Beauty Rituales: How Coffee Inspired Lulu Cordero to Launch Her Bomba Curls Hair-Care Brand

Latinx culture is synonymous with a good cup of cafecito to jumpstart your day. But a boost of energy is not the only thing coffee can provide. According to Lulu Cordero, founder of Bomba Curls, Dominican women have been using café in their hair care for generations.

“I did some research, and mami was not telling any lies,” the Dominican American beauty brand founder tells POPSUGAR. “The ancestors were onto something before science caught on.” After years of pulling her hair back in tight buns, Cordero says she started to experience traction alopecia , or hair loss caused by repeatedly pulling on your hair. This form of hair loss can also be triggered by wearing tight hairstyles like braids or ponytails, especially if you’ve also treated your hair with chemicals and heat.

Over a college winter break, Cordero, who was a premed student at the time, says her father surprisingly pointed out her hair loss. His reaction, along with studies proving coffee’s hair-growth benefits to be true — as her ancestors already knew — inspired Cordero to return to school and begin formulating her first hair product: the Dominican Forbidden Oil ($22).

“I challenged myself to create and formulate the oil and use my own background in science and chemistry to perfect an oil that worked,” she recalls. Less than six months later when Cordero returned home for summer break, her father couldn’t believe the difference in her hair growth. “He asked, ‘What have you been doing to your hair? You’re not going bald anymore,'” she says, laughing.

Cordero’s friends also noticed, and the word quickly began to spread that she had created something that worked. Next came the requests for her to make more of the oil so others could reap the benefits, too. So she began making the oil along with other products for her friends and family. “That’s what set me on this journey to birthing Bomba Curls,” Cordero says about when she first began creating her hair-care line in 2010. “It was my little kitchen hustle.”

The Bomba Curls formulas were created for two main reasons: “As a way to use those ancestral ingredients and ancestral knowledge that had been passed on, and as a way to share a piece of our culture with the world,” Cordero says. In fact, the current product line and the ones being introduced soon all include coffee as an ingredient. “As a way to shout-out República Dominicana,” Cordero adds proudly.

“Coffee is a natural DHT blocker as we’ve come to learn with science,” Cordero says, referencing the hormone dihydrotestosterone, which causes male pattern balding, also known as androgenic alopecia. “It’s a stimulant for the follicles, a natural DHT blocker, it’s rich in antioxidants, it’s all these amazing things, and thank goodness for the ancestors for putting us on.”

Cordero highly prioritizes honoring her ancestors and paying it forward. These are the things that make Bomba Curls what it is today. After all, she’s created a brand inspired by her ancestors and is now looking forward to the next generation. Bomba Curls aims to create a bridge between ancestral hair-care wisdom and the modern consumer. And it starts with the brand’s logo.

“Bomba Curls is 1,000 percent inspired by the ancestors. Our logo is a woman with a headwrap, which is my way of honoring our roots,” Cordero explains. “I didn’t want to celebrate just one texture of hair. What unites the diaspora for sure is that headwrap. So I wanted to highlight and honor that.”

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