Pivoting from relaxer-focused treatments to organic, natural hair care – the Afro hair market has drastically shifted. With #naturalhair garnering 1.5 billion views on TikTok, one could be led to believe that the movement has flourished because of social media, but British-Ghanaian hairdresser Charlotte Mensah—an industry authority on afro/textured hair—has been pushing the boundaries of afro and mixed heritage hair since the 1980s. In her debut book, entitled ‘Good Hair’, Mensah has created “a seminal text in the adulation of Black hair” she says, adding that “I want women to truly love their hair, not just the look, but the vitality of it”. Having been crowned ‘Afro Hairdresser of the Year’ three years in a row, as well as being the first Black woman to be inducted into the British Hairdressing Hall of Fame, Mensah’s eponymous hair care line and London-based salon, the Hair Lounge, have long-been the go-to for everyone from Zadie Smith (who also wrote the foreword for ‘Good Hair’), Erykah Badu and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The cover of “Good Hair. The Essential Guide to Afro, Textured and Curly Hair”, (Penguin UK) by Charlotte Mensah.
“Clients want to fall in love with their God given textures”, Mensah enthuses, “Afro hairdressing has become a sort of science with many people looking for a professional who will be able to provide them with a particular style they may have seen online. More and more women are embracing the wondrous textures of their hair and celebrating its versatility with bodacious fro’s, beautiful braids, tempting twists and luxurious locks”. In ‘Good Hair’, Mensah lays out key tips such as how to identify your curl type (and selecting the best protective styles accordingly) as well as the recipes, products and tools needed to maximize and nurture your curl pattern. “We’re at a point in society where curly hair textures have very much become the ‘in’ thing, and as a result we see it everywhere, especially on social media” Mensah says, “The irony is that said styles were previously seen as unprofessional and wild, so it’s kind of funny to see it everywhere now”. But, ultimately, she’s optimistic and encouraged by this shift: “there’s a trend of people feeling empowered to be themselves, and not letting anything hold them back in that, be it family, friends or even their working environment. I champion this and encourage people to be comfortable in themselves. Wear a weave…