Ten reasons why you should attend the Curlfest festival

Curlfest is a festival that celebrates the beauty of natural hair. It is a supersized summer picnic that brings together women of color. The event host; Curly Girl Collective, connects with the best and reputable beauty brands to throw events where women of color can take pride and confidence in their beauty.

Founders Charisse Higgins, Melody Henderson, Tracey Coleman, Simone Mair, and Gia Lowe idea started with the mission to: “create an innovative experience that harnesses the energy of the natural hair movement and showcases the best brands for modern women of color.”

The 1st edition was launched in 2014 in Brooklyn, NY, and gathered thousands of attendees, mostly black women all wearing their natural hair. In summer 2016, the heart of Prospect Park was the home of free hair products, interactive booths, and lots of trendy tresses!

Never heard of Curlfest before? Are you still deciding whether or not to attend the event this year? Here are 10 reasons why you should attend Curlfest 2017.

10. Curlfest is the biggest festival on natural hair

Yes, you read it right! Since its first introduction in 2014, Curlfest has had an unprecedented attendance as a summer festival. In 2016, visitors from all over the world attended the event in Brooklyn, NY. This year's event is expected to have an even larger and more beautiful crowd.

Women flew in from France, Brazil, Canada, and from every corner the country for this unique celebration of style, and self-acceptance. The attendance shows that Curlfest truly underlines the importance of unity in our communities, and spreads awareness of natural beauty.

The women behind the Curly Girl Collective have done a great job making this event one of the trendiest summer gatherings in the NYC area. At this fast-growing pace, the 2017 edition of Curlfest should easily reach thousands of new attendees. It only gets bigger and better every year! So, come out and feel the vibe of the natural-hair movement through music, dance, food, and curl conversations.

9. Learn about the best new products for your hair

We all want to provide the best care to our hair. Wanna know about the newest trends? Hair product companies grab this opportunity to promote their brand to the ever-expanding market of natural hair.

Choosing the right natural ingredients and oils can be overwhelming. Sometimes helpful reviews from professionals can go a long way. There are tons of new natural hair products you may not have heard of, and some are definitely worth the try. To all our hair product junkies out there, you might find your next new bottle there.

In 2016, vendors such as SheaMoisture, Cantu, ORS Hair Care, The Mane Choice, Ouidad, Dove, Dark & Lovely, Eden BodyWorks, and Palmers attended the event. Most brands including Tropic Isle Living, a holistic hair, skin, and body care company offered goodie bags and everything from natural hair care to hair restoration. Take this opportunity to hear about new products from your favorite vendors and get lots of giveaways.

8. The vendors' marketplace

Over the last three years, Curly Girl Collective has quadrupled its number of vendors and natural beauty partners for Curlfest. The festival is not only about natural hair products but also caters to fashion accessories.

You can also shop some of the hottest fashion, accessory, and jewelry vendors from around the country. This is definitely a new shopping experience to try.

Shop outside the big box, with unique items for African accessory from Ankara scarves, African fabric, African clothing, headwraps, headscarves, hats, sandals, and more.

7. Meet other members of the natural hair community

Welcome to the land of curls, fros, locs, and beautiful braids. Curlfest attracts thousands of naturalistas coming together to celebrate their hair and black heritage. You can take a peek at the best styles out there and find inspiration for your next look over discussions with others.

From big fros, eccentric protective styles and luscious locs to waist-length curls; the celebration brings naturally curly-haired beauties together.

With a vibrant energy and beautiful hair (as well as melanin) all around, you get a chance to meet and connect with other women sharing the same interest as you.

6. Want to socialize? It’s the perfect environment for networking

Curlfest brings together naturalistas from all professional background. Models, designers, stylists, cosmetologists, entrepreneurs, marketers, business owners, bloggers, etc. you name it. The event brings together a beautiful and diverse crowd showing their pride in their natural look.

The festival is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for women to connect in a casual and social setting. Curlfest is also known to attract some major speakers and entertainers; and in the past, it has featured the appearance of many hair professionals.

In 2016, you could run into featured guests such as Michaela Angela Davis, Shelah Marie or Jenell B. Stewart. “Everyone is all about, how can I help you, how can you help me, how can we help each other and that is the embodiment of Curlfest,” said co-founder Charisse Higgins. So, make it worth the day, get out there, meet people and make new connections.

5. Embrace the cultural experiences, feel the rhythm

They are similar gatherings that celebrate and elevate black beauty. Other big names such as the New Orleans natural hair expo celebrate the essence of the African American heritage.

Curlfest gets even more vibrant with its unique beats and rhythms. From jamming out during the pop-up Afro-Brazilian drumming performance to the biggest wobble you've ever seen, the scene in the park is always bursting with colors, culture, solidarity, and pride! When you get there, make sure to meet everyone else in front of the DJ booth and enjoy dance-offs.

The Brazilian drumming show at Curlfest 2016 edition was also exceptional. Historically and until now, African culture has been everywhere in Brazil. From samba and carnival to the food and music, the Afro heritage is part of Brazilians culture. For instance, the carnival celebrated every year across the country, combines samba music and dances from Brazil's black neighborhoods.

All this authenticity traveled all the way to the heart of Brooklyn, and Prospect Park was vibing to the sound of the drums and a fabulous band. It couldn’t get any better. This summer will be no exception to the rule.

4. Food, games, and fun

Come on out and play! Get exotic food samples, listen to live music, play games and check out all the vendors. Food trucks lined up last year served great food menus. Tropic Isle Living offered their signature Caribbean Cool Out beverage.

Vita Coco drinks and Kind Bars were also provided. From lemonade and snow cones to sizzling sandwiches, the festival attendees also gathered underneath colorful umbrellas and spread out their cozy picnic blankets on the picturesque green grass.

As far as attractions go: the game zone offered by Cantu, kept guests busy with everything from hula hoops and cornhole to massive Jenga towers! Oh, and by the way don’t forget to grab your squad to get your official curlfest photo taken!

3. Meet social media influencers

2016 Curlfest chats were a blast! You can stop by just to meet with your favorite bloggers! Curlfest chats brought together famous bloggers, vloggers, natural hair influencers and their audience.

Social media plays a huge role in the festival. As part of the beautiful curlfest crowd, you spot attendees snapping selfies, mingling, and then sharing live stories across Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

The #CURLFEST hashtag has over 70M impressions across Facebook and Instagram with over 5K posts. The media coverage of renowned publishers such as Allure and Essence magazines made this event leverage social media and drove a strong engagement.

You may have spent time reading about ingredients in hair products online, blog articles, tutorials, newsletters. You also probably watched countless youtube videos about testing products, styling tools, and accessories for awesome hair.

This event is an opportunity for you to meet your favorite beauty and lifestyle vloggers such as Naptural85. Jenell Stewart, founder and editor in chief of Kinky Curly Coily Me! Hosted a “Love your hair chat” talking of the negative stigma, society stereotypes, and dealing with natural hair in the corporate environment.

Remember the father & daughter duo that took over the Internet with pictures of their long Natural Hairdos? Benny Harlem and daughter Jaxyn appeared as special guests of the ORS haircare brand. No doubt, Benny, was a one-man show the entire day with his eclectic style and an amazing head of hair.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some beauty bloggers that attended Curlfest 2016:

Magical Black Girl in Austin, TX • YouTuber

Healthy Hair & Beauty Blogger

DC-Based Blogger

YouTube Personality

Inspirational platform for afro-textured hair

Hair and Lifestyle Vlogger

Sharing Natural hairstyles, tips, products

Brooklyn girl and natural hair enthusiast with a flair for fashion

NYC Beauty. Personal Style

Creates innovative beauty products

CEO of The Mane Choice

Freelance, Published Makeup Artist

Event producer, Social Media Influencer

Beauty influencer

Cosmetologist and Content Creator

2. Promoting the black-owned businesses

Did you know that brands like Shea Moisture, Kinky Curly, Tropic Isle Living, Qhemet Biologics, Wonder Curl, Jane Carter are black-owned companies? Shea Moisture started out with African black soap made out of 100% natural ingredients. It has now a leading brand in the world of cosmetics offering product lines for hair, bath, and body. Kinky Curly also provides natural hair care products for healthy hair and scalp.

All these brands are now known today for selling to a previously neglected market of women with curly and kinky hair textures. When you buy from these brands, you are helping black businesses grow.

Ebena which is a fast-growing community of hairstylists online is planning to attend Curlfest 2017. We are committed to connecting women to the best hairstylists in their cities, and Brooklyn is now on our list.

1. Get connected to beauty professionals

If you are looking to find your new natural hairstylist? This is the place to be. Many local beauticians, cosmetologists, hairdressers, mobile hairstylists also attend the event.

On the other hand, if you are a hairstylist, this a chance for you to connect with new clients. In our article “Hairstylists: how to attract new customers,” we give you some useful tips on how to find your next customer.

Besides putting yourself on the map, using social media, increasing your pricing strategy, or using listings like Ebena to promote your hair business, you also need to attend events like Curlfest that cater to your clientele.

So whether you are an independent hairstylist or a hair salon, going to Curlfest will definitely give you more exposure, so bring your business card just in case.

Best of all, it is Free to attend

You won’t have to pay to attend the festival itself. You can take the General admission if you don’t mind the waiting lines. However, you can also get yourself a VIP ticket for about $25 and get in faster.

If you buy the VIP ticket, you may also receive an assortment of goodies including full-size products from name brands such as Cantu, Shea Moisture, Dove, Kinky Curly and more. Basically, you pay around $25 for well over $100 worth of products. That sound like a great deal to us.

Are you attending Curlfest 2017? Mark your Calendar

Curlfest happens every summer in the New York City area. To help you out, we have collected some information for you about the date and location.

When is Curlfest 2017? Curlfest is scheduled for Saturday, July 15, 2017.

Where is Curlfest 2017? Brooklyn, NY

For more information about the location and tickets visit Curlfest official website at curlfest.splashthat.com

Meet the beautiful women behind the Curly Girl Collective initiative

To finish, we would like to extend our appreciation to the founders of Curlfest. So, we did a bit of research to find who they are and learn more about them.

Charisse Higgins

Charisse is the Director of Public Relations of Curly Girl Collective. She is an External Relations Specialist, Mentor, Diversity & Inclusion Champion, Family Woman and an Island Girl, with a knack for shining a positive light.

Melody Henderson

Melody is the Creative Director at Curly Girl Collective.
With more 20 years of experience as a creative and art director. She has served as creative leadership on various leading brands.

Tracey Coleman

Tracey is the director of events at Curly Girl Collective.
She is a Creative Marketing Consultant, Travel Blogger, Foodie, Entrepreneur and Freelance Writer.

Simone Mair

Simone is the Director of Business Strategy at Curly Girl Collective. She is a Customer Service Systems Analyst, A Twin, An Avid Dancer, and Award-Winning Volunteer dedicated to making this world a better place.

Gia Lowe

Gia is the Director of strategic partnership at Curly Girl Collective. She is a Marketing Manager, Community Activist, Culture Geek, Music Lover with a unique gift for the right words at the right time.

Come and be part of the natural hair movement! See you in New York.