Being an Arab woman means you’re more likely than most to have naturally curly hair. And stars like Afef Jnifen, Shakira and Myriam Fares have been great examples for women from the region to wear their big, loopy, varied curls as a symbol of pride. Rather than seeking to emulate European ideals of beauty and going for ultra-glamorous sleek, straight hair, they embrace those gorgeous, unruly locks and let them loose. However, while rocking a thick head of curly hair undeniably has a distinctive, funky, irresistible charm and adds an air of confidence, it has its challenges. Unpredictable, prone to frizz and sometimes lacking a silky smooth texture, it’s easy to see why many women have such a love-hate relationship with those attention-grabbing, bouncy locks.
Entrepreneur Rym Yessad founded UAE-based startup concept Curlshops.com to help females revel in their curls, gain their confidence back, respect their own natural beauty and never be ashamed of the dominant feature that’s nothing short of glorious. Propelled by the idea of teaching her twin girls to love their looks at a young age and adopt this philosophy as a new way of life, she launched the e-shop that specialises in natural haircare products, including styling hair creams and gels, serums and oils, especially tailored for curly, wavy, coily and kinky hair.
There’s a range of brands from the US, France, UK and Italy, like Olaplex, Flora & Curl and Holy Curls, to name a few, and browsing is made easier as customers can search according to curl type and hair concerns like split ends, volume and moisturisation. As well as helping customers find products that are vegan and free of silicone, parabens, sulfate and mineral oils, Curlshops.com boasts its own impressive range of accessories, ranging from a detangling flexi brush to a foldable diffuser and shower caps, all with affordable prices. Plus, the website includes a blog section with advice, whether it’s to do with a good morning routine, nighttime protection and the basic dos and don’ts. To further help women reconnect with their beauty and start their journey, one step at a time, e-consultations are on offer to help customers adopt their natural hair with a hassle-free personalised routine.
Yessad, who was born and raised in France, where she graduated from one of the top three business schools, has many projects in the pipeline for Curlshops.com. Her vision is to create a community of women from all age groups, nationalities and backgrounds to guide them through their natural hair adventure.
Growing up in a European country in the 90s with curly hair was an obvious attribute and constant reminder of being an immigrant. Subsequently, Yessad resorted to wearing her hair straight during her teenage years. By the time she was in her 20s, however, she felt confident enough to part ways with chemical straightening treatments and heat styling tools and learnt to embrace her natural curls. And she never went back to using chemical hair dyes and products with harmful ingredients such as sulphates or silicones.
Over the past seven years, Yessad has worked with some of the biggest global beauty companies such as L’Oréal and Sephora, which made her realise the importance of reading labels on haircare products and picking the ones with ingredients that won’t cause harm to the hair or scalp. Even though wearing her hair curly at work at huge multi-national companies was a challenge, she never gave up on her curls as they seemed to make her personality stronger with time and helped her gain more confidence.