Every time we turned around in 2016 Lupita Nyong’o was on the cover of a magazine or walking a red carpet looking fly. Whether flaunting her radiant afro or a beautiful headwrap, the man behind her style from the hairline up was celebrity hairstylist Vernon Francois.
Francois is also behind several of our other favorite celebrity beauties’ manes such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, Uzo Aduba, and Ruth Negga. The spirited, ginger-haired Francois has teamed up wit Net-A-Porter to provide women of all hair textures with luxury hair products at their fingertips. The line is an extension of his undeniable love for hair and aims to help women (and men) love their hair too with empowering names like Pure~Fro, Curl~Command, and Re~Vamp.
“My collection is exciting because it brings options to all curl types in a luxury space where I felt like it hadn’t been done before,” he said. “Especially for the locs and braids customer, I knew there was nothing that really owned that space, and from a brand perspective being able to communicate to the audience.”
Each texture line has a simple image on its bottle for consumers to easily identify whether it’s for their hair or not. Francois explained the logic behind that move wasn’t just about convenience. “I want to inspire people to embrace their true texture,” he said. Being able to communicate that on the bottle visually makes it that much easier to embrace.
The sleek design of the bottles are just as intentional as the products inside. With a matte and 3D boxing design, you can easily grip each container by hand when using products with water. The bottles also have UV Protection to combat sun exposure, ensuring ingredients retain 100% of their integrity. Conditioners come in spray bottles and shampoos squeeze out from the bottom making both easy to apply.
“I really strived to add value to the brand not just get a coin,” Francois explained.
When he’s not being whisked away to movie sets or magazine photo shoots, Francois is in the salon with his “friends,” aka his clients, at either his Soho or London location. But his real best friend is hair, and it has been since he was young.
“I would always find time to do something with hair. It was never something I did because I thought I was going to build a lifestyle from it. I did it because it put me in a space where I felt relaxed and comfortable.”
If, unlike Francois, you struggle to find time to do something with your hair, check out these five tips from him on how to love your mane and switch up styles in seconds.
Find a good hairstylist
“Go with your gut instincts! We know if someone can manage our hair in the first couple of minutes of sitting in their chair. You know by the way they’re holding the comb and touch your hair if they’re going to be good at what they need to do. You have to take responsibility and respond accordingly, rather than be dowsed in disappointment. Have a conversation that really relaxes you.
“It’s all about taking responsibility. With Tracee Ellis Ross I walk in ready to learn from her because she’s so knowledgeable about what she wants. It speaks a lot because she’s been around and understands what she’s looking to achieve.”
Quickly stretch your hair
“Stretch your hair anywhere from Lupita’s length to whatever length hair you have. You can spray some moisturizing spray not leave in conditioner. In my collection I have a moisture spray which is designed to use on your hair on a day-to-day basis throughout the day. It keeps the hair hydrated, locks in the moisture, and helps you find your curl pattern.
“You can use that on your hair then easily grab the nozzle of your hair dryer, put it on your roots using a warm temperature. On medium heat use your fingers to draw the hair up and literally blast the hair dryer on the roots for 2 seconds. That will start to stretch the texture a little bit and give you a bit more free falling hair that’s lighter and looser. You can do that all around or you can just do it in the front bit with a part. It keeps the side a bit shorter then have hair falling in your face and stuff like that. You can tailor it to the way you want to stretch it.”
Easily switch up your hairstyle
“If you have really, really short hair like Lupita I always play with partings. If you look at the actress Ruth Negga, who I’m currently working with, sometimes we put a side part in her hair, and it really changes her curl pattern. She’s got really curly, wavy hair.
“I always, always, always say really explore with your partings. Side parts change your look for the day. It doesn’t have to be straight, it can be a bit diagonal as well. If you do a deep side part then split the hair it can tend to go a bit flat. If you split the part in half then part it back you’re going to get volume.That changes the way the hair frames your face. Very little things can make the difference.”
Be inspired to do your hair
“There’s nothing wrong with [putting on a wig] if someone is really tired and lacks the passion to do their hair. A lot of people want big hair which doesn’t really do anything if you don’t know what to do with it. When wearing a wig braid your hair away. Wigs have a low commitment and you can explore.
“For women without that possibility it’s all about lifestyle. Find out what works for your lifestyle. That has a huge impact on how you wear your hair. Make choices based on that, and be honest about the choices. I’m always open to having consultations, you can reach me on my social media. I’m inundated with comments and private messaging. I’m always responding back giving top tips and stuff like that.
Use leave-in conditioner
“It’s still a form of conditioner. Mixed with heat it can sometimes tend to change the texture of the the hair, and feel like it’s heavier. I don’t want to say stop putting heat on conditioner, but you don’t want the hair to be weighed [down].”
Read our previous article on headwraps Vernon Francois has done for Lupita Nyong’o here.