Celebrity hairstylist and natural hair guru Felicia Leatherwood is a modern day miracle worker when it comes to promoting healthy hair and positive hair image. She has styled such naturalistas as Teyonah Parris, Jill Scott, Nicole Ari Parker and Ava Duvernay. She’s also an educator and beauty expert whose special brand of hair love revives every mane she touches.
So, it makes perfect sense that she’s teamed with My Black Is Beautiful –a community-building program by Procter & Gamble (P&G)- for its #hairtruth campaign celebrating women of color’s natural hair stories and journeys toward hair (and self) empowerment via a series of webisodes.
To say I was honored to chat with Leatherwood is an understatement. But the hair guru is just as down to earth as she is fabulous and talked about everything from changing how we approach wash day and her personal hair truth to the one thing you need for healthy, longer hair.
— Stephenetta (isis) Harmon
HH: What is the #hairtruth campaign all about?
FL: It’s supporting the natural beauty of all textures of hair for women of color. What My Black Is Beautiful, #hairtruth and Procter & Gamble have done is really put something wonderful together. They’ve been able to infuse all the brands: the Pantene Expert collection Line, [Herbal Essences] Hello Hydration & Aussie Moist, Head & Shoulders in a way where women can start to style their own hair. And what that does is empowers them to really feel good about doing their hair.
HH: What are some of those truths that you’ve heard?
FL: I have [heard] anything from their hair truth being that growing up, they were told their hair wasn’t the ‘good hair’, to them saying ‘I found out that my truth is more about my confidence and how I feel about my beauty and not what anyone else thinks.’ Some just basically told me they didn’t know what to do with their hair so their hair truth was confessing that they’ve been using the wrong products.
HH: What hair truths do you wish more women knew?
FL: I wish they understood that they are uniquely made. Every coil, kink, curl is unique to who they are. They may not have their mother’s hair or their sister’s hair. They have their hair and that hair is hair to be loved. When we look at other people’s curls and coils and go ‘I wish my hair was like that’, that’s not a message you want to send to your hair. It’s basically saying ‘what I have isn’t good enough’.
I really want women to embrace their texture and what they have on their head. I think that’s a huge message to get across. Every women needs to know that.
HH: The campaign is clearly directed towards women of color – rather than all women with curls. Why is that conversation so important to have now?
FL: Because we have been the ones left out and not considered in terms of our hair texture. We were not the ones thought of when they created the beauty aisle.Also, because now we’re able to talk about our textures in a positive way. it’s not this conversation when natural hair first broke out again on the scene, like ‘oh I got this nappy hair.’ Now it’s ‘I have beautiful tresses. I love my kinky, coily tresses.’ We are totally looking for the esteem of what this has brought about in the natural hair movement.