Every hairstylist should be able to care for all hair textures. But that's sadly not the case. Historically, many hair care professionals have been able to graduate from cosmetology school without ever working with textured hair.
"While I was in cosmetology school, I was confronted with a lack of understanding of textured hair from both the instructors and my peers," Unilever global stylist and celebrity hair artist Lacy Redway says. "I did not see a lot of textured hair clients coming into our salon. The focus was primarily to pass the state board."
Celebrity hairstylist Nai'vasha recalls being able to work with textured hair during her training years in Metro Atlanta. However, like Redway, she says the curriculum didn't explicitly cover how to treat curls and coils.
In 2021, Louisiana became the first state to revise its board exams to include a section on cutting textured hair. While this is a significant step in the right direction, there's still a nationwide education deficit regarding Black haircare.
While I was in cosmetology school, I was confronted with a lack of understanding of textured hair from both the instructors and my peers.
The widespread lack of textured hair knowledge makes it challenging for Black women to experience the salon treatment they deserve consistently. TRESemmé’s 2020 Hair Bias Report found that 86% of Black women (based on a survey of 1000 Black women) have difficulties finding a professional stylist, encountering unskilled stylists and blatant hair discrimination in the salon chair.
To address these inequities, Redway and Nai'vasha have partnered with TRESemmé and SimpleeBEAUTIFUL’s Curly Textured Academy (founded by texture advocate and educator Diane Da Costa) to develop the Texture Certification Program. The program aims to train over 1,000 stylists in treating, cutting, and styling textured hair by the end of 2022.
Da Costa, Redway, and Nai'vasha worked closely to shape the program. "The team collectively reviewed the webinars and course work from the SimpleeBEAUTIFUL CurlyTextured Academy," Da Costa says. "The curriculum guide was created to accompany pre-selected modules. As global stylists for TRESemmé, Nai’vasha and Lacy made significant contributions to the entire curriculum, [drawing upon] their expertise in the beauty, hair and fashion industries."
The final program is divided into three parts, kicking off with a virtual webinar covering the fundamentals of textured haircare. "The fundamentals we address range from the proper vocabulary to understanding what tools and products work best for textured hair types," Redway explains.
The digital course also dives into the intricacies of textured hair types. "Some of the [education] gaps I’ve noticed are related to incorrectly identifying textures which opens the pathway to improper care," Nai'vasha adds.
After completing the introductory session, stylists can sign up for New York-based in-person sessions on cutting and styling textured hair. Participants who complete all three courses will receive a certificate of completion from TRESemmé and SimpleeBeautiful. They'll also be added to the TRESemmé directory of textured hair-certified stylists to increase their visibility.
Some of the [education] gaps I’ve noticed are related to incorrectly identifying textures which opens the pathway to improper care.
Beyond the essential information, this program provides, it also addresses longstanding issues surrounding inclusivity in the beauty and fashion industry. Models like Leomie Anderson and Jourdan Dunn have been vocal in recent years about the lack of adequately trained stylists backstage, with many bringing their own kits to set to fix their hair and makeup. To combat this, TRESemmé has pledged all stylists who work with the brand at events like New York Fashion Week and Project Runway will be required to complete the Texture Certification Program.
Ultimately, Nai'vasha hopes the Texture Certification Program will begin to make working with textured hair the norm and not a specialty. Underscoring her sentiments, Da Costa wants this program to encourage cosmetology schools to reform their curriculum to include textured hair. "Ensuring texture education is taught in every cosmetology school and required for licensing in every state is the ultimate goal, so all stylists are ready to embrace the multi-textured market fully," she says.
The Texture Certification Program courses will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All students will be required to show proof of cosmetology certification to attend each course. You can register here.