If you’ve ever seen Lupita Nyongo grace a runway and wonder how she makes her 4c curls look super fabulous, say no more. She is one of the fabulous women on the client roster of Vernon François, an award-winning celebrity stylist who has been upping the glam for big names like Kerry Washington, Ava DuVernay and even Solange. Vernon has worked alongside Lupita for more than four years and through his versatile client list has learned how to style a variety of curl patterns for women of color. How do we know he gets it? We got to try the Co-Wash Shampoo from his luxury self-titled hair care line and absolutely fell in love with how soft and pliable our kinky curls felt afterwards!
With the warm weather upon us, we knew fabulous women like you are ready to make a statement. Here’s how one of the most respected names in the business thinks you should be styling and taking care of your hair this season.
What is your go-to hairstyle for women with natural hair in the summer?
Vernon: Depending on the texture of your curl pattern if its loose wavy, curly or coily, I love to let it be free. Letting the hair be free is a great way to wear your hair while it’s summer but I recognize it can get quite hot, so anything that lifts it off the neck but gives it a lot of height is a great summer look. Not just a ponytail, but you can twist it up. I love a halo crown because you can pull the braid or tease it once its set which can give a soft romantic look which is very cool for the summer. If your hair is on the kinky side then I would advise doing the two-strand twists or bantu knots.
What is one key ingredient you would recommend for stronger hair?
Vernon: Black oat extract! This improves the structure and surface of the hair, making it easier to comb. It also improves gloss and bounce, prevents split ends and smoothens the strands.
What type of curl patterns do your hair products work for? Are they really for everyone from 3a to 4c hair types?
Vernon: Yes! I put the icons on the products to help simplify the “hair texture” [nomenclature]. The brand is specifically designed to work and maximize the potential of all textures, especially coily and kinky hair types. We have a specific collection designed for this texture that is called “Pure Fro“, which really helps to bring out the true benefits of curly, kinky hair.
What is your one styling secret that sets celebrities apart from the common girl? What is it that they do for themselves to make them look so fabulous?
Vernon: The secret in this case is having confidence. These women know what their texture is and how they want to wear it for an event so its being very confident with knowing how to work with that texture. These ladies want to keep the integrity of their textures so it’s just about moulding and finding a really beautiful shape. As mentioned before, the afro, kinky, coily hair I believe is the most versatile hair texture out there so its always really fun working with women [like Lupita.]
So we know a lot of women are about retaining list. What products or tools should women with natural hair ban from their hair if they want it to grow?
Vernon: What I often say to my clients is be mindful of the usage of heat and combs as well to some degree. We tend to detangle our hair with combs and brushes but finger combs are really good things. If you are patient it can be amazing as well. Irons, hair dryers, how you are drying your hair with your towel — all of these things lead to long-term damage.
What’s your rule around protective styles like faux locs, braids or wigs?
Vernon: To change [them] regularly. Don’t get too complacent with keeping the style in for too long because over time that will cause more damage. With your wigs make sure they are clean and washed and try to remove any grips underneath that can tend to wear on the hairline and cause damage to more fragile hair.
As for braids, I’m not a fan of having braids in for too long of a time. Be mindful of the tension and the styles you are wearing when they are on and how much tension and weight is being placed on the hair. We often forget that while our hair texture is dry its the most fragile of all hair textures.