Ursula Stephen, Essence TV

Having coiffed the style that People magazine once described as the “most coveted style of the year”  also known as “The Rihanna,” celebrity hair stylist Ursula Stephen is in high demand.  In addition to styling Rihanna and models for national beauty campaigns, her other celebrity clients include singers Keyshia Cole and Michelle Williams.  I had a chance to speak with Stephen at the Essence Music Festival to discuss what’s hot in hair care and how you can create your own signature style.

Celebrity Hair Stylist, Ursula Stephen, Poses with EMF Attendee

RDD: What is the biggest concern for hair care both natural and relaxed.  And what types of products should we have in our beauty arsenal for it?

US: Every product should be  conditioning and moisturizing.  That applies to all of the products that you use, not just shampoos and conditioners.  All of the products you use on your hair should add moisture.  Asilk scarf is an investment.  Also, women should stay away from excessive heat.  When possible allow hair to air dry or half dry before using a blow dryer.

RDD: How do you choose a style for your clients?

US: I usually ask my clients how they see themselves first.  When it comes to working with celebrities for photo shoots and appearances I like to know the wardrobe.  It really needs to be a collaborative effort.  Sometimes I go in with an idea of how they should look.

RDD: You’ve created hot looks for some of the biggest stars.  These have become their signature looks.  How can some of the not-so-famous, but still beautiful find a signature style?

US: Get advice from a professional.  A lot of times people try to create a look for themselves but they choose something that they can’t afford to maintain or it doesn’t fit their lifestyle.  When it comes to looking at celebrity styles or looks from the runways, see what you like and then remember to tone it down for every day wear.  Think about what it is about that trend or look that will work for you.  Remember you spend more time with your hair than your stylist.  So take care of it.

RDD: Is there a way to promote growth and build lustre?

US:  That’s tricky.  Everybody has their own growth rate.   Some people’s hair will just grow faster than others.  But the best thing to do to help with that is to always get a trim.  Even if you want your hair to grow still get a trim because your hair needs to be healthy.  Also, vitamins, eating healthy and drinking water make a difference in hair growth.

RDD:  What’s the latest hair styling trend and how can that be accomplished for women of varying ages?

US: The trend now is long bangs for short hair.  Like most trends it can be worn at any age.  But older women may want to adjust it.  So for instance instead of a really long bang, a slightly shorter, straighter bang may be more age appropriate.

RDD: For those of us who are wearing our natural hair, shrinkage is a real problem (tugs at my tuft of curls).  What do you suggest for keeping length to your style?

US: One thing that really helps with that is double strand twist.  Twisting your hair and then setting it free shows the texture but still allowing your length to show.  Also using a moisturizing curl definition product like Motions’ Hydrate My Curls  Pudding helps create that style and leave your hair healthy.  Use it while your hair is wet.

To see more of Ursula’s styles click here.

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