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Celebrities like Lauryn Hill and Lenny Kravitz have flocked to Diane Da Costa for help with their natural hair for years.

Now Da Costa has taken all of her experience and put it into a 194-page book. 'Textured Tresses: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining and Styling Natural Hair,' which is out this month, and addresses the unique hair care needs of men and women with naturally textured hair. She believes that whether you lock it, braid it, weave it, twist it or knot it, keeping it coily, curly, wavy and natural is the future of hairstyling.

“I achieved a level of success in my salon and I woke up one morning and said ‘How can I give all of this knowledge back?' ” says Da Costa, who began working on the book nearly five years ago.

The first half of the book covers maintenance, tools and how to choose the right styling products for all different textures.

The second part of the book provides a step-by-step guide to teach people how to achieve a variety of styles for natural hair. Using her celebrity clients as models, Da Costa shares her secrets for natural sets, twists, locs, loc extensions, braids, weaves and natural curls. The book also recommends techniques for creating texture on straight or relaxed hair and some tips on coloring.

“Textured hair allows you flexibility, versatility and options,” Da Costa says. In writing her book, Da Costa draws from her more than 17 years as a hair designer as well as her work as former hair editor at Honey magazine and former owner of Dyaspora Salon and Spa in New York City. She also is founder and prinicipal executive of DL.d Reps, an image consulting and management firm that provides expert beauty and bridal advice, stylist services and marketing strategies to the editorial, fashion, music, film and television industries. Her work has been featured in British Elle, Essence and the New York Times.

Paula Renfoe, who helped write 'Textured Tresses,' is lifestyle editor of XXL magazine and also has written for Vibe, Source and TimeOut New York. The book’s forward is written by actor Blair Underwood, one of Da Costa’s long-time clients.

Da Costa didn’t always wear her hair natural. She hot combed or used relaxers on her thick, coarse curls until she was 25. Then, during a very creative and expressive period of her life, she says she decided to go natural. After a year of thinking about it, she walked into a salon and cut all her hair off.

“It was very dramatic,” she says.

Despite initial resistance from family and friends, everyone around her has embraced her natural hair. She says she has personally tried every hairstyle in the book and currently wears her hair in a textured ‘fro.

Da Costa said she decided to write the book because she believes there was a need for a comprehensive source for natural hair.

“There was nothing out there for all textures,” she says.

She has spent the past five years researching natural hair, interviewing celebrities and jotting down notes about what she’s learned in the business. But she said at times it looked as if the book wouldn’t see the light of day.

Then one day, a client, Sharonee Green, came into her salon asking her to replicate one of the looks she created for Essence magazine. She told Green about her book project and Green -- a self-taught painter and journalist -- encouraged her to pursue it. She got an agent, revised her proposal, and a year later her book idea was picked up by Simon & Schuster.

The timing, she says, was ideal.

“This is the most amazing time for curly, wavy and tightly coiled hair,” she says.

Da Costa has plans to expand her empire. She hopes to create products formulated for women of color with textured hair. She also plans to open another salon and currently is looking for space in the Tribeca area of Manhattan. If you live in the New York area, Da Costa will be on hand from 1-3 p.m., June 19 at the Barnes & Noble at 290 Baychester Ave. the the Bronx and from 1-3 p.m. June 26 at theNubian Heritage Bookstore at 560 Fulton St. in Brooklyn.


Diane’s Tips

  • Keep your hair moisturized and conditioned. Textured hair needs a lot of moisture.
  • Massage the scalp
  • Herbal oil treatments are important to use every three to four weeks, especially if you have tightly coiled hair or locs. She recommends such oils as jojoba, lavender, macadamia oil and shea butter.
  • Shape and trim your hair on a regular basis. For textured hair, she recommends every two to three months.
  • Never force a comb through your hair when it won’t go all the way through. That means it needs a trim.
  • Don’t ignore the signs of a troubled scalp – hair loss, itching, tingling. See a dermatologist right away. A stylist can’t cure serious scalp problems.
  • Don’t ignore split ends. Get them trimmed.

Some of Diana’s favorite products

  • PhytoSpecific
  • Aveda
  • Neutrogena Triple Moisture
  • For locs she likes Paul Mitchell Tea Trea Shampoo and Conditioner
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