By: Ani Palen
As a beauty professional, you play large role in how textured hair is represented within the industry. Working towards a day when textured hair shares the same equity as every other hair type requires every individual artist, including you, do their part. Doing your part can range from offering texture-focused services in your salon to educating yourself on the history and cultural aspects of textured hair. Sure, you’re just one person. But when enough artists use their voices to call for change, it becomes a movement.
“Once you become mindful about the texture space,” SalonCentric #ItTakesAProTeam Artist Keya Neal explains, “You will begin to see clearly how the lack of inclusiveness and diversity shows up in all aspects of the industry.” The bottom line: Whether you realize it or not, every effort you put forth towards inclusivity has the power to make a difference in both your community and the industry as a whole.
When thinking about textured hair, Keya wants all stylists to remember, “Hair is a fabric, not a race.” According to her, “Stylists who cannot work on all fabrics of hair, regardless of their niche or specialty, cannot be considered a master stylist.” If that feels like a personal dig, it might be time for you to head back to the classroom to learn how to work with every hair texture.
Simply put, “If you’re going to style hair, be prepared to style all textures of hair,” says SalonCentric #ItTakesAProTeam Artist Christopher Aaron. He sees the lack of skill and education around textured hair as a form of segregation.
Hair should be part of the basic curriculum in school. We live in a multicultural world and have various hair textures that we can potentially work with and should be prepared to do so.” He adds, “Stylists that lack the skill and education to do textured hair creates an environment where customers do not feel comfortable or secure.”
On top of that, “When you have stylists who don’t know how to style textured hair, they end up getting half the service. Customers with textured hair need know that when they walk into a salon they’ll receive the same quality of haircare as clients with straight hair,” explains Christopher. “As a stylist, part of your job is to ensure every client leaves your chair feeling beautiful.”
That's why making the effort to head back to class or offer texture-focused services are important steps towards equality and representation, but it’s also important to use your voice. “Once you see lack of diversity and inclusion, call it out and demand change,” says Keya. “When you step up to demand change you will begin to see clearly how the lack of inclusiveness and representation shows up in all aspects of the industry.”
Keya encourages artists to ask brands and educators for more inclusive offerings and to request diverse models when working on campaigns. Keya says, “If enough people ask, the industry will listen.”
Keya Neal @keyaartistically
Christopher Aaron @christopheraaronstudio
2023 NAHA Educator Of The Year Finalist: Keya Neal
Read time 5 min