Celeb hairstylist Oscar James has known Tyra Banks since she was 19 years old and has worked her ever-changing tresses for almost 15 years. When Tyra had her big "real-hair reveal" on her talk show a few weeks ago, it was Oscar who literally transformed the model-cum-mogul from a wet chicken into a sultry princess right before our very eyes.
"The response has been overwhelming and extremely positive," said James of Tyra's real-hair reveal. "There's always been this mystery, and I think what people appreciate more is that she's admitting to wearing [weaves]. Most celebrities do but most don't admit it."
James, who has also worked the locks of starlets like Beyonce, Iman and Vanessa Williams, says he routinely collaborates with Tyra on her many looks. James is adamant that the key to "keeping hair on your head" is conditioning, deep conditioning and combing the conditioner through properly! Read on for more of the worldly hair wisdom of Mr. Oscar James:
How did you get the curly look that you revealed on the show?
Well, first of all, it's paramount that you start with deep conditioner always. Deep conditioning means healthy hair. I shampooed the hair, gave her a great conditioner and used heat on it. Tyra has a great texture hair, but it tends to be dry. So after that, we rinsed and we blew it dry. I don't really use a product before [blowing out] because when you put heat on a product, hair tends to look oily. I then used a quarter-size iron to curl all around in no real pattern; I just curled it haphazardly because I wanted free-form curls in all directions. I wanted it to look as full as possible, so I used a quarter-inch curling iron all over and had her bend over and brushed it because I wanted to get as much volume as possible. Then I used a holding spray – I love Paul Mitchell. They have a great body-holding spray just to add a little more sheen and hold. I also like to use a little pomade after because pomade gives shine and texture and helps the curls stay where you put them.
Do you get to choose the hairstyles for Tyra?
It's more of a collaboration, because Tyra is very hands on. Because she's been a model for so long and she's worked with tons of different hair dressers, she knows what she likes. One thing about Tyra is that she studies. More than anything, I think that's why she's where she is. She's always got a look. Of course, I recommend things, but most of the time it's a collaboration. What's always the key is what she's wearing. So that kind of dictates her hair as well.
Weaves tend to take a long time. Are you spending hours a week with Tyra?
Oh yes. It all depends on what we're doing. If it's sew-in extensions sometimes that can take hours. Sometimes we do wigs. Sometimes just clip in pieces. It all depends on what we're going for.
What advice do you have for women who want to take out their weaves?
It's really all about taking care of your natural hair and nurturing it, because you never want to forego your healthy hair for extensions. A lot of times women with extensions don't do anything to their [real] hair. Your natural hair is paramount.
Do you recommend giving a break between weaves? How do you take care of your hair with the weave?
Always deep condition, and the key to keeping weaves healthy is actually not wearing them too long. I would say every two months or so take it out. Give your hair a rest for a week or so, especially if you have it chemically treated [a relaxer on your natural hair]. You want to leave it out for a week so it can breathe. With a good weave, you leave a little of your natural hair out to cover the tracks. A lot of women forget their real hair, so it tends to get matted. You want to pamper that hair.
How much time do you think you should dedicate to your hair each week?
You want to have a pamper session for your hair at least once a week. You can be deep conditioning while you're doing chores or while you're reading.
THREE COMMON MISTAKES THAT WOMEN MAKE WITH THEIR HAIR by OSCAR JAMES:
1. Too much heat. It will ruin your hair
2. Not conditioning it properly. The proper way to do it is to drain most of the water out so you don't dilute the conditioner and actually combing through because you want to get the conditioner on every strand. I can't stress enough how important conditioner is. Conditioning is the key to growing out hair. Nature's Therapy has a mega-moisture conditioner that is amazing -- especially for dry hair.
3. Hair is most fragile when it's wet. And I hear women say all the time that their hair is not growing. It's always growing, but they can't keep it on their head. A lot of women lose hair when it's wet. You have to take your time combing through your conditioner. You have to make love to it, feel what it needs, treat it gently.
Check out Tyra's fresh new Magaline, where she shares tips on beauty -- inside and out!