Hispanic Heritage Month: NYC salon embraces natural curls to empower customers

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- A Dominican Salon in Washington Heights is helping men, women, and children embrace their naturally curly hair.

"I think as Black people and Black women, we are taught since we're very little that we came broken and so we got to fix it," said Carolina Contreras, founder and owner of Miss Rizos Salon. "But why do you have to fix something that was never really broken?"

The business started 10 years ago in the Dominican Republic after Contreras decided to cut off all her relaxed hair.

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"It's hot, humid, and most importantly, because I wanted to embrace my identity and embrace what naturally came out of my scalp," Contreras said. "A lot of women would stop me in the streets to ask me how I did it? Where did I get the courage to cut it? What products was I using?' And people were traveling from all around the country for five, six hours to my little apartment to do their hair."

Guests will tell you Miss Rizos Salon isn't just about styling your hair.

The stylists provide customers with the tools to be able to do their own curls at home, including suggestions on what products to use.

It's about empowering customers, and Contreras believes the curly hair movement has prompted a racial shift when it comes to acceptance.

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"I am a Dominican, Black woman, an immigrant, who's creating a space of employment for others and this beautiful safe haven for women, little girls, little boys and everyone to come in and feel like they belong," she said.

CLICK HERE for more on Miss Rizos Salon.

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