Bomba Curls founder Lulu Cordero is one proud mama. A mere four months after bursting onto the hair scene with her first-born, Dominican Forbidden Oil, the entrepreneur is ready to share her latest with curly-haired consumers across the African diaspora. The Afro-Dominicana has officially launched the Bomba Curls Forbidden Hair Mask, a product rich in tradition that will transform curls, coils and kinks into a fortified healthy crown.
Speaking exclusively to StyleCaster, the entrepreneur and beauty mogul in the making wants consumers to walk confidently in their hair journeys while unlearning harmful practices around curly hair that have plagued the Afro-Latinx community for far too long.
Cordero and I have more in common than our love of mangu. As a kid, I watched my sisters’ 4C hair absorbed by relaxers and my frizzy curls burned by high power blow dryers. Sleek and straight was undoubtedly the go-to, mainstream look. From telenovelas to music videos to the silver screen, women with shiny blowouts were front and center while the curly ladies were left in the shadows.
As someone who was partly raised by the TV shows she watched, I held on to a lot of misinformation about my curls and refused to wear my hair in its natural state until college. Instead of enjoying my curls, I wanted to change them by any means necessary. This meant endless hair dye jobs and a refusal to embody the messages of songs like India.Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair.”
After years of abandonment, it was time to put love and healthy traditions into my hair. This meant trying the infamous mayo-egg deep conditioner from the beauty supply, coconut oil treatments and backing away from rolos and hair dryers. Cordero’s mission statement for Bomba Curls are these practices done in real-time. Despite the oppression against natural hair in our communities, there are also rituals that can save our strands and ultimately change the legacy of Black hair.
Creating Bomba Curls is my way of celebrating that type of beauty that is not often celebrated.
“Back home, it’s a little odd to wear your natural hair,” she says about the inspiration behind the Bomba Curls brand. “You learn relaxed hair is king, straightened hair is king and I wanted to go against the grain. Most people back home don’t have naturally straight hair. We’re Black and Black beauty is not celebrated. Creating Bomba Curls is my way of celebrating that type of beauty that is not often celebrated, which to me is extremely important. We have to celebrate that melanin, we have to celebrate the hair and we have to celebrate the curls.”
Between Afro-Latinx families, the term pelo malo tragically reigns supreme. Translating to “bad hair” in English, the phrase is often associated with big curly hair that often needs a little more love and effort to thrive. Cordero’s thoughtful blend of natural products and secrets from her birthplace of Villa Mella, Dominican Republic produce this while also shattering outdated beauty standards.
The ingredients label for Cordero’s Dominican Forbidden Oil is strictly natural oils including black cumin seed oil, glycine soja (organic soybean oil) and coffee seeds. With no synthesized ingredients, Cordero sets herself apart by actually sticking to a presumed definition of “all-natural products.” Sadly, the United States Food and Drug Administration has no regulations for “natural” or “all-natural” labels, leaving companies to parlay in the grey area. Thankfully, Bomba Curls is keeping it real so consumers can be educated and healed at the same time.
Cordero’s background in biochemistry helps take her deep conditioner to a whole new level. Silicone-free, the Forbidden Hair Mask includes bananas, pistachio oil, and coffee seed to help with hair growth. One ingredient not aligned with her Latinidad? Cupuacu Butter. The product works wonders for locking in moisture and extending the lifeline of the hair mask.
“It holds 200 times more moisture than Shea Butter,” Cordero explains. “I’ve been using Cupuacu Butter and the curls love it because curls are so delicate.” The presence of the pistachio oil is also an honest ode to her ancestors who’ve used it for homemade conditioners for generations. “We use a lot of pistachio oil back home,” she adds. “We would use it to make our own conditioners with eggs. Throw some mashed banana in there and then just apply it to your hair.”
Many factors tie into Cordero’s loyalty to natural products. For one, the Miami-based creative is dedicated to promoting Black health. A study published just weeks ago from the International Journal of Cancer revealed permanent hair dyes and chemical straighteners can lead to a higher risk of breast cancer for Black women. “Some of these chemicals are disruptors to your endocrine system which affects your metabolism,” she says of harmful chemicals in hair products. “I’m such a big believer in clean, green healthy products. We deserve worry-free beauty and that’s exactly what you get with Bomba Curls.”
Second, Cordero’s battle with traction alopecia sparked her interest in making her own products. Nearly ten years ago, Cordero began mixing oils and conditioners in an effort to stimulate hair growth. But it was her mother’s suggestion to use coffee that sparked the genesis for what we now know as the Dominican Forbidden Oil. Instead of a tradicional ground coffee rinse, Cordero used antihistamines found in black seed oil alongside coffee and castor oil to create her first product.
“People saw the change in my hair and wanted to buy it from me,” she said of the early days of Bomba Curls. “My family started to know me for being this curly magician, making all these things in the kitchen and researching. I just kept asking myself, ‘How can I make this cleaner? How can I make this healthier? How can I make it more effective?’”
With her Bomba Curls family growing by the day, Cordero is happy with the brand’s–no pun intended–growth. Though the Forbidden Hair Mask retails for $25, you can pre-order it for just $20 until shipping officially starts on 1/6. Members of her loyal Bomba Squad will also receive a special link that allows them to purchase the “Dynamic Duo” bundle at a discounted price.
“I can’t wait for folks to try it. It’s like nothing else that’s out there. I’m so proud of this formula” she says. By refusing to dim her heritage, Cordero has created a new lineage in the hair industry for Afro-Latinx curls, allowing them to bounce, wiggle and shine. You know, the way they’re born to be.
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