In September, we had you submit questions to celebrity hair stylist Ursula Stephen. Ursula read your questions and comments – here is part two of our feature with more answers and tips from the stylist…
Hey ladies! Sorry for the delay, it seems as if I’ve been around the world and back again! From France to London, Milan and even LA, I’ve been working hard, but I haven’t forgotten about you! I’m here and let’s get to some of these great questions! – Ursula…
Q: Hi Ursula, My cousin and sister are both hair stylists, but my cousin wants to do so much more. Right now she’s working as a beautician and she works for MAC cosmetics…how did you get started in this business? Congratulations on all your success Your a beautiful young woman.
A: To get started in this business, I actually have been blessed. I attended high school which was where I studied cosmetology and once I graduated I positioned myself in great salons. From there, it was basically word of mouth. A lot of business came to me, allowing me to get myself out there and have opportunities to meet/network with people. God had a plan for me I guess .
Q: I have semi-thick relaxed hair – what deep conditioners and leave-in conditioner do you recommend to help growth for longer fuller hair? Do you recommend blow dry after roll and set or flat ironing hair?
A: When it comes to leave in conditioners, I prefer ones that are thick and creamy versus thin and runny. Those conditioners that are thin tend to “fall” off the hair and those that are thick add muscle, which protects the hair. Also, I like the fullness of a roller set over blow drying after roller setting the hair. I like it full and sexy, a fresh roller set will give you that effect.
Q: When is it time to change from using the same relaxer?
A: Relaxers should be changed when you stop seeing the reaction in your results. Meaning when your hair starts to become resistant to the relaxer’s strength it’s probably time to move on.
Q: What hair colors/hues do you suggest for darker females?
A: It’s sometimes hard to decide colors for skin tones. African-Americans come in so many different shades and each has what’s called a “undertone,” which is usually a red or yellow/gold. These tones play a big part in which colors work best for your skin even in makeup. But in general for a dark skin/red undertone shade I like oranges, reds, cranberries and colors in that range.
Q: I cut my hair to the scalp last year but I decided to let it grow back. It’s long enough for a short haircut in which I’m wearing today. However, I’m not wearing a perm-I’m wearing a press. My question is; “How do I maintain that fresh-from-the-shop shine that blings after a nice press job?”
A: I suggest that if you want to maintain shine, using serums and high gloss sprays work best. Oil sheens tend to have alcohol as an ingredient which dries out the hair. The glosses on the other hand adds a “bling” and “crystalizes” on the hair. It coats versus penetrates.
Q: Can I grow out my perm and go to a ceramic press without cutting my hair off of will this just my damage my hair and make it break-off?
A: Growing out your relaxer to natural hair and switching to ceramic press is fine. Although, be aware that will experience damage either way, but it should be expected and considered normal. Please condition, condition, condition! Also, trim your ends at least once a month.
Q: Hi Ursula, I am 35 years old and I have noticed that my hair is thinning and seriously breaking around the edges , especially right at my center part (on the left side, LOL). I have curly hair that I wear natural for the most part, but the breakage is not a game and I am afraid to press it or get my once annual weave, cause it’s looking thin! I have been advised to use Dr, Miracle’s products and Biotin tablets. Is that good advice?
A: Yes! That advice is great. Using products that focus on hair growth and repair are great. As we get older life changes start to happen with our hair, skin, nails, etc. Also, genetics play a part too. Women pattern baldness may be a hereditary factor as well. Keep using those products and the hair may or may not grow back but some things we may have to get used to.
Q: Hi Ursula, Do you have any suggestions on products to use on big curly hair? My hair is curlier in some parts than others and sometimes it can look dry. I want it to look even all over. I have been using the same cheap gel for the past 20 years! I wash my hair with whatever is on sale and I know this is starting to take a toll on my hair. I have used Mixed Chicks before but it really didn’t benefit me much. If you have any suggestions on stylists..I live in LA. I really need help!
A: 20 years??!! Products have come a long way since then! You have to take a look outside the sale aisle and invest in your hair. It’s your beauty. Look for products that have curl boosting agents. Although great hair products can be expensive–it’s worth it! You wouldn’t skimp on your clothes or eating quality food, so spoil your hair too!
Q: I would like to know which products you think are best for natural hair. I have a very thick kinky ‘fro that i love. however, it can get very dry. I’m a product junkie and am always looking for new ones or tips and tricks to take care of my luscious mane. Please impart your knowledge! thanks =)
A: Dryness is a characteristic of natural hair and especially African-American women. Our hair secretes less oils. Therefore, use a moisturizing cream day and night. Sleeping with a satin scarf will help as well. Any other fabric will absorb the oils from your hair making it dryer.
Q: I have a HUGE problem. I have been putting extensions in my hair for a couple of years and now my hair is really damaged. Can you recommend any new hair styles or treatments for my hair. Im ready to stop wearing weave and i need to know what to do next.
A: Ladies! How can you be wearing the same style for so long and not expect your hair to be mad at you?! So now, your hair needs time to heal. Invest in haircare and start loving your hair back to health!
Q: Help, Ursula! I’ve had a sew in weave for 3 years and just recently I’m wearing my own
hair (it is about 16 inches long). How can I prevent breakage, I don’t want a perm and I can’t keep the hair straight.
A: 3 years of the same style, this is all your hair knows! You have to retrain it all over again. It’s time to condition and allow your hair to be on it’s own.
Q: Hello! I love my weave and I would like to pull it up from time to time, but is there are way to do this without leaving extra hair out?
A: You girls want your cake and want to eat it too! Leaving your hair out allows you to pull your hair up without the track showing. If you don’t leave this hair out–the tracks will show and you lose the natural look and your versatility.
Q: I was wondering for a sew-in is it better to s-type braids or a bee-hive? My hair is permed but I want it to look naturally curly sometimes is there a easy way to achieve this without getting a texturizer?
A: For a weave, your braiding pattern all depends on the style you want to achieve and what the hairstylist prefers to do. Also, just to be clear you can’t go back to a texturizer from a chemical relaxer. A texturizer is best suited for natural hair to loosen the curl.
Q: Are the new bobs (shorter in back , longer in front) a good cut for someone w/a round face? Is there a vitamin that’s helps hair grow?
A: The new bob is actually great for most face shapes. The style is versatile but you have to find your “niche.” Meaning, you may want a side part, middle part, length, etc. Also there is a vitamin that you should be able to find easily at your local health food or vitamin store.
Q: I have a question, what styles do you think would be good for natural hair, instead of the same old braids and twists?
A: A great alternative to braids and twists for natural hair is, one push it up into a funky Mohawk, two, headbands and clips are great and molding it into different funky shapes is hot too!
Q: Hi, I have a short cut and no matter what I do I can’t get my hair to lay flat in the back. So besides gel which still doesn’t work what should I do.
A: When you have short hair, first of all you probably need to touch it up/relax it more often and second you may want to have it faded out a little more to keep the back down.
Q: My hair is pretty straight and its flat, I wanna have more volume in it! I’ve tried hairspray and it dosen’t really work on me, it don’t last long. I really need some volume because it looks dead, so pleas help me, what should I do?
A: Start from the beginning with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. Then follow up with a volumizing spray.
Q: Hey Ursula! I love Solange’s hair style! My hair is natural, but I’m familiar with sew-ins. So what hair would you recommend for that style?
A: To achieve Solange’s hair style, I recommend using a “wet and wavy” or “French wave/deep wave” weave.
Be sure to check out Ursula on BET’s “The Black Carpet” and find out how to get the latest looks for Fall Hair, airing Wednedsday Nov 5th @ 10:30 pm.
Thanks to all the readers who submitted questions, and keep checking back for more with Ursula on Concreteloop!
DISCLAIMER: Ursula Stephen is a respected and professional hairstylist, however, you are taking her tips at your own risk. Please make sure to consult other professional hairstyles before doing something drastic.