Why did you decide to write this book?
I wrote Hair Rules: The Ultimate Hair-Care Guide for Women with Kinky, Curly, or Wavy Hair because I found myself in a really unique position. Having worked in the fashion and beauty industry while also maintaining a loyal salon clientele, I saw two industries colliding. Hair Rules was born to help the consumer better understand how all the information about hair care actually related to their specific texture. I wanted to level the playing field so that everyone had the knowledge they needed to obtain healthy, beautiful hair.
Should women change their hair regimen with the season?
Fall tends to see more formal styling, while spring and summer are more popular times of year for casual looks – vacation hair, so to speak. Also, in seasons like fall and winter when the temperature drops, women aren’t dealing with heat and humidity, which allows for easier maintenance. Spring and summer are better times for trying that wash-and-go style.
What is the one hairstyling tool you can't do without or that every woman should have?
I think the most valuable styling tool that any woman can have is a comb attachment on a blow dryer. It makes for a great styling tool when women are trying to do their own hair, and can actually detangle hair as it dries, something that a lot of my clients value.
You've styled First Lady Michelle Obama and celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Kelis. Is there any celebrity whose hair you would like to do?
Yes! I would love to work with Lady Gaga – she would be a blast to work with!
You developed a line of products, also called Hair Rules. How do your products stand out from other offerings for textured hair?
The Hair Rules product line was born from Hair Rules, the book. I didn’t endorse any one brand in the book because I wanted women to feel as though they were getting the truth and instead of being someone who was just out to sell something. We felt like we needed to make everyone aware of the fact that just because you share the same ethnicity with someone, it does NOT mean that you have the same hair texture. I always say that as many shades of people out there is how many different hair textures there are. Hair Rules was created to offer styling solutions for a multi-textural world – we pride ourselves on our customized texture specific approach to hair care.
When did you know you wanted to become a hairstylist?
I knew that I wanted to become a hairstylist after high school because I was sick of pumping gas in the Arizona heat.
How has your career evolved?
My career has evolved in the way that God planned. Everyone asks themselves the question “What is God’s plan for me? “What is my purpose?” and it can be such a loaded, intimidating question. But the answer is simple – live for today and be the best you can for yourself, no one else.
What do you see as the next trend in hair care?
Even more hair care and styling solutions for a multi-textural world!
Your "Hairitage," or a Little History of Nonstraight Hair
It is only in the past thirty years that hair that is other than straight has been admired by America's mainstream culture. Even so, women with nonstraight hair, i.e., women of color, Jewish women, and women of mixed ancestry, still retain negative beliefs about their hair. Among the most prevalent of these beliefs is one that says straight hair is inherently better than kinky, curly, or wavy hair. In other words, straight hair is "good" and other textures are "bad." We continue to think of silky, straight hair as easy to comb, volumeless, and requiring little or no maintenance. (The grass is always greener . . .) Just in case you fast-forwarded past the Introduction, I'll repeat myself here: There is really no such thing as good hair or bad hair. It doesn't matter what kind of hair you have. If I were to make any distinction, after years as a professional stylist, it would be that of between a healthy head of hair and an unhealthy head of hair. In my practice, that is what really determines good or bad hair. And healthy hair trumps all textures and types! In the early 1970s, women of all races gloried in their natural hair texture. Self-pride flourished during that liberating, self-expressive time. By the late 1970s, however, the hair and cosmetic companies, having lost money, began an assault on the psyches of women and embarked on extensive advertising campaigns lionizing conservative, straight-haired styles. Their success, a return to the primacy of straightened hair, was accompanied by an even more disturbing trend: workplace discrimination against women of color who wore naturals or braids. Not surprisingly, the right to wear one's clean, coiffed hair in an attractive, non-Eurocentric fashion had to be fought for all the way to the Supreme Court. In any battle there are casualties, as there were for the victors of hairstyle choice. Many ambitious professional women remained convinced that their career mobility would be eclipsed if they didn't conform to European standards of hair beauty. To this day, when women in high-profile positions go into a meeting with straight, styled hair, it may be because they feel more put together and secure that they'll be taken seriously by their male counterparts. I'll be the first to admit that there is truth to that: Straight hair can convey a stern, no-nonsense, dare I say "I-can-be-a-bitch-if-I-have-to" look. The same reservations about career mobility hold true for black women and braids in the workplace. It has only been since the 1990s that professional women of color have sported braids.
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