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How to wear your hair & make up Chola-style

Chola Style

chola7Mexican culture is diverse, rich and beautiful, with many colourful and creative hair and make up styles created for a variety of cultural celebrations and sub-cultures.

In this blog we take a look at the key hair and makeup features of Chola women. The look is feminine yet assertive and is a thing to be celebrated. So lets take a look at the emblematic hair, makeup and dress of this fashion statment/identity…

Culture Club

Vogue Italia Chola Style

Over the Top – Haute Mess Vogue Italia March 2012 – Ghetto Fabulous Style where More Is More!

The make up trends of a wide variety of cultures and sub-cultures from aroud the world are becoming a focus point for international fashion magazines at the moment – such as in the iconic phootshoot Over the Top – Haute Mess Vogue Italia March 2012, Gothic trends seen on the runway, or Jersey Girl fashion the world over. This is something that I think we should embrace, as it allows us all to try out new forms of expression and learn about other cultures.



Chicana & Chola

Jersey Girl in Chola Style

Valerija and Alejandra team up with photographer Dan Martensen for a spread in Exit Magazine called Jersey Girls 2010.

Gothic Chola Style

Gothic Glamour is a constant scene on the runway and frequently in fashion print. The gothic look was originally frowned upon, but is now embraced in all its multitude of expression

A Chicana is a woman who was born in the United States, but who’s parents or grandparents originate from Mexico. Women who are Chicana have a unique political position and there are movements around Chicana feminism. Xicanisma is a group of social theories that analyze the historical, social, political, and economic roles of Chicana Women.

We’re just going to look at the fashion statements iconic of Chola women. The look we will talk about is often worn by both Mexican and Puerto Rican girls, and is commonly seen in southern California like East LA, San Diego, OC, and also NYC. These days it is more common to appropriate the look (like what we are talking about here) than to actually be a Chola in a gang.  So lets get Cholafied!


Chola Hair

Chola Style in Hair

This Chola reminds us of Madonna in all of her 80’s glory – the combination of the iconic Chola make up teamed with a tough attitude and rosary beads.

  • gal friends with chola style hair

    Hair swept back off the face and another strong element of the look is the application of dark lipliner.

    Long locks swept back or teased to sit off the face.

  • Often pinned into a large and high quiff.
  • Sometimes secured with a bandana.









Chola Style Dress and Makeup

Let’s take a look at the classic elements of Chola make up as seen here – defined brows, winged eyeliner, teardrops, dark noticeable lipliner, red lipstick.

Chola Makeup

  • Classic 50’s glamour on steroids is a good way to describe this look!
  • Full face of foundation
  • Cheeks sculpted with a red/orange/bronze based blush
  • Clearly defined brows
  • winged black eyeliner
  • Black lined lips with blue-based red lipstick
  • 2 tear drops either tattooed or drawn on with liquid liner or black eyeliner pencil

Chola Dress

  • Large gold or silver hoop earrings
  • T-shirts featuring a religious print or tattoo design OR
  • Black or white bustier that reveals cleavage
  • Plaid shirts with only the top buttoned
  • Dress pants OR
  • Tight Jeans
  • Exposing the mid-drift area of the body
  • Suspenders
  • Tattoos on arms, knuckles and neck
drew Barrymore in Chola Style

Take a look at the always gorgeous Drew Barrymore rocking out Chola style

This hair and make up style that some Mexican women have embraced is an expression and celebration of their beauty and identity. Women the world over create identity through hair and makeup and we love this timeless and iconic style.

10 replies
  1. Retta Entwistle
    Retta Entwistle says:

    I absolutely love your blog! Great info on Chola style! Love Mexican culture – so diverse and rich! Again, awesome weblog!

    • Lily Jackson
      Lily Jackson says:

      Hi Nathalie, totally understand…not intended to offend at all though – love embracing all styles and cultures. Never been to Mexico and not Mexican myself…just love the hair and make up style typified by these women, and women the world over, and wanted to write about it :)

      • lindsay
        lindsay says:

        There’s absolutely nothing to apologize for, Lily. You said nothing degrading or demeaning about chola style whatsoever, and started off the article by talking about the beauty and richness of Mexican culture. It’s so ….well, typical for people to get “offended” if your talking about THEIR culture (even in a good way) if your not part of that culture. It’s crazy. The comments on Gwen Stefani ‘ s “Luxurious” video, which is a homage to chola style, is a classic example of this, and is filled with people talking about how Gwen is exploiting/ stealing/ copying chola style and using it for personal gain, and how she can’t do it right and could never hope to be as good as a REAL latina (though she looks absolutely gorgeous in that vid) Even Nathalie made the comment that you “attempted” to write an article about chola style, but its just simply not up to par or is inaccurate in some way because your not Latina….like her. Lol i see this kind of thing everywhere. Instead of being flattered that someone else thinks their culture/fashion/music ect is awesome, people become offended. I swear, I don’t get it. The same thing happens if there’s a white girl with cornrows or whatever. Its ALWAYS, “theyr’e just copying us” and “they could never understand our culture the way we do”. Funny how you never hear white girls saying the same things when latinas or other minorities bleach their hair blonde. (And just fyi, im mulatto) At any rate, I’m not latina either obviously, but I’ve always loved the chola look. Im the girliest girl in the world, and I love, love, love glamour -I’m obsessed with 40’s and 50’s pinups – and to me, the chola look is glamourous and sexy, but definently with a tough girl kind of edge. The bouffant hair, the red lips, the giant hoops, the dramatic eye makeup – I love it all! Anyways, great article!

      • Lily Jackson
        Lily Jackson says:

        Thanks for the vote of confidence and support Lindsay!
        People looking to emulate a style and then tweaking it happens all the time as you say. We don’t only see it in fashion but also see it in cooking with fusion cuisines and immigration giving the existing culture new ideas.
        Great to hear you’re rocking your own style! xx

      • Bella
        Bella says:

        Stealing from other cultures is never okay. At all. Chola style is for Latina and Afro-Latina people, not for women of other cultures to copy from. Just as box braids, cornrows, ect, are just for black people. Its who they are and where they come from, not a fashion trend that whites get to copy from just because they think it looks cool and trendy. And every time someone says somethig about blacks/latinos getting offended at other cultures copying them for recreation, some idiot has to pulle “minority” people straightening or dyeing their hair blonde. Smh, first off, blonde hair is a recessive gene that is not exclusive to those of Caucasian decent, meaning a person of any race can be born with the recessive gene of blonde hair and or blue eyes, so maybe you should learn about recessive genes before you talk about “minorities” copying whites.

        And yes, as much as i love Gwen Stefani, she has been big on copying rhe chola style as something trendy and fashionable when it is a way of life for latinas and who we are. As an Afro-Latina, I happen to be highly offended, as I and other latinos have a right to be. Your ignorant comment and this article is ridiculous and idiotic, promoting cultural appropiation. And the fact that you think that we should be flattered that some idiot wants to copy our culture as something trendy and cool just because they are white, is absurd. Bottomline, it is cultural appropiation and it will not be tolerated, point blank period.

  2. Redbird Band of Cherokee
    Redbird Band of Cherokee says:

    Hey, braids are ok too! Don’t laugh beauty queen. Embrace the Indian side and braid your hair!

  3. Lauraelia
    Lauraelia says:

    Sit down Lindsey – we get mad because white people (like Gwen Stefani) can “look” chola and it’s cool. However, when we dress chola we’re called ghetto by the same white people lol. So yeah, we mad mad. We’re also called ghetto when we bleach our hair so….

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