Meet The Woman Who Does Oprah's Hair
As she was about to take off with Oprah for her first trip to South Africa, Nicole revealed the best of her accumulated hair wisdom...
What are the toughest hair challenges for black women?
Dryness and breakage caused by overprocessing and heat tools. With natural hair, it’s hard to find the perfect cocktail of products to keep your hair moisturized but not too oily. A lot of women do protective styling in braids or weaves to give their hair a rest from treatments or heat tools—or when they just don’t want to deal with managing it every day. But protective styling can put stress on hair and damage follicles, leading to thinning or even hair loss.
What are the best solutions—and how do you keep Oprah’s hair looking so perfect?
There are three key words for maintaining healthy hair: moisture, moisture, and moisture. Sulfates can be drying, so look for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, and creamy formulas with oils such as coconut and jojoba. Co-washing, or cleansing with a conditioner that contains a small amount of gentle nondetergent cleansers, can also keep hair hydrated. Use a deep conditioning mask with oils at least once a week—Oprah gets a deep conditioning twice a week—and a heat-protecting spray when styling with a hot tool. (I always use a heat-protecting spray on Oprah’s hair when we blow-dry it.)
If you wear braids or a weave, tell your stylist if it feels too tight—which, by the way, won’t make it last longer and can damage the hair follicles. And even these styles must be washed and conditioned at least once a week.
When you’re feeling frustrated about managing your hair, see a stylist for a consultation. She can help you figure out the products you need, which can be helpful if you, like many women, have a mix of textures. And lots of my clients, after my consultation, have found videos on YouTube to be a terrific way to learn the how-tos of styling.
By the Numbers
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