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The knowledge

As well as being Francesco Group’s Advanced Academy Creative Director, Michelle Thompson is an award-winning Afro hairdresser, as well as current Northern Stylist of the Year at the Black Beauty Sensationnel awards. But aside from her expertise and awards, Midlands-based Michelle is one of the most inspirational hairdressers working in the UK today – on any hair type. Just take a look at her work over on Instagram, @michellethompsonhair, and you’ll see what we’re talking about!

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In this, the first of two guest blogs with Michelle, she talks about the need for more salons to cater to clients with afro and/or extremely curly hair.

Why working on afro hair can only be a bonus for your salon profits

It’s a material that we as hairdressers work with – no matter what the texture is. You cannot forecast who your next client is going to be, which means that you need to be prepared for any client to walk through that door. I believe that in 20 years we are not going to see any one texture or type; it’s all going to be mixed up, as more and more cultures are blending. If you’re not open to understanding all hair types now, you will suffer in the future. It’s happening already! Think about it; when you go to the doctor, you don’t go to a doctor specific to your race, do you?

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So why aren’t salons/hairdressers catering to all hair types?

It’s a fear – it’s the not knowing. I teach a lot of courses, cutting for Mizani working with hair types 3 and 4, and when you ask the majority of the attendees if they’ve ever worked with Afro hair, they’ll say ‘no’. So I’ll ask them, what makes you not want to work with it? Most of them say; ‘I don’t know how to; I’ve never been shown.’ For me, it goes back to the colleges. When I went to college, I was fortunate enough to go to one that included afro hair as part of the NVQ, but now it’s an optional module. But many of today’s stylists just see a mass of hair and they feel intimidated. It’s simply because they haven’t had that education from day one.

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When I talk to hairdressers who already have many years of experience, but have never worked with afro hair, I always take them back to the basics. I ask them; if you have a frizzy client, what type of products would you use? I’ll ask them how they blowdry hair and they’ll answer me and I’ll tell them: it’s no different with Afro hair! By the end of the day the attendees are so happy and amazed at how much they’ve enjoyed it, and how much they can do. There just aren’t enough places in the UK delivering the education.

Find out more about Michelle and Francesco Group.


All imagery via @michellethompsonhair/Instagram

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