10 Minutes With: Miko and Titi Branch of Miss Jessie’s PLUS Protective Styles For All Lengths!
Happy Thursday, Glamazons! It seems like no matter how much you think you know about caring for curly or wavy hair, there’s always more to learn! I had more than a few aha-moments and takeaways as I took in the wealth of knowledge that the dynamic sister-duo/ masterminds behind the Miss Jessie’s beauty brand, Miko and Titi Branch shared in a glamazing interview with us. Want to know how they got their start in the industry, how to transition from relaxed to natural, what it really means to get a texturizer, and more? Keep reading because they’re giving the good on these topic and more!
GM: Why did you decide to go into the natural hair business?
MJ: When we started our focus was on healthy straight hair. As Miko’s life changed by having a child so did her hair needs. She just couldn’t keep her hair straight while taking care of her baby so she started to wear it curly. From there we both were wearing our hair curly and always looking for products that would do what we needed it to do. After searching and not being able to find what we needed we decided to make our own products. This is how we got into working with naturally curly hair and what helped informed our product formulations because we were working with naturally curly hair in our salon.
GM: Many people are intimidated by natural hair and people affiliated with it. How would you advise women deal with negative perceptions of natural hair? What’s a misconception people have about your salon and products?
MJ: We actually find that naturally curly hair has been more looked at as a sign of beauty. If you look at the commercials, tv shows, fashion print ads and the everyday woman on the street you see a lot more texture. The most important thing is that you feel beautiful and that your hair be a representation of your views of what is beautiful. That doesn’t mean that it is a limited view but one that is honest. When you wear your hairstyle coming from that place of honesty there is an undeniable confidence that all others have to acknowledge. So our best advice is to wear your hair with pride.
One misconception about our salon is that we don’t work with straight hair. This is not the case at all. Although we have a very deep and clear understanding of curly hair we are a full service salon and we do great straight styling as well. A misconception about our products is that it can make straight hair curly. Our products work with whatever texture you have so if you have a loose wave, tight curl or everything in between we have a styling cream for you. However, the only way to make straight hair curly with our products is to use it with flexible rod rollers.
GM: What tips do you have for retaining hair’s moisture?
MJ: Your hair care regimen starts from the time you wash your hair. If your hair is dry and you need to retain moisture using a non-sudsing/sulfate shampoo is best. Our Crème de la Curl cleansing cream will clean your hair without stripping it of its natural oils. From there going right into a deep conditioning treatment is important. This will give your hair that extra moisture boost it needs. When styling use products that have moisturizing ingredients in it yet still give you the results you’re looking for like Curly Pudding.
GM: There are a ton of length challenges that women participate in to grow their hair. What tips do you have for maximizing length?
MJ: To maximize your growth potential be sure to keep your hair well moisturized. Also, look for styling options that enables you to not pull and tug at the hair daily. Only get your hair trimmed twice a year. If you get your hair trimmed to often you will be cutting off the new growth and you will not see a difference in the length of your hair. It’s also good to look at your lifestyle. Reduce stress or find a way to release it, eating healthy and exercise all contributes to overall health including hair.
GM: What is the best thing that a woman can do to make sure her natural hair is in healthiest state?
MJ: Clean hair with a non-sudsing shampoo, deep condition and use moisture boosting products. If you do any heat styling be sure to go to a professional that has experience working with natural/curly hair textures.
GM: What advice do you have for someone who wants to go natural but may be apprehensive about the transition process?
MJ: The transition process is different for everyone. Some women get the big chop so that they don’t have to deal with having two dissimilar textures. Other’s use braids, weaves or wigs as styling options so they can grow their hair out to a length they are comfortable with and then chop off the relaxed hair. Some women choose to get spiral rod sets so that they can enjoy their own hair as it grows out to a comfortable length.
GM: What are some everyday techniques that someone who is transitioning can use to help them adapt to their newly curly texture?
MJ: One of the best things a transitioner can do is to look at their natural hair texture as it grows out. When they have a better idea of what their natural hair looks like, look for other naturals that have the same texture and see what works for them. On our website we have a number of before and after pictures where we discuss what styling we did and the products we used.
GM: There’s a lot of discussion about what it means to be natural. Some women think that if you use any type of chemical, such as a texturizer on your hair than you’re no longer natural. Are you still considered natural after using a texturizer?
MJ: There are two desires by women who want to embrace texture. There is being natural and having natural styling. There are individuals who for many different reasons want to be natural. Technically this means that they have no chemicals in their hair. That means no relaxer, texturizer or color. The women that do use chemicals may enjoy natural styling but they are not natural.
GM: What should women consider before getting their hair straightened using a process such as a keratin treatment or with a blowout?
MJ: When getting any treatment it’s important to do your research and ask the practitioner all of the questions you have. In terms of a Keratin treatment find out what product is being used as you would if your were getting your hair relaxed or colored. For a blow out go to a professional that understands the challenges of curly hair. Be sure moisturizing products are being used and that they are fluid and quick with the heat styling tools. Always ask what you want to know about any service you are getting.
GM: Could you walk me through a protective hairstyle that works for just about any length?
MJ: I would approach protective styling based on the individual. The length of your hair is very important because you have different styling options at different lengths. If your hair is very short be sure to use a daily moisture cream on your hair like our Baby Buttercreme and in the winter months where you may be wearing a lot of hats be sure they are satin lined. For short hair your cut is your style until your hair gets longer. Winter woolens soak up the moisture in your hair where the satin lining will work as a barrier between your hair and your hat.
Medium hair lengths can do twists as a protective styling. Either brush your hair to the side and do a twist version of a French braid or do two strand twists and wear that as your style. This will allow your ends and most of your hair strand to be shielded from the elements.
For longer hair, you can do French rolls. Your hair can be rolled into a pompadour like Janelle Monae or rolled into loose buns. This styling will keep you stylish and shield your ends at the same time.
I don’t know about you, but after soaking in all of these tips, I feel better prepared and inspired to love my coils even more! Now, shake those curls, girl!