What do you think of when you hear the word “texture”? While many will think of various curl, wave or coil patterns, others distinguish it as a finishing technique in hair cutting or a styling product that adds grit to the hair. As we all begin to expand our skillset surrounding various types of hair texture, we have much to learn. “As hairdressers, it’s important to understand the meaning of the word texture. All hair has texture, so using it in a general sense is confusing,” says Vernon François, celebrity hairstylist, educator and founder of VERNON FRANÇOIS® Haircare @vernonfrancois. “Redefining our communication to include descriptors such as Coily Texture, Kinky Texture, Wavy Texture, Straight Texture and Curly Texture, can help identify all hair patterns more clearly and is much more inclusive” he goes on to explain.
François recently joined the Sam Villa team for a discussion on re-thinking texture. “We need to challenge ourselves to remove culture and race from texture,” says François. “Think about how versatile you are in your artistry…does that versatility really include all hair textures? It shouldn’t be an option…we need to work together to bring curly and kinky hair textures into the mainstream,” he adds. To learn more about this topic, François is detailing some of his top tips.
Tips for Working with Afro Coily and Kinky Textures
- Ask guests to be honest about what they want to actually achieve. Wigs and weaves are great for expressing personality, but there’s nothing more beautiful than someone who honors what they were born with – they have an inner confidence and can carry off any hair texture.
- Whether on set or at the chair, start by creating an interesting shape. Contour the neckline by pinning hair up to create a sexy silhouette, from that point, anything can be done with the top. Use smaller U pins, they have more grip…wiggle them in, anchor in a braid (or other hair), and then lift up and push in.
- Don’t go for perfection, it looks uncomfortable. Be free and really get in there with your hands, spread fingers and don’t be afraid to stretch and pull the texture out.
- An afro pick is a must-have tool, get one with longer teeth. When picking, don’t pull the comb all the way through, use it to plump the roots while preserving texture on the mids to ends.
- Don’t be afraid of frizz – frizz is volume, it’s a major player in helping to give hair shape and personality. Learn to work with frizz, not against it, and prime all hair with VERNON FRANÇOIS® Mist Nourishing Water before styling to hydrate and revive the pattern of all hair textures.
- If texture is on point but the length needs to be shorter, finger tease. Hold a section of hair at ends with one hand and gently push hair towards the head with pointer and thumb to shrink the length and create a really beautiful frizz.
- Sometimes the most beautiful texture is a mix of 3-4 textures, so if using wigs and weaves, get multiple versions. Most people have multiple natural textures too – straighter around the front and looser on the sides.
- When drying kinky hair, spray at arm’s length with Redken Triple Take 32 for maximum flexibility and use a Sam Villa Vision Blow Dryer (without nozzle on medium/cold heat and max airflow) and rotate wrist to create a circular stream of air that cultivates the texture pattern. This technique creates volume at the root and fluffy, vibrant, youthful volume on the mids and ends.
“Our responsibility as hairstylists is to make every single person who sits in our chair feel beautiful and good about themselves, no matter the hair texture. As someone who is very dyslexic, I value clear communication as being crucial to the success of all relationships; including those that hairstylists have with clients, and those that haircare brands have with customers. It’s one of the reasons I don’t use traditional number charts for defining hair textures, instead I created icons that make it easy to visually identify hair textures. This also sparked my exploration of the phrase textured hair, understanding it as an umbrella term for kinky, coily, curly, wavy and straight hair,” adds François.
Continuing to grow your skillset and ways in which we can all be more inclusive in this industry is a crucial element to our success and “Vernon’s passion for the salon community is at the heart of everything he does. From his editorial work, to red carpet looks, to advertising - most recently Redken’s new global campaign. He is self-taught, incredibly disciplined and an integral part of the movement towards an all-inclusive approach to hairdressing,” says Sam Villa, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Sam Villa and Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken.
Cover Image Credits:
@Redken Creative Color Teams @sheridoss
Hair assistance: @sheripinto @traaacyd
Hair: @vernonfrancois @thevisionariesagency
Models: @naomijanumala @haehaeleelee @angelagarten @aliana.king @donovan_greenn @jennabkelly