When model Olivia Anakwe took to Instagram during Paris Fashion Week to voice her concern about the hairdressers who didn’t know how to style her hair backstage, it had a domino effect. Actresses like Yvette Nicole Brown of NBC’s Community and Natasha Rothwell of Insecure shared similar experiences, adding that it’s simply not enough for stylists to feel “comfortable” working with textured hair—they have to know what they’re doing. Celebrity hairstylist Monaè Everett (@monaeartistry) is doing everything in her power to not only make the industry more inclusive, but to ensure that textured styling is practiced behind the chair.
American Salon sat down with Everett to talk texture, the biggest challenges she faces as a hairdresser and her top tips for styling textured hair.
You’ve been in this industry for 20 years. What’s the biggest challenge you face as a stylist today?
The assumption that I can only style hair that’s a similar texture to my own. I’m proud to say that I am more than proficient in styling all hair textures, which is one of the reasons I’ve been successful. If you aren’t’ able to style a variety of hair textures, you can miss out on work or embarrass yourself.
What steps does the beauty industry need to take to become more inclusive?
The steps look different depending on where you work in the industry. In my opinion, anyone who calls themselves a hairstylist should be able to style the four hair textures: Straight, wavy, curly and coily/natural. Building that skill set starts at cosmetology school—it’s imperative that students have a chance to work on mannequins with different hair textures. I’m not blind to the fact that many schools don’t teach this, which is why seeking advanced education is so important. That’s also why I created an online academy, The Monae Life Academy, and conduct live education for stylists at professional trade shows.
From a brand perspective, inclusivity looks different. I choose to work with brands that actively work with a variety of hair textures—their ads and social media can quickly give you an idea of their target audience. No matter where you are in the beauty industry, it’s a no-brainer to create products that cater to the masses.
What do you wish more stylists knew about working with textured hair?
I want stylists to know that almost 70 percent of the world has hair that is identified as textured hair, meaning it’s quickly becoming the global norm. I wish they understood that textured hair needs to be styled with love and an extra bit of care, and that it’s beautiful and just as easy to style as straight hair.
What are your three tips for stylists looking to expand their textured hair knowledge?
- Textured hair must be moisturized.
- Wetting textured hair will cause it to curl and shrink in length.
- Textured hair is fragile and needs to be treated as such, use heat and styling products sparingly.