I don’t remember the day when I first sat in Shavon’s cozy dining room. But I do recall a beautiful Charles Bibbs painting on the wall and hand-crafted jewelry; some made with cowrie shells, some of brass. Essence and braid-style magazines piled high in a wicker basket. Her manner was calm and mellow. Engaging but quietly confident. I explained that I wanted microbraids. While that request didn’t faze Shavon, to other stylists who’ve contended with my hair, let me just say, it’s a feat. We’ll broach the subject that is my hair another day, another time. In the words of Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” She turned on some music and tackled my mane…never breaking a sweat. Ten hours and forty minutes later I was glo-ing!
Shavon’s journey from creating locs, braids and twists in her kitchen to becoming one of the Nation’s leading natural hair care experts is an inspirational one. She is sought out by clients globally due to her unique approach and philosophy. Her clientele include Amy Dubois-Barnet (Executive Editor, ESPN. Former Editor-in-Chief of Ebony) and Amy Hilliard (President, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and the creator of Comfort Cakes) and she has been featured in Black Enterprise and Ebony magazine. Shavon has elevated her skill set as a stylist to the level of “organic hair artist” and has perfected this holistic approach where she collaborates with each client to create an individually-tailored style. Her ascension to a six-figure income and national notoriety, all while juggling the demands of parenting three children, is indicative of what can be achieved through hard work, dedication and excellent customer service.
What is natural hair care?
Shavon: I believe it’s an experiment in self-love. Once you make the transition to natural hair you’re forced to go deeper. You say, ‘This is what comes out of my head, and I’m not going to force it. I’m going to let it do what it wants to do.’ It’s about acceptance and authenticity. I meet so many people who just want to talk about their experience.
Why is the natural hair care market booming?
Shavon: We are in a period where people are becoming more aware about what they put in and on their bodies as a whole. Also, the rise in hair loss is making people more aware of detrimental chemicals.
What drew you to natural hair care?
Shavon: My love for perfecting braiding patterns began around the age of 10 for me. My mom did not know how to style hair so I honed the skill throughout my adolescence practicing on myself, family, and friends. I also started getting into African culture to learn more intricate styles and to find the deeper purpose behind the art form. There’s a picture of me with a Barbie doll when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I was intensely styling this doll’s straight blonde hair. Later in life when I found the photo, I had to reflect on how much effort I spent trying to make my own hair look like that doll’s hair.
What lead you to start a salon?
Shavon: My professional practice began while I was in college when my mother decided to purchase a salon chair and put it on our enclosed back porch. I have literally been braiding ever since.
Why do most people tell you they decided to go natural?
Shavon: For the most part they are becoming more aware of the health issues with long-term use of chemicals. I’ve had clients who’ve experienced extreme hair loss, but I’ve been able to give them natural coverage. I have a client who was wearing wigs and didn’t think she could get anything done to her damaged hair. When I was able to create a style that covered her balding areas she looked at herself in the mirror and cried. She said she felt beautiful for the first time in years. It feels good to make people feel good about themselves.
What are the common misconceptions about natural hair?
Shavon: The misconception is that being natural is hard (to manage). People will say they can’t maintain their hair without a perm. However, it’s all a matter of having a variety of styles you can use for different situations. The styling process doesn’t have to take longer than at a salon.
What is most important to know about natural hair?
Shavon: Natural hair is more than a hair trend, it’s an experience, a journey towards self love and appreciating your innate beauty. It’s not just about products or styles, it’s much more personal.
Are extensions considered natural?
Shavon: It’s the idea of “fake it until you make it.” People in a transition period may not have the length, so extensions are a great solution. It falls under natural styling because you’re not using chemicals. When using extensions, clients are looking for natural rather than bone straight textures. The interloc technique I use is a non-damaging strand-by-strand braiding technique that’s a great protective style option whether you are transitioning, have damaged tresses, hair loss or just want to workout or add more volume. Our ancestors even added different natural fibers to create hair art.
Shavon: My vision is not only to provide natural hair care and styling but also to continue to educate, cultivate and preserve the integrity of what I consider to be a sacred cultural art form. That is ultimately my focus in inspiring my clients through the process of collaborating with them to capture where they are and what they want to achieve or express. Inspiring, educating and encouraging young girls to value their crowns is also huge for me. I want to inspire people to GLO ON, naturally!
“My intention is to create an environment that is holistic and nurturing to our sacred beauty”
More about Shavon:
Shavon understands how to work with the client’s natural hair pattern to create protective styles that cultivate and maintain healthy hair. After attending the long-standing Dudley’s Beauty College in 1995, she decided to focus her business on preserving the integrity of the cultural art form of natural hairstyling. Shavon trained under gurus in the field such as renowned Master Braider Taliah Waajid, has received certification in more than 20 techniques, and is a member of The American Hairbraiders and Natural Hair Care Association (AHNHA). She has developed a series of highly anticipated workshops that teach techniques on how to love and nurture your hair and body naturally. Shavon’s motto is that every client should GLO’ IN THEIR NATURAL BEAUTY!”