I first met Joleigh last year at an event curated by Johanna to accompany her photography project The Curl Talk Project where she photographed 100 women with curly hair. Joleigh struck me with her beautiful curls and even more so when I found out she was a Deva Curl stylist and was to open her own salon in Brick Lane.
I had been dying to have a dry cut and was enthusiastic to book my appointment as soon as. Curl Talk gets booked up quickly so you have to do a good couple months in advance. I booked my appointment in November to come in February. This can be frustrating when you leave it till the point of really needing a hair cut, so I suggest booking in advance and don’t leave it till your hair is an uneven, outgrown mess.
The Big Day
Greeted by a neon sign ‘Hey Curl’ I arrived comfortably on time for my appointment. A lush pink sofa with the original curly girl method books laid on the table, I knew I was in a safe place. When I arrived Joleigh was finishing up on a client. I was able to observe a relaxed atmosphere and quality and care being carried out. We’re used to a certain type of ‘conveyer belt’ system in Salons, I grew to realise the salon experience should be a whole day, not a rush. You want your stylist to take their time and get it right for you. And that’s what Joleigh does.
We had a mini consultation about what it was I wanted and it was felt easy to translate my thoughts. I needed shape and to trim my dead ends. Joleigh started to trim my hair dry and then went to wash and style. Joleigh knows products, she has Kinky Curly and Cantu and has knowledge that there current brands out there. Her curl knowledge is evident – she told me the porosity of my hair and what it meant for my curls – something no hair salons will tell you about. After diffusing she trimmed my hair again. While I was being cut, washed and dried I got to find out more about the woman behind the salon – her inspirations, ethos and plans for this new venture she had begun. Joleigh’s journey started when as a young girl she was taken to a hair dressers and had the nightmare experience we can all relate to – most of her beautiful curls were butchered. From there a fire was lit. She wanted to know why this happened, why no one knew how to cut or care for her curls like they did straight hair. And rightly so. Joleigh in her early teen years contacted Lorraine massey and wrote to her seeking advice (loved this!) from there she went onto training to become a traditional hair dresser and it wasn’t till years later she went over to the states and trained in Deva salons, meeting massey and training under her directly.
Joleigh now wants to bring this knowledge to the UK along with her passion to create a safe space for curlies and importantly curly kids. She told me of how a woman with straight hair walked in asking for a cut and how she had to turn her away despite the woman almost refusing. If you think this is a problem, welcome to our world. But don’t worry there are 10 other salons on the street that cater to your hair. Joleigh is really passionate about the salon experience, especially for children. As mentioned earlier she had a bad experience as a kid and it can really change how you see yourself going into life – a traditional space of beauty where you’re made to not feel welcome or made to feel less than. It wasn’t till this conversation I realised this was part of the problem many of us had growing up. Nearing the end of my session, Joleigh mentioned how she has big aspirations for her salon – she wants it to be a creative space for events and workshops – which I love. It’s great to see women in the community make their own safe spaces for other women like them. Raise each other up.
I loved my cut.It’s the most natural cut i’ve ever had and feels so me. I was slightly nervous – a natural feeling when it’s the first time by someone new, but I was excited too! I loved the shape and she knew what it needed without me having to go on a detailed explanation. Lastly, the price point shocked me in how affordable it was for what she was doing. Joleigh made it clear she wants to be as accessible to as many curly people from teachers to celebs. It was great to feel like I could afford it as much as the next.
Overall I would highly recommend going here, giving it a try. Joleigh was relaxed and has great chat, she was the girl I saw myself in and it’s whats been the most powerful thing in this community. Growing up and not seeing yourself in the media had a powerful effect but now to be able to meet REAL women who I connect with has been more powerful then the media ever could.
Any questions on my experience or hair just leave a comment, email, or insta DM! lets chat 🙂 x