Celebrity Stylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew’s Tips for Pressing Hair the Healthy Way

by Sharlyn Pierre

Appropriately nicknamed a “hair goddess” by big-screen beauty, Kerry Washington, Takisha Sturdivant-Drew has been in the business of hair for well over a decade. Her hairstyles have glided through the pages of Ebony, Elle, In Style, Marie Claire, and Vanity Fair just to name a few. We were able to track her down – trust her busy schedule gave us a run for our money. We conversed with her about the oldie but goodie press and curl, (remember those stove -top burners that looked like mini ovens?) why having your hair laid is what it’s all about and being kind to your fellow (wo)man. We were all ears to her silky-hair sermon.

TM: Why should women consider pressing their hair when transitioning?

TSD: Well most women consider pressing their hair when going natural because it’s much healthier for the hair. So, although you do have to monitor how much heat you use, it can be easier to manage and maintain.

TM: Heat can be damaging, how can women combat it?

TSD: Of course you can apply less heat by blow-drying it using a comb attachment, or a brush depending on the texture of your hair. Using a brush can be a bit tricky because you don’t want to use too much heat and end up burning your hair. If you use a comb attachment, you’ll definitely straighten it out more so when it comes to pressing it, or curling it or using a flat iron, you can put it on 30 instead of 50.

TM: So then do you suggest deep conditioning or hot oil treatments?

TSD: Oh yes! I definitely suggest a moisturizing conditioner every week or every two weeks when washing your hair. But it all depends on how dry your hair is. If you have a dry scalp, for example, I would stress having hot oil treatments so that it seeps into the scalp. And you would spend the same amount of time under the dryer with the hot oil treatment as you would with the conditioner, which is about 20 minutes. What I like to do [after a hot oil treatment] is massage a drop or two into the scalp after I rinse the hair. That way, it’s nice and soft, has some shine, and the scalp isn’t dry.

TM: What are some of the benefits to pressing hair?

TSD: I think it all depends on your lifestyle. But I would say the best benefit is that you have bouncy hair! You have hair that’s alive! You have movement and it’s full. You’ll have a lot of body and your hair is saying something when you’re walking down the street; it’s not stiff and that’s what most women want; beautiful, healthy hair. I mean, you can have a ton of hair, but if it’s not it’s healthy, it’s doing nothing.

TM: For women who are managing two textures, what are some tips to help them stretch their relaxers?

TSD: Well, that’s a tough one because I really don’t like women to stretch relaxers, but if they have to, blow drying the root would help, or using a flat iron. Then again, the heat will begin to cause your hair to pop and break. So I would say not go past 2 weeks from when you need a relaxer because you willnotice the damage.

TM:You’ve worked with quite a few celebs [Kerry Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Lucy Lui, Bethany Frankel and Amber Riley] how were you able to land such high profile clients and do you gave any advice for aspiring hair stylists?

TSD: For me, it’s all word of mouth, that’s how I’m able to get my clientele. Yes, I have an agent, and I have a salon, but it’s all word of mouth…I’ll say this: the hair speaks for itself. For those who are up and coming, I would advise that they make sure they love this and if you don’t, move on. Also, you’ve got to be nice because if you’re not, you won’t move forward. Study the craft by taking educational courses, go to the hair shows, read the magazines and surround yourself with good people.

For more information on Takisha: http://takishahair.net/index.html or https://twitter.com/takishahair

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