I’ll probably always be buying and trying new curly hair products, but I’ve found my Holy Grail for now. My hair absolutely craves Curls Milkshake.
It leaves my tresses more moisturized and perfectly defined than any other product. After I reviewed a batch of Curls products, I became hooked. Now I’m dying to try the rest of the line. Many of their products sound like dreamy desserts â€“ Coconut Sublime Moisture Max, Whipped Cream, Curl Souffle, yum! My love for the Milkshake drove me to learn more about the brilliant woman behind this amazing stuff.
Bellas, meet Mahisha Dellinger, the super-clever afrobella who founded Curls.
Like many of us, Mahisha had a crazy hair journey. Back when she was growing up, there were no readily available products to nurture and style her out-of-control mane. And the products that were available were chock full o’ chemicals.
“Do you know that I used to use grease and water on my hair? Grease was the main stay on all ethnic aisles. I didnâ€™t know any better! And the white owned hair care companies that marketed to us surely didnâ€™t care of the long term affects of synthetic oils, they were all about the mighty dollar!” Mahisha declares.
It took the exhortations of a bona fide afrobella to bring Mahisha around to natural hair care.
“It wasnâ€™t until my high school years that I discovered pure oils and natural remedies. A good friend of mine was 100% natural — a purist if you will — and she sparked my interest. I am 100% naturally curly…now. However, I died and fried my hair in junior high and high school! I had every hair color you can imagine, AND I used hairspray daily!” Man, that brought back my own high school memories.
I got my first set of highlights when I was thirteen and I thought I was so bad ass. If I could talk to my high school self, I’d beg myself to leave the dye alone — hot pink, orange, and midnight blue streaks were not a good look for me. But of course, that conversation would probably go along the lines of Cartman’s conversations with his past self on that awesome time-travel episode of South Park. Which is to say, I’d tell my future self to mind her own business. “Whatever, I do what I want!”
Many of Curls’ products are coconut based, which appeals mightily to this Caribbean girl. Coconut oil works wonders for my hair. There are lots of other natural ingredients that Mahisha thinks are key to her products’ success.
In the eleven Curls products and 7 Curly Q products currently available, Mahisha loves to include super-moisturizing certified organic aloe leaf juice, vitamin rich organic sunflower oil, Chinese Hu Wu Shu extract, Japanese green tea extract, calendula, coconut milk, mango and shea butter. No wonder my hair drinks this stuff up so fast — it all sounds like a concoction I could possibly drink as is!
Mahisha shared the products that work best for her, and I’m thinking of changing up my hair care routine with the seasons like she does.
“I have so many favorites; it truly depends on the occasion, time of year, and my current hair care needs. For example, in the summer months I cannot live without Curls Goddess Glaze for frizz free curls with all day holding power. When my curls are just not quite up to par and are in need of instant recovery, I reach for our deep treatment, Curl Ecstasy, and my microhaircap! However I use, one product on a daily basis… Quenched Curls Moisturizer. It is indeed my foundational product, â€œunderwear for my hair.â€ It refreshes, revives, and protects curls. It’s now formulated with sunscreen, so it is the perfect curl protector,” she gushed.
Curls products smell absolutely heavenly, and now Mahisha’s offering Body By Curls, vanilla and brown sugar body wash and frosting that sounds beyond delicious. Six new Curls products are getting ready to hit the shelves, and I’m so curious to find out what they are!
I’ve been planning to write about Mahisha and Curls for a long time now, but this particular interview became especially timely due to the recent New York Times article by Randal C. Archibold, “I Have Taken on My Daughter’s Hair and Won.”
Mr. Archibold’s beautifully written piece evoked memories of my own dad struggling with my troublesome locks and incessant wriggling as a child. It’s definitely a sign of the times that Mr. Archibold considers the politics of black hair as much as he does:
“With some limitations, we give Lyla a say in her hairstyle. One braid? Two, three, four? Part in the middle or on the side? Sometimes she prefers to let it all hang out, curly, frizzy and wild. When we eventually braid it again, fretting over those knots and dirt accumulating in the thicket, I wonder if we are then crimping her style, making a political statement?
Who knew hair could be this complicated?”
Um, my hand’s raised. And I don’t recall getting a say in how I wanted my hair combed, either (feel free to add a comment, familia). At that age, what with my Diana Ross aspirations, I’d have voted to wear my hair in a big bushy free form style every day. I would have gladly been a mini-Chaka Khan, strutting across my school’s playing field.
I checked out Mr. Archibold’s list of hair essentials for his little afrobella, and it’s here that I must speak up. From jump, this is a bad list for parents of naturally curly kids. TCB Naturals has nothing natural about it. Mineral oil and petrolatum are the first two ingredients, and they are notoriously bad and unhealthy ingredients. In fact, petrolatum has been banned in European Union beauty products because of its carcinogenic properties. Mr. Archibold could learn quite a bit from Mahisha Dellinger. She’s got an awesome children’s product line, Curly Q’s for Kids, and she works closely with adopted families and biracial kids.
Mahisha has brilliant advice for any parent of a black child. This goes out especially to the Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies who adopt children with naturally curly hair that is the opposite of their own.
“DO NOT SHAMPOO YOUR CHILDâ€™S HAIR DAILY! DO NOT RELAX YOUR CHILDâ€™S HAIR WHEN SHE IS STILL A TODDLER! I cannot believe how many stories I hear about parents doing this. I also get questions after the fact, “how do I repair the damage I have done?â€ Seek out quality products, and advice, PERIOD!” she asserts.
I had to ask her, how early should parents start styling their little afrobellas’ hair? Apparently, my niece Dominique needs this stuff like, yesterday.
“As soon as their curls turn from naturally silky to somewhat dry, that is when you know it is time to add a Curly Q styler to their regime. For my son, his curls turned at about 9 months,” says Mahisha.
Besides admiring her product line, I also admire Mahisha as a business woman. She took a commonplace problem among black and mixed race women, and turned her solution into a successful business enterprise. She offers great advice to other aspiring businesswomen. Basically, her watchwords are “due diligence.”
“It is important to know your business inside and out. Start out researching your industry. Join a professional association in that industry. Seek out a mentor,” she suggests.
Mahisha’s business acumen is truly to be admired, and her products are absolutely to die for if you ask me. Curls Milkshake definitely works wonders for my hair texture — all these glowing reviews definitely aren’t wrong! And at $17 for an 8 oz tub, it won’t break the bank. I think it’s a must have for every afrobella.
Congratulations, Mahisha! You’re Afrobella of the Week!