Hair products

Sephora helps an Afro-Latina beauty influencer launch a line of natural hair products

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Photo: Irina Bg (Shutterstock)

Carolina Contreras started having her hair straightened at a very young age. Contreras, who is Dominican American, says her mother took the relaxer at the first sign of new growth, leading her to believe straight hair was the ultimate definition of beauty.

But while spending time in the Dominican Republic after college, Contreras found it increasingly difficult to maintain straight hair and eventually decided to maintain and style its natural texture. Now she wants more women of color to embrace their naturally curly and afro hair textures with the help of her Miss Rizos line of natural hair care products. And she has the backing of major beauty retailer Sephora to help make her products accessible to as many people as possible.

Prior to creating her product line, Contreras, also known as Miss Rizos, had already made a name for herself in natural hair care. His website, Miss Rizos, celebrates curly textures and gives tips and tricks for people of color to keep their curls looking vibrant. Contreras opened his first hair salon in the Dominican Republic in 2014, one of the only salons in the region to focus on caring for curly hair textures without using heat or chemical straighteners. In 2019, she opened another salon in New York City, and in 2021, she officially launched her Miss Rizos line of curly hair products.

Now, Contreras’ products will be available in Sephora stores as part of their Accelerate program, an initiative designed to provide resources and support to newcomers to the beauty industry. This year, the program focused on supporting brands founded by people of color in their ongoing efforts to keep diverse products on their store shelves. The beauty retailer was among the first to sign the 15% Commitment, a commitment to dedicate 15% of their storage space to Black-owned brands. Miss Rizos is one of 10 BIPOC-owned beauty brands participating in this year’s program.

Contreras is thrilled to partner with Sephora and hopes its products will help more people of color fall in love with their natural curls. “I want people to be able to run their hands through their hair with our products and feel that ease and joy around their curls,” she says.