If you've ever loved a hair style Lupita Nyong'o wore on the red carpet (hi, Met Gala sky-high updo), you have Vernon François to thank. For almost four years now, the hair stylist has traveled the world styling Nyong'o for premieres, awards shows, campaigns and even, once, an African safari. Now, François is sharing a bit of his magic with the rest of us with his launch of his eponymous haircare line for natural hair.
"There has been quite a generic approach to managing the expectations of the curly-haired consumer," explains François, who has also worked with Kerry Washington, Danai Gurira, and Uzo Aduba. Unsatisfied with the products in the market, he would often mix his own, creating concoctions out of coconut oil, mashed avocados, and water. No one was going beyond the catch-all idea of "natural" and catering to the wide range textured hair actually comes in. That's why his collection has three types: Pure Fro, for dense, kinky, tightly coiled hair; Curl-Command, for wavy, loose curly hair; and Re-Vamp, for damaged, heat or chemically treated hair.
"I think one of the biggest myths within managing textured hair is that it needs lots of product on it, and the products that I was coming up against were constantly quite heavy in terms of the feel," François says.
Vernon François offers a shampoo, conditioner, and moisture spray. Additional products include a lightweight serum, co-wash, silk scarves, and other styling tools.
He adds that he's catering to people with dreadlocks, extensions, and braids–styles he grew up wearing himself. "I recognize this consumer has never really been incorporated," he says, "There will be no misunderstanding where they fit and how they can feel included."
Ultimately François wants everyone with textured locks "embrace and really start loving and being happy with their hair." His product line is just the beginning.