Inner Views and Advice from an Afro Caribbean Hair Stylist

Camelia (below right) is an experienced Afro Caribbean hair stylist from Coventry, West Midlands, UK, who specialises in braiding, weaves, relaxing, colouring and styling. In this “innerview” she shares advice on black hair care products and the pros and cons of hairdressing.

Donna_tella: How long have you been hairdressing?

Camelia: On and off since I was 16 years old.

Donna_tella: Who or what inspired you to take a career in hairdressing?

Camelia: Nobody really inspired me but ever since I was a young child I’ve been creative with my hands. I left school with the option of studying art or hairdressing, I chose the latter.

Camelia Douglas - Afro Caribbean hair stylist

D : How long have you been at your current salon?

C : I’ve been working, self-employed, at Vinnie Bernards for the past 7 years


D : What are the perks of your job?

C : Being self-employed is one, as I enjoy being my own boss. I love being creative with colours, hair extensions and weaves. Transforming women’s hair can help alter their lives, even if only for a short while. Knowing I’ve cheered someone up or given them a confidence boost by changing their hair is extremely rewarding. I also work with a variety of clients, young, middle-aged, senior aged, from various backgrounds. I get to learn new and different things every day.

D : What are the lows of your job?

C : Being self-employed and in this current financial climate can often mean early starts and late finishes. Hairdressing is also a physically demanding job, spending long hours standing and years of braiding causes stiffness and pain in my hands occasionally.

D : Which black celebrity would you like to work your magic on?

C : Trisha Goddard (Broadcaster/Chat Show host), her wigs and weaves look ill fitted and do her no justice. I know I could style her hair a thousand times better and emphasise her beauty.

D : Specialising in Afro Caribbean hair, what hair products do you recommend every black woman should have on her shelf?

C : The Kera Care (see above) hair range is an absolute must for black hair and there is a wide variety. Their Shampoo is brilliant for cleansing the oily build up, common in Afro hair. For treatment of dry, damaged or coloured hair, I would recommend Maroccan oil treatment (see below) for intensive conditioning and protection from heat (i.e., blow drying, curling tongs, straighteners)

D : What mistakes/bad habits do you find Afro Caribbean women often make with their hair care?

C : Black women have a lot of pride when it comes to the length of their hair (black hair doesn’t grow as fast as the hair of other races) and often avoid having regular trims, this can often cause more damage. I also find a lot of clients are heavy handed with product, this makes the hair heavy, dirty and vulnerable when hair straighteners are often used. Hair oils and moisturisers should be used sparingly to avoid weighing the hair down. Better results can be achieved that way.

D : And finally… If you hadn’t followed the path of hair styling, what would you be?

C : A few years ago, I would’ve said an artist but now, I could see myself as an interior designer. My love of art and creativeness would be greatly challenged in interior design.

D : Thanks Camelia for sharing your thoughts and advice.