When I decided to launch Triple B, I knew that one of my first interviews would have to be with a hairstylist who specializes in tending to natural strands. Who better to fulfill this burning interview request of mine than natural hair guru, Arlette Pender of Hairloks by Arlette? The Brooklyn bred, Arizona-based stylist has been on her hair grind for over 30 years and has worked with notable clients like Kelis, N’Bushe Wright, Essence and Vibe magazines. Here, Pender dishes the 411 on proper maintenance, the downfalls of beeswax and the style surprises in craft stores for naturally-coifed brides-to-be preparing for their big day.
Black Bridal Bliss: Many brides-to-be assume they have to wear all their hair pulled back or up for the wedding. Your thoughts?
Arlette Pender: This is one of my pet peeves. I wish more women considered textured afros, bantu knots, twist outs and even long braids. These styles things exude a youthful, sexy innocence.
BBB: For sisters who wear their hair short, what type of adoration/hair accessories do you suggest wearing on their wedding day?
Pender: Well the obvious choice is a jeweled headband but there are other options for this bride, too. For a demure look, try adding a couple sprigs of baby breath behind an ear or in the front of the hair. Also look to barrettes; Swarovski has some great ones. Ladies, remember that your hair adornments don’t have to necessarily be meant for the hair. Go to the craft store, get creative.
BBB: Do you suggest that brides-to-be schedule a test run with their hairstylist before the big day?
Pender: Absolutely! I do at least three different test runs with my clients before their wedding day. We look through magazines and choose the best trends together. I’ll play with the headpiece as well. And I always ask to see a picture of the dress to study the neckline, the silhouette and so forth.
BBB: Do you only work with women? What about the fellas who wear locks and are preparing to jump the broom?
Pender: We will groom the groom! [laughs] I definitely do hair for men on their wedding day as well.
BBB: What about women who are typically natural but opt to wear their hair blown straight or pressed for the walk down the aisle?
Pender: They should be extra-concerned about humidity and sweat. Also, avoid putting excessive heat on hair as it can cause the bonds to break.
BBB: What products do you recommend for natural women getting ready to jump the broom (and beyond)?
Pender: I like using products from the Jane Carter Solution and Harirobics lines. For brides wearing locks, make sure your stylist uses products that are water soluble and light. Please, no beeswax – it will rob your hair of shine and attract lint. Wax can also cause breakage and might even ruin your dress.
Arlette Pender can be contacted directly here. (All images provided by Hairloks.)
This article is really meant for professional hairstylists, but it provides a plethora of useful info for the natural bride too. (Thx, Claire!)