Salon owner and award-winning hairdresser Charlotte Mensah celebrates the success of her debut book, Good Hair: The Essential Guide to Afro, Textured & CurlyHair which is published by Penguin Life and available now RRP £14.99. Charlotte is a ghd ambassador and the brand supported her book launch with an evening of hair, education and conversation. And we were more than happy to attend – virtually – and find out more about this interesting lady.
A long journey
Hosted by journalist Akesha Reid, the launch was live-streamed and featured Charlotte discussing her own journey into hairdressing, her extraordinary career to date and the importance of education, consultation and conversation when it comes to black hair. This forms an integral part of the Good Hair content and makes sense of her heritage and her work today.
Charlotte’s love of hair began as a child in Ghana, where the busy family home saw her grandmother inspire with skills in styling, sewing and cooking and her grandfather teach her business know-how. Following her return to London and the heartbreaking loss of her mother at a young age, Charlotte found styling her siblings’ hair a comforting, intimate act that brought her closer to her family. Her professional career began at the iconic Splinters salon in London, where she learned from the late, great Winston Isaacs and worked alongside Johnnie Sapong and Desmond Murray. The salon gave her not just education and opportunities, but a chance to hone her love of hands-on hair and feel part of a like-minded community. From Splinters, Charlotte launched her own salon The Hair Lounge, on the iconic Portobello Road in a space she has remained in for 28 years as her career has grown and thrived.
As well as sharing her story so far and anecdotes on her celebrity clients, salon life and the dos and don’ts of DIY hair routines, Charlotte shared a series of styling techniques built around traditional African hair threading.
The centuries-old technique has personal resonance for Charlotte. She grew up with threading and, after moving to London was bullied for wearing the style at school. Today, it is one of her most popular techniques in the salon and something she takes pride in teaching and reinventing. She demonstrated three styles built around threading and incorporating ghd tools, including a reimagined mohican, a modern flattop and 70s style bunches.
All hair matters
To close the session, Charlotte took questions from the audience on the future of Black hair education and shared her hopes for the next generation of hairdressers and her belief that “all hair matters” – the message at the heart of Good Hair.
She pointed out how important inclusivity is nowadays and that all salons should be able to offer Afro hair services: ”Anywhere you are in the world, you should be able to have your hair done. If not everyone, at least one person in every salon should be trained to do all hair textures – because all hair matters. It’s about coming together, include everyone despite of colour, race, hair texture. Whoever steps in your salon, make them a part of it.”
We couldn’t agree more, Charlotte. It’s time that our industry moves forward and takes it to the next level.
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