When it comes to natural hair, I can literally talk about it for hours and hours. #myobsession.
Perhaps my preoccupation began when I was a little girl. I went through a million emotions when it came to what I thought about my hair. I was embarrassed by it, hated it, liked it, and was obsessed with it. But being over 10 years natural, I have truly come to a place where I cherish my hair.
Although I love each kink and curl, I will admit that I do wear extensions. But I affectionately give my tresses a much needed breather every couple of months and wear it au naturel. (FYI- twistouts are my fave)
A few of months back I was in desperate need of finding someone to do my hair. I was super busy and my hairdresser and I couldn’t agree on a day to meet, and for some reason natural hairstylist Hair By Glenna popped into my head. It’s kinda weird because I had never met her. I’m pretty sure I heard her name mentioned at a natural hair event I attended two years ago, and I made a mental note. So I checked out her work online, and drooled over her fantastic hair creations.
Turns out my hairstylist was finally able to fit me in, so I didn’t get a chance for Glenna to work her magic on my hair. I still wanted to meet her and talk about hair. So I did.
I spent the majority of the interview asking Glenna about her hair journey, when she started styling professionally and what she thought about Chris Rock’s movie Good Hair. I had to ask her!
Here’s what she had to say.
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Astrological Sign: Cancer
Fave natural style: Bantu Knots
Years natural: 12
Fun Fact: Worked on Trey Anthony’s play ‘da kink in my hair. She maintained the hairpieces for the show.
Why did you stop perming (chemically straightening) your hair?
A family member had gone natural first. She had this long hair but chopped it off and wore a TWA (read: Teeny Weeny Afro). I looked into why I was perming my hair and why I was going to the salon every 6-8 weeks to straighten it. I just thought it was crazy.
Did you big chop?
I never wore my hair out in the beginning. I wore my short hair in two strand twists and began experimenting.
Do you think people treat you differently now that your hair is natural?
I think a lot of it is in our minds. Some of it does exist, but a lot of it is how we feel. It we are confident in how we look, that transcends into the energy that we emit.
What was it like being natural at work?
To be honest, I never really had a problem with it. It wasn’t until I got a contract position where I heard “slight inappropriateness.” If I went to work with my hair straightened (flat ironed), my office manager would say to me, “You so look so professional today.” Nothing outside of that.
How did you learn to do your own hair?
I remember asking my stylist at the time to teach me how to do cornrows because I didn’t have any younger siblings or small cousins to practice on. So she got her granddaughter to teach me on a mannequin. I practiced on myself….that’s how I learned to do braiding. I did my friends’ hair in high school and my skills kept building from there.
After I graduated from Humber College, I pursued further studies at Ryerson, and while doing that, I decided to switch programs and schools entirely. I decided it was time to study hair at Aveda.
Although I had many years of experience, I wanted to learn about all textures so that I could expand on my skill set. At Aveda I learned about hair colour, hair cutting techniques, body positioning, etc. Hardly any time was spent on black hair.
GETTIN’ HER HUSTLE ON
When did you start styling hair professionally?
It started in 2010 after I had gone to The Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show. I had found out late about it, so I wasn’t able to book a showcase. Instead I brought two models with me and we gave out business cards and showed off my portfolio. I gained my first set of clients outside of the people I already knew from the event
Are there some styles that you don’t do?
I don’t perform weave as a service. I don’t do it because I don’t believe in it from a health perspective. I have a lot of people who come to me who have experienced damage from wearing weaves for so long. If someone really wants to do a weave, then I refer them to someone who does a good job.
THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE “GOOD HAIR”
What did you think about the movie Good Hair?
I can’t remember all the details of the movie, but I was left with a feeling that enough wasn’t explored in the movie. It was superficial and didn’t go deep enough into the reasons why certain images of black hair are more easily accepted.
Do you think that natural hair is widely accepted?
I feel like it’s come a long way, but there’s more work to be done. We’re at a good stage because I see more black women wearing their hair natural. Many people, including some black people, don’t have an understanding about natural hair, and where there is a lack of knowledge, ignorance will follow.
ALL NATURALISTAS NEED TO KNOW….
What’s one thing that all naturalistas need to know about their hair?
Get a routine. I feel like your hair and scalp need a routine. So when you find products that work, stick with them! At least for a while so you can see the hair flourish and see what’s going on with your hair.
Another thing, I don’t want people stressing over the length of their hair. It’s all about the health of your hair. If you just concern yourself with the health of your hair, everything will come after…length, fullness.
Good advice, eh?
About two weeks after I interviewed Glenna, I attended her Hair Talk event where she, along with natural hair vlogger Toni Daley, and Loctician, Charmaine Daley, spoke about having healthy natural hair, as well as loving your natural hair. Yes, I was in heaven! Such an awesome night. Thanks, Glenna!
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