Monaé Everett is an independent hair and make-up artist who is best known for her talent in enhancing each client’s unique natural beauty. A licensed cosmetologist and American Board-Certified Haircolorist, she has been a part of countless creative collaborations for print, TV, and theatre, and is frequently invited to write and speak about beauty. In this interview, Monae (who is relaxer-free) shares some tips for finding a stylist, styles for natural women on the go, and why you shouldn’t trim your own hair.
Lachelle: Monae, I am a fairly new resident to the DC area and learned very quickly that it can prove to be difficult for women of color to find the right stylist for their hair care needs. What are your top 3-5 tips for women when they are searching for a hair salon “home”.
Monae: Here are my top 5 tips for how to find the right salon/stylist for you:
- Stop women on the street who’s look you admire and ask for a referral.
- Search for a stylist who specializes in your hair type weather it’s natural hair, a short crop,long flowing locks, a relaxer, or colored tresses.
- Make sure that you are able to discuss you wants and needs.
- Go to a salon where there are at least a couple other stylists you like. This way if your stylist has to leave you will have another option.
- Be prepared to give the stylist at least 2 to 3 appointments to see if you mesh well.
L: What are some often overlooked yet important characteristics women should look for in a stylist and/or a salon?
M: Make sure you go to a salon or stylist that values education. This industry constantly changes and your stylist
needs to be abreast of these changes. Also, I prefer salons with that use professional products. Try to avoid a salon that uses the same products you can find at a grocery store.
L: For women who are natural, one complaint I hear a lot is that sometimes it takes more time to take to do their hair than it did when they were relaxed. Could you give some ideas of quick and chic styles for women who are on the go?
M: Yes, I love locs, twists, braids, and fros. All of those styles have very little daily maintenance. They (except for fros) are maintained on bi-weekly or monthly bases. Natural hair can also be worn straight, as I wear my natural hair. After your hair gets used to being thermally flat ironed it can be maintained the same way you maintained your relaxed hair. I recommend wrapping your hair in a satin scarf at night.
L: Some women who are transitioning, choose to install braids or weaves during this process. What are some DOs and DON’Ts that women should be mindful of for both styles?
M: The most important thing is to keep your scalp and hair clean. Make sure to shampoo no less then every two weeks. I don’t recommend keeping anything in your hair longer than two month. The weight that the extensions add to your roots can end up being excessive and cause breakage. Plus, at three months the hair can begin to loc into place.
L: I recently wrote an article about the damage wool hats can do to hair. In response to the article, a reader submitted a question about acrylic wool (for hats and for yarn braid styles) and if it causes the same amount of damage as authentic wool. What are your thoughts?
M: Unfortunately it does cause damage. The only two materials that will not cause damage to your hair are silk and satin. Even cotton dries and breaks the hair. Try lining your hats with silk or satin.
L: Relaxer vs Natural – is one really better than the other?
M: I think it is strictly preference. A relaxer is simply a style of wearing one’s hair. It’s all about what works for you and makes you feel your best.
L: What are some ideal natural oils and other items (i.e. honey, egg, milk, etc) that women should use in their hair or consume to help with strength, moisturize, and alleviating breakage?
M: Remember that hair is made of protein so you should try to infuse the following items into your diet to help maintain healthy hair.
• Protein: liver, brewer’s yeast, fish, eggs, beans, cottage cheese, yogurt, tofu.
• Iron: liver, whole grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, dates, raisins.
• B Vitamins: eggs, meat, poultry.
I would like to add a few items that are for your hair growth: Caffeine, Sugar, Fat, Carbonated drinks
L: What ingredients should women look for in their hair care products? What are some ingredients that they should steer clear of?
M: Good products: aloe vera, jojoba, olive and rosemary, coconut oil, wheat germ oil, avocado oil, aloe vera, sunflower oil. Avoid alcohol- its drying.
L: Natural haircare blogs sometimes suggest or encourage women to trim their own curls. As a licensed stylist, do you encourage this practice?
M: I never encourage one to cut their own hair. It’s difficult to see what you are doing and it normally results in an uneven look. Try to make it to the salon every 8-10 weeks if your goal is to grow out your hair.
To learn more about Monae or to view her portfolio, visit www.MonaeArtistry.com.
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