In the last decade, the multiracial population in the US has nearly tripled. According to the 2020 census, multiracial people now comprise about 10% of the population. For stylists, this means we are seeing more mixed-race hair types in our chairs or having clients ask more questions because they have a granddaughter, cousin, or friend, and need help with the hair! Let’s talk about a few basics for products and touch on the history of ethnic hair so we all can be a bit more educated and knowledgeable.
I loved and was inspired by the book, “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America” by Ayana D Byrd and Lori L. Tharp. In the book, they take you through the history, culture, and politics of their ever-changing hair. As a stylist, I loved reading what they used early on – like axel grease and eel skin – to straighten their hair. The book touched on how the afro went from militant style to a mainstream fashion trend and what prompted the Jheri curl and its fall from grace. It even gave you the story of Bo Derek’s controversial cornrows and the range of reactions they garnered. I took from this book major figures in the history of Black hair that I had never heard of and stories I never knew. Knowledge is power and I learned a lot, but the key is to apply this knowledge.
I volunteer at my kid’s school and decided to ask the two lunch ladies I work with about this topic. Mary Margaret has a daughter, I knew this much, but learned THAT day she was biracial and the struggles they had and still have with her hair! We talked about all the products they tried, hair cuts, etc. She spoke as a white woman with a biracial child about how hard it was to find a stylist that could cut her daughter’s hair. She showed me a picture of her daughter and she had the most gorgeous, kinky curly afro – the kind you see in magazines. She said it has taken her 22 years to figure out how to take care of and do her hair and find a stylist that can color and cut her type of hair. That made me sad.
The other woman that works there is Pam. She is a tiny, amazing Black woman and she has three children who have children of their own, and her one son’s kids are biracial. She had me laughing telling me how she can’t figure out how to braid their hair. “It is too slippery!”, she kept saying, “It’s gorgeous hair but no one knows what to do with it”.
So how do I apply what I learned? What products should someone with mixed hair use that you could pick up today at RHIMIX salon? Aveda Nutriplenish line is intense nutrient-powered superfood hydration with omega-5-rich pomegranate oil that nourishes hair creating lasting moisture. They have an entire line of shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioning masks, leave-in sprays, gel, hair oil, and more. If you are not sure what the needs are for your hair or you are doing this for someone else – book an appointment and sit with a stylist to talk over what products will be best for that hair type. I don’t want anyone to have to struggle with their hair or not have a resource and place to come to educate themselves. With the countless ethnic combinations possible from the 33.8 million different hair types (or 10% of the population I referred to earlier), I think we need to do better, grow more in our industry, and educate ourselves for the love of hair!
Rhimix Salon & Spa is your local beauty salon in Wooster, Ohio. We provide a variety of high-quality services, including hair care, color and texture treatment, waxing, and makeup application. Plan a refreshing day at our full-service Day Spa and book a facial treatment, foot therapy, massage therapy, manicure, pedicure, and spa treatments. Request your next appointment online or by phone at 330-263-5480.