It is not uncommon to have curly hair for Hispanic people or what we refer to as Mexican curly hair. However, finding suitable hair products and hairstyles can still be quite challenging. Learning more about Mexican curly hair can help you face such a problem.
Indigenous Mexicans all have straight and flowing hair. Curly-haired Mexicans most likely have some Spanish ancestry. This is common as the Spaniards colonized the country for over 300 years. It is somewhat a mystery why Mexicans called curly hair “chinos.” This is especially when it was also rare for native Chinese people to have curly hair.
Read on to learn more about Mexican curly hair, its origins, and some styling tips.
What Is Mexican Curly Hair?
Almost all pure-blooded Mexicans have straight hair, meaning those with Aztec ancestry. Older generations prefer this hair type. However, many Mexicans are sporting curly or wavy hair these days. Note, though, that not all of them are natural.
Mexicans with curly hair most likely have some Spanish ancestry. This is also not uncommon since Spain colonized Mexico for more than 300 years.
Mexicans have looked down upon their fellow Mexicans with curly hair for the longest time. They once saw it as a sign that the person did not have a good upbringing.
You can blame the old Spanish Catholic church for this belief. They placed a caste system on the Mexican citizens when they were still a colony of Spain.
This hate is that curly hair is usually from those of African descent. During those times, they were synonymous with enslaved people.
Why Do Mexicans Call Curly-haired People Chinos or Chinas?
Chino/China Describes People of Asian Descent
It is a bit of a mystery why Mexicans call curly-haired people chinos and chinas (sometimes rizado). Many of them also do not know the reason why. In the Mexican lingo, Chino (or china) describes people of Chinese or generally Asian descent.
Confusion Due to Chinese People Having Straight Hair
Most people got confused about why Mexicans use chino, specifically pelo chino, to describe curly hair. The confusion stemmed mainly from the premise that almost all Chinese people have straight hair, just like native Mexicans.
Chino Is a Mexiacan Homophone
This is because chino, in this case, is a Mexican homophone. In other words, it has more than one meaning.
Came from the Quechuan Language
The chino/china used when describing curly hair came from the Quechuan language. It is an aboriginal language spoken in many countries in Latin America.
China, in Quechua, means enslaved woman or animal. In Spanish-colonial Mexico, the wealthy Spanish people used to have a lot of chinas and chinos. This means they were enslavers, and most enslaved people were African.
Africans have predominantly curly hair. The connotation between chino/chinas having curly hair came from that. After some time, many enslaved Africans intermarried with the native Mexican population. Their offspring with curly hair were also labeled as chinos.
How Common Is Mexican Curly Hair?
How many people have curly hair in Mexico? Well, it is quite a common occurrence. More than 70% of Mexicans have naturally curly or wavy hair, which is quite common. However, the percentage drops sharply if you narrow it down to those with significant curls.
This is because just over 1% of the Mexican population has African ancestry. It is also why Mexicans with naturally curly hair have a darker complexion.
How to Take Care of Mexican Curly Hair
Just like the curls from other nationalities, Mexican curly hair can be quite hard to maintain. This is not too hard if you live in an area where the air is specifically humid.
It could be a problem if you live where the temperature sometimes drops to below freezing. The reason is that it causes difficulties in having and caring for curly hair.
In that case, here are some tips to help you take care of your hair:
1. Pick the Right Shampoo
Prevent Dirt from Accumulating
Proper washing is the most important step in any hair care routine, regardless of your hair type. Proper washing can prevent the accumulation of dirt and dead skin cells. It can also prevent excess skin oils and hair product buildup on your hair and scalp.
Choose a Mild Shampoo
Because Mexican curly hair is prone to drying, you should choose a mild shampoo. Choosing a shampoo that does not contain harsh chemicals, like alcohols, parabens, and sulfates, is preferable. These chemicals can irritate the scalp and dry out the hair strands.
Dilute the Shampoo in Water
Here’s a pro tip – dilute the shampoo in water before applying it to your hair. This prevents you from using too much product. It also promotes ease in working the shampoo in your hair. In addition, this will help you get as much use out of your shampoo as possible.
2. Use A Pre-shampoo Treatment Product
Pick a Conditioner with Moisturizing Ingredients
Mexican curly hair can get quite coarse, so use a pre-shampoo treatment to make your hair more manageable. Contrary to what most people believe, you can apply conditioner before or after washing your hair.
Applying it before is more beneficial. When picking a conditioner, look for one that contains moisturizing ingredients. Mexican curly hair will need all the moisturizing it can get.
Apply a Hair Mask or Conditioning Oil Before Applying Shampoo
A good pre-shampoo routine is to apply a hair mask or conditioning oil 20 minutes before applying shampoo. When using the mask, separate your hair into sections.
This will ensure that all strands get equal treatment. Wear a shower cap or wrap your hair in a towel. This can trap in the heat and open the cuticle of your hair, making the conditioner do its job effectively.
Apply Conditioner Before Shower
Mexican curly hair is quite prone to drying. Applying conditioner before showering will serve as protection for your hair strands. The reason is that it prevents the shampoo from sapping away your hair’s moisture and natural oils.
3. Don’t Shampoo Too Often
Speaking of shampooing, you should not shampoo your hair every day. As much as shampoos benefit your hair, they can also be harmful when used too much. Excessive shampooing can strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture.
Ideally, you should only shampoo your hair every three days, or at least every other day. Instead of shampooing, rinse your hair with clean water and apply a conditioner.
4. Limit Heat Styling to a Minimum
As mentioned before, Mexican curly hair is prone to moisture loss. Many professional stylists recommend towel-drying and air-drying curly hair because using a hairdryer will damage it.
Use a Heat-protecting Spray
If you cannot avoid using a hairdryer or straightening iron, apply heat protection products to your hair beforehand. Choose a heat-protecting spray that contains silicone, keratin, or both. These ingredients will help seal the hair’s cuticle and prevent heat damage.
The excessive heat from heat hairstyling tools can take away the natural texture of Mexican curly hair. This results in their lifeless and dull look.
Suppose you cannot avoid using a hair blower; use only moderate heat settings. Using a diffuser and holding the device at least 6 inches away from your hair is also advisable.
5. Prevent Split Ends
It is almost impossible to avoid getting split ends if you have curly hair. In addition, there is no way to fix them. You can only trim them off. Still, there is a way for you to minimize their occurrence.
To prevent split ends, here are some tips:
- Don’t tie your hair too tightly.
- Use a wide-tooth comb or use your fingers to comb through your hair.
- Have a professional stylist trim your hair every two months or so.
6. Change Your Bedtime Routine
Changing your sleeping position can help prevent your hair from getting excessive damage. Many hair experts swear by the pineapple-hair trick to prevent damage to curly hair.
This trick involves tying your hair into a loose bun or ponytail on top of your head. This way, you can limit the amount of friction between your hair and the bed linens.
Instead of cotton pillowcases, use silk or satin instead of bed linen to reduce hair friction further.
Again, how common is it for Mexicans to have curly hair? Mexicans with curly hair probably have Spanish ancestors since indigenous Mexicans have straight hair.
Mexican Curly Hair Hairstyles for Men
If you are searching for ideas for Mexican curly hairstyles, here are a couple of nice suggestions:
1. The Curly Caesar
One of the Most Timeless Looks
The Curly Caesar is one of the most timeless looks that go well on men with curly hair. This style has been around for decades, and it still looks great. However, you should look for a hairdresser who knows how to style curly hair for the best possible effect.
Has Short Horizontal Bangs
The Curly Caesar has short horizontal bangs and is cut at an even length. The head’s back, sides, and top are roughly the same length. The Caesar can go with any hair texture, but it just looks better on curly hair on men.
This hairstyle is a great way to style curly hair but is still low-maintenance. You can keep it “messy” or style it with a more even look. However, it is best to leave them be and show off your curls when you have Mexican curly hair.
2. Taper Fade
This hairstyle cuts the sides and back of the head short, leaving the top of the head significantly longer. It gives your hair a stylish contrast while framing your masculine features nicely.
Just like Caesar, you can use the taper fade on any hair type. However, it works well on Mexican curly hair because it makes it look less messy and promotes ease in styling. This hairstyle gives your hair more structure while highlighting your curls. This can make them the focal point of your look.
3. Mid Fade
This style can show off the curls of your hair while still retaining a bit of length on top. As the name suggests, the mid fade falls between high and low.
The taper begins around the temples and ears. This is ideal for busy folks because it is low-maintenance. You can cut down your grooming time by quite a lot.
There are many ways to style the curly mid fade. One is to slick back the curls for more formal occasions. You may also keep the curls loose for an everyday laid-back look.
4. The Faux Hawk
The curly faux hawk can look great on a man with thick curly hair. This hairstyle is significantly less extreme than the traditional mohawk. Instead of clean-shaven sides, you can keep the sides short and the top longer. This can give anyone a somewhat edgy and youthful look.
You can experiment with the proportions, but you generally need to keep the top longer than the sides. This provides a means to showcase curly hair while keeping it at a length you can easily manage.
5. The Undercut
This haircut got its inspiration from military haircuts. However, when done on Mexican curly hair, it gives an entirely different and fresh look. The curls add a lot of dimensions to an otherwise bland haircut.
It works great for men with unruly curls. The reason is that the undercut significantly tames the locks. The only curls that you need to style are the ones on top.
The sides must be cropped close, so you do not need to think about them. In addition, the undercut looks great at any length. Experiment with different hair lengths on top and find the one that suits you the best.
Mexican Curly Hair Hairstyles for Women
1. Long and Layered Curls
This hairstyle may be perfect if you like to let your hair grow long. Unlike layering for straight hair, this has quite a sharp layering. The short parts would start around the chin and continue until the end. With this hairstyle, the shorter layers tend to curl outward.
2. Short Curly Bob
The bob cut is a popular hairstyle among Mexican women, and having Mexican curly hair makes this style more stunning. The short curly bob is not only modern-looking but also practical.
The length is equal on all sides, promoting ease in styling. It is also low-maintenance, and it fits women regardless of their age.
3. Curly Updo
The curly updo has been a staple yet timeless hairdo that has been very popular among Latinas for decades. This simple style is where you pull your hair up in a messy ponytail.
Some of the curls may fall out of the bunch. The good news is that it only adds more to the appeal of this hairstyle.
4. Shaggy Curls
The curly shag is one of the ideal hairstyles for Latinas with natural Mexican curly hair. This hairstyle looks like an afro, but the curls fall over both sides of the head. This makes the style look neat.
Since the curls naturally fall to the sides, it is important to have them cut properly. That way, they will look nice while still being easy to maintain. To make this look work, layer the hair properly.
5. Half-Up Bun or Ponytail
One of the trendiest hairstyles for young Mexican women is the top knot. This is quite suitable for shoulder-length curly hair.
This is also fairly simple to achieve. You need to tie the upper half of your hair in a loose top-knot and let the rest down. You can give this hairdo more dimension by adding highlights to your hair.
Mexican-owned Curly Hair Care Products
No one knows Mexican curly hair more than Latinas who share the same hair type. Based on that, here are some of the most popular Mexican curly hair products. Consider adding them to your list the next time you go shopping:
Botánika Beauty The Definer
Ada Rojas is the person behind Botánika Beauty. As the owner, she knows how to care for Mexican curly hair. The Definer is a curl cream that helps give your curls more definition without weighing your hair down. This product contains moringa oil, marshmallow root, and even bay leaf.
Botánika Beauty The Protector
If you are using The Definer, you should follow it up by putting The Protector on top. This light hair gel further defines your curls and protects the hair from damage. Even though this is a hair gel, it keeps curly hair soft and supple.
Honey Baby Naturals Knot My Honey Instant Detangler
This should be your go-to detangler for your pre-conditioning routine. It is one of the best products for Mexican curly hair at present.
It can also help undo tangled strands in seconds, so you can shampoo your hair without worrying. Also, this product is quite lightweight and hydrates the hair. This makes it a good leave-in conditioner.
Savile Crema Para Peinar Pulpa De Savila Y Keratina
This is one of the best detanglers for curly hair prone to frizzing and breakage. It is quite heavy, but it will provide a lot of moisture once massaged into the hair.
This also contains keratin, thereby repairing and protecting the hair from further damage. This comes highly recommended, and you should check it out by clicking HERE.
In Closing: Mexican Curly Hair – Some Care Tips and Styles
Indigenous Mexicans all have straight hair. People with Mexican curly hair most likely have some Spanish ancestry from when the country was a colony of Spain.
It is quite interesting that people with curly hair in Mexico are called pelo chinos or chinas. This is especially true since the Chinese typically only have straight, flowing hair.
Once considered a sign of subservience, Mexican curly hair has become well accepted, although not the dominant type. Many even consider it trendy by the people.
If you have this hair texture, you are lucky because there are now many different hairstyles. You can also find tons of hair products to help you style your magnificent curly locks.