Nearly two years ago, small start-ups and major conglomerates alike were vowing to make good on their pledges and promises to reckon with the issue of diversity and equity, or the glaring lack thereof, in their respective industries. In the time since, some brands have faltered, trailing off to 'business as usual'; but for those that have stayed the course, their impact is to be felt for years to come.
Such is surely the case for TreSemmé. On Wednesday, the hair-care brand launched its new Texture Certification Program, designed to train hair professionals nationwide in treating, cutting and styling textured hair.
The new program, created in partnership with SimpleeBEAUTIFUL's Curly Textured Academy, is an extension of the TreSemmé Future Stylist fund launched in 2020, established to address the bias and inequality throughout the beauty, fashion and media industries. The brand tapped celebrity stylists and TreSemmé ambassadors Lacy Redway and Nai'vasha to help shape the curriculum, consisting of three trainings covering the fundamentals of texture, perfecting the textured cut and the art of textured styling.
While providing basic education might seem like table stakes, the Texture Certification Program speaks to a long overdue conversation surrounding the fact that currently, no state cosmetology licensing departments requires a true understanding of textured and/or coily hair. This, of course, has resulted in a lack of professional skill required to serve and care for a diverse client base, creating a daunting ripple effect.
According to a nationwide survey of clients and stylists, TreSemmé found that 86% of Black women report facing challenges finding a stylist, with experiences ranging from stylists who simply don't know how to care for their texture, to facing bias and discrimination while in the salon chair.
"As a leader in hair care, we have a responsibility to use our influence and platform to make a difference and bring awareness to the lack of certified textured hair care training in the industry," Jessica Grigoriou, Brand Director of TreSemmé, shared via a press release announcing the program. "Every woman, regardless of hair type, deserves to have access and feel confident that they will receive quality hair care at every appointment so they can express themselves authentically, and we want to do our part to increase inclusivity in the beauty industry."
Doubling down on that commitment, TreSemmé will ensure that all stylists hired by brand, from New York Fashion Week to "Project Runway," will be required to complete the Texture Certification Program. By the end of 2022, the brand is aiming to train more than 1,000 stylists.
Ahead of the Texture Certification Program launch, Redway — who counts Zazie Beetz, Venus Williams and Tessa Thompson as clients — spoke with Fashionista about shaping the curriculum with TreSemmé, the reality of professional styling today and why she wishes the program existed when she was coming up in the industry.
When did you first realize textured hair wasn't prioritized in the industry's education when you started your career?
I realized textured hair wasn't a priority early on while I was still attending cosmetology school, where there was a general lack of education and understanding of textured hair. Also, while assisting backstage or with established artists — I noticed they would hire me to come in and do hair for the models with textured hair because they were not confident in the area.
Unfortunately I still see this today, even amongst the most professional hairstylists. Equality and inclusivity start from a strong foundation, which is the education professionals receive at beauty school.
This explains my passion to get involved with this program and help educate stylists across the country — I wish this [program] would've been something that was available to me and my peers while we were coming up in the industry.
In helping guide the course, was there anything in particular — be it a technique or a cultural understanding — that you felt was critical to include?
I would say one crucial piece of advice is to come prepared for all hair types. In these training sessions, I'm teaching stylists about the importance of having products and tools specifically for textured hairstyling in their tool kits.
As professional hairstylists, we're going to be working on editorial shoots, press events, film and TV sets and a lot more. It's our responsibility to come equipped with the products and tools necessary for all hair types, so that our clients feel like we're taking their needs into consideration and celebrating the beauty of their natural, textured hair.
How do you envision this program changing this industry, in both the immediate and long-term?
My hope is that this program will help change the industry in the immediate, with the training these stylists will receive as well as in the long term, with the continued resources and awareness this program is providing. This curriculum was designed to help stylists learn how to properly care for textured hair — everything from the vocabulary to use while talking about different hair types, to understanding what tools work best to prevent permanent damage.
I know this program is already creating change because TreSemmé is requiring all the stylists — myself included — who work with them to complete this certification, pushing this issue to be a top priority.
My long-term hope is that this program will reach stylists across the country who want to be part of the solution. Knowing how to style and care for textured hair should be a fundamental requirement so that Black women everywhere can receive quality hair care.
For more information about the program and details on how stylists can register, visit Tresemme.com/fsfcurriculum.