Last month we explored the black hair care market, talking to Afro hairdressing experts Charlotte Mensah, Harry Casey, and Michelle Thompson.
Here in part 2 of our Afro hair focus, we speak to Afro hair specialist and award winning session stylist Lisa Farrall and British Afro Hairdresser of the Year finalist, Anthony Grant, of Jamie Stevens Salon to discover more about their work in the industry.
Ask the Expert: Lisa Farrall…
Lisa Farrall is the founder of Wig London Hair Academy which focuses on the education of session styling, creative cutting, colouring, afro hair and barbering.
Having worked for over 17 years with celebrities, music artists, and TV personalities, Lisa has scooped a number of hairdressing accolades within the Afro hair market. These include Natural Weave Stylist Of The Year and BHBHA Afro Stylist Of The Year.
Why do you specialise in styling Afro hair?
I was always told not to do Afro hair and to leave it alone. This made me want to do it even more. Imagine how it would feel to turn someone away based on the colour of their skin and the texture of their hair. This would be heartbreaking for the person. I set myself the challenge to educate myself and to never say no. I travelled 60 miles to an Afro hair salon and college and I worked my way to the top to earn my stripes. I’ve never looked back.
What do you think makes afro hair so unique?
I love the texture of Afro hair, the curl pattern and the way you can create shapes with Afro hair unlike no other. It’s art material you can use. I love creating something beautiful with Afro hair and love empowering it.
How have styling trends for Afro hair evolved over the past decade? (braids, weave, keratin treatments etc)
I’m seeing a massive switch from relaxers to keratin blow-dries. My favourite at the moment is Innoluxe as it softens the hair texture for a smooth blow dry and isn’t as harsh as a relaxer. Colour is also becoming more popular which I love!
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Do you think more salons could be more open to providing styling services for Afro hair or is it better that clients with Afro hair have their own dedicated salons/specialists?
In a society where all cultures share food, music and clothes I don’t see why our hair salons are divided. I believe in salon equality and I believe every salon should do every hair type. The key is education because without knowing how to cater for Afro hair in a European salon you could make your client leave never wanting to return. It’s the same for a European client entering an Afro salon that has never had a client with European hair. We owe it to our profession to teach ourselves and it’s not just Afro clients that have excessively curly hair.
Ask the expert: Anthony Grant…
Anthony is an experienced session stylist bringing 27 years experience to the Jamie Stevens salon team as well as working internationally backstage.
Why do you specialise in Afro hair?
From a young age, I was fortunate to have Afro Caribbean hairdressers in my family who passed their knowledge down to me. I also was very lucky to spend time in New York working alongside my aunt in her salon which specialised in Afro hair. Within my Afro training and my hairdressing training I blended the two together and soon started to build an Afro clientele and realised I had a great passion for afro hairdressing.
What are the different kinds of Afro hair? And do you specialise in creating beautiful tresses on a particular kind?
There are so many different Afro and textured hair types.
- Full on Afro
- Mixed race texture
- Coiled texture
- Frizz natural texture
I feel my strengths are creating beautiful feminine shapes. From a young age, I was fortunate to have Afro Caribbean hairdressers in my family who passed their knowledge down to me. I also was very lucky to spend time in New York working alongside my aunt in her salon which specialized in Afro hair. Within my Afro training and my hairdressing training, I blended the two together and soon started to build an Afro clientele and realized I had a great passion for Afro hairdressing.
What are the most popular styles clients are asking for in 2017?
I feel people are embracing their natural texture, also going shorter with a more graphic shape and experimenting more with colour.
How have styling trends for Afro hair evolved over the past decade?
Braids, weave, and keratin has also evolved over the last decade. Music, film, and fashion have pushed Afro hair to the forefront of style. Trends have evolved to give Afro hair a true identity.
Want more expert advice? Discover our FREE e-book filled with tips from leading stylists including Sam McKnight and Darren Ambrose!