25 Latinas Who Have Championed Natural Curly Hair Even When Beauty Standards Have Said Otherwise
Desperately seeking straight hair, most of us have spent decades subjecting our poor manes to heat damage. In a love-hate relationship with blow dryers, straighteners and ‘Brazilian blowouts’, we tried everything to get the sleek look. But thank God times have changed. The last couple of years we’ve seen a switch from super sleek, to liberated curly locks —and boy oh boy are we happy.
Despite straight hair being the number one look in every beauty magazine, these divas never gave up on their natural locks.
Even though flat, poker-straight hair has been the epitome of coolness since the eighties drew to an end, these curly-haired sisters listed down below never stopped championing their big, glossy locks —and with women embracing their natural hair more and more in recent years, we thought it would be appropriate to take a walk down memory lane to pay tribute to these OG greñudas.
Clara P. Flores
This is the first curly hair photo we could dig up. Dating back to the mid-1860s, the woman depicted was Afro-Mexicana, Clara P. Flores, a resident of Guanajuato, Mexico. Funny to think that ringlets and curly locks were the trend back in the 1800s, look what the 1990s did to our hair SMH.
This Venezuelan-American babe was a star in many silent films. The photo, dating back to 1918, features Michelena’s loose, bouncy mane —when in fact curly hair was on trend, yes, but in a much more stylized ‘wavy’ style. Beatriz wore her hair natural, on her own terms, and we could use that positivity in our lives today.
These were the days of finger waves and little bobs, women actually used heat tools to curl and crinkle their shortly-cut hair rather than smoothen it out. Raquel was a Mexican actress who took Hollywood by storm in the 1920s alongside her sister Renee.
Dolores del Rio
Dolores del Rio is often credited for being the first Latina actress to crossover to the US. This iconic curly-haired queen wore her chinos proudly. However, del Rio’s beautiful looks, paired with her long, luscious and curly locks landed her many stereotypical ‘ethnic’ roles more often than not —not okay, Hollywood
Another Mexican actress who enchanted Hollywood. Lupita’s thick dark hair was wavy and extended into beautiful curls —longer than the it-style of the time, the super short bob. Lupita rocked her long curls with a lot of glamour and probably set some trends herself.
This legend of theater and film was a charismatic and lively beauty. The Afro-Cubana Candita Quintana usually wore her curls down, flowing down her back, accentuated with flowers —if this isn’t a lewk, what is?
A true old Hollywood glamazon. This Mexican actress was a star during the Mexican Golden age of cinema. Her voluminous head of hair was a big part of her stardom and allure.
The iconic Chicana look of the 1940s and 50s —and precursor of the Cholas. This fashion wave was all about borrowing typically male aesthetics and claiming them for themselves, worn with ultra feminine hair and makeup. Pachucas wore their hair in bunches of curls, in pompadours and feminine wavy updos —Chicanas have been repping curls since back in the day.
This Afro-Puerto Rican singer was an opera diva with international fame. Her stardom lasted from the 60s and well into the 80s, and she usually wore her hair in natural tight curls cropped shortly into a little curly pixie cut —very trendy at the time.
The Puerto Rican superstar was known for wearing her hair naturally curly. She were her signature ringlets in all lengths, from pixie to long cascading chinos.
Another beacon of beauty, fashion, and obviously hair goals. La Doña is still to this day, and icon of Latinx beauty and glamour. Her striking dark hair was always coiffed in dramatic big, bouncy curls.
The actor, dancer and singer Lola Falana was known as the First Lady of Vegas —that’s how iconic she is. The Afro-Cubanita always let her natural hair shine, showing off her beautiful ‘fro all through the 70s.
This Chicana was #hairgoals in the 70s and 80s after her role as Wonderwoman skyrocketed her to fame. The super talented beauty queen would sometimes let her curls come out to play and damn, did they look fabulous.
Rita Lucia Moreno
Afro-Argentinian actress and singer Rita Lucia Moreno sported a cascade of dark curls that were feminine and abundant, and oh-so-glamorous.
I mean… look at those locks, need we say more? This Bolivian singer and actress was a true sex symbol and it-girl in the 70s —and her rizos might’ve had something to do with it, don’t you think?
The Puerto Rican entertainer was a big champion of big, natural hair. She usually wore her beautiful locks in a halo of curls that framed her face and accentuated her features.
Victoria Santa Cruz
Afro-Peruvian choreographer, composer and activist, Victoria Eugenia Santa Cruz Guamarra is referred to as “the mother of Afro-Peruvian dance and theater.” She famously wrote and performed the moving poem “Me Gritaron Negra” (They Called Me Black”) with a lifelong aim to awaken black consciousness and pride in Peru.
You may recognize this diva from the Netflx hit show ‘La Casa De Las Flores’, but her stardom goes back to the 80s. During that particular decade, La Vero’s hair was truly iconic —natural and permed big curly hairstyles were all the rage.
The queen of Salsa is perhaps one of the most iconic women in Latino music. Celia had so much fun with her hairstyles, she never shied away from a bright color or wild look. But she did know how to rock her own natural hair when not wearing an outrageous wig —This rumbera favored Afros, braids and big 80s curls, ¡azúcar!
Ugh, just going back to Gloria Estefan’s look back when she debuted with her first album is giving us major hair envy. Her bouncy dark ringlets are all we want for our manes today.
Salma’s hair has seen many phases through the years, but the curly one keeps resurfacing over and over. Her natural loose waves give her head of hair a pump of volume that many would pay good money to achieve —must be nice.
Remember old school Mariah? Back in the early years of her career? Her natural curls were luscious and full of volume and we really miss this look. Can we start a petition to bring it back?
If ever there’s been a Latinx star to champion curls as a signature style, that would be Shakira. The Colombian bombshell sure knows how to rock a shaggy, loose mane of hair.
Born Carmara DaCosta Johnson, the actress known as Yaya Dacosta has Afro-Brazilian and African-American roots. Since she first rose to fame after appearing as runner up on cycle 3 of “America’s Next Top Model” she has been wowing us with natural hair. Since then, she has big chopped and grown back her massive crown of textured goodness — giving us hair life the entire time.
Amara La Negra
Our last Curly-haired queen is Afro-Dominican singer, actress and Love & Hip Hop: Miami star, Amara La Negra. This star has schooled a few —her producer included— on natural hair and what it means to be Afro Latina. Amara is proud of her afro, her roots and is a huge champion of the Afro-Latinx community.