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Natural Hairstylists: Felicia Leatherwood

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Felicia Leatherwood was recently featured in Yahoo’s Secret’s to your success. Here she tells her story about how she became a successful hairstylist and what inspired her. She is described as the ‘hair whisperer’ and her specialty is said to be :

Creating natural hairstyles and helping African-American men and women love their natural hair, sans chemicals and over-processing.”

It is good to hear about hairstylists who have studied natural hair and are passionate about promoting healthy and natural hair care. Since going natural I have struggled to find a hairdresser with expertise in natural hair care and have frankly been disappointed. I’m sure if I really did my research and was prepared to spend a lot of money I would find a good one eventually. Initially, I thought if I went to the Afro hairdressers in my area they would know about natural hair, boy was I wrong! If I was to find a good one in the London area I would have to be prepared to spend good money and travel to the other side of London. I really wish there was more choice when it came to hairdressers and stylists for natural hair.

Let me share a couple of horror stories with you. I use to get my hair cornrowed and I would wear a fake puff. I figured this would be the easiest way to manage my hair and it was quite protective as my real hair was cornrowed and tucked away. I got a lot of compliments for this style. However the damage done to my hair to create this style was simply not worth it. First of all, the hairdressers I went to would always blow-dry my hair before even beginning to put it in braids. Some hairdressers would blow-dry and then even flat-iron my hair all before braiding or cornrowing it. Some wouldn’t even bother to use heat protectants on my hair before putting it through this grueling procedure.

Also, there were the hairdressers that insisted on using a fine tooth comb on my natural hair! I didn’t even see a wide tooth comb in their selection of equipment. It’s sad to say that on one particular occasion there was a lot of shed hair on the floor, not naturally shed hair, most of it broke off from all the pulling. The hairdresser even used this to imply that my hair was breaking and that I should get a treatment and spend even more money in that place! They never saw me again after that. I have learned to be patient and extremely careful with my natural hair, I couldn’t possibly put my hair in the hands of a careless, impatient hairdresser ever again.

One bad experience after another. The only way to get around it was to blow dry my hair myself using my own heat protectants and handle my hair with care before going to the hairdresser. However, it still wouldn’t be straight enough for them and they would want to run a flat-iron through it as well. You certainly get what you pay for, that’s for sure. This is why I am so grateful for all the information I have acquired from bloggers and vloggers on the internet. People who have given me valuable information for free. From women sharing their personal experiences of going natural, to natural hair experts who have studied natural hair for years . It’s nice to hear about people who really know what they are talking about when it comes to natural hair, it’s so refreshing.

Felicia Leatherwood explained the importance of reciprocity in her success. The more you give to others the more others want to give back. As well as having celebrity clients like Jill Scott she also hosts seminars and provides information on the web, often giving away her expertise for free. People appreciate this free information and it’s one of the reasons she has loyal customers today.

After what I’ve experienced with hairdressers if I find a stylist that genuinely cares about my hair and really knows about natural hair,  I certainly wouldn’t take it for granted. Most importantly If I come across a bad, clueless hairstylist,  I would pick up my purse and simply walk out before they do any damage to my hair.   I now style my own hair and I don’t have to blow dry my hair to braid it, I can’t even remember the last time I used heat to style my hair. It would be nice to go to a good hairstylist though. I’ve since moved to America and I am currently in Arkansas (near Little Rock). I will be in Dallas Texas for a few months also, so if you know any in those areas let me know. Thanks!

Have you had a similar experience? Share your stories below.

Felicia Leatherwood Updo

Client Jill Scott

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