Briefly, can you tell us what you will be talking about at Natural Hair Congress?
I will be discussing the science of our beautiful hair. We’ll talk especially about the science of healthy hair growth and the reasons why so many of us have not seen improvements in our hair—although we are putting quite a bit of time, money and effort into our hair! We will also discuss regimen-building, and I’ll share some product tips and techniques!
Why should Montrealers and Canadian women come and see you?
Great question! One of the things that I think makes my Science of Black Hair workshops stand out from the crowd is the audience participation and hands-on demonstration focus that I bring. It’s one thing to talk about hair—but to truly see these key principles in action is where learning comes alive. I am really big into “showing”—not just telling, and I think Montreal/Canadian women will love that!
In your opinion, in what way did your scientific books and research changed the natural hair community, and blogs?
That’s another great question. Honestly, my goal with my books was to deepen the discussion we all were already starting to have online. When I started writing The Science of Black Hair, there were not many books available for us—and hardly any that focused on our hair in a scientific way. Hair care discussion forums were where the real hair care discoveries were taking place—well before YouTube and blogging became so huge. This is where I got my start! But, with online discovery comes tons of misinformation as well, and that’s why I wanted to create a resource that was forward-thinking, but also backed and rooted in research. I can say that the hair care discussions we are having now are a lot more informed—and that’s a good thing!
Have you found that women were more, or less interested by scientific facts about hair?
From my travels and talks, I’ve found that women are hungry for scientific information—but they do still want things to be explained to them in a way that relates to their every day life. Striking the balance is so important. Being overwhelmed with facts and statistics isn’t useful when someone is simply trying to understand which conditioner she should use and when—so I try to balance the hard core science with personal experience and a bit of humanness!
Do you still learn new things about natural black hair?
Oh absolutely! I am always learning—and that is one of the reasons I enjoy traveling and hosting workshops! Knowledge flows in both directions and it keeps me abreast of what’s going on out there! (Especially product-wise!) Even though I specialize in textured hair and write books about it, I still buy other hair care/skin care books for my personal library and enjoyment. Most writers are voracious readers! The state of the art is always changing—new understandings are developed, and what we may have believed in 2006 may have taken on a whole new meaning in 2015. Things are always being reimagined, and part of being a teacher is never forgetting to be a student. So yes, I’m ready to learn right along with you guys in Montreal!
What’s the worst advice you heard someone give on natural hair?
Oh, this one is tough! I’ve heard my share of iffy natural hair advice, but I’d say anything that makes someone feel like their natural hair is not good enough is bad advice. Whether it is someone urging someone else to relax their hair for more “manageability” or if it’s one natural telling another that she’s not really natural because she does not fit in XYZ box stereotype of what natural is supposed to be—it’s all negative, and it’s all bad. My motto has always been, “live and let live.” Everyone’s journey is unique and no one should dictate how that journey should play out for another person.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone on natural hair?
Just do it! But do it on your own terms and in your own time. Learning to work with natural hair takes time. For most of us, there will be a learning curve to overcome. Just like it took time for us to learn how to work with relaxed hair, our natural hair will need time as well.
What is one myth about natural hair you want to debunk?
The biggest myth of all is that natural hair does not grow. This is absolutely untrue. In fact, for those who are natural—being natural truly allows us to experience our hair’s maximum potential. We have to simply learn how to make this new opportunity for growth work for us! Those of you who come to the workshop will see firsthand how we aren’t maximizing our hair’s growth potential, and will walk away with some ways to change this around for the better!
What’s the biggest mistake one can make with his hair?
The biggest mistake we can make with our hair is not moisturizing or hydrating it properly. Many of us simply use the wrong products to hydrate our hair and this leads to problems with retaining moisture down the line. Hands down, this is by far the biggest problem that I see!
When it comes to hair care, do you follow your own rules?
Ha! Great question. I have to pat myself on the back—because I’m pretty compliant. The key is really identifying a few things that you can commit to executing flawlessly. The more complex your regimen is, the harder it is to stay with it. Simple regimens can be sustained for life—and that’s what I have my personal regimen.
Bonus question: What’s your favorite hairstyle?
Hands down, my favorite style is mini-twists. I love them. They are so easy to keep up! I love them because they are the ultimate in protection and allow me to wear my hair in so many different hair styles! And when you take them down . . . instant new style!
About Natural Hair Congress Canada
This Canada wide event invites all Naturalistas, transitioners, natural hairstylists, curl experts, product distributors and salon owners to indulge in the biggest congress about natural and curly hair in Canada.
Click here to see the complete progam
Click here to buy tickets
Don’t forget to read the interview with Nerissa Irving, also a guest speaker at Natural Hair Congress Canada!