The moment celebrity hair weave stylist Tonia B. set foot in Los Angeles (she hails from Wilmington, Delaware), her career seemed to blossom overnight. With her training as a stylist and natural ability as an image consultant, Tonia quickly became a fixture among the Hollywood sect and was soon fielding calls from celebrities like Meagan Good, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Lauryn Hill to get them ready for their close-ups. In fact, the next time you watch the television series The Game, you might just see one of Tonia’s creations on screen or most recently in T.D. Jakes’ Jumping the Broom.
“Weaves” used to be considered a dirty little secret, but that secret’s long been out of the closet and without question is one of the largest money earners in beauty supply stores across the nation and around the world. Since the word on the street was that Tonia is an authority on weaves, it was only fitting that we ask her to answer some burning questions the weave-challenged & the weave-curious have about this forever interesting topic.
What makes your weaving technique so special?
The Indian Technique is a procedure that was especially created for [women of color] in Hollywood’s entertainment industry. [I] often witness the separation factor (natural hair separated from the weave). In hair theory, there’s a natural growth pattern and it’s wise to follow the grain of the growth pattern especially when laying the foundation (the braiding). This procedure is done with the proclivity of real hair growth [which] allows you to manipulate the weave [that can be worn] in many directions while keeping the natural look of the weave and gives you a lot of versatility: gym, day executive, evening, play, & sexy, etc).
What advice would you give a woman who wants to maintain the health of her own hair while she wears a weave?
You can maintain the health of natural hair by shampooing and conditioning it every 10-14 days. A deep penetrating conditioner (meaning heat is required) – sit under dryer for at least 20 minutes) and then follow with a moisturizing conditioner if needed [at all] since it depends on the state of your hair. [Note that a moisturizing conditioner may not always be needed], but your scalp may require [some] attention. [Also beware that] some conditioners can coat the hair and cause weightiness and non-flexibility.
What question(s) should someone ask a stylist when they’re researching people to do their weaves for the first time or maybe even just their own hair?
You should ask…
1. How do I protect my hair from the weave?
2. How long can I wear it?
3. Will the hair look natural with my hair?
4. How do I protect my hair from the heat?
5. How important is texture matching? REALLY IMPORTANT TO ASK.
What are the pros & cons of wearing weaves?
* PROS: Allows natural hair to rest and grow. Heightens the image of the individual. Styling versatility without damaging your hair.
* CONS: Hair left out must be treated. The initial investment. [Repeated cost of] maintenance is still required because it’s a weave.
What can someone expect to pay for a weave taking into account the type of hair being weaved in?
Anywhere from $495 up to $3,500. [You should] take into account the variation of weave procedures. [There are] bonds, glue-ins, sew-ins, fusion, strand-by-strand, etc. These various techniques have the low and high end when it comes to cost. Each client has different needs based on their desires, therefore the price can vary.
Talk a little about the specific types of hair a person can buy to have weaved in since “hair” is such a hot-button issue.
When we get into the type of hair for a custom weave that’s when the cost can be economically challenging. You have Indian hair, Russian, Peruvian, Malaysian just to name a few, and all of these types of hair vary in price. Also note that you have small, medium and large heads. A large head weave can almost double in price compared to a small head weave.
What a transformation for Meagan. How did you convince her to cut off her long locks?
Meagan is confident and secure in who she is, so she didn’t have to be convinced. She has the kind of hair that long or short works perfect for her…I tell all [of]my clients, it starts with the confidence and rest will follow.
Is Lauryn Hill wearing a wig in this onstage shot?
She is NOT wearing a wig and her hair is the ideal hair, full and versatile. Ms. Hill is what I call an organic woman. She doesn’t care for a lot of the extra additives if you will. LOL!!!
Why would someone opt to wear a wig and what are the upsides & downsides to wearing them long-term.
Wearing a wig is for sure a great way to rest the hair from weave, pressing and all the frying and dying it takes to beautify oneself. Wearing a wig, I feel should be a short term break from the norm…. Wearing a wig long term can smother the follicles which can ultimately cause hair loss and damage the various layers of the hair. This will present an unhealthy look and could possibly lead to other issues such as alopecia, thinning, etc.
So what else is Tonia up to? She has a line of products currently in the works that’s specifically geared towards weave maintenance. Can’t wait to hear more so I can tell all of you!
Hue Knew It? I did.
Photo Credits: Allen Martinez (Tonia B. photo), Michael BarR (Tonia B. and Meagan Good photo), James Cox (H.A.S. magazine cover) – Images: Tonia B. Meagan Good, Lyrica Anderson, Lauryn Hill
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