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Are you ready to colour textured hair?

Clients with Afro-textured hair are increasingly embracing their natural texture… and embracing the possibilities of colour. Zoë Irwin, 2018 Most Wanted Creative Talent, warns UK salons to prepare or get left behind

Zoë Irwin

The UK has seen a rise in women transitioning from relaxed straightened hair to wearing it in its natural form. Over in the US, Mintel reported that women with natural texture overtook the use of chemical straighteners and relaxers for the first time. Without the sensitivity caused by relaxers, and the very silhouette of the hair changing dramatically. What’s followed is an incredible surge of hair colour experimentation, from vivid brights to delicate and rich tones.

 I’ve seen it from Coachella to Brooklyn, from East London to West, and it’s been an influence for my debut trend launch as Wella Professional’s colour trend expert – Colour Texture Embrace. From freehand ‘Pintura’ colouring techniques, to global applications of bleach that are then dyed to pretty pastels or vivid brights, these colour trends are as popular on women as men, making this a huge market for hair colour and education.

 I’ve discussed this trend movement to women in the beauty industry, and such was the interest and desire for more information on colour techniques and availability across the UK, I couldn’t help but wonder… is your salon ready for this?

 What is the reason that a woman in the UK with Afro-textured hair cannot walk into any salon and have her hair styled and coloured? Some will say it’s the education; they simply have not been trained. Some will say it’s the demand.

 Of the 35,000 Habia-registered hair salons in the UK, only 302 cater to Afro-Caribbean hair.* Read that again. This is an astonishing statistic and means that 0.85 per cent of all salons are serving the 3 per cent of the population** with kinked, curled and multi-textured hair.

 It’s odd (not to mention outdated and downright wrong) that clients with textured hair can’t just walk into any salon to get their hair done. Hair is hair in its many forms. Training for Afro-textured hair should come at the apprentice stage and follow through a stylist’s ongoing education.

 By narrowing their market, hairdressers are missing out creatively. It’s very important to have knowledge on products that work well in textured hair, as well as an education on how to weave and colour and style. It also means potential lost business for many salons.

 According to The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, Afro-Caribbean women are reported to spend six times more than other ethnicities on beauty and hair services – six times! This is incredible – there are many exciting opportunities just waiting for savvy salons who want to serve people with ALL types of hair texture.

 The biggest change I’ve seen recently is the diversity of models used in hair collections. I’m hoping changes in hair education throughout UK salons follow, in terms of techniques and ideas as much as hair theory. It’s time to immerse yourselves in textured hair education – we’re at the start of something very exciting, and it’s about time!

*Figures provided by VTCT and endorsed by Habia, based on research conducted 2016-2017
**ONS UK census 2011