Ever heard of the phrase, “Basta kulot, salot”? For the longest time, many people have seen curly hair as untamed or unkempt. No matter how much time you spend primping and how much money you spend on anti-frizz products, there’s still no guarantee you’ll dodge the occasional “bruha” or “Lion King” side comment. This is why women with big, curly hair are challenging beauty norms and showing everyone — through their sheer fabulousness — that kulot is not salot.

Must Love Curls

Where did these beauty norms even come from? According to a study in the National Institutes of Health, only 12% of Asians (East and West) have curly hair, while 41.3% have wavy hair. Hence, there's not a lot of representation for women with big, curly hair on mainstream platforms. Most traditional shampoo commercials showed women with pin-straight hair, excluding the curly-haired minority. As a study published by the University of Omaha states, “Beauty advertising robs society of the objective perception of beauty by making real women appear inferior.”

It's only now, through social media, that women of all hair types are finally seen and heard. There’s an account called Curly Girls Philippines that serves as a “support community” for curly-haired Filipino women. You'll also see celebrities like , Lovi Poe, and Andie Eigenmann rocking their natural curls on Insta, paving the way for more curly hair influencers. Despite all the minor (frizz, tangles, magastos) women with big, curly hair are loving their locks. Here’s what they have to say:

Curls are never boring!

“I love my curls because they're unique and fun, and they're definitely my signature. I feel like I was born into an exclusive club of people whose natural hair (and, subsequently, personality) will never be boring or basic. (I bet you that you've never met a boring curly person before.) 

“Curls are voluminous, spontaneous, effusive, unbound, and natural, and there is potent beauty, power, and joy in discovering that in your hair and in yourself. Most kulots spend the early part of their lives trying to iron out or straighten their curls, but once they let their God-given waves, coils or kinks go, they realize how happy it is to be yourself.” - Monique Buensalido, PR & Digital Executive

Curls are your built-in glam team!

“Having curly hair is like having a full glam team on-call — just let your hair down, style a bit and you’ll look fully made up! As long as you take care of them regularly, they will love you back and show up when you need them the most.” - Nikki Verzo, head of marketing

Your curls are unique to you.

“I love that my curls reflect my personality: creative, fun, and free-spirited. I love that it makes me different and stand out without trying.” - Bianka Bernabe, filmmaker and producer

Curls make you look hot.

“It’s funny because I grew up with thick, straight hair that would “fly away” at the ends, so I always had it blown out to be super straight. Then as I got older, I started growing my hair longer and saw that styling it wavy or curling at the ends actually suited me more.

"Seems Mother Nature agreed because one day I just woke up with naturally wavy hair that I don’t even brush after showering. I just let it air dry and have it cut layered since, as I said, I have thick hair. I love my curly hair because it makes me look hot.” - Jaclyn Koppe, writer and editor

Curly hair is the best accessory.

“They are an instant accessory! They add something extra to all the outfits I wear, no matter what I’m wearing. I also love that my hair is , I just wash, put on a little product and off I go no matter what the occasion.” - Lady Bess Howe, PR consultant

Loving your curls is loving yourself.

“I’ve gone my entire life up until the pandemic spending hours on end to get my hair to stay neat. I’ve had it chemically straightened, and also ironically, curled. Now, I’m two years into a journey to restore my hair to a healthier life. I love that when I look at my hair, I say I got this from my parents — it’s another visible part of me that connects me to my, literal, heritage. 

“I also love this acceptance because in a way, embracing them means I’m slowly learning to love the person that I am becoming. I love that I’m slowly starting to love little bits of myself that I used to not like. Loving my curls means I’m loving who I am.” - Paulette Veroy, marketing consultant

Curls are the best hand-me-downs!

I have spent decades rebonding my hair before. Proudly wearing my natural curls now has given me a positive self-image which is important especially since I have a four-year-old curly girl, too! Maintaining natural curls goes beyond aesthetics. It's a whole lifestyle of choosing harm-free products and caring for it from within, like skin care but for hair! - Jean Madrid, marketing manager

Curly hair is liberating.

“There is freedom in wearing my hair in its natural state among the straight-haired. Growing up in the ‘90s, the standard of hair perfection was jet-black and straight. I was bullied for the mop of curls on my head. The process of embracing my natural hair texture was long, but now I celebrate its rebellious indifference. Curly hair is unapologetic, honest, vibrant. I am just like my hair.” - Paula Abjelina, country manager

Your curly hair gives you a chance to be heard!

“I used to hate having curly hair because it made me feel like I stand out too much when I wanted to be more low-key. After a while, I started to realize that my curls actually give me an opportunity to choose to stand out in a more positive light. I can choose to step up to be kinder to other people, I can choose to be a light to others. My hair already makes people stare at me, might as well give them something good to talk about.” - Amber Lee, social media associate

Curly hair is versatile!

“I like my curly hair because it’s so low maintenance. I put it in a bun overnight and it gives me good curls the next day. I cut it myself and it still looks decent. I go to the beach and it gives me the perfect waves. I put it in a high bun and it gives me a different look. It keeps me mobile and confident.” - Ava Ay-ay, business development

Curls are a girl's best friend.

“Curls are so much fun and easy to style once you take the time to get to know your hair. Curly hair is actually pliable and gets to hold different styles much longer. Growing up, I was often made to believe that my hair was not pretty because it wasn’t the standard. After all, you never see curlies in shampoo commercials. 

:I tried to conform by chemically straightening my curls but it didn’t make me happier. I was only left with damaged hair that took some time to recover. Once I learned to embrace my curls and how they give me such a distinct look, they started to thrive. I use a couple of products to keep frizz at bay and which is why I also embrace humidity – it makes my curls bigger and bouncier!” - Carol RH Malasig, journalist and content creator

With Curls, the Possibilities Are Endless

“What I love most about my curly hair is the very thing I used to struggle with most — its versatility. My hair changes depending on the weather, how I dry it, and an endless list of other variables. I learned to cut, color, and style my hair myself and love switching things up with different looks to go with my mood.

“I see my hair as a medium of art that I'm always learning new techniques in, which I find so fun and exciting. It's an outlet for my creativity and a big part of my culture as well so it's very significant to who I am. Though there is a learning curve with curly hair, once you get the hang of it the possibilities are endless, and I believe that’s what’s most beautiful about it.” - Adriana Griner, photographer

Take it from these women who have big, curly hair: curls are a blessing, not a curse. Just make sure to nourish them daily with a conditioner like Dove Weightless Repair 1 Minute Conditioner, which smooths and detangles hair without weighing it down. Style with TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Hairspray in Texture Hold, which likewise gives extra hold without the weight. Give them a little love and your curls will love you back.