A beautiful life: Vernon François


Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: KÉRASTASE

Vernon François is a genius of curly hair. The LA-based hairstylist works with a celebrity repertoire with all hair types, including Willow Smith, Serena Williams, and Amandla Stenberg. In 2016, François launched his own line of hair care products to provide a consistent, quality and reliable range of resources for the care of curly hair. In addition to his own line, François now acts as a global inclusion advisor and educator for Kérastase, and has helped develop their Curl Manifesto, a line of products designed to meet the needs of women with curly or curly hair. .

François told the Cut about his own eponymous haircare line, his inspirations and of course curly hair.

Do you see beauty as personal care? Why or why not?
Yes. Taking care of your hair is getting to know it and doing the best for it, which is part of taking care of yourself. Treating your hair well regularly, preparing it, styling it, recognizing what it does or doesn’t want to do and respecting it, knowing the best products and ways to work with the true texture of the hair, these are benevolent actions. The way we take care, cut or style our hair can be linked to identity, culture, tradition and, above all, self-esteem.

What’s the biggest misconception about curls?
That they are more complicated than wearing straight hair. Styling twist-out hair can easily last for several days. There are things you can do to help: not over-manipulate curls, prep hair before going to bed, sleep on a silk pillowcase or use a silk bonnet at night, wear a beanie shower and then remove it to a room that is not humid. In addition, the Refresh Absolu from the Kérastase Curl Manifesto range is designed to reactivate curls and protect against moisture for hydration, shape and shine.

What’s the biggest problem with educating curly hair?
The lack of knowledge regarding the textures of curly and curly hair is a product of bigger issues at stake than just curly hair education. There is a much broader social context to consider around what hair textures are deemed commercial and desirable or not. It is true that people are made to believe that their hair is not beautiful when salons and stylists do not have the skills to serve it. Kérastase is helping to bridge this gap with a proactive training strategy for hair salons and stylists around the world. Professionals are equipped with Curl Manifesto and have access to enhanced training, which as a global brand inclusion advisor and educator I am happy and thrilled to be a part of.

Do you think beauty has changed because of the pandemic?
With salons closed for so long, the pandemic has forced people to take responsibility for their own beauty regimes, leading to a shift in approaches to hair. Expectations became much more realistic as maintenance and upkeep fell to the individual. People had no choice but to take responsibility for things like upkeep, which resulted in a huge reset. The true colors, textures, and shapes of the hair have been revealed, and many people have chosen to embrace them instead of opposing them. We have come to know each other the most authentic in several ways.

Have you noticed a change in the attitude of your customers since the pandemic?
Many of my clients have been more relaxed to show off their real hair colors and real hair textures since the pandemic. I’ve also noticed that people are more ready to change things drastically, with bold new cuts or eye-catching colors, living the notions of revitalization and refresh. Embracing individuality is important, so if someone is playing with the idea of ​​going long and short, I would tell them to go for it. It will always grow back. Same with the color, it can always be changed. We only regret what we did not do, they say!

What is the best inexpensive beauty product?
The word affordable means different things to different people. Personally, I am a fan of professional hair products and find them worth the investment. Doing your best with as much or as little as you have is what matters. MIST Nourishing Water ~ from my own hair care line is one of the best buys, with the purest water infused with amino acids, herbs and hydrating natural oil to refresh and prepare frizzy hair , curly, wavy and straight before styling.

What inspired you to found your own hair care line, Vernon Franvsois Hair care?
In 2016, I was inspired by solving my clients’ frustrations. Customers in central London salons told me they were tired of not being seen, spoken to and loved by beauty brands and retailers. They were tired of having to go to out of town stores to find products for curly or frizzy hair, and tired of thick, heavy and oily products. Net-a-Porter immediately supported my vision even before the line was created, which gave me a massive boost, confirming what I already knew, that there was a real need for this line.

What’s been the hardest part of starting your own hair care line?
He created this completely independent start-up from scratch. It turned out that a young hairdresser from a small town in the north of England, who happens to be black, gay and dyslexic, was not the first choice of many venture capitalists. There were times when I could have handed the project over to a third party to manage, but I decided to grow and learn along the way. I lead everything from new product development to presentation of bottles with my dyslexia inspired iconography and color code. Driving the brand with the insight of my many years as a professional hairstylist means I know firsthand what creases, coils, curls, waves and straight hair respond best, in multiple environments.

What’s the most important hair care tip you can give?
Knowing that what is naturally yours is enough. Whether you have hair, have no hair, or have had hair, whatever the texture, whether kinky, curly, curly, wavy or straight. There is nothing wrong with wanting to change your look, but learning to embrace what is unique to you above all is vital.

Which product in the Curl Manifesto line is the most important for hair care?
My advice to anyone who wants to have the best hair in their life is to think about the nutrition and hydration you put into your body, as it will show on the outside, and look at the basis of your regimen. hair care, starting with shampoo. The Curl Manifesto shampoo is a fundamental part of this collection to manifest your greatness. It is sulfate free, so gently cleanses the scalp and hair while moisturizing, and helps improve the pattern and volume of all curls and coils.

What would you like more people to understand about what you do?
My vision of hair texture; defining it only by the shape the strands make – whether kinky, curly, curly, wavy or straight. Understanding the hair texture (s) you have is important for setting expectations about what can be achieved with it, caring for it, and embracing it. As a very dyslexic person, I use the language very literally. I understand that black hair is related to its color and natural hair is in the unprocessed state – both can apply to frizzy, curly, curly, wavy or straight hair. At the same time, I understand and respect why things are the way they are, and that certain phrases are deeply rooted in society.

What has been the biggest ‘no’ you have ever known in your career and why did it strike you?
I am often told ‘no’ and that something cannot be done, and whenever I am faced with this I do my best to find a way around it. So every no usually results in a door unlock, although it’s different than I expected. When creating my brand, I was told that it was impossible to develop a rich rinse-out conditioner in spray form. Until then, rinse-out conditioners had always been thick and creamy – the conditioner sprays in my collection are, to my knowledge, the first of their kind in the world. If you are determined and truly believe in something, it can be done. If you have a vision, it can be achieved.

Where do you want to see the beauty industry go from here?
There are many answers to this question, and one thing I would like to see continue is that people are hired for jobs that have the right skills, abilities and life experiences, as well as qualifications. Life experience is of crucial importance in having a positive impact on many things, including decision making. Within beauty, this has a ripple effect on representation, what is presented to us, how it is shown and why. In magazines, ad campaigns and beyond, I’d like to see greater authenticity, not unrealistic ideals. I would also like it to be widely recognized, shown and appreciated that beauty comes in many forms. I would like hairstyling and beauty spaces to become more gender-neutral and welcoming to individuals, regardless of their age, gender, culture, skin tone, abilities, and inclusiveness to be true to its word, including understood everyone.

Curl Manifesto Set for curly hair
VERNON FRANÇOIS Nourishing Hair Mist

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