Thanks to stars like Solange Knowles and the irresistible Quann sisters, frizzy, curly and afro hair – worn both naturally and in subtle, creative styles – became a big hit this summer. However, despite the latest trends, lots of women complain that there are far from enough salons whose stylists are properly trained to work with hair types like these. To help increase awareness, FAB took the plunge into the incredible world of frizzy afro hair. Two specialists – brand ambassador for Mizani Alexis Rosso and Aline Tacite, founder of the Boucles d’Ébènes (Ebony Curls) salon – are here to explain how learning to style frizzy and afro hair can open up an infinite variety of creative techniques for all professionals. They also talked to us about the specific training programs available today that can help stylists get started.
France: Playing Catch-up With The USA & The UK
In France, the CAP (a professional qualification) is a necessary step for anyone wanting to work as a styling professional. That said, there are currently no training programs that teach specific techniques for styling and looking after curly and frizzy hair types. Aline Tacite, styling expert in curly, frizzy and afro hair and manager of the Boucles d’Ébènes Studio talked to FAB about the French way of doing things: “In the traditional schools in France, people act like the only type of hair that exists is smooth and sleek, so the first thing we learn is how to make hair less curly or frizzy so that we can then use classic styling techniques on it. And in my opinion that’s a really limited way to go about things.”
The French education authority, along with the National Hairstyling Federation, have at long last realized the problem and a specialized training program will be launched in 2018. That said, programs and schools like these have been common in the USA and the UK for over 25 years, as Alexis Rosso – an award-winning stylist and brand ambassador for Mizani – told FAB: “I have 25 years of experience myself, I went to study in the USA, since techniques for hair like this just weren’t taught in France at that time, and even now they’re only just beginning to become available. In France, it’s as if frizzy hair is a new phenomenon, but the USA knows it’s always been worth paying attention to.”
To help fill the gap, Alexis and Aline (from 2018) have both decided to create their own specialized training programs. Alexis herself never misses an opportunity to improve her own skills either: “I’m still learning everyday. I travel to places like Atlanta, Miami and to hair salons all over the world to meet people and learn. I’m always trying out new techniques, to keep up to date with trends and what’s going on in different places.”
A Market With Huge Potential
In France, the market for styling curly, frizzy and afro hair is emerging, but there still aren’t enough professional offerings to meet demand. Aline is focused on being able to meet this demand at the same time as offering professionals themselves “the chance to get to grips with new skills and expertise”. Alexis has the same outlook and believes it’s high time to “do something serious in mainland France and her overseas territories, because there’s an absolutely gigantic market there waiting to be tapped”. However, to be able to perform certain key techniques, specialized training is necessary and the best thing to do right now is to travel to different places to get it. By offering more training in France, however, “this allows people to get the knowledge they need at the same time as the financial support they need,” Alexis reminds FAB. As for Aline, she believes that “the successful stylist of tomorrow will be the one capable of working with all kinds of hair types”.
Curly, Afro Hair: A World Of New Creativity
These days, the artistic potential in styling frizzy and curly afro hair is fast on the rise. Aline Tacite firmly believe that frizzy hair can be the perfect base for the most beautiful hair transformations and the most striking hair creations. In fact, in her opinion, the main reason for a stylist to get this specialized training is simply “so that they can have fun and expand their creative potential!”
Both specialists compare styling frizzy hair to making a sculpture which, by defying gravity, encourages stylists to work differently with regards to space and volume. Alexis Rosso insists on the unique nature of this kind of hair: “A strand of afro hair, even if it’s been straightened, doesn’t work in the same way as hair that’s Caucasian or naturally straight, and that’s part of the reason this type of styling is so interesting, because it opens up whole new creative possibilities for the stylist and their client.”
The two experts are excited about the idea of launching a specialized hair salon in Europe. As the next few years will show, although in the past hair extensions were at the heart of most training programs, now it’s the turn for frizzy, curly and afro hair to take pride of place and show off all their elegant, creative potential.