Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Fran Alexander did not always know that she wanted to be a hair stylist. For college, she decided to go to Jackson State University in 2007 to study biology. The goal was to become a physical therapist; however, after realizing that she had a greater passion for doing hair, the Clarksdale native left in 2011. She attended Delta Tech in 2016 and graduated at the end of that year.
In 2014, she and Crystal McGrew opened Signature Hair Lounge. Though the salon specializes in weaves, Alexander is knowledgeable about all types of hair. The Jackson Free Press recently talked to her over the phone about caring for natural hair.
What are some of the specific challenges?
Being able to manage natural hair is extremely hard. Most women, when they go natural, they have to go through a whole regimen just to figure out what hair products work with their hair because you have different types of hair. What works for my hair might not work for the next person's hair. My hair might be more coil-y or more dry. Some women's hair holds a lot of moisture, holds a lot of oil, and the next woman's doesn't. You have to go through a huge process finding the right products. Then you have to find out what styles for your hair. Some women can do a wash-and-go. Some women can do a twist-out. Some women can do braid out, coil-out—anything like that to manipulate the curl pattern of your hair to make it more presentable, or just that desired look.
What are your secret tips for taking care of natural hair?
My biggest thing is keeping heat out of our hair. Heat is damaging. You cannot stress that enough. If you want to blow out your hair and wear your hair straight with the heat press, try not to flat iron it every. Try not to curl it every day or anything like that. Just try to wrap it and keep the heat out. Keep it moisturized as much as possible. You cannot stress conditioner more than anything. If you put conditioner in your hair, that's the key. You (could do) deep conditioners, you could do steam conditioners. You could do anything you can to condition your hair, and it will help. Protein treatments—that helps a lot too with strengthening your hair. Moisture is the biggest key.
Products like avocado are good for hair, too, right?
Yes. Avocado is a great conditioner. You could use avocado. A lot of women use mayo (and natural oils such as coconut and olive oils). Growing up, my mama and my grandmother used a lot of mayo on their hair, and I thought it was weird, but after while, you get used to it. They just do a mayo mask or you could do an egg mask. You just crack the egg and use the egg whites. ... A lot of women are on YouTube blogging about what they use for their hair, and I see a lot of natural products. It was helpful for me when I transitioned to natural.
For more information about Signature Hair Lounge (6969 Old Canton, Suite F1, Ridgeland), visit signature hairlounge.com.