Felicia Leatherwood goes by many names, but “Hair Whisperer” really captures her essence. Felicia is an expert in natural haircare, a respected businesswoman, and hairstylist to your favorite celebrity women. With over 26 years of experience, she has oiled the scalps of Issa Rae, Wunmi Mosaku, Ava Duvernay, and Jill Scott (just to name a few). Between her blessed hands and hair wisdom, she’s cultivated the curls of naturalistas everywhere.
With Spring abloom, we tapped the natural hair aficionado to get her hair care tips for this transition in seasons.
HelloBeautiful: Air in the spring is much different from the harsh cold weather. How should naturalistas keep their kinks moisturized? Do you recommend a product for hydration?
Felicia: What I like best in terms of keeping the hair nourished in terms of any season, I have been working with the Blue Ginger Collection from My Black Is Beautiful and you can find it at Sally’s beauty. I have been using their hair and scalp lotion and a steamer.
With the spring comes lighter hair colors. How can our readers protect their natural hair when trying to lift or lighten their hair without damaging it?
Well, when it comes to coloring your hair, the best thing is to deep condition. I love to do a nice deep conditioning treatment after color. The leave-in keeps the hair soft. It seals in the hair and protects it. I tend to make sure that I deep condition right after I color my hair. The best possible thing you can do as well is to make sure you are using a color-treated shampoo and conditioner so that your color does not go dull or dry out.
How important is drinking water in the spring and summer to your hair’s health?
I have to emphasize that drinking water is extremely important, not only to the health of your hair but to your body. We are made up of water, therefore we need it because you can deplete and dehydrate yourself. Just because we’re made up of water, doesn’t mean that it replenishes itself on a regular basis. We have to make sure that we are drinking water and that we’re eating properly because what the water does get rid of the toxins.
Every time you drink water, you’re hydrating yourself. You’re helping to fertilize the seed you have planted through the foods that you have eaten and the supplements that you’ve taken. When that food is broken down, everything, you need to go into the proper places. So if you need vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B, if you need antioxidants, omega-threes like you would find in fish; protein that you would find in chicken or red meat you can find protein in lagoons and beans chickpeas. (Lentils have great sources of protein if you do not eat meat). Trying to get at least five to seven vegetables a day, at least try three days a week; you can’t do it all week because that is the building blocks to break down and give you healthy hair and a healthy body.
What’s the best way to keep low porosity strands nourished?
I suggested steam treatments. If you can’t do a steam treatment, I really liked the flaxseed bonnets. I like to put conditioner on the hair and then put a plastic cap on. I would take the flaxseed on it and put it in a microwave for a little while and then put it on top of the hair that has the conditioner and the plastic cap. It’s a really, really great way to infuse your low porosity strands with a really great deep conditioner that should be hydrating and sealing moisture to your hair.
It’s really, really important that you detangle your hair and that you have the proper tools to do that. Otherwise, you’ll have split ends. It’s also important to exfoliate the scalp and make sure that you’re getting everything off the scalp, the toxins, any dryness, any type of scalp conditions that should come up. So I have created the Felicia Leatherwood detangler brush to help you do these things. The brush is flexible and it opens up and moves with the hair.
So on wash day, once you put your conditioner on your hair and you section it off into four sections. Start at the end of the hair strand working your way back towards the scalp is the best way to detangle your hair. It will smooth your hair out. It will define your coily or curly hair, your wavy hair. It also is super, super easy, and smooth on children. So the detangler brush makes wash day a breeze for everybody. And I really love the way the hair becomes more of itself, by basically pulling out the details as you are using your conditioner and your detangler brush. All right. So last question.
Because I do her hair all the time, I can tell you what my hair gel is that I tend to like… I use a gel called Hair Gummy on Issa a lot. It really does give me maximum hold without drying her hair out or flaking or breaking the hair. None of those things happen when I use Hair Gummy by Fonex.
And I basically am able to create a lot of hairstyles that are smooth without putting any heat on her hair. So sometimes when people look at Issa’s ponytails or any of her styles where her hair is slicked and you see the edges smooth, they tend to think that I’ve pressed her hair or flat ironed her hair, but we do not put heat on her hair like that. So I use Hair Gummy and a little brush and a lot of water because the water helps hydrate 4b and 4c hair and it opens it up so that I’m able to work with her hair and get a nice, smooth ponytail.