As textured hair is finally being seen and celebrated, our beauty editor Nadine Baggotttalks to those in the know to show you how to ace your afro...
Whenever I chat to a celebrity of colour, the talk will inevitably turn to their hair – from Jourdan Dunn telling me that her hair had been ruined by stylists who did not know how to handle or look after her natural texture, to Thandie Newton saying how liberating it was to finally free her 'fro and Lupita Nyong'o explaining why she decided to clip all her hair off.
Lupita Nyong'o is growing out her natural hair after previously wearing it cropped
The beauty industry has been slow to create foundation and concealers to match the myriad skin shades in the world, but even slower to develop luxurious, affordable and effective haircare for textured and afro hair. However, things are finally changing. As a generation of women starts to speak up about their struggles with their hair and young stylists create new products, women are feeling enabled to celebrate their natural hair texture – from kinks to curls and 'fros to frizz.
"Textured hair is a joyous world of opportunities," says actress Thandie. "It starts with confidence and pride because, baby, big hair gets a big reaction. So get ready for centre-stage attention and warm up the high-beam smile to match," she adds, explaining how not long ago she finally decided to brush her hair and to embrace what she calls the frizz, but which anyone can see is the most glorious soft afro.
Thandie is not the only person who is celebrating her natural texture. Hairstylist to the stars Vernon François, the man who actresses Lupita and Naomie Harris have on speed dial when they want their hair to look great, explains: "Textured hair, and I don't just mean black or afro hair but all types of curls and kinks and coils, is seen as a problem, but it needn't be. It should be celebrated and, with the right products, it can be beautiful and should be gorgeous.
"Hairstylists still today are not trained in how to look after afro and textured hair – it is simply not part of their training. So little wonder that women with textured hair are at a loss as to where to go, who to see and what to do with their hair."
Thandie Newton has decided to embrace her textured hair
To address this problem, Vernon has created a range for all types of textured hair (clearly labelled with hair emojis that show you what texture it is created for) after years of cherry-picking the odd one or two products from every range that worked on his clients.
If you want help with your textured hair, Vernon, who's English but is based in Los Angeles, offers advice and consultations on his site. You can email his team, who will quickly reply and help. He also runs regular seminars in London, teaching people how to work with their natural texture, including classes for hairstylists, parents and people who want to embrace and celebrate their natural texture. Visit vernonfrancois.com to register.
Along with his own range, these are Vernon’s top picks for products that condition and control textured hair
1. Vernon François Scalp Nourishment Braids and Locs Spray, £16; visit vernonfrancois.com 2. Kérastase Discipline Cleansing Conditioner Curl Idéal, £29; visit kerastase.co.uk 3. Tangle Teezer Thick & Curly, £11; visit tangleteezer.com 4. Redken Curvaceous Full Swirl Serum, £17; visit redken.co.uk 5. Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Cleansing Milk, £24, from lookfantastic.com 6. Vernon François Dazzling Spritz Shine Spray, £16; visit vernonfrancois.com. This is perfect for a night out as it’s a dry oil with a subtle hint of shimmer. 7. Vernon François Pure-Fro Conditioner, £21.50; visit vernonfrancois.com 8. L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil, £11, from lookfantastic.com 9. Buly 1803 Rake Comb, £52, from net-a-porter.com 10. KeraCare Natural Textures Leave In Conditioner, £5.75, from lookfantastic.com. This is from Jourdan Dunn's favourite range.