For more than two decades, Oprah's trusted only one man with her hair—stylist extraordinaire Andre Walker. "I've had the same hairdresser for 24 years," she says. "That's why I still have my hair."
Andre—who's also an interior designer—gives us a quick consultation on the dos and don'ts of keeping African-American hair healthy. (Here's a hint: condition, condition, condition!)
Joan Wagner: How did you get interested in styling hair?
Andre Walker: As a teenager, I started styling my mother's hair pieces just for fun. She loved the way they turned out, so she started asking me to style them rather than taking them to the beauty parlor (that's what a salon was called then). I would get such a kick out of seeing her wear them out.
JW: Oprah credits you with keeping her hair healthy for the past 24 years. What can women do to keep their hair healthy?
AW: Healthy hair is always clean and conditioned. Make sure products such as sprays, gels, waxes, etc. are cleaned from your hair—otherwise you can create buildup, which is very damaging.
Apply heat such as flat irons, curling irons and blow-drying at a minimum, maybe once or twice a week, as this is very drying. Try pin curling or roller setting in between.
Excessive shampooing can strip the natural oils from your hair, which is very important if you chemically treat your hair with color or relaxers. Natural oils add nutrients and moisture.
JW: What's the most common mistake women make when it comes to their hair—and how can they fix it?
AW: The most common mistakes I've seen are overcoloring or relaxing. These two processes are very damaging and should be done only when needed. I recommend every six to eight weeks. When you use these processes, you must condition, condition, condition.