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Pelo Alborotado

BY Isabel Y Rosado

In the ever changing and captivating world of beauty, there’s barely ever been room for Crazy Hair.

Snip, Snip… My young feet swung off the chair. I could still hear my mother’s shears, the way the strands would drift on the way to the floor when she Snipped a client’s lock of hair.

I was brought up in the beauty world. Memories of my Mom as a hairdresser are some of my loveliest. I would enjoy watching the process, the happiness felt when a good hairstyle/cut would boost them. Those moments sparked the love I have today.

My Mom has always been open and encouraged me to express myself through beauty and clothes, by letting me be who I am. Since my early childhood days, I would sport different colored nails, play dress-up with big earrings, and show them off while constantly changing my hair. I have always been intrigued by beauty: skincare, makeup, hair, style, etc.. I’ve always found inspiration from the elegant ladies around me, to the glamorous women on TV and Red Carpets.

Coming from a Cuban, Puerto Rican, Latinx background, having your Pelo Loco was never an option. We put a lot of love into taking care of our hair and making sure it looks presentable, along with skin. We are firm believers of home remedies for hair and skin such as masks with avocado, olive oil, honey, even using eggs and mayo for strong hair cuticles and shine. My mom loved to mix some olive oil with conditioner and put it in my hair, especially after color treatments. We use rolos (hair rollers), for various styles, we would even sleep in them. I would experiment with different rolo sizes: small ones for a tight curl and the bigger ones for a brushed-out body wave. Even when the process felt uncomfortable or unbearable she would remind me that “Beauty is Pain.” 

The Latinx culture loves entertainment starting with novelas, talk shows, award shows, you name it. When I would watch these programs, I never felt like I saw myself. The women would have super polished hair, blowouts, flawless S waves, or intricate updos. I didn’t see ‘Pelo Alborotado’  and I felt like I needed to try all of those hairstyles to fit in. 

I remember Cameron Diaz having a huge influence in cutting my hair chin length in the 5th grade. The likes of JLO and Salma Hayek helped me embody both a lush chic blowout and voluminous natural curls. Shakira, Gloria Trevi, and Gloria Estefan made me embrace my wild curly hair. Their influence revealed multiple ways to wear beauty. There is nothing wrong with being versatile.

I am happy to live and be a part of a time where everyone is heartened to embrace their beauty in all unique ways. Showing off curls and big hair is becoming more common within our culture. It’s become easier to find knowledge in properly treating and styling curly/textured hair. Simpler to try different hair product cocktails till finding what works best. I’ve now found myself back in my mom’s chair trying cuts I would have never thought of so I could show off my Pelo Alborotado.