'We will continue to set the trends': How CURLS CEO Mahisha Dellinger is changing the narrative around Black hair care

Tatiana Pile
·3 min read

Mahisha Dellinger is shaking up the hair care industry, one product at a time.

Like many Black women, Dellinger’s foundation of proper hair care maintenance wasn't that complex. She followed the decades-long tradition of relaxing her hair when she was old enough to take care of it herself. The harshness of chemicals in relaxers, however, eventually began to have an adverse effect on Dellinger’s hair and body and forced her to explore alternative, more natural products to keep hair mane healthy.

Because of her inability to find products that catered to natural hair textures, she created CURLS in 2002, a brand that would eventually become a multi-million dollar success. 

"When I started, there weren't a lot of options in the marketplace," Dellinger tells Yahoo Life.

As one of the first Black hair brands in any major retailer, CURLS is widely considered a pioneer in the Black beauty industry — but it was also an opportunity for the entrepreneur to relearn how to love and celebrate her own hair.

"My shift from love, hate, love, it was infused back into my brand to help people along [their] journey to just love, love, love [their hair]," Dellinger explains. "I didn't want anyone to feel like they had to change who they were, so I had to give [people] the tools so they could do that."

Dellinger’s goal of not only advocating for more Black female representation in the hair care industry but also empower other people of color to explore entrepreneurship created a blueprint for success.

While Dellinger was able to build off the momentum of the resurgence of the natural hair movement, she isn’t shy about sharing the obstacles she overcame along her journey. One of the biggest was experiencing imposter syndrome when pitching her products to major retailers.

She was faced with nos at every corner until Target eventually said yes — and that’s when things began to change for the brand.

"That whole launch into Target was definitely the stamp of approval that I got. And that’s how I knew I was on to something," she says. "The other retailers didn’t even bat an eye at it at the beginning until they saw success."

Nearly two decades later, the CURLS founder and CEO is now enjoying and sharing the fruits of her labor.

What makes CURLS so unique is the time and care Dellinger and her team put into creating some of the most premier products on the market.

Currently, the company has nine collections available for purchase, and its most recent collection, Blueberry Bliss Hair Growth, is flying off the shelves. From the moisturizer and curl control paste to scalp treatment and hair growth vitamins, the new line features everything you need to achieve and maintain a healthy head of curls.

What makes the collection a bestseller is the blueberry extract in each product. The powerful (and tasty) antioxidant repairs damaged hair, prevents breakage and encourages hair growth.

With the launch of her latest collection and the upcoming projects she has in the works, Dellinger is hopeful her efforts will help change the narrative around Black hair care.

"We do so many different things [to our hair] and we are trendsetters. So as those trends continue to evolve, you'll see products for those trends,” she says. "We know before they know."

Video produced by Nurys Castillo.

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