond(e) — has long been the Westernized standard of beauty for women. As a result of this beauty ideal, members of the Latinx community, especially Afro-latinx folx, have felt pressure to manipulate their curls to meet the cultural expectations pertaining to hair. In fact, in the Latinx culture, the term “pelo malo” (which translates to “bad hair” in English) is often used to describe curly and kinky hair textures.
Despite the “bad hair” stigma surrounding curly hair, many Latinx women are still choosing to embrace their natural hair texture. These ladies are showing people everywhere that there is no “right” way to wear your hair. After all, Latinx hair comes in all different textures and styles. In honor of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked several Latinx women to spill their secrets on the tips and products that keep their natural textures looking their absolute best.
Here, discover their best kept secrets for natural hair.
Model and Influencer, @simplybiancaalexa
“My hair texture changed so much after my pregnancy a lot of my hair fell out so I have been laser-focused on really pampering my curls and nurturing my hair slowly back to life. My hair used to be a lot easier to manage so my routine was a lot quicker but now, my hair is super dry and high porosity. I find that making time to pre-poo my hair with an oil blend before washing it and deep conditioning regularly makes a world of a difference. I try to pre-poo the night before I wash my hair to really let the oils penetrate and moisturize my strands. This way my hair isn’t stripped of too much moisture when I wash it. Since my texture is high porosity, I alternate between protein and moisture treatments.”
“Camille Rose Naturals makes some of my favorite deep conditioners. I especially love their protein and moisture treatments from their Around the World collection. If I don’t have time to pre-poo, then I will add one of those deep conditioners to my dry hair and let it sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing it and washing my hair.”
“For stylers, I find that Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner and a small amount of African Pride Moisturize and Define Curling Cream have been giving me the best results.”
Model, Dancer, Makeup Artist, and Influencer, @beautymarkedilly
“In 2014, as a New Year’s resolution, I decided to go natural. I never relaxed or permed my hair however, my hair was severely damaged. Prior to 2014, I never saw the potential of my curls. If it wasn’t for Youtube and discovering Afro-Latina influencer, SunKissAlba, I would be lost when it comes to my curls. Growing up, I was constantly going to the Dominican hair salons and straightening my hair and as you know, in the early 2000s, pin-straight hair was ideal. I used to carry a flat iron in my bookbag, just in case I would sweat. At one point, my hair was so damaged that it didn’t even look good straight.”
“Social media platforms like Youtube and Instagram helped me so much to get my hair to what it is today. I put down the flat iron, deep conditioned weekly, and started trying products made for my hair. It took a year to actually see my curls start forming and two years to see the full potential of my curls. The process was very long and I did go through a really tough phase however, returning back to my curls was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
“Here are some tips that helped my curls so much: 1) Deep condition weekly and do a protein treatment monthly. 2) Sleep with a satin pillowcase or bonnet. 3) Try different products to see what your hair likes. I learned that my hair prefers creams over gels. 4) Apply your products while your hair is wet and in sections to make sure each strand gets love. 5) Trust the process and remember your hair will look exactly how you treat it, so give it lots of love!”
“When it comes to my favorite hair products, Botanika Beauty’s The Definer Light Curl Cream is perfect for refreshing curls. Camilla Rose Naturals’ Coconut Water line is moisturizing yet lightweight, giving me the volume that I love. OGX Pracaxi Deeply Restoring Recovery Combing Cream is amazing for detangling and adding moisture.”
“To style hair, I start by properly removing buildup with a cleansing shampoo (with sulfates) or a cleansing clay, once a month. Next, I follow up with a sulfate-free shampoo to stimulate the scalp and nourish the hair strands. Then, I’ll use a deep conditioner mask with natural ingredients and no silicones to keep the hair hydrated. Once a week, I recommend using eucalyptus or jojoba oil to stimulate the scalp either before (if you have hair lower than 3C) or after (if you have 4 A/B/C hair) you shampoo. When it comes to diffusing your hair, take your time. Wait for it to be fully dry to fluff or stretch your curls — even if the gel has made your hair hard.”
“For hair products, Truss Professional’s Net Mask is a must-have for deep conditioning. Also, L’Mar Etniker Hydroelixir is a great serum for providing sheen and breaking the cast after your curls dry.”
“I’m big on refreshing with an actual refresher! My favorite one is the Bumble and Bumble Bb. Curl Reactivator. When refreshing, I use my finger pads and work in a pinching movement to avoid separating my curl, pressing the reactivator into the hair.”
Sade Pizarro & Ada Washington
Sade: “My best advice I would give to a fellow Naturalista is to embrace your natural hair texture and create a healthy hair care regimen. This would consist of using a moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo and deep treatment. These are key products to maintaining healthy naturally textured hair.”
“My go-to style is my signature wash ‘n go, which has taken me years to perfect. To achieve this style of enhancing my natural curl pattern, I use Design Essentials Natural Almond & Avocado Leave-In Conditioner and Curl Enhancing Mousse together. Since I have fine hair with a type 3 curl pattern, I need a product that is lightweight and moisturizing. This combo enhances my natural curl pattern while keeping my hair moisturized.”
Ada: “ My natural is mine and your natural is yours. Embrace your natural hair to the fullest and educate yourself on what works best for your coils, curls, and kinks. Hair envy is something that we do not support. Our overall differences and uniqueness is what makes our black beautiful!”
“Our method to a flawless natural hair journey is less is more. All you need as a Naturalista is a cleanser/ deep treatment/ leave-in conditioner/ styler. My favorite hair product is Design Essential Curl Enhancing Mousse. It does exactly what it states. My hair is naturally curly, so all it needs is some good hold, moisture, and shine! This produce always delivers a carefree, fluffy, long-lasting wash ‘n go.”
Will you be trying out any of these hair tips? Let us know in the comments below!