St. Croix – Talk about shear genius. World-class hair designer and author Barry Fletcher arrived on the big island Saturday afternoon to put an end to all hair woes.
To begin, Fletcher offered a free training session on how to properly perform a basic hair cut, first to licensed cosmetologists and local salon owners and then to junior, senior and adult students in the St. Croix Career and Technical Educational Center’s cosmetology class.
As a big finale, Fletcher offered a free workshop Tuesday evening at the St. Croix Educational Complex’s library, discussing black women and hair loss taking points from his best seller “Why Are Black Women Losing Their Hair?”
“Experience is your best teacher,” said Fletcher a 25-year hair veteran. “I know what hair should feel and look like and I understand ways to keeping hair healthy.”
Although Fletcher says he does not want to be labeled as a celebrity artist, he has cut and styled the hair of Tina Turner, Halle Berry, Maya Angelou, Tony Braxton and Chaka Khan. Fletcher says Turner flew him into California and paid $2,000 for his work, while Berry brought him to New York and paid $700 for a cut. Fletcher says doing the hair of the rich and the poor keeps him balanced and that there is something to learn from every experience.
Fletcher says he has discovered that black women are lacking moisture and richness in their hair. According to him, Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian hair suffer less damage because of its cuticle layering, and while black women have seven cuticle layers, the others have anywhere between 11 and 14 which makes their hair lock in moisture and keeps it stronger and silkier. Asians are known to have the strongest hair strands.
Fletcher continued and said that when it comes to no-lye relaxer kits black customers have to be careful because the kits are misunderstood and misrepresented as a mild product, when in fact they dry the hair out and cause it to fall out.
“These kits are higher on the pH scale which means they are more damaging,” explained Fletcher. “These kits over process the hair, over expose it, and in turn, it [the relaxer] eats the hair away.”
Fletcher says it doesn’t help that women leave in relaxers for so long and use it so frequently, but added that that doesn’t mean a natural hairdo is the solution.
Fletcher says if women can go out of their way to find a good salon or stylist, then they can go out of their way to get and use good products.
“Your hair is important,” he continued. “The hair is the number one part of the body that effects the psyche and I stand behind healthy hair. Natural does not make it the key to health.”
In addition to his best seller, Fletcher has written another book entitled, “Hair Is Sexual,” explaining how hair is sexual and can be a direct reflection of a person. Fletcher says a woman’s hair can justify her image and self-esteem and often women, especially the sisters, manipulate and adorn their hair to relay sexual or powerful connotations. According to Fletcher, black women may feel the lack of hair is a direct link to their sexuality, yet, he offers hope.
“It is a fact that hair does grow faster in a warmer climate,” said Fletcher, “and it is a fact that hair grows faster when performing a sexual act because of the heat that is running through the body.”
Because Fletcher wants to see black women achieve their greatest hair potential, he has created his won line of products from shampoos to relaxers to moisturizers that are made from natural ingredients – shea butter, vitamins A,D and E, cocoa butter, peppermint oils, Indian hemp – that target and heal breaking, shedding, fracturing and the overall dryness of black hair.
“Everyone should read my book, [“Why Are Black Women Losing Their Hair?] because it could be hair today and gone tomorrow, so read my book and forget all your sorrows,” joked Fletcher.