Celeb stylist M. London has been slaying natural hair since before it was even a trend. For more than 20 years, the Atlanta-based master loctician has dedicated her talents to nourishing and protecting natural hair and creating iconic loc’d looks.
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“When i started my career, people said that ‘you cannot make a living doing natural hair,” she said. “I didn’t have YouTube, but I was blessed. I found a community of master locticians in New York City that stood behind me and helped me with the fundamentals of doing natural hair.”
She went on to gain renown as the stylist behind the mane of R&B powerhouse Ledisi. For five years, she served as exclusive loc stylist and created many of Ledisi’s signature updos, as well as the styles for her 2014 Design Essentials Natural lookbook. In 2016, M. London received Stylist of the Year Award from the International Hairitage Awards and was named as one of the Top Six Stylists by the Natural Hair Industry Convention in 2017.
M. London is also a beauty boss, with not one, but two Locmamas salon locations dedicated to locs and natural hair care. She opened her first location in Atlanta in 2012 and opened a second location earlier this month in Philadelphia. Earlier this year, she launched Locmama’s Academy, an online academy offering education classes on such topics as master coloring, loc-extensions, braiding and starter locs for fellow stylists and locticians.
Her work has also been featured in Essence and Black Hair magazines, as well as in Refinery29 and RollingOut.com.
Here, we spotlight the master stylist as she shares her inspirations, advice and trends.
Hype Hair: What inspired you to become a hairstylist?
M. London: I come from a family of stylists, my aunt had a shop in Brooklyn in the 80’s. I’ve always admired her entrepreneurship and I loved her freedom.
HH: How did you end up specializing in locs?
ML: I went to cosmetology school, but knew early on that I didn’t want to do relaxed hair. I have eczema and the chemicals would cause it to flare up. I’ve always loved the look of natural hair. Back then it wasn’t something that you saw everyday. It was more of a “risk,” but I loved it.
HH: What kinds of styles do you enjoy creating most?
ML: I love working with starter-locs and short-loc styling. I like being there to help people begin their loc journey!
HH: Where can we find your work?
ML: I created Ledisi’s signature updo. I styled her for two albums, Pieces of Me and Turn Me Loose, and I was her exclusive loc stylist from 2009 to 2012. In 2014, I styled Ledisi’s hair for Design Essentials’ Natural Hair Ambassador campaign, which included a look book alongside inclusion in their national ad campaign.