“How do you get your hair like that?” Oh, the million-dollar question every curly person gets.

If only people knew the many products every curly person has in stock due to trial and error experiments. We are always on the search of the perfect product to make our curls as blissful as can be.

This was the case with L.A. born and raised Afro-Mexicana curly girl, Julissa Prado, founder of @RizosCurls—one of the few Latina-owned curly hair lines on the market.

Photo Courtesy of @RizosCurls

Here is her story.

“Growing up my hair was always extra curly, extra big, and extra thick, so naturally, kids at school would make fun of me. I entered a book writing contest in second grade, and wrote my take on Sandra Cisneros, “Pelitos.” I was what you call “extra” and talked mess about everyone else’s hair and explained how much better my curls were. The book ended up winning, and my teacher turned it into a hardcover for the class to enjoy. This ultimately became my favorite memory about the view I had on my hair as a kid.

As I got older, I began to love my big hair unapologetically, especially with the current political climate where the culture of people of color is being stolen from us for profit. It is my way of protesting and owning space (well, my hair’s, haha”> in a white, corporate America. I always hope that in places where minority representation lacks, my hair can stand out and my being say, “I’m a person of color, this is my natural hair, and no I will not straighten it to make you feel more comfortable.”

Photo Courtesy of @RizosCurls

I have gone through many phases with my curls, as most curlies, of course.

I have hid it in a tight, gelled-down ponytail, worn it à la crunchy with extra hairspray, and even straightened it with a clothing iron! I’ve done it all, because nothing ever worked, so I began to save my money to create the very best product for curlies like me. I spent years searching for the perfect formula. I wanted a product that was not too overwhelming and that was made with quality ingredients that could celebrate all curl types—from my tia’s coily strands to my sister’s loose waves, for all culturas.

The process was very long; simply coming up with the formulas took four years during which I worked with two different labs. The hardest part of all of this was staying patient and trusting the process, however, I have an incredibly supportive family that made all of this so much easier. Rizos Curls was a family effort, just like our culture, we’re a community that look out for each other. My cousin did the drawing on the bottle, another cousin is the model next to me on the merchandise and website, and my uncles garage is ultimately the headquarters, where all the orders get filled, and the list goes on.

Curly hair has always been my passion, and my father my constant motivation.

He began working as a shoe-shiner at the age of six, then he crawled through the sewers at 15 to get to this country in hopes of one day being able to give his future family a better life than the one he lived. I grew up watching my father work long hours every day without ever complaining. His dream was always to own his own restaurant, and he did it. I didn’t grow up with a lot, but what we lacked in money, we made up with an overabundance of love and support. At a young age, I was taught the meaning of hard work, love, and family.

Photo Courtesy of @RizosCurls

As I navigate the crazy world of entrepreneurial ism, I feel incredibly blessed to have had these essential business lessons that you can’t learn at any university. I am still learning to navigate the business industry, but before I even launched my brand, I always said that if worse comes to worse, I’ll have a lifetime supply of products that work perfectly for my hair! My first clients were my cousins and sisters, and I would tear up when people wanted to buy my products during the first week it launched! It was so heartwarming.

I feel like I just gave birth to a baby, so like any new parent, I’m somewhat freaking out, but I’m learning as I go, and in the meantime I will continue to obsess over my Rizos shampoo, conditioner, and curl cream!”

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