The Afro-Dominican influencer wants to break the stigma around dreads and help her followers learn to love their hair.

Por Kika Rocha
Febrero 19, 2021
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Doralys Britto is a beauty and lifestyle influencer who focuses her work on empowering girls and women in Latin America and the United States. Over the past eight years, her community, which features bilingual videos on self-love and beauty, has grown to over 2 million people around the world. She wants to use the power of her platform to bring change to the beauty industry, specifically around the representation of Black women.

As part of her ongoing quest to celebrate her Blackness and normalize natural hairstyles, Doralys is a proud wearer of dreadlocks. A surfer who lives in California, Doralys regularly swims in saltwater — a difficult combination with curly hair — so dreadlocks were a practical solution. But they were also a political one.

Back in 2015, Zendaya made headlines for wearing dreadlocks to the Oscars, after which E! reporter Giuliana Rancic said her hair looked like it smelled "like patchouli oil or weed." Backlash against Rancic was swift, but dreadlock stigma didn't go away. Only in the past few years have states started to consider bills making discrimination against natural hairstyles illegal.

Credit: Cortesia Doralys Britto

"Some people view dreadlocks as dirty, or associated with people who do not care about their looks, so people discouraged me from getting them," Doralys said. "That made me want to get them even more, because I want people to see me and know that dreadlocks can be practical, professional, and beautiful. They are a symbol of strength and independence. My goal is to educate and teach people to appreciate their natural selves and not be overly influenced by anglo beauty norms."

A lot of Doralys's videos have focused on her struggles with her hair. Doralys is Black on her mother's side and takes great pride in her African roots. Her hair journey has been documented on her YouTube channel, and she's been open about her struggle to learn to love her hair in a society that imposes certain beauty standards and often pressures women to conform rather than appreciate their own natural looks. 

Credit: Cortesia Doralys Britto

"From an early age, we Dominicans were taught that our hair is not beautiful," Doralys said. "That our tight curls are too distracting, that our braids are too unprofessional, that dreads are too dirty. Now of course I know all that is not true, but it was a journey to get there. I want young girls to see me and know that dreads are beautiful, that curls are beautiful. That every part of us is beautiful and is part of our story."