With music turnt up, curls bouncing, and bodies shaking, 28,000 people gathered in Prospect Park on Saturday, July 15 for the Fourth Annual CurlFest. Thousands laid their blankets on the lawn, enjoying the warm weather and good vibes. A joint initiative between Curly Girl Collective and curly hair brands like Shea Moisture and Bumble and Bumble, CurlFest is a natural beauty festival that draws men, women and youngsters from Brooklyn’s own backyard as well as from major cities like Philadelphia and DC. For one afternoon, these strangers from all over the East coast connected with each other over products and experiences related to their hair journey.
This festival is the biggest event of the curly hair season (yes, that’s a thing). CurlFest is all about “curlies” coming together for a day of fun to celebrate their natural textures. If you aren’t familiar with the term “hair love,” this is what it embodies: freedom of expression, in particular to the way you choose to wear or fashion your hair.
With crowds growing every year, this festival is quickly becoming an amazing opportunity for brands to showcase themselves. We at Sisterdo obtained press passes and spent the day exploring the booths, from established brands like Mielle Organics to newcomers like Cocotique. We are excited to offer a sneak peak into what some of these innovative brands are offering.
Lotta Body is a brand we’ve seen on instagram with a growing store presence. According to one customer we spoke with, the Moisturize Me Curl and Style Milk “was my favorite product before I locked my hair.” The line has nine products including cleansers, conditioners, stylers and moisturizers. The products can be used in combination for kinky twist-outs, curly rod sets, and even for smoothing blow outs. The Control Me Edge Gel is the common styling agent across all these looks, and definitely something to try and smooth the hairline and flyaways.
Madam CJ Walker Beauty Culture has an amazing slogan: “It’s your time to shine.” The brand draws parallels between Mrs. Walker herself and today’s woman—that greatness begins with confidence. A daughter of sharecroppers living on a plantation farm, Walker went from being an uneducated farm laborer and laundress to a self made millionaire. According to Cara Anthony of USA Today, “Walker built her empire by selling hair care products to black women in a time when women of color had few options.”¹ A century later, her brand honors her legacy while meeting the needs of the new multicultural consumer. With four different lines, the products maximize moisture, tame frizz, smooth the cuticle, and/or or nourish and restore hair. By encouraging women to be empowered, innovative, courageous and unapologetic, this brand is something to stand behind.
Cocotique is a monthly membership boutique box, delivering a curation of hair and body products geared towards women of color. At $25/month with free shipping, this box allows women to try both full size and trial size products. Both hair and body brands are included, differentiating itself from Curlbox, Onyx, or the Essence Box. In addition, Cocotique offers discount codes on all products featured in their boxes, which is a plus.
Mielle Organics, an established brand, was promoting the release of their new Mongongo Collection. This company has seen tremendous growth since it first launched its hair vitamin back in 2014. Since then, its expanded to include an entire line of cleansers, conditioners and moisturizers. This new line features Mongongo Oil, a highly emollient oil known for its protective quality. Working in conjunction with Vitamin E, these ingredients hydrate, repair and protect from the effects of the sun.
A number of products really stand out to us: the Exfoliating Shampoo, the Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner, and the Pre-Shampoo Treatment. In a culture that preaches no shampoo, it’s important to still clarify the scalp monthly. The Exfoliating Shampoo works to cleanse the scalp of excess buildup, dirt and oils without stripping the hair of its natural moisture. The Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner markets itself to those who are protein sensitive. It’s the first time we’ve come across a conditioner explicitly marketing this. And we’re excited to try the Pre-Shampoo Treatment because it targets those who condition before they shampoo. Generally we make our own “prepoo” treatment (we know, a weird word), but it’s nice to have an option to purchase one as well. It’s clear that one of the reasons for Mielle’s success is how they listen and respond to the needs of their customers.
At the end of the day, we’re all trying to figure out what works best for our curls. With so many options out there, it can be difficult to navigate natural hair products. We at Sisterdo are excited to try some of the product giveaways once our protective styles are removed. We just hate not having to do our hair every week!
As always, Sisterdo will continue to keep you updated on all things natural hair related as we embark on this journey together.