Monmouth University’s Tau Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated sponsored a “Curly Beauty” program on Monday, March 22. The sisters of the University’s Tau chapter partnered with other New Jersey chapters from Kean, Rutgers, and Seton Hall University to deliver the virtual beauty event.
The aim of the program was to discuss the history of natural hair and to facilitate discussion between sisters about their own natural hair journey, as well as beauty tips and tricks.
The event was moderated by Marialis Vasquez Pena, a sister of the Alpha chapter of LTA, located at Kean University. Vasquez Pena is an expert on the topic, as she is the founder of a natural hair care brand called MARI, whose goal is to provide users with a selection of products that will contribute to a healthy hair journey.
Vasquez commenced the program by providing an overview of the history of natural hair, as experienced by women from African American, Caribbean, and Latinx communities. While many women from these communities today are able to embrace their natural textures, Vasquez Pena noted that many women were forced to conceal their hair by shaving their heads or practicing head wrapping. She said, “That is something I personally can’t imagine.”
Many sisters of LTA shared their own hair care journeys. For Amanda Lopez of the Alpha chapter, her journey began in college when she didn’t have access to services like Keratin straightening.
She said, “It was a struggle. I was forced to go natural really. I did my own research and looked at YouTube videos.”
Fortunately for Lopez, this paid off well, as she was able to get her natural curl back. Now, she runs an Instagram blog dedicated to spreading “curly hair positivity,” and motivating others throughout their journey.
Some “tricks of the trade” that were shared by sisters include moisturization, which is the first and most important step when tending to textured hair. This can come in the form of water, leave in conditioner, cream, or homemade masks.
Vasquez Pena said of homemade masks, “They are so essential. You don’t even have to spend money.”
Other ways to care for curls include occasional trims to bring back bounce, scalp massages, and the use of protective hairstyles like box braids, twists, and puffs.
In all, the program inspired sisters in attendance to break free of beauty standards and to embrace their natural hair textures.
Vasquez Pena said it best, “Everyone’s process is going to look different. That’s the beauty of it!” For more information on Lambda Theta Alpha and future programs, be sure to follow them on Instagram, @lta_tau.
PHOTO COURTESY of Lamda Theta Alpha Tau