Hairstylist / Textured Hair expert, Subrina Kidd
"What you shouldn’t do is not bother!"
It is the Year of the Woman, 100 years since women got the right vote and we come a long way since then too. And we got a lot to be thankful to ladies for, one of which is knowing all about what you should be doing when it comes to hair and skin care long before us fellas. So, between her jumping between London, Paris and Jamaica we caught up with hairstylist and textured hair expert, Subrina Kidd (Aveda, Vivienne Westwood, Jennifer Hudson), to get the details so that you informed.
MR B: Many thanks for taking the time out to have a chat. I know you real busy.
SK: No problem at all, it’s my pleasure.
MR B: So what do you think of the current trend towards men taking an interest in grooming?
SK: I think it’s good. It’s nice seeing men take time to consider their appearance and overall well-being. It’s like they say if you look good, you feel good. There is this age-old feeling that men shouldn’t bother when in fact they should. We should all be feminists and men should be able to show sensitivity and care about how they look, including grooming. I think it’s great.
MR B: It is quite interesting to see how things have changed over the years.
SK: It is, in fact one of my great friends, Lemn Sissay, had never been to a salon or had a relationship with a stylist that cared about his total look. And now I help him on an on-going basis. I think the thing that sealed the deal was him telling me my teeth looked great and then asking if they were real! We howled with laughter!
SK: I think like the stereotype of what masculinity is, in terms of not bothering, that misconception should be dispelled. If it means just taking 10 more minutes, or occasionally having a facial or caring about the ingredients in products or what type of food you eat. What you shouldn’t do is not bother!
SK: There is this documentary on Netflix called “Feel Rich”. Unlike other hip-hop documentaries that talk about money and aesthetics, this talks about overall wellbeing, eating right and so on. Men shouldn’t feel less masculine for having a manicure or doing yoga. At the end of the day, we are all part of the human race.
MR B: Exactly! We are all people. You just mentioned about yoga, maybe having a manicure, eating right, and general caring about your overall wellbeing, as things men should consider as part of their routine. When it comes to the products he uses are there any particular types of ingredients he might also want to consider?
SK: When it comes to your hair and skin you need to consider what they are absorbing. Stick to natural oils because they absorb much quicker. Jojoba oil is great because it is like our own sebum. Of course, there is coconut oil, almond oil, you will have to work out what works for you. Coconut oil might not work for you but does for someone else. It just depends on how your skin reacts and hair responds. And always opt for essential oils and stay away from petroleum! That stuff is potent!
Chris [pictured], a farmer and co-owner of Jamaica's Stush In the Bush, with his wife Lisa, knows only too well how important it is to have quality ingredients. Coconut and Aloe Vera are great for hair and skin, but it's important to check they work for you.
"I like to think of hair like fabric."
MR B: [Laughing] True dat! What about different hair types, does that make a difference?
SK: It does make a difference because of the texture. The ingredients might respond differently. I like to think of hair like fabric - nylon, denim, cotton. You wouldn’t use the same process on those. You would iron denim and it would destroy silk. With more coarse hair you will use something cream based where if it is less coarse you might use something lighter. What I use my sister might not use so you need to take that into consideration.
MR B: I love that analogy hair and fabric. Is there anything else you think men should try avoid or consider?
SK: You mean specifically hair and beards?
MR B: Not at all. In general. We want men to get a rounded sense of things.
SK: Well generally, I changed my diet. I’ve always had a balanced diet but now I pay attention to it more so. I also think we all need to take responsibility to see what is ethical. Not all companies are and it’s just about the money. Read the ingredients. When it’s at the bottom they can justify it, so make sure it’s near the top. For me a good balance is natural and green science. I try to relate my approach to my diet to what I might put on my hair. When I first changed it, it took me ages to go shopping! I was reading the back and was like ‘What the hell!’ Even seasoning! I’d taken it for granted. I found turmeric with E-numbers!
MR B: [Laughing] You serious?
SK: [Laughing] Yes! So look for the ingredients on the back. The majority needs to be in the first few lines.
For Subrina, it's all about the ingredients and caring about what goes in, even in your seasoning!
SK: But then it really depends on what matters to you. If someone asks me for advice I ask if it is aesthetics or their health and body they are more worried about. In the late 90s you used straighteners even when it is melting your hair away. People would come to me complaining saying it is weak. So I said you need to stop, then they complain my hair look bad so went back to the straighteners. I try to stick to my integrity and be informed.
MR B: Exactly. Speaking of which, do you want to inform the fellas about what kinda comb they should be using?
SK: [Laughing] It’s funny you say that. I just had a client walk in and I just got out my afro comb!
SK: See I’m a hairdresser, it’s my job to know and sometimes I forget that what I think is obvious isn’t always. There is a misconception with hair being referred to as ‘afro hair’. One of my clients is a white blonde Australian lady and her hair is really coily! What you need to consider is when it has any sort of curl in it, the hair is fragile. The curl makes it fragile. Any sort of moisture and distributing it is difficult too, so it needs more assistance. If you go with a fine tooth comb you will end up with breakage. Always moisturise first using a wide tooth comb or paddle brush, detangling from ends to root. It will be easier if you do it the other way the tangle will get stuck and you will end up breaking it. That said I find some people detangle really easily.
MR B: That is very true. Anyway, I don’t want to keep you, or your client, so finally which men out there would you say other men can take some inspiration from?
SK: All of the men in Wakanda!
SK: I love the art and style direction for that [Black Panther 2018]. It was so nice to see. Some really low, all different and gorgeous and handsome in their own right. No one had to look the same.
"No one had to look the same."
Now you know. Check de ingredients, be yourself, look after yourself. All our products use high-grade oils and butters and we only use essential oils and extracts from plants, never synthetics. And if you really interested in how each ingredient aids your hair and skin you can check out each of the ingredients in our products.
Images courtesy of Subrina Kidd.