Hairdressing joined the #blackouttuesday campaign – silencing social media to show outrage at racial injustice happening everywhere, and specifically in the United States with the death of the African-American man George Floyd. But what next? How can we do more? We need to look to our industry for a health check. These four successful hairdressers kick off the conversation with comments on where we go next.
Charlotte Mensah, salon owner, founder of Manketti Oil haircare
“Hair salons and hairdressers alike need to look at the extent of their knowledge, when it comes to Afro Hair. If you claim to be a hairdressing expert, that requires the ability to understand and cater for all hair types and curl patterns. Just as we train in colour and cutting, hairdressers and salons need to be diverse in both skillset and the team
to ensure that you’re an allaround hair professional. Education is the key; check out my up and coming ‘Curl Power Afro’ hair course post Lockdown and sign up!”
Junior Green, salon owner and award-winning stylist
“As black creatives we are, and have been, under-represented when it comes to certain opportunities within our industry. When it comes to equal opportunities, is it a level playground? Look at the major session teams. Stylists may be brought in as assistants to prep or braid Afro hair, or only hired solely to work with the black models and sometimes not. On many occasions, models I’ve spoken with have said they have had to fend for themselves, because creatives on the team were not experienced to cater for their hair needs.This can be seen at a lot of the big productions and fashion weeks. Remember there are black stylists that can be the lead stylist because they’re able and competent to work on all hair types.
“Mixed race people are now the largest ethnic minority group. With this in mind, salons will be missing out if in 2020 they are not offering Afro treatments as part of the list of their services. Salon owners could look at working with Trainers/ Educators who specialise in this field to teach their team members.”
Michelle Thompson, director of education at Bad Apple Hair
British Hairdressing Awards Hall of Fame – Afro Hair
“I feel that the hair industry is the only industry that chooses to continue to separate hair textures within there salons. The question is … how many salons throughout England actually do all hair types ? Through regularly holding courses for Afro and textured hair I am often faced with people who have been hairdressing for a number of years but have never even touched Afro/ textured hair… and when asked the question why, the answer is always this: I’ve never been trained, my salon have never offered the services or we don’t have any products to do it.
“Even now, within our NVQ qualification it isn’t mandatory. So therefore if it isn’t mandatory then how are we supposed to educate people on Afro/ textured hair.
“There’s also the big major product manufacturers/brands that could do with introducing products for Afro and textured hair types. I feel that they are so behind with this. Major make-up brands have foundations for all skin tones and have been doing this for years, so why not hair products. l know of one major brand that used to have products for textured hair, but a lot of the products were discontinued and are no longer available in the UK. Introducing textured hair into their academies, inviting Afro and textured hair specialist guest artists to deliver courses, creating opportunities for them to be involved in shows and giving them full support and recognition will all contribute to helping black hairdressers. This way black stylists will be more inclined to enter the major industry competitions and will feel more involved in what is at the moment is a white dominated industry.
Jay Mahmood, global educator and trainer, precision hair specialist
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