One Black Model On How Natural Hair Has Evolved On The Runway
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I’ve grown accustomed to people gazing during New York Fashion Week. In the midst of chaos, it can be cathartic to simply observe and take in all that’s happening backstage. Of course, the crowd includes exceptionally beautiful models, who are prime sources for beauty advice. 

This season has been particularly gratifying because melanin levels were higher than usual. Runway diversity is still a major issue, but of all the Fashion Weeks I’ve attended, this go-around included more Black models than ever, including Crystal Noreiga. 

First, let’s reflect on how gorgeous she is:

The 22 year old is a regular on the runway circuit and this season, she walked in over eight shows, including Phillip Lim and Lela Rose.

Shortly before one of her jobs, we immediately bonded over our love for New York City’s West Indian Day Parade. As a native of Trinidad and Tobago, one of the ways Crystal remains connected to home is through her beauty routine. 

“It’s so funny, I get the coconut oil from Trader Joe’s and my grandmother came from Trinidad and she was like, ‘I’ll get you some coconut oil from Mayaro. That’s not real coconut oil,’” she shared with ESSENCE. 

“I don’t think there’s much of a difference (laughs). She’s just convinced that they don’t do anything at all to that oil and it’s the absolute best.”

Besides good old fashioned genetics and Miss Jessie’s Pillowsoft Curls ($22,, Crystal swears by a long list of natural ingredients to keep her hair and skin in check; coconut oil included.  

“If they want to put heat [to my hair], I’ll add some grapeseed oil because it’s a natural heat protectant. And I like to mix both of them with some essential oils, like lavender or peppermint,” Noreiga added. 

“And sometimes, I take whatever is remaining on my hand and put it on my skin.”

By emphasizing prevention over cure, Crystal has been able to maintain her voluminous curls, which were once heavily manipulated for fashion shows. 

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“It’s just so nice now,” she shared. “I’ve gone from the extensions and them straightening my hair for every show to now, where they will let me wear my curls. I’ve done eight shows so far and all of them have left my curls. It’s been amazing to be a part of that transition.”

Once again, Black girl magic shows no signs of slowing down.