Magdaline Hurtado’s hair journey has been a series of ups and downs.
“My hair means so much to me. I don’t know if it means that much to everyone else, but I’ve been through hell and back with my hair,” said the 25-year-old Dominican American and founder of Hello Updo.
Hurtado grew up going to the salon every weekend and began relaxing her hair at 11-years-old. When she was 15-years-old, she noticed that her hair was starting to break and feared that she might lose it if she continued to straighten it regularly.
“My hair went from being down my back [with a] curly texture to being short and straight. It lost color and everything. I was really depressed,” she continued. “I was so tired of being depressed about my hair, about not loving myself because my hair looked like sh—.”
Her mother, Maggie Estevez, advised Hurtado to stop relaxing her hair and embark on a natural hair journey. A decision that Hurtado has fully embraced, and one that has given her the chance to feel like herself again.
“I finally feel like I grew into myself, my ancestry. I understand more of where I come from through my hair. I understand it comes with a history, and I’m so proud to own it,” said Hurtado.
After years of embracing her natural curls, Hurtado found herself confronted with a new dilemma. She was enjoying a hot summer in the Dominican Republic when all she wanted to do was to put her hair in an up-do. Unfortunately, her hair scrunchies were too small and kept snapping in half. They failed to hold up her thick, curly hair. This moment led to the creation of Hello Updo—an Afro-Latinx-owned hair care brand that specializes in silk scrunchies of various sizes for all hair types.
Hurtado, along with her mother, worked to create the protective silk scrunchies. This mother-daughter duo hopes that Hello Updo’s scrunchies will allow individuals to care for and protect their hair, whether they choose to wear it curly, straight, or wavy. They want everyone to give themselves and their hair the best, quality care.
Estevez and her daughter spent most of Hurtado’s early years bonding over their hair care rituals.
“I will always treasure just literally me sitting there and my mom just figuring [out how to style my hair] in the same way she figured out everything else in life to make sure that me and my brother were always good,” said Hurtado.
Today, they’ve bonded over their work as Estevez sews the scrunchies and Hurtado handles the rest of the business. It’s because of their mother-daughter bond that Hello Updos scrunchies are specially made with love and attentiveness.
In celebration of motherhood and mother-daughter relationships, Hello Updo partnered with Shop Latinx and Las Fotos Project this Mother’s Day “to display the relationships between mothers, daughters, and rituals” with a photo series of the intimate moments between mothers and their daughters as they style each other’s hair.
“[These photographs] just makes me think about my own mom…I feel like because of our parents, that’s the reason why we’re in these positions. And I feel like we need to recognize that and really honor and acknowledge our mothers,” said Shop Latinx founder and CEO Brittany Chavez.
Chavez founded the online marketplace as a way to highlight and celebrate small Latinx-owned businesses. This partnership with Hello Updo and Las Fotos Project—a nonprofit
organization that uplifts teenage girls of color through photography and mentoring—not only celebrates the matriarchs of three individual families but also serves as space for self-love and confidence for each of these mothers. While reflecting on both of their projects, photographers Valeria Hernandez and Mina Alvarado-Goldberg noticed an increase in their mother’s confidence.
“As I was showing my mom the images, scrolling through one by one, she was commenting on how beautiful she looked in the photos. Hearing her talk about herself in that way was all the reassurance I needed to feel confident about these images,” said Alvarado-Goldberg.
Hernandez’s mother was hesitant to model for the young photographer, but after a few shots, her mother began to loosen up and started to guide Hernandez and her work creatively.
These intimate moments and newfound confidence are exactly what Hello Updo is all about. Magdaline Hurtado and her mother want their customers to love themselves and see the beauty that exists both outside and within themselves.
“At the end of the day, besides me finding peace and love within myself, I also feel a big chunk of me continuing my journey is to give that representation to younger people with textured hair, she continued. “HelloUpdo is here to do that, to give love, for you to love yourself. Give a gift of Hello Updo to help somebody else love themselves through hair.”
Hurtado hopes that these images will allow others to feel seen, loved, and “like they’re being held by their mother or mother figures.”
“I just want people to feel loved…So these pictures, I hope that’s the message that’s coming across. That we all look different with different lives, we all have different goals in life, but we are all loved by someone, and we all love someone.”
Lead Images Courtesy of: Las Fotos Project and WORD Agency
Photographer Credit: Valeria Hernandez/Mina Alvarado-Goldberg