Who needs mirrors when you live in a Latinx household? Latinas are way too familiar with having [comments about] our appearance regurgitated back to us. Latinx communities are beauty-centric—it’s no secret. But when I was younger, it was more about assimilation rather than honing your unique qualities. Of course, as a daughter of immigrants (and an immigrant myself), I get this was more a survival skill than anything else. But I'm glad we’re now moving beyond that.
As the daughter of a hair salon owner, I grew up understanding how Latinas consumed beauty. As I grew older, I learned we weren’t just consuming; we also took an active role in the narrative. When I wrote the book The New Latina: 100 Millennials Shaping Our World, I was fortunate to speak to 100 influential women, many of which are in the beauty industry as entrepreneurs, social media creators, and executives. For them, it’s not just about beauty. It’s about having agency and creating space for Latinx beauty brands to exist. Ahead, learn more about how Latinx women are shaping the narrative in beauty.
Julissa Prado, founder of Rizos Curls
I underwent plenty of straightening treatments when I was younger because curly hair just wasn’t it. But this was before an innovator like Julissa Prado revolutionized the haircare industry with Rizos Curls. During our interview, she mentioned wanting to create a world where women like her could feel communion and sisterhood—and not be ashamed of their curly hair.
Well, she’s done a damn good job at it. Rizos Curls is sold at major retailers like Target and Ulta Beauty. Seeing the demand in the Latinx community for curly hair products is telling of how we are celebrating our natural and unique qualities. "I want to tell Latinas to take up space and never forget that their most genuine, authentic self is the most important thing to bring into any room they walk into," Prado says.
Melinda Solares, beauty director at Sephora
I never knew I could feel FOMO for a job I never had until I met Melinda Solares. As a beauty director at Sephora, Solares plays with makeup every day and navigates the daily tasks involved with being one of the faces of a major beauty retailer. Solares' connection to beauty runs deep as her grandfather launched a haircare brand in Cuba decades ago. She says he always dreamed of bringing the brand to the United States. "My father and I like to think that I am carrying on my grandfather’s legacy in the beauty industry as the first Latina beauty director at Sephora," Solares says.
Having dealt with anxiety and depression throughout her life, Solares also uses her platform to speak about mental health. "I often think about my first visit to Havana, Cuba, where my father grew up," she says. "Every morning, I would sit by the window and see a local woman across the street hanging her laundry to dry on her balcony while dancing and singing to music. I could feel her confidence and passion from across the street. On my hardest days, I think about her and try to embody her."
Dulce Candy, beauty entrepreneur
Not many people can add Iraq War veteran, beauty entrepreneur, and published author to their resume. But Dulce Candy can. One of the OG YouTubers, Dulce Candy, amassed millions of followers by sharing beauty tips with her audience. Yet, it’s her kindness and authenticity that keep people coming back to her platform.
She advises Latinas (or anyone, really) who want to follow her footsteps to make space for introspection. "Connecting to the light within each of us is essential because that’s where we will find the answers to our questions," she says. "Significant time alone is where you will experience the paradigm shifts, where you will find your life’s purpose, where you will discover your gifts, where you ground yourself."
Becky G, singer, actress, and founder of Treslúce Beauty
When she was 9-years-old, Becky G’s parents lost their home and had to live in her grandparents' garage. Fast-forward to nearly fifteen years later, Becky G is one of the most influential voices of our generation. She recently launched Treslúce Beauty to encourage self-expression while celebrating and honoring Latinx heritage.
Her advice to Latinas: "I think we need to all embrace our strengths, whatever those may be. Some of those traits might've been stereotyped in movies we grew up seeing or misunderstood throughout the years, but I will never feel shame when it comes to leading with my heart and faith and focusing on my family first."