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Diary of the Hair Whisperer

The Hair Whisperer at work

To some people, the ability to hear hair conversing sounds intriguing, and it is.  However, to a Hair Whisperer, it is a blessing and a curse.

Imagine walking by groups of people and having to listen to the cries from heads of hair that have been mistreated and styled against their will — held captive by banana clips, misplaced bobby pins and slathered with grease.  It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

Sometimes I’m compelled to stop, introduce myself, and say, “I couldn’t help but overhear your hair.” Once they realize I do know what’s been done to their hair, we have a conversation.

Typically, I depend on the GroHealthy products from Sofn’free to demonstrate how to make their hair happy again.  The milk protein and olive oil formulas of these products work on all hair types: relaxed, transitioning and “straight relaxed” natural hair.  So, one line goes a long way in a series of hair chats.

I start out with the most basic need of hair:  to be clean. Not just clean to the eye, but clean down to the scalp.  Clean is good, but a healthy clean is better by far.  Naturally, I tell them about the sulfate-free moisturizing conditioning shampoo from Sofn’free GroHealthy. It allows a dry scalp to drink deeply from the rich mixture of select olives, milk proteins and essential fatty acids found in Omega 3.

That’s when I see that just starting this conversation with hair owners makes the hair itself start to feel more comfortable.  More times than I can remember, hair has breathed a deep sigh of relief and thanks that it’ll finally get the help it needs.

Sometimes I also often hear anxious, hushed whispers of from the hair saying, “Please tell her about conditioner.”  Without hesitation, I recommend the line’s Really Deep Conditioning Treatment and Leave-In Treatment.  Oh, how the strands dance with delight that this is what they’ll get next.

The hair owners and I often exchange email addresses and Twitter handles, promising postings on Sofn’free’s Facebook wall once they’ve tried the products.

For the times when I walk by happy hair, it’s a different story.  It practically sings to me about how well it is treated:  cleansed, nourished, hydrated and always styled gently.  Those are the strands that shine, while they sing loud and clear.

To find out more about how to make your hair sing, read about Sofn’free GroHealthy products at sofnfree.com.  And stop by Sofn’free’s on social media: Twitter.com/sofnfree and Facebook.com/sofnfree.  I’ll be there to listen.

Hair Fitness at Bronner Bros.

Grand prize winner Linette Battle (image courtesy of UnitedHealthcare)

The Bronner Brothers show is a huge draw for many reasons, but we had to give a shoutout to Linette Battle of Palm Beach, Florida. She won the grand prize in the 3rd annual “Hair Fitness” competition, which promotes styles that “facilitate healthy and fit African American women.” The contest, sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, included 50 showstopping competitors – all striving to create hairstyles that were easy to maintain that could help their clients make daily exercise less high-maintenance.

Stylists were judged on technical execution, originality, suitability and head contour, and new ideas. Contest categories included: low-impact workout (little to no sweat and requires only one shampoo/condition per week); moderate-impact workout (modest sweat and requires 1-2 shampoo and conditions per week); and high-impact (profuse sweating and requires 2-3 shampoo/conditions per week).

Keep up the great work ladies!

Learn more about the competition and winners here.

Natural is Nothing But…

At the Natural Hair Show in Atlanta, Nothing But asked women what it means to be natural. See what they said, and let us know in the comments what you think!

Natural Hair MeetUp Day in Brooklyn

Style everywhere at the MeetUp

I celebrated the National Natural Hair MeetUp Day with A Tribe Called Curl at their rooftop event in a trendy part of Brooklyn, inhabited by coffee shops, eateries touting cultural cuisine, and sidewalk cafés. Met at the door by registration, three of our vanilla flavored sisters wondered if this was indeed the place. I tipped my Kangol – “If you are celebrating National Natural Hair Meet Up Day indeed it is.“ Though a more unlikely trio you would not have found, these three ladies proved to be filled with questions, thirsty for knowledge and fueled by failed attempts to capture the curls of their youth and united in their resolve to liberate themselves from the daily task of blow drying and or flat ironing their hair. Needless to say I have three new curly girl friends.

More lovely ladies, including the incomparable Karen with her out-of-this world fro.

This afternoon’s events included several small discussions with groups of 4-5 women. A lot of product knowledge spread around. Across the room my eyes locked and I was transported through a wormhole in the fabric of time – Could it be Tamara Dobson (and I don’t mean the Tamara Dobson post-Cleopatra Jones)? I mean one and the same, frozen in time with That Fro. The sexiest of all fros, from the beginning of time to this very moment a fro unparalleled in its ability to mesmerize any human being.
I extended my hand – “I know you must hear this a hundred times a day” and before I uttered the words she had already said yes, so I kept my Cleopatra Jones reference to myself. Instead I asked her name and she was who I suspected – her pictures do her no justice.  Karen is someone you have to see in person. We were panel mates on the rooftop, and between us we seemed to have solved the problems and answered most questions.

Back to Lewis Avenue and the night was in full swing – I still had a presentation to give and giveaways to distribute.  That was done in grand style amid applause, finger snaps, pictures and promises. At eleven I called it a day well done; I was tired to the core, but enriched to the pinnacle.

Will Visits South Africa

Will, standing below Nelson Madela's statue (Johannesborg, South Africa)

My travels take me all over the world meeting barbers and stylists in many countries; this week I’m working in South Africa.

I always come here to Nelson Mandela Square each time I’m in South Africa. I like to sit and contemplate, watch the many people from around the world taking pictures and reflecting on the life and contributions of this great man.

The road to success is paved with education, thats why I’m here – sometimes teacher, sometimes student.

Will visits the World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta

Will and Monica Green (so Curly so Kinky so Straight) at the Nothing But booth

Well this has been a month in the life of Will Williams! I ended the month with the World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta, where Naturalista’s from around the world gathered to make the statement: ” We appreciate our natural textures, celebrate its uniqueness and welcome the differences in it.”

Looking forward to sharing some highlights from my travels – and the videos we just filmed for Nothing But!

Mourning Whitney

Will signing condolence boards in front of the Apollo in Harlem

I received a text from the NY Times when Whitney died. I was affected – saw it on TV and was so sad at her tragic loss. When I walked down 125th in Harlem, I saw the impromptu memorial of flowers and teddy bears, small dolls, bits and pieces piled. Above huge sheets of large, heavy poster board, where real people signed real names, filled with real condolences next to the Apollo Theater. The vendors’ tables filled with photographs, sweats and tees with Whitney’s image. Her sunrise and sunset dates on each garment, next to buttons with pictures of Don Corneilius and Etta James. I said it at the same time as two other grievers “First Don, then Etta James now Whitney Houston.” This is a painful loss…

Meet Will!

Will graduated from the prestigious Pittsburgh Beauty Academy in 1976, becoming a Master Cosmetologist five years later. Afterwards, Will began work in earnest as an educator, embarking on an international career that has taken him to 4
continents. With Masters’ degrees in cutting and color, Will’s career has always been driven by education, science, and art.

Highlighted by technical and artistic competition, Will’s experience has made him uniquely qualified on a wide variety of subjects related to hair and the world we live in. He draws upon over 30 years of experience behind the chair, in front of the class, in the product lab, and traveling the world teaching and learning the art, science and management of haircare.

Having served  as Education Director for 3 international haircare manufacturers, Will is currently Director of Education for M&M Products Company. A frequent contributor to trade magazines as well as television and radio, he is a natural hair enthusiast who is considered to be an expert in all things hair.