Anthony Dickey (always known as just Dickey) is a originally from Seattle and has more than 20 years of experience with all types of hair - but he has made his mark as a master of textured in all of it's forms, kinky, curly, wavy or a slight mix of any of the three. Like any star hairstylist, he has the requisite list of celebrity clients: Kelis, Alicia Keys, Minnie Driver and the marvelous writer and actor Anna Deavere Smith. He also recently styled my favorite potential First Lady Michelle Obama's hair for an October magazine cover.
His business partner in the Hair Rules product line is Kara Young Georgiopolous, one of my favorite 90s supermodels. Guess how they met? Apparently, Kara was on a shoot for American Vogue in 1990 working with beauty industry titans - photographer Steven Meisel, hairstylist Kevin Mancuso and the late, great ever so fabulous makeup artist, Kevin Aucoin. Would you believe that all three of them begged Kara to get her hair done professionally before future shoots because it took too long to do her hair on the set. They introduced her to Dickey, and the rest is history.
Now, if they were having a hard time with Kara's hair, are we really still surprised at all of the Black models who elect to wear wigs and weaves?
Oh dear, another story for another day. For now, here is Dickey in his own words.
Nichelle: A lot of women with naturally kinky hair opt to cleanse their
hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Should women with natural
hair skip shampoo all together?
Anthony Dickey: Cleansing creams are a better approach but if you are looking for a shampoo, look for one that is sulfate-free. You want a shampoo to cleanse without stripping your hair. Shampoos were originally developed for women without textured hair - to give them volume. That's why it leaves the hair stripped.
Nichelle: What is the best way to correct damaged naturally kinky hair? Curly hair?
Dickey: Cut it. There are no two-ways about it. Conditioners don't repair damaged hair. You're just prolonging the inevitable. You should get your hair cut every three months, which is only four times a year, and you don't have to take a lot off if you take care of it. You will need to at least "dust" the ends.
I know cutting can be traumatic for some Black women because of the myth that Black hair grows slowly. If you don't know how to take care of your hair it will grow slowly, or not at all. There is a method to growing the hair out so it grows. You have to start by treating your hair like a cashmere sweater. You wouldn't throw a cashmere sweater in a regular washing machine with the regular clothes, you take special care of it. You need to make sure you are getting the necessary cuts (without taking too much off) so any damage doesn't get any worse. You want to use a sulfate-free cleansing cream and you want to use styling products that soften the hair so you can see your curl pattern and work from there.
Nichelle: Is it possible to over-condition natural hair? What about in the summer when you are battling humidity or just extra dry air?
Dickey: No. Naturally dry hair loves to be conditioned.
Nichelle: Do you recommend hot oil treatments with oils like coconut, jojoba or grapeseed? If so, how often?
Dickey: Olive oil is good and I like Castor oil but you have to make sure you shampoo it out well because it is thick but it softens the hair. On the other hand, Tea tree oil is really drying. You have to be careful with essential oils. You want to make sure that you are using essential oils that contain fatty acids.
Nichelle: Some women have told me that they have different textures in their hair (i.e., the crown is kinky, the back is curly). How can you determine if you should use "Kinky" or "curly" products?
Nichelle: There have been a lot of questions about the inclusion of mineral oil in your products because some people are convinced that mineral oil coats the hair and blocks moisture. And, some have even suggested that the manufacturers of various hair products, including yours, only include mineral oil because it is cheap and plentiful. Your thoughts?
Dickey: As we research more natural alternatives to mineral oil we use it based on its performance - period. Contrary to some negative backlash it has nothing, zero to do with Hair Rules trying to make a dollar on the consumer by using a cheap ingredient. It has nothing to do with cost - just performance - especially when your trying to appeal to a consumer that has historically had nothing but relaxers and grease marketed to her. We believe that developing product that enhances a woman's natural texture and helps her to believe that she is good enough the way god made her in all her natural beauty was more important - so why in hell would we try to pull the wool over the consumers eyes? Hair Rules lists all our ingredients in plain view for the consumer to see on our web site. Further more, there are some brands out their that have gone to great lengths to deceive by writing mineral oil in latin in ingredients listed or not putting ingredients at all. But the more people you try to reach and change the mindset, the negative stereotypes of what acceptable beauty, the more resistance you meet - ying and yang, haters - and that's fine. If you've got ten haters you need to find ten more cause 1000 listeners have had some aha moment on what the real truth is and truth leads to greatness, nothing else.
Nichelle: What would you recommend to a woman who would like to transition
from relaxed to natural hair?
Dickey: You have a lot of options with a transition. You can cut it off or you can leave it and get regular styles until the chemical grows out or you can get a weave in a curly or kinky texture that matches the texture of your hair. It's really up to you.
Nichelle: A reader had this question - "I have natural hair and would love some suggestions on some really good deep conditioners. My hair is super thick, dense and curly and it's still in the growing phase. I have no idea what I'll do once it starts to really grow out to ponytail length."
Dickey: Regular haircuts and condition, condition, condition to prevent it from tangling. Keep it elongated to prevent it from shrinking so it doesn't break. The only time you should comb your hair is when it is wet with conditioner it it.
Nichelle: A friend asked me a hair question recently and I wanted to get your take: "I washed my (relaxed) hair this morning and a big clump was in the drain. It has been shedding on and off for about two years and really thin in the back. I don't know what type it is - how do you know 4A, etc?" Any advice? It seems to be shedding from the root - it grows but the thickness is not there anymore and I hate to comb it because it just seems there are strands everywhere.
Nichelle: I know Hair Rules was designed with kinky, curly and wavy hair in mind, but what about relaxed hair? Can women with relaxed hair use your products?
Dickey: All the Hair Rules haircare is designed for all hair types as dry as these natural textures. Kinky, curly and wavy hair are as dry as relaxed or color treated hair so indulge and pamper your silkeners, texturizers, relaxers and colored hair people because the line is sulfate-free. There is no drying and the cleansing cream is great for keeping vibrancy in color-treated hair and maintaining shine in relaxed hair. Also, the Wavy Mousse is perfect for wraps and wet sets for light weight incredible shine with no build up or tacky feeling.