Texture! Panel

“Texture!”—a programming event presented by NaturallyCurly.com, CurlStylist.com and Modern Salon Magazine—is being heralded as one of the most interesting and successful panels at this year’s American Beauty Show.

The Texture! panel featured a veritable who’s who of the curly hair industry, including Dickey of Hair Rules, Titi and Miko Branch of Miss Jessie’s, Veronique Morrison of Mizani, Ouidad, Shari Harbinger of DevaConcepts, Jonathan Torch of Curly Hair Solutions and Edwin Johnson of KMS California.

America’s Beauty Show is a large (tens of thousands in attendance”> trade show for beauty industry professionals that draws stylists and manufacturers from around the world. It was held this year in Chicago March 27-29.

The panel, held Sunday, was a longtime dream of NaturallyCurly co-founders Gretchen Heber and Michelle Breyer, who long wished for the opportunity to get so many curl experts in the same room together.

Judging from the audience’s reaction, the dream was successfully fulfilled. Dozens of stylists piled into the chilly convention center room to hear these legends of the industry describe their background, talk about their philosophies and offer concrete advice.

And while not all curl experts think alike, the event was a harmonious one, with the panelists all realizing the significance of the gathering.

“This meeting is a wonderful example of the shift in our customers’ belief in their natural hair,” said Harbinger.

Other ABS Highlights

• See our ABS blog!

• L’Oreal launches INOA

• Keratin treatment companies were plentiful

• Tabatha Coffey’s quickfire stylist challenge was wildly popular

• Kim Vo and Nick Arrojo cruised the floor of the show, pausing for photos and chats

• Mizani’s new True Textures line made a big splash

“No two people are the same. The left side is different from the right side. You have to deal with each person differently,” said Torch, as several panelists’ heads bobbed in agreement.

More practical tips came from Titi Branch: “The consultation is so important. Typically, the curly hair client is traumatized, skeptical. You have to patiently work with her.”

“You’ll have a client for life if you do what you say you’re going to do,“ said Harbinger.

Added Jonathan Torch, “There’s a lot of common sense to working with curly hair. With certain techniques you can remove bulk. The next challenge is to remove frizz. Everybody with curly hair has frizz issues. You can have the greatest haircut but if you don’t know how to manage the frizz, it’s no good.”

At one point, Breyer, who moderated the event, asked the audience how many of them had received specific training in working with textured hair when they were in cosmetology school. Only four raised their hands.

Mizani Demostration

Mizani demostration

The panel lauded the audience members for attending the session to gain more education. “We all need to be educated so that we can all deal with all types of hair,” said Morrison. “As our culture has evolved, we’re looking at curly hair as being more accepted now. The more we know curls, the better.”

“I was self-taught. I needed to develop special techniques to cut curly hair,” Johnston said.

Torch stressed the importance of today’s experts helping the next generation of stylists, “A curly hair style is always moving, from morning to noon to night. It’s hard for a new stylist to fathom. Now that curly hair is mainstream, it’s our responsibility to teach the next generation.”

Curlyheads, too, need special training to work with their curls, said Ouidad. “Many people with curly hair have never been taught; they’ve never been guided to work with their curly hair. It’s important that you stylists educate their clients. Every human being who has curly hair is able to learn to manage their chair.”

Following the panel were demonstrations by some of the panelists, a very popular part of the programming where the stylists were invited to come up close and have a back-and-forth with the presenters.

Each audience member received an enormous bag filled with hair care products, brochures and a super-cool CurlStylist apron.

Miko Branch offered perhaps the loveliest line of the day: “Bringing beauty to natural hair is my goal,” she said.

Gretchen Heber


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