Ever wished you could go straight to the experts for advice on afro hair? I managed to ask a few questions of Scott Onslow, afro stylist at the world renowned Errol Douglas salon, about natural hair. Here’s what he says about styling, products and why he thinks afro hair is so great!
1. Is there a secret to caring for natural afro hair?
Moisture, moisture, moisture, it really is the bottom line! Without a constant and effective hydration routine all else is a moot point. With that addressed, my secret weapon in really defining the curl is Moroccanoil Curl Control Cream.
2. What are your thoughts on the growth (pun intended) of natural hair in the UK, i.e. the Natural Hair Movement?
For me, and I know it’s an ethos shared by the afro team at Errol Douglas Salon and the boss, it’s all down to the individual and to hair health. Where we are in our lives, our routines and our interest levels in trends all play at part, and the condition of the hair remains the main focus of any debate: Afro hair, whether relaxed or natural, that’s not correctly hydrated and taken care of isn’t great either way. As a team we have decades of combined experience in afro hair and yet hydration and condition remains at the core of everything we do. I like both, Janelle Monae rocks her natural hair with stunning sculpting that celebrates who she is at this time in her journey, and Meagan Good really shows that properly maintained there’s a place for other afro styling.
3. Are you seeing more natural haired ladies (and men) come into the salon?
Absolutely, a no chemical crew among our clients has increased. That said, the salon since opening in 1998 has always had a mix of both, it’s a space to embrace where you’re at and use our experience to maintain it in a bespoke way.
4. Short hair is easy to style or dress up, and long hair has lots of styling
possibilities – any tips for people with mid- or shoulder-length afro hair?
Twists and plaits are perfect for this length, and the latter is also bang on trend. Not only does a fishtail or waterfall plait look clean, stylish and on trend, but a little Moroccanoil Original Treatment applied before plaiting will eliminate frizz and treat the hair simultaneously. Twists and plaits really open up the face, are kind on the hair and allow on the go hydration. What’s not to like.
5. Best way to retain healthy hair in between salon visits?
A treatment mask every two weeks (I like Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask), also silk scarf wrap hair overnight as it’s great for moisture retention, and use the correct styling products for where your hair is at – length, condition etc.
6. How often do you recommend we should we trim our hair?
If you’re trying to grow it every 10-12 weeks or to maintain a style 6-8 weeks
7. Is there a way to prevent frizz?
A salon Keratin treatment is excellent, it softens and infuses the protein the hair naturally produces so strengthens too. Dryness is one of the key culprits in frizz – the hair’s capacity to co-operate is in direct proporation to its hydration levels so keep it moist. Keracare Humecto Creme Conditioner and Affirm Positive Link Conditioner are both great.
8. How often should we use heat tools on our hair?
Use wisely. They’re a game changing tool but not all created equal. Look for heated stylers with a temperature control – our boss Errol Douglas is launching his own electrical range on July 29th in Boots – his Treat&Style is a first on the high street – featuring a built in Keratin capsule system that infuses the hair as its styled, great for hair health and shine. His Infrared dryer dries hair from the inside out so it’s kinder on the hair and great for a frizz-free finish.
9. As a stylist, what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with extremely curly hair?
I’m passionate about afro hair, I always knew that I wanted to specialise, and as a hair type it’s actually way more diverse and versatile than it’s given credit for! The key is to build a relationship with an experienced stylist that really knows the DNA of afro hair BUT also your lifestyle and style aspirations. Afro hair has many advantages: body, built in volume, texture which is great for interpreting trends, and what I like to call natural scaffolding, a built in structure as a canvas for some incredible styling. For me there are no afro specific disadvantages if it’s properly cared for, but there are multiple challenges when it’s not. Basically I’m a moisture nag!
Do you trim more often than every 6-8 weeks? Do you use heat tools? Have you found this blog useful? Please comment below!
Visit the Natural Hair Forum UK for more advice, tips and support for team natural GB!