Although hair is a dead matter, many of us can agree that is a serious business and an important aesthetic feature for many men, women and children. For Black women, hair is a very crucial part of their body, so important that we spend a lot of money, time and comfort trying to look good. On the other side of the coin are “specialists” who have dedicated their lives towards the “looks” of our hair.
To avoid choosing the wrong hair stylist, and jeopardizing years of hard work, it’s crucial that you choose someone who is knowledgeable in the service you are looking for. Hair is such a broad industry that it’s almost impossible to expect your stylist to KNOW IT ALL. It is these wrong expectations that has led many of us to flock to various hair forums for healthy hair advice, because our hairstylists are not filling the knowledge gap for us. It has also led many of us to believe that most Black hairstylists cannot be trusted with our hair and so it’s best to take matters into our own hands. And so instead of making a wrong assumption based on our own wrong decision, you can choose to familiarize yourself with this list of 10 different hairstylist so that you can have a pleasurable experience the next time you walk into a salon which is actually knowledgeable in the service you have requested for.
I’d also like to point out that this post is not only for the self-sufficient Naturalista out there, but it is also for hairstylists who are loosing businesses to “unlicensed” and “unprofessional” hair gurus on YouTube. To see your business grow, I would suggest acquiring more knowledge and skills in one or more of the areas which I have outlined below so that you can attract old and new customers and keep them.
1. Hair Stylist: Someone who can duplicate popular hairstyles, whether it be the latest hair cut, weave styles, braids, cornrows and whatever style you ask her to do or create.
2. Hair Designer: This is an artist who creates hair trends. They are often inspired by art and other events which are happening in their environment. Hair designers are able to create a vision and style from one’s hair. The best place to see the creations of hair designers is at hair shows such as the World Natural Hair & Beauty Show.
3. Hair Care Specialist: Someone who can determine the health of the hair and are able to care for the hair through proper use of the right products, tools and hair handling techniques. They are also not shy to provide their clients with healthy hair care knowledge so that they can manage their own hair after they’ve left the salon.
4. Natural Hair Care Specialist: Similar to a hair care specialist, a natural hair care specialist deals specifically with natural hair. Her clientele will mostly consist of women with afro-textured hair, as well as those who are transitioning. Such specialist will offer consultations which will help them to assess their clients hair and hair needs before they handle the hair. They will also be able to answer any natural hair related questions such as moisture balance, breakage, shrinkage, hair trims, and best hair products to use based on your hair characteristics. An example of a natural hair care specialist is Tameka Fletcher
5. Colorist: a hair professional who has been trained and certified by a color company. Although many hair stylists can apply color, they still aren’t a qualified colorist because a colorist understands the chemical properties of hair colors and so they’re able to select the best color to suit your hair needs. It’s important to select a good colorist when choosing a permanent hair color so that you can avoid many hair woes which often happens to many after they’ve gotten their hair dyed. A colorist is also able to choose, formulate, create and blend colors, while still taking your hair health into consideration.
6. Master Precision Cutter: These are specialists who are able to shape and cut all hair types. Whether it be coily, kinky, curly, wavy, or straight hair, a precision cutter isn’t intimidated by any hair texture because they’ve been trained at some of the best cutting edge academies in their country.
7. Master Braider: This is a braiding specialist who specializes in the art of hair braiding and have mastered all the techniques of braided hairstyles. So, if you’re looking for someone to install crotchet braids, genie locs, marley braids, senegalese twists, fish braids, cornrows, single braids, inverted braids, ghana weaving, basket weaving or whatever braided style you could think of, you can be rest assured that your master braider has got you covered. Be mindful that a master braider isn’t necessarily a natural hair care specialist, and so they might not know how to work with your hair texture. So make sure that you stretch your hair before going to get your hair braided so that you can have a pleasurable hair grooming experience.
8. Loctician: The name says it all, a loctician is simply a stylist who specialists in the care, maintenance, grooming and styling of locs. Under this big umbrella of hair stylist are sister locticians, these are stylists who specializes in sister locs. Like other types of hair experts, locticians and sister locticians also go through educational training which gives them the certification to cater to their Loc’ed clienteles.
9. Weavologist: This is a stylist who specializes in hair extensions. Their in-depth knowledge in hair extensions gives them the ability to market and create different types of hair extensions. Weavologists can work for big weave companies such as Outre or they can work for themselves by creating YouTube videos to create customer awareness. They can work at your local beauty shop, sewing and gluing brazillian, peruvian, indian, or afro weaves on your head. Also, they are also able to create all manners of weaves by using a variety of hair.
10. Trichologist: They are a type dermatologist with a special focus on hair. Trichologists are hair and scalp specialist who can diagnose and treat various hair and scalp related issues such as excessive hair shedding, alopecia, hair breakage, hair thinning, dry scalp, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff and others. Trichologists are also used in forensic studies to find suspects who left a piece of evidence at a crime scene. An example of a Trichologist is Lisa Akbari.
Now, it’s possible for a hairstylist to be knowledgeable in all 10 areas, however, most will probably have a special focus in one area. Some salons might have a variety of these hair care experts working under one roof whereby each stylist will have a specialty in one area or the other.
The type of specialist you choose will be solely dependent on your hair needs. However, I believe the majority of us will choose a natural hair care specialist for our hair needs. For those of us who might not have an access to one due to distance, monetary or inavailability of stylist, you will have to be your own natural hair care specialist, although you can visit your local hairstylist, weavologist, loctician, colorist, or master precision cutter when you need an extra hand or the input of a “specialist”.