All Articles Tagged "weave"

True Indian Hair Founder Karen Mitchell Talks Racism, Sexism Within Weave Industry: “It’s A Secret, But Not Really”

October 20th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: True Indian Hair

Source: True Indian Hair

Weave has been big business for years now, with new hair lines popping up just about every other month it seems. But as consumers become more savvy about their hair care regimens, looking closely at all products they put in their hair from chemicals to oils, and now weaves, only forward thinking business providing quality options will survive and True Indian Hair is one such success story. Started in 2004, over the past 10 years, founder and owner Karen Mitchell has built a brand of virgin Indian hair that clients stand by, stylists recommend, and celebrities swear by. But how did she do it in an industry wrought with massive competition, racism, and sexism? Check out her story below and her tips for easy weave and natural hair maintenance.

How did you start True Indian Hair?

I was a fashion coordinator and I got to travel to India with my boss to visit factories. While there I realized that Indian hair was starting to be a huge trend, especially for African Americans. Indian hair has been around forever, but it wasn’t such a big deal for us. We were getting package hair and it wasn’t a big deal for us. I started buying a couple packs for myself and I would bring it back and sell to friends and family. About a year later I got laid off from my job and during the hustle I was doing for my hair business, I realized it could be lucrative. I started doing research on large companies who were making millions and some even billions and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m laid off. I could do this or go back to a 9 to 5.’ So I started doing this full-time. I decided I was going to open a store and I opened my first flagship store in Brooklyn and that was in 2005. I’d been selling the hair since 2004.

The weave industry is notoriously racist against African Americans. Has that been your experience?

Being a woman was more of an issue. I found when I started I wasn’t being respected. I wasn’t getting good prices. I wasn’t able to sit down and negotiate the way I wanted to. I was brushed off and they didn’t want to take me seriously. I find that within the virgin Indian hair market, there’s definitely more room for minorities and women to break into it, as opposed to the packaged Chinese, Korean hair market. So, it was a little bit easier. I have friends in the other market and it’s hard. We’re not allowed to sell that hair. It’s literally kept from us. They give us the cheapest brands to sell. You’ll see there are few African American stores that sell packaged hair because it’s kept from us. It’s a secret but it’s not really a secret.

What has growth been like for True Indian Hair during the past 10 years?

Business has grown tremendously. I’m planning to open two more stores within the next year. I’m looking to open a store in New Jersey and one in Atlanta. I have three stores. I ship all over the world. I literally went from being a $100,000 business to being quite lucrative, where I could be considered a millionaire at this point. It’s a great business, but it’s not easy. I see so many people get into it thinking it’s easy. Some people don’t take it serious. I don’t get sleep. I do my research. You have to stay on top of the quality.

How do you handle competition?

I always say ‘Everybody and their mama sells hair,’ I mean everyone! It’s a good thing because the virgin Indian hair market is actually easier for us to break into.  A lot of the racism that people experience in other markets doesn’t necessarily exist in this market. The doors are open. You have to have funding and you have to know what you’e doing and love what you’re doing and believe in it. I wear weaves. It’s apart of me and our process when we get the hair is very hands on and involved. We still have a team of people who wash every single bundle that comes into our warehouse and do the standard brushing and pulling to make sure the hair’s not shedding excessively and the wefts are sewn properly; if it’s not we’ll send it back. We all love a quick buck but if you really want a brand that’s going to become something that competes with other brands you really have to become apart of the process.

How has the natural hair boom affected your business?

It’s actually been great for my business because now I get to add additional lines to my business that cater to people who want those natural textures. I’m natural under this [weave]. I love it. Our new collection, the Inspire Collection, has a z curl pattern which is like an afro curl. It’s soft. You can blow it out and wear it straight. It’s still virgin hair so you can color it. It’s great for women — and men. Our Relaxed Straight option is very sleek but there’s some texture to it, which is similar to relaxed hair on African American women so it’ll match that texture very well. And then we have kinky-curly which is similar to a biracial curl. It’s flowy, has a lot more movement. It’s a sexy, bouncy curl.

What inspired the new Vixen collection?

My 34th street location really opened the market to so many other cultures and women. I have a lot of Caucasian clients now and people who are asking for colors that I didn’t have. We started doing custom coloring but that’s a process so I wanted to begin with a line of standard colors and the Vixen collection was born. We have bold which is a platinum blonde; caramel which is a golden blonde; and we have honey which is a lighter shade closer to number 27.

What’s the proper maintenance for True Indian Hair?

If you take care of your hair, it will last six months to one year. If you bleach it it may not last as long because you’re breaking down the hair and it requires more maintenance and moisture. Maintenance is easy. The first maintenance point is to buy your hair from True Indian Hair (laughs). You have to wash your hair every seven to 10 days. What happens with buildup and oils from your own natural hair is it gets into the weave and when extensions are dirty it tends to tangle So wash your hair every seven to 10 days. Use a great moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. The hair is no longer getting nutrients because it’s no longer growing from the scalp so it needs moisture. It’s real hair.

Don’t sleep with wet hair, especially curly hair. You have to let the hair dry. When you sleep with wet hair the strands are just rolling around each other and tangling. Salon maintenance is also important. If it’s colored hair, for you to maintain the hue, you have to use a shampoo and conditioner geared for colored hair. Don’t keep extensions in for more than six to eight weeks. Condition your own hair and trim your ends. I like to tell people to give their hair a break of one to two weeks before weaves. You can use clip-in extensions or ponytails from our line in the meantime.

What separates True Indian Hair from the masses?

The quality. It’s our hands-on approach. Our quality assurance is on point. Our clients love us. The company’s growing and we have great reviews. We value quality first and foremost.

For more on Karen’s line of extensions, check out

15 Back to School Weaves That Need A Few More Months of Summer Vacation

September 15th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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It’s that time of year again, but not everyone seems ready. These weaves look like how we feel about getting back to school. Let’s just hope the rest of the semester goes a little bit better.

The First Day

Remember how long you spent planning your first day of school ‘do? This freshman could have used a few more weeks of summer to plan hers out.

A Heat Free Hair Pop Up Shop Is Happening In Atlanta This Weekend!

August 20th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Heat Free Hair Pop Up Shop

Last month I was gushing over the fact that I tried my very first weave and, thanks to the amazing quality of the product from Heat Free Hair, the experience — and the blend of the weave with my natural hair — was incredible. I haven’t updated you on maintenance life since that post, so let me tell you what life is like with this weave: easy!

My routine before I go to bed looks something like this: Flexirod my own hair that’s been left out in the front, gather the weave on top of my head in an upright position, cover with a bonnet. Sleep.

My routine in the morning: fluff weave, spray with a little water, add a moisturizing curl product. Remove flexirods, blend natural hair with weave, apply oil, go.

Wash day routine: Wash, condition, comb through hair with Kinky Curly Knot-Today Leave-in/Detangler, add Beautiful Textures Curl Defining Mousse, air dry.

See how easy that is?

Given how much simpler Heat Free Hair’s For Koils collection has made my beauty routine, I had to let all of you know about their pop up shop that’s happening in Atlanta this weekend. On August 22 and 23, curious consumers will get to shop the signature Heat Free Hair collection and meet the team behind the brand celebs like Brandy, Kandi Burress, Amber Riley, and Tamar Braxton love.

Check out the schedule:

• Friday, August 22 (11am – 7pm) and Saturday, August 23 (9am – 5pm): Multi-Day Retail Experience at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. Wefted hair, clip-ins, and closures will be available for purchase in Heat Free Hair’s three signature textures: For Kurls, For Koils and For Kinks.

• Sunday, August 24 (12pm – 3:30pm): Big Hair & Brunch Event at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, hosted by Heat Free Hair founder Ngozi Opara and author Alexandra Elle

Food, drinks, and hair? You know you need to be there. To RSVP for the pop-up shop or purchase a ticket to Big Hair & Brunch visit:


Heat Free Hair Experiment: My First Weave

July 23rd, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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weave 3So I got my first weave Sunday. OK, technically I did let my old gay neighbor convince me he could do a sew-in back in 2009 but I spent more time cutting those tracks out of my head than I did wearing that mess on my head so, yes, I consider this my first weave.

It’s summer and in case you aren’t aware, the humidity in New York is brutal. I haven’t worn my hair straight in the city since 2011 because by the time I step out of my front door and go underground into the subway I look like I just electrocuted myself. And so, tired of bootleg wash n’ gos, slicked back pony-tails, and braids threatening to leave me on Team #NoEdges, I reached out to Heat Free Hair for some options to beat the heat this year.

I knew about Heat Free Hair from an article on Kandi rocking the new product line on our sister site StyleBlazer and a profile on MN Biz about the 25-year-old genius behind the Heat Free Hair Movement, Ngozi Opara. So, I reached out to her rep who directed me to their website to choose a weft of my choice (after explaining what a weft even was) and I fell in love with the For Koils collection (below).

HFH_For Koils Wefted Hair

Heat Free Hair weaves come in three natural textures to match standard hair types: For Koils (3B-3C), For Kurls (3C-4A), and For Kinks (4B-4C), in lengths from 12″-24.” They also offer wigs and clip-ins in the same categories. I didn’t want to get too crazy my first time around so I opted for two 12″ bundles and hoped for the best.

The install process was simple. I went to Celebrity Sew-ins in Brooklyn based on the recommendation of a weave-connoisseur of a friend and was in and out of the chair within two hours.

weave install

My biggest fear was not liking the end result because the hair would look unnatural. But that wasn’t an issue at all. What as an issue, however, was the fact that the weave was a dark brown color and the leave-out (my hair) around the perimeter was black and the salon didn’t have any dye. So I was left to my own DUI project.

weave wash

Equipped with Optimum’s Amla Legend demi-permanent in jet Black, I dyed the tracks myself, ran a little Kinky Curly Knot Today detangler through the hair, as recommended on the tip sheet provided with the bundles, and let the tracks air dry with a few flexi rods to curl my own hair, and voilà.

weave final

To be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a better first time. The hair is completely natural looking, feeling, and lightweight, and it blends with my own hair far better than I could’ve ever expected. Plus, in the morning all I do is take out the flexi rods on my own hair, fluff the weave, blend, and go.

If you’re a first-timer like me, you likely have a ton of questions about daily and nightly maintenance, plus the longevity over time so check out the Q&A with Heat Free Hair on the next page. And for those who are ready to take the plunge, good news: Heat Free Hair is gearing up for its first pop-up shop event. Sign up to their mailing list at to be one of the first to learn the location. What do you think?



15 Very Serious Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Let Weave Destroy Your Edges

July 23rd, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Weave Destroy Your Edges

Image Source:

Weave can be a wonderful thing, but not if you don’t take care of what’s underneath. At least that’s the lesson we think Instagram’s #noedges is trying to teach.

15 Things Anyone Who’s Ever Rocked A Weave Knows

July 18th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Whether you sew, clip or glue it in you belong to the sisterhood of the hair extensions. And there are a few things that every member knows about rocking a weave.


Image Source:

You’ve Got to Pat

Even before Wale released his weave anthem, we were all doing the pat to scratch between the tracks (or before a touch up).

The 15 Stages Of Grief When He Finds Out Your Hair Isn’t Real

July 8th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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We’ve all been there. He put his hand up before you could stop him and now he knows that all of your fabulous hair isn’t home grown. He’ll get over it, but he’s going to need a minute to recover. Check out these hilarious memes on the stages of grief when he finds out your hair isn’t real.


“I thought we had something real…”

Police Officer Slices Off Woman’s Weave In Unnecessarily Rough Arrest

January 31st, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: WXYZ

Source: WXYZ

A Michigan police officer was fired after she placed a young mother in a restraining chair and chopped off her weave.

WXYZ obtained exclusive video of the incident in which a female officer shoved Charda Gregory into the chair, strapped her down and cut the hair that was braided into Gregory’s scalp. At several jails it is protocol to remove clip on extensions because they can be used as a weapon or to commit suicide. But Gregory’s weave was sewn into her real hair.

Gregory, a mother and 22-year-old hair dresser, said she often uses weaves to drastically alter her hair styles.

And there’s video of Gregory kicking and writhing in pain as the officer hacks into her hair.

So by now, you’re probably wondering how Gregory came to be arrested in the first place. Well, on November 13, Gregory went to a party in Detroit where she claims someone drugged her. Her lawyer, Paul Misukewicz said: “She had a couple of drinks, then woke up in a strange place. Didn’t know how she got there, completely disoriented.”

Gregory woke up in a hotel room and was arrested for trashing a room. By the time she was brought into the jail, Gregory had been pepper sprayed but she appeared calm. In the video, you can see that Gregory is disoriented and can barely stand when she came in contact with Officer Bernadette Najor.

As Najor patted down Gregory, she pushed her against the wall twice. And from there it only got worse. That’s when Najor went for Gregory’s hair. She dragged Gregory to the chair and tied her arms and legs down.

She started yanking her head from side to side, chopping out chunks of hair. She did this for 3 minutes.

Now, Gregory says she has bald spots where Najor pulled her real hair from the root.

“She’s a very horrible person.” Gregory said of Najor.

Gregrory’s lawyer said, “I guess the best way to describe it would be sadistic. There’s absolutely no reason for it. And it’s demeaning.”

Police commissioner Jere Green said, “There’s a real simple thing: it’s called right and wrong. And to me this is something that I won’t tolerate, I don’t think the citizens of Warren will tolerate it…I don’t buy that’s the proper way to treat a human being. I don’t think it’s decent, I don’t think there was any reason to do it, and when I look at it- it bothers me.”

Green also said Najor’s explanation of the suicide attempt didn’t make sense. As soon as Green learned about the incident he placed Najor on leave and she’s since been fired.

Though he couldn’t go into detail, Green acknowledged that this wasn’t Najor’s first offense. WXYZ discovered that in 2010, she was suspended for being “untruthful.”

Najor could not be reached for comment and when WXYZ approached her near her car, she threatened to call the police.

Because of what happened in jail, all charges against Gregory were dropped.

The other officers who were present during Gregory’s haircutting incident are still under investigation.

You can watch the graphic video below.

Is It Their Real Hair Or A Real Good Weave?

November 20th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Celebrities are masters of illusion. Whenever we see famous women killing the carpet or a cover of a magazine, we never know just how much of that beauty to attribute to good genes, good docs, Adobe Photoshop, makeup artists, or hairstylists. When it comes to the latter, though, we’re not mad at it. Most times we just want to know how we can get our hair to look just as good. That’s why we often run to beauty salons with pics of our favorite celebrity and are puzzled when the beautician tells us we’ll need 18 inches of weave or a wig to pull off the look we just knew was their real hair.

To illustrate this point, we’ve rounded up a list of ladies who’ve been rocking some very coveted and convincingly real hairstyles. When it comes to their fab tresses we just don’t know if it’s their real hair or a real good wig or weave. You be the judge.

Sponsored By: Perfect Hair Collection

"Ciara pf"

Adriana M. Barraza/


Ci Ci brought the bob back to life this summer and though she’s rocked it at varying lengths, many have speculated that at least one of them is her real hair length.

The City’s Bankruptcy Can’t Stop Them! Mother-Daughter Duo Launch Luxury Beauty Bar In Detroit

October 24th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Malesa Plater

Malesa Plater

For all the ladies that love a luscious weave, entering a posh and swanky salon that promises top-grade hair extensions is a pleasure. But when you live in a city that’s known for financial hardship, these sorts of treats can seem out of reach.

Malesa Plater, and her 23-year-old daughter Miranda, are opening a luxury beauty bar in Detroit today, Limelight Extensions. For Detroit, a great city that filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in July, it’s an extravagance that’s missing from the landscape. Despite the city’s fiscal crisis, Malesa and Miranda saw a void in Detroit that needed to be filled. Where are the beauty shops catering young, chic women? Expanding on an online enterprise, the owners of Limelight Extensions say they “[intend] to operate four sites in the metro Detroit area within the next two years,” DBusiness states.

Madame Noire spoke with Malesa to get the scoop.

MadameNoire: What about Limelight Extensions qualifies as “luxury”?

Malesa PlaterWe make sure that the hair is always going to be shiny, bouncy, no shedding, no matting. When you walk out at night, you know that your hair is going to get you a lot of attention. You can dye it red, green, any color you want; the hair will draw attention to you… [W]hen you walk into the door we have this huge chandelier. We have granite countertops. We spent a lot of money on the exterior and the interior as well to create a posh setting.

MN: Most black women are seeing dollar signs in the natural hair industry. What made you decide to jump into the hair extension business instead?

MP: If you actually take a poll and look around you, I think more of the mature woman are going with natural. But the younger generation, which we’re going after, ages 18 to 34, they’re still doing the long, luxury, Hollywood look. If you look at Hollywood, everyone is wearing extensions — long, beautiful locks. Especially in Michigan, where people spend a ton of money on hair extensions. I wouldn’t compare natural hair to [hair extensions] because it’s just not that big of a market yet. Extensions are still ruling the market. It’s a $13 million business!

MN: Limelight Extensions was once just an online enterprise and now you’re expanding. Tell us your secret to business growth.

MP: We didn’t go into the business crippled; we had money. We spent a lot of money on a PR team and a branding/marketing firm. So we knew what we had to do – this is a competitive market. Extensions are nothing new so we went out and we spent the money on media and an entire team to get the word out.

MN: Many businesswomen look to YouTube hair gurus to advertise their products on their channel. Have you done the same?

MP: We’re doing that now as we speak. We have a group called the “Limelight Ladies.” We choose a female and a market that we desire and we send them the hair and work with them to get the word out. They review the hair and share their thoughts. Our Instagram numbers have grown pretty fast!

MN: Why would you choose Detroit, a bankrupt city, as the prime location for Limelight Extensions’ first store?

MP: That’s what you see from the worldview. I travel the world and everywhere I go, when I tell them I’m from Detroit, they automatically say ‘Oh General Motors! [which had a role in Detroit’s fiscal slide] Detroit! Bad place!’ Even if they don’t speak [English] very well. But Detroit put America on the map; great minds came from  Detroit. We are going to get back to the glory, we won’t give up on it. I know [business] people are moving to LA and New York, but the brain source is still here. And with young people like Miranda, and others that work under us and with us, they’re staying here and fighting for their city.

We took [our business] here because Detroit still spends a lot of money. There’s some areas I would never go to; I’d be crazy to tell you that I’d set up shop in certain areas. I live in the suburb,s but downtown Detroit is still a beautiful place and people are beginning to move back.

Detroit is starved for businesses because people have passed us over. They’ve forgetten about us, but we keep fighting. Whole Foods just opened up in midtown Detroit. You got a Papa Joes, which has a very high-end, upscale market, that’s opened up in downtown Detroit. So it’s coming back. So those who are on the cusp of Detroit’s return will ride the wave and be successful. There’s going to be a tsunami here soon.