Lupita Nyong'o's hairstylist Vernon François explains the big mistake women with curly hair are making
Celeb stylist Vernon François is the king of textured hair. He works with the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Ava DuVernay, Kerry Washington, Ruth Negga, Cynthia Erivo, Solange, Uzo Aduba, and launched a namesake brand shoppable at Sephora.
The world of curls can be complicated, but according to Vernon, it doesn’t have to be. His products take the guesswork out of hair care by using picture icons instead of alphanumeric hair typing. No more confusion over whether you’re a 3c vs 4a, or a 4b vs 4c; just look for a coiled, kinky, wavy, straight, or curly symbol on Vernon’s products, and you know you’re on the right track.
We chatted with Vernon via email for curl tips, what’s missing from the world of textured hair, and what mistake women with curls are still making. Mind. Blown.
HelloGiggles: A lot of people know you as the stylist who used an actual iron to steam Lupita Nyongo’s hair (an iconic moment, btw) can you tell us what inspired that ingenious moment?
Vernon François: I’m amazed at how my improvising with a steam iron has become iconic — is that what people know me for?! I remember we were in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya, it was 5 a.m. and I’d left some of my equipment back where we were staying, which was far away from where we were prepping Lupita’s hair. Being self-taught, I will always find a way to make whatever it is I need to do work. I saw the iron and recognized that the spray function on it could be a great solution! Lupita thought it was hilarious so she captured that photo, which has attracted a lot of attention.
HG: What inspired you to create the Vernon François line?
VF: I was inspired to create my own hair care collection after listening to my clients with textured and curly hair over the years, hearing their frustrations about not being able to find high-end or even mainstream products that were specifically designed for them, and spotting a definite gap in the market.
None of the big brands were properly speaking to consumers with kinky, coily, and curly hair, and any products for tight curls were generally labeled as “black hair care,” which excludes a lot of people. The reality is that people from all walks of life have textured and curly hair. My collection is red carpet glamour for all hair textures.
HG: What did you feel was missing in the world of curly hair care?
VF: I felt that light formulas, which are non-greasy, don’t make hair go crisp, don’t flake, or smell like flowers were missing in the world of curly hair care. Also, being dyslexic, I found a lot of the texture typing charts were more detailed and confusing than they needed to be; so, I felt that simplicity was missing.
This inspired me to create the icons which you’ll find on the front of every bottle in my collection. The icons are a universal visual language that makes it easy to identify the best products for your hair type. I also felt that formulas with ingredients that exactly match what different texture types need was missing, which has been answered by my collection.
HG: What’s one mistake you see women with textured hair making?
VF: I often see women with textured hair trying to suppress their curl pattern, which for me is a mistake because the hair loses its personality. People also mistakenly think that the more product you apply, the better. It’s a myth that textured hair needs lots of product; doing this can weigh the hair down, which minimizes its bounce and natural movement.
If you usually apply lots of pomade, wax, putty or whatever, try using half as much next time; work it properly through the hair and see how that makes a difference to your overall finished look. Less is more!
HG: We can’t wait to get our hands on the whipped deep conditioner. Can you spill any details on other future releases?
VF: I can’t wait for you to try it! Whipped Deep Conditioner is the perfect new addition to my collection, because it’s a dose of powerful, intense hydration for all hair types, particularly hair that’s heat-styled, colored, or chemically treated.
Future releases? I am working on some exciting new product developments right now, but the details are top secret! The best thing to do is keep checking my social channels for news announcements.