Main content
Breaking the stereotype of 'Spanish Girl Curls'

I'm Puerto Rican and Don't Have 'Spanish Girl Curls'—Here's How I Style My Hair

One editor shares why doing her hair got so much better when she embraced her natural texture despite Latina stereotypes.

The fact that I’m Puerto Rican and don’t have ‘Spanish curls’ is something that I’ve had to explain all too many times throughout my life. Being a Latina who doesn’t have the stereotypical hair often associated with people of Latin descent is hard for some folks to wrap their heads around. It was honestly hard for me to wrap my head around for the better years of my adolescence and early adulthood. My mom has curls, and most women in my family, so growing up, I always wanted curls and did the most to try to achieve that look (read: super crunchy scrunched hair loaded with a ton of product).

Over the years, though, I learned to embrace my natural hair texture—not curly, not quite straight, super fine with a barely-there wave. I love having fun with different hairstyles now and appreciate that Latinas don’t come in a one-size-fits-all look.

My Hair Journey

Let’s start with hair type: Fine, 2A waves. Through some research for stories, I recently learned my hair has high porosity, meaning it’s super hard for it to hold a style and instantly shape-shifts at the sign of any moisture. Air-dried, my hair is sprinkled with frizz, which I’ve also learned isn’t always bad. I grew up with long locks that my mom would pick up into all kinds of ponytails, braids, and buns adorned with brightly colored barrettes. Blowouts were reserved for special occasions.

As I got older, my styling methods didn’t change much. Slicked-back styles that kept my hair out of my face were and still are my go-to—but back then, it was because I didn’t know what to do with my hair. My Latina classmates and peers wore their curls proudly like a badge of honor that and since my hair didn’t fall perfectly flat either, I felt stuck. When I could finally afford to buy my own styling products and book salon appointments, I started finding ways to manipulate my hair with dyes and treatments to fit what I thought my hair should be. Years of damage and over-processing left my locks stressed.

I finally did a big chop and loved the freedom that came with it. I was convinced that I’d keep my hair like that forever, until the pandemic when I was forced to grow out my pixie cut. As it grew out, I realized just how much I missed styling my hair but vowed to do things differently this time—no heat, no dye, no ridiculous amounts of products, washing my hair sparingly, and weekly hair masks. I finally saw my natural texture again, with no additives, and was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful, wild mane I had rejected for so much of my life. It was never about changing my hair—it was about changing my mindset around my individual beauty and cultural roots.

Present day, my favorite styles pay homage to the sleek updos I grew up sporting (with a couple of trendy updates), plus I find myself wearing my hair in its natural state regularly. And, yes, that means embracing the frizz. Below, find my tricks to pulling off these looks I hold near and dear to Latina heritage and products I swear by.

3 Styles I Swear By

One editor shares why doing her hair got so much better when she embraced her natural texture despite Latina stereotypes.

Style 1: Sleek Braid with Slicked-Down Baby Hairs

Slicked-back buns have become my signature hairstyle, but I’ve been braid-obsessed this year, so I switched up the back. The slight middle part and face-framing swooshes I create with my baby hair keep things interesting in the front while still being sleek. A high-hold edge control like Mizani Edge Trimming Hair Gel and a baby hair brush are key.


Edge Taming Styling Gel

A high-hold hair gel with a dry finish.

One size only for Edge Taming Styling Gel
1.7 fl oz

One editor shares why doing her hair got so much better when she embraced her natural texture despite Latina stereotypes.

Style 2: Scrunched Waves

I used to pile on product and apply heat to manipulate my strands into the closest version of curls I could get, and by the end of the night be left with a tangled mess of a mane that needed to be washed. Today, I focus more on using hydrating products like Kerastase Elixir Ultime L'Huile Originale Hair Oil on slightly damp hair and a diffuser on the cool setting to enhance my 2a waves.


Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil

Nourishing treatment and anti-frizz oil that blends Argan Oil and Marula Oil to add shine, hydration, and strength to all hair types and textures.

One size only for Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil
3.4 fl oz

One editor shares why doing her hair got so much better when she embraced her natural texture despite Latina stereotypes.

Style 3: Top Knot with Face-Framing Tendrils

Wearing a top knot elevates my whole look, and when I pair it with face-framing hair tendrils adds a touch of ‘90s cool—an aesthetic I love. I tame my tendrils with Redken Brushable Hairspray 12 so that the long fringe still has movement and isn’t stiff.


Brushable Hairspray 12

A fast-drying hairspray that offers 24-hour control and humidity resistance for color-treated hair.

Interested in recreating these hairstyles? Shop for all the products you need to get the looks.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device