When you think of a haircare brand made by black women for black women, you think of the beloved CURLS brand. The household name brought you the coveted Blueberry Bliss line that to this day has had no formulation changes because it’s just that good. CURLS has celebrated happy and healthy black kinks, curls, and coils for twenty years. CURLS founder, Mahisha Dellinger, has continued to be an advocate for the curly hair community for over two decades. This is a moment to celebrate.
In 2002, there weren’t many hair styling products designed for black women on store shelves. Dellinger saw a gap in the market that needed filling. She continued to out quality products, educate, and uplift the natural hair community. You could say Mahisha was amongst the first trailblazers who led the way for what is now the influential natural hair movement.
With the industry constantly changing, Dellinger says it’s important to remain close with the product and the customer to remain relevant. Doing this has allowed the CURLS brand to make it to 20 years, grow to a multi-million dollar business, and become one of North America’s most recognizable black hair care brands. CURLS partnered with the Black Hair Experience to celebrate this significant milestone with an interactive exhibition on black hair and culture. The 20th anniversary was topped off with the release of a new hair collection and a deeper dive into CURL’s previous collection, Hair Under There.
The Sea Moss collection carries five products and focuses on hair growth and retention, emphasizing natural ingredients. This Sea Moss collection is a powerhouse when it comes to benefits. It’s nourishing, hydrating, repairing, and strengthening, leaving you with healthier and bouncier tresses that promote growth. As good as that sounds, Dellinger said that wasn’t enough for the two-decade celebration.
The Hair Under There collection focuses on protecting your natural before and after natural hair styling. This five-product line focuses on several pain points that come with wearing box braids, cornrows, weaves, and wigs. Detoxifying is a significant component of this line. With protective styling comes build-up, so it’s essential to have products that can break down all that dirt and product build-up—other products from the collection center around cooling ingredients that help with calming scalp inflammation after tension styling. The CURLS founder knows how to celebrate, from the beautifully curated CURLS x The Black Hair Experience collaboration and two stand-out collection launches.
We caught up with the CURLS founder Mahisha Dellinger to celebrate her 20 years of success, the launch of her Sea Moss collection, and what another 20 years for the CURLS brand could look like.
ESSENCE: Congratulations on 20 years! How does it feel to watch your brand grow from a small business to the major powerhouse it is now for the black community?
Mahisha Dellinger: For ONCE in my professional life, I have stopped to smell the roses. I am proud to have accomplished what I have accomplished. I helped pioneer in the natural hair space. I am an active change agent for the black community. On top of this success, with CURLS, I am a former TV host for OWN and a mother of four. Life is great!
It all started with the Blueberry Bliss line that, to this day, has a hold on the hair community. With the Blueberry Bliss line being the OG. Have you made any improvements to the line, or has it always been that good?
You know how the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We haven’t found a need to change the Blueberry Bliss formulation. Our CURListas are still going bananas over blueberries.
What struggles have you faced over the last few years, and how were you able to overcome them?
Approaching 20 years in the industry, consumers often follow the new shiny object, which has kept us on our toes. Innovation is how we continue to lead.
As a wife and mother, how do you balance the day-to-day of running an industry-leading brand while taking care of yourself?
Work-life balance is always a struggle when you are an entrepreneur and a mother. My motto is God first, family second, business third. Do I always get it right? Absolutely not, but I try my best. I make sure to be intentional with spending quality time with my kids, both collectively and individually.
How do you stay tapped into the needs of your customers?
My team and I make it a priority to continue listening to her. We continue to innovate cutting-edge products and keep our ears to the pulse of our community.
Can you tell me about the 20th-anniversary collection, Sea Moss Hair Growth, along with the previous launch, Hair Under There, that was a part of the celebration? Twenty years is a significant achievement for a business, so why these collections to mark this milestone?
New decade, new innovation, new customers. My favorite saying is, “You must evolve, or you will dissolve.” The Hair Under There collection was created for women that like to rock weaves, wigs, and extensions from time to time (or exclusively) to help keep their hair healthy, growing, and moisturized while under a protective style. Our Sea Moss collection is for all textured hair. Sea moss is the new hair superfood.
Sea moss is an ingredient that has been said to have great benefits. As the hero ingredient in this line, what benefits is it bringing to the Sea Moss collection?
The goal is for CURLS to deliver products for EVERY need for EVERY curly girl. Sea Moss is helping to fill that gap. It strengthens your hair, removes toxins, improves hair growth, and hydrates the scalp.
What impact are you hoping to leave on the hair community going forward?
I have one simple mission—to leave a positive image of curly, wavy, tightly textured hair types. It’s beautiful just as it is.
What’s next for Curl’s brand?
We are diving into tools, accessories, science-backed formulas, and more. Stay tuned!
Ahead, discover the brand’s Hair Under There Collection as well as the Sea Moss collection.