Natural hair is no longer a trend or a movement; it’s a lifestyle - and haircare brands have been taking note.
With the demand for products that cater to the needs of curly, kinky, coily, textured hair, the American market can sometimes feel over-saturated with moisturizers, serums, co-washes, elixirs, custards, puddings, detanglers, masques, and more, all geared towards pampering natural hair. And that’s just for styling. Some brands even have multiple lines of shampoos and conditioners.
The Andre Walker Hair Gold System debunks the notion that natural hair is something that needs excess taming and managing. Andre Walker - who was Oprah Winfrey’s hair stylist for over 30 years and is responsible for Halle Berry’s iconic pixie cut - is credited for creating the Hair Typing System, which allows individuals to understand their hair and, in turn, the care that their hair requires.
Last week, Walker’s Gold System launched in the UK with a spectacular hair party. Hair and beauty bloggers as well as natural hair novices and aficionados shared their frustrations and triumphs in their natural hair journeys with Gold System co-founders Andre Walker and Dianne Hudson.
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Both Walker’s hair typing system and Gold System were created for men and women to understand and “make peace with [their] hair.” While Black women in the UK have embraced a natural hair lifestyle, education and resources for natural hair are not as abundant as in the US.
Ebony Arogundade, who lives in the UK and had the fortune of participating in the hair party as one of Walker’s hair models, told ESSENCE at the hair party launch, “Knowledge is the key when it comes to natural hair and so many hair stylists I've seen in the past have had no idea where to start with my natural curls.”
Arogundade, 27, shares that many stylists’ way of styling natural hair was by hiding it.
“If I wanted my hair relaxed, braided or disguised by a wig or weave, I would have no problem finding someone,” said Arogundade. “So facing this problem I turned to the thousands of YouTube videos which just left me confused as every person had different views and loved different products.”
“I bought lots of products that didn't work for my hair type and I was weighing my hair down by putting way too much on, which was what I had to do to get the look I desired. I was also only washing my hair once a week as I'd heard from so many people that shampoo and water was bad for the hair. By the end of the week my hair was thick with a cocktail of products and always felt greasy to touch,” Arogundade describes.
Walker personally shared with Arogundade invaluable tips for properly caring and styling her gorgeous mane of curls.
“Andre taught me that I only needed one product, the Beautiful Curls from the Gold System worked perfectly on my hair,” Arogundade told ESSENCE. “The other thing he taught me was to not be afraid of washing my hair and that washing my hair every 3 - 4 days will cleanse my hair and add moisture back into it. Since I've started using the Gold System and putting his advice into practice, my hair has never felt so light and bouncy, my curls are more defined ,and my hair shines! I have found a whole new love for my curls.”
Walker explained to ESSENCE that, “Knowing your hair type and embracing it is very empowering. Make peace with your hair! This knowledge tells you what your hair will and will not do when styling.You understand what your hair needs to be healthy. Understanding this allows you to co-manage your own hair along with your hairstylist.”
“I would suggest following a blogger who has the same hair type as you,” advises Walker. “If you are type 3, maintenance and styling is different than someone with type 1 hair. The outcome of a roller set for a type 3 is slightly different from a type 4. Remember tutorials and bloggers are a great way to get information. It’s important to know that this information can vary from person to person.”
To properly determine your hair type, Walker instructs “to start with wet hair in its natural state. This means your hair has no chemical relaxer on it at all. Either the relaxer has been completely cut off or you haven't had one in two years. Separate a few strands from the rest and see which of the four types on the chart matches yours.”
Hudson adds by explaining that your hair can exhibit a spectrum of curls. She notes, “It's also very common to have more than one hair type on your head. For example, I am 4a on top, and 4b in back, and close to 3 in my ‘kitchen’ lower back. It's usually not a widespread, so basically handle it all the same. But for sure the results can be different in your various sections.”
Keeping that in mind, here are some great bloggers to follow for hair types 3 and 4 on Instagram:
Type 3 Hair
Frizz is probably the worst enemy for maintaining defined curls in type 3 hair. These bloggers are constantly showing off the definition in their curls. For type 3 hair, Walker suggests using the Gold System’s Beautiful Curls Styling Crème.
A photo posted by Nià The Light 🌸 (@frogirlginny) on Nov 18, 2016 at 8:48am PST
A photo posted by Simone|Big Hair, Bigger Heart🦁 (@hairissimba) on Oct 20, 2016 at 1:04am PDT
A photo posted by Zeinab(Zeze)| Brand Influencer (@naturally_zeze) on Nov 10, 2016 at 3:14pm PST
Type 4 Hair
With ample shrinkage, it’s easy to feel like type 4 hair styling is limiting. These bloggers demonstrate that type 4 hair can be just as versatile and can totally obtain length. Walker suggest using the Gold System’s Beautiful Kinks Styling Crème Gelee and Quench Essential Oil for type 4 hair.
A photo posted by Lesley (@freshlengths) on Nov 6, 2016 at 2:16pm PST
A photo posted by ☥ Yolanda ☥ 🇳🇬🇸🇪 (@yolandaas) on Oct 23, 2016 at 2:16pm PDT
A photo posted by Chínwé Jûliét (NaturalHair) (@igbocurls) on Nov 6, 2016 at 7:25am PST
When following bloggers and tutorials, however, it’s important to remember the difference between aspiration and inspiration. You can be inspired by the style and looks these bloggers are able to achieve with your same hair type, but don’t aspire for your hair to look exactly like theirs. Instead, teach yourself and learn what looks your hair is able to achieve, then embrace and rock it.