Tameeka McNeil-Johnson’s “Little Black Book” Answers Your Nagging Naturalista Questions

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July 31, 2014 ‐ By Michelle Alerte

LITTLE BLACK BOOK COVERIn 2013, MN had a chance to sit down with “Curl Whisperer” and 20-year plus veteran hair care stylist, Tameeka McNeil-Johnson. Now, a year later, we had a chance to get our hands on McNeil-Johnson’s new book, The Little Black Book of Rules for Curly Girls and play catch-up on this natural hair care guru’s journey thus far.

According to McNeil-Johnson, her book, written in partnership with Curl Prep founder Candace O. Kelley, came from her desire to engage her audience in real talk and give authentic guidance about the basics of natural hair care. “[The Little Black Book of Rules for Curly Girls] gives women the tools and confidence to ask questions and have a conversation with their stylists as they make what can often be life changing hair choices.”

The book is the first in a series of many and currently McNeil-Johnson and her team are working out the details of the next volume. But don’t be fooled; you’ll get plenty of excellent tips and tricks from the first book from start to finish. For example, in “A Mane for All Seasons,” you’ll learn about caring for your hair during the extreme, and extremely different, temperatures of Winter and Summer. While many of us know that our hair is different during these times, whether too dry or too frizzy, we rarely know what to do to manage these changes. Thankfully, The Little Black Book of Rules for Curly Girls, takes the time to educate on staying ahead of the seasons.

While reading, expect to find a few surprises such as: “…there is a popular belief that co-washing is all you have to do. Simply put, that’s wrong. Co-washing would be the equivalent of running in 90-degree weather, sweating profusely, then instead of taking a shower – dabbing off the sweat. Shampoo is good for the hair and should not be avoided.” Or that instead or using heat protectants, which often contain oils or silicones and can have a “frying chicken” affect when heated, the “Curl Whisperer” prefers to intensely condition clients’ hair with a leave-in conditioner. This gives hair protection without the snap, crackle and pop sounds of popular heat protectants. A section detailing the “Tools of the Trade,” is a mix of explanation and pictures regarding how the use of “…proper tools makes a difference in how your hair will grow and how long your style will last.”

When asked about the book’s reception so far, McNeil-Johnson said simply, “The response [to the book] has been overwhelming and women like that it uses simple terms to talk about hair.” The hair care expert has been touring the world doing book signings in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Connecticut and the UK. This September, Boston-heads should be on the look-out for the Little Black Book team, which was invited by Boston Naturals for a visit. “That will be followed by a five-borough NYC tour,” McNeil-Johnson said.

Up next for this hard-working brand? Fans of Jaded Tresses can expect The Little Black Book of Rules for Curly Girls to launch digitally for iPads and Kindles by the end of August. Jaded Tresses will also have a grand opening in New Jersey by the end of September and the “Curl Whisperer” herself has just moved to Carlo Marco Salon, on Waverly Place in Greenwich Village in NYC. Look out for upcoming workshops to be hosted in both locations, where Naturalistas can get the inside scoop on beautiful hair from a licensed stylist.

Want to “get jaded?” Meet Tameeka by making a hair appointment or by joining her meet-up group: Transform Your Natural Hair.

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