Being Natural In A Foreign Country: Italy

natural hair products in italy

We’re always so excited to feature naturally curly women from all over the world. Today we talk to Anna Cecilia Buono, the owner and founder of one of the top places to buy natural hair products in Italy. Her online store is called, Frolic. She recently launched Italy’s first natural hair subscription box service called Frobox. Read more below…

Were you born in Italy. If not, how long have you lived in Italy?

I was born in Brazil, but then adopted by a kind Italian couple and have always lived here in Italy (between Rome and Naples.) I sometimes return to Brazil for the holidays. I grew up in a place where people were amazed by the color of my skin and the texture of my hair. It was a mix of wonder and curiosity.

Fortunately, thanks to my wonderful family, incidents of racism have been very few. When I was a child my father took me to a barber shop to cut my hair because nobody could comb it. Cut, cut cut … When I was a teeneger I decided to go to the hairdresser myself. The first thing he asked me was, “do you want to get a flat iron, a keratin treatment, or a nice cut?” No one accepted my hair afro.

Ultimately, it is not their fault. We grew up watching TV full of tall blond and slender women; glossy magazines with Mediterranean women; but no African woman with kinky hair. So for ten years I flat ironed, used chemical treatments to “tame” afros. I wanted to be like Naomi Campbell, but my hair became so dry.

I started looking on the internet for the right hairdresser for my hair and after some research I found one. Finally!

Are there many naturals in Italy? Is there a vibrant natural community?

In Naples where I live, there are many people with natural hair. I can say with certainty that there’s a vibrant natural hair community. But it was not always so.

During the period of college I had the opportunity to travel and meet many people from the U.S.A., Germany and the UK. All the natural woman I met gave me lots of advice about the right products to use for my hair. I realized that slowly, over time, Italy was changing and evolving. The Afro-Italian community was growing with great information sharing.

In Italy there are a few shops for Afro hair but many women prefer to do their own hair at home. In my current city of Naples it is rich in ethnic stores and entire neighborhoods where you can find ethnic products. Maybe the prices are sometimes a little excessive, but you adapt.

I grew up in a place where people were amazed by the color of my skin and the texture of my hair. It was a mix of wonder and curiosity.

You own your own natural hair subscription box. Why did you decide to launch this site?

For me the growing natural community and salons in Italy wasn’t enough. Through Facebook and Instagram I’ve met many naturalists and felt the need to create a community of Italian naturalisas, in order to share recipes, ideas, tricks for the style, hair, beauty, make up etc…

The subscription box service is called Frolic. In 2016, I decided to open my e-shop and devote myself to selling for afro hair products in Italy. I also created a monthly subscription box: The Frobox. It is a box that contains 5 or 6 afro hair products for black beauty. All Afro-Italian women can receive it at home.

Here in Italy the products for afro hair costs a lot of money because we import them from America. The Frobox lowers costs because the box has a fixed price of 25 Euros each. Every month you can test new products that individually would cost far more.

How does the weather in Italy effect curls? We imagine the heat wreaks havoc on your hair!

In Italy we have a Mediterranean climate and afro hair often suffers. The hair is saturated with humidity and tends to become frizzy, dry and hard. With these conditions it is very important to moisturize your hair with oils and butters to keep perfect curls.

Do Italians in general admire naturally curly hair?

Many Italians are very curious! They are very attracted to diversity in general. They want to touch my afro hair, they ask me how I comb it? And other silly questions but eventually, they appreciate my hair because it is very different from their own.

It is also very important to point out that now Italy is a multiethnic country. Certainly there are problems with integration that exist between different ethnic groups, but with a bit of good will, everything will work out.

What are 3 products you cannot live without right now?!

Camille Rose Natuals Aloe Wipped Gel to define and style my 4c kinky curls. It’s a great product for strength, my hair width, and length retention. Oh and it smells so good!

The second one is Curls Unleashed’s Rosemery & Coconut Sulfate free Shampoo because it’s a gentle cleanser. Also it’s a great detangler.

Lastly, ORS’ Shealicious Moisture Lock Shea Butter Conditioner is a natural mix of pure shea butter and natural oils. It smells good too and I love it.

Is there a natural hair salon in Italy that you would recommend to fellow naturals in Naples (or Italy in general)?

Yes! I recommend these 3:

1. Pretty Kinky Roots: Is run by a group of young resident’s in Parma, Italy. Their goal is to encourage all those wishing to return to afro-textured hair.

2. Latoya Afro Hairstyle: Latoya is a hair stylist born in Amsterdam, with the origins of Suriname. She is an expert in African and curly hair.

3. ASTRI: The shop is located in the center of Rome and is a leader of the Afro hairstyles sector. Within this shop you can buy many products for Afro, kinky and curly hair.

See how other naturally curly women care for their hair in our Being Natural In A Foreign Country series.

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