How a hairstylist is changing the beauty industry

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MUNCIE, Ind. – A hand grabs a bottle of water spray and sprays a frizzy curl with droplets. Two hands rub a shiny oil together before combing it through the curl. Finally, a moisturizer is applied deeply. The method is called LOC and stands for Liquid-Oil-Cream. It’s one of two different methods that Erica Moody, a woman with thin blonde hair, explains in her biracial hair care course.

Moody, salon owner and stylist at Beautiful People Salon & Education, launched her own biracial hair care classes earlier this year on Feb. 17.

Moody’s Educational Biracial Hair Care Workshops are a resource for families and loved ones to learn how to care for biracial hair textures.

In each class, students learn about hair types and different methods of care. Moody teaches three simple hairstyles that can be done on boys or girls. Additionally, participants receive hands-on experience and a take-home kit with the products used in the class.

Moody started the classes because she realized there was a cultural divide in the teaching of beauty schools.

“It’s a very Caucasian/White world dominant in the beauty school industry,” Moody said.

In cosmetology schools, Moody said predominantly white schools tend to teach how to style white hair textures, predominantly black schools teach how to care for black hair, and schools of both ethnicities tend to learn about it. more on the textures of white hair.

When Moody was in school, she attended predominantly white schools. There were only three thin chapters in her textbook related to ethnic hair. While two of them contained practices for all hair, including perms and relaxers, as well as wigs and extensions, only one of the chapters focused explicitly on ethnic hair.

At the time, Moody didn’t notice the gap in the industry. It wasn’t until she gave birth to her own frizzy children that she realized she didn’t know what she was doing.

She tried a hodgepodge of products to find what worked for her kids, spent countless hours perfecting the right detangling method, and asked lots of questions.

Even when she asked questions for help, she ended up with a range of different answers. Moody learned that there is no one right answer.

As a mother and grandmother of biracial children, she needed a biracial hair care course when her children were born. She felt like black hair techniques weren’t taught enough.

Through trial and error, Moody started a course to help people in his community learn more about biracial hair textures. She realized from the community that there was a larger target audience waiting for help.

Now Moody realizes the importance of teaching host families, teachers and students.

Community Response

In the 42 children Malena Hall has welcomed since 2018, she’s seen a range of hair textures. She sought out Moody’s class to learn the best techniques for caring for hair different from her own.

In Moody’s class, she learned that she did a lot of things incorrectly.

After taking the course, Hall felt much more confident about what products to use and what not to do.

Right now, she hopes to learn how to help one of her children with her hair.

“I have a kid right now who is eight and his hair is a mess. I’m just trying to get him back where he belongs,” Hall said.

Hall suggests that others who might be in his situation find a class like Moody’s.

Not only adoptive parents became a primary target for Moody’s, but also teachers.

Moody found that children were going to school with unkempt hair because their guardians couldn’t style their hair and the teachers wanted to help. She recognized the importance of a child’s self-esteem when it comes to their appearance.

“I think we have to not only look at the culture, but also the industry…and people as a whole and how we can help people feel beautiful,” Moody said.

In a study about hair bias in school by Afiya M. Mbilishaka and Danielle Apugo, embarrassment and anxiety were reported as a common emotional reaction following negative hair experiences, leading to embarrassment in school. Fifty-six African American women shared memories of harrowing hair experiences that led to sexual and racial marginalization.

The study found that African American girls use their school environment as an outlet to express themselves; however, if they experience microaggressions, it can impact their well-being.

Moody’s found that teachers in the community wanted to make sure their students weren’t bullied in class because of their hair. They asked Moody what hair products they should keep in their office.

Future goals

Today, classes are 2.5 hours long and cost $80 per family. Moody suggests that anyone who attends also bring their family or friends to learn.

With the help of sponsors like Meridian Health Services, Family Resource Center, Metanoia Foundation and Ivy TechMoody’s is able to purchase supplies, pay partners, and conduct free classes.

Since Moody’s first class in February, she’s expanded her reach and hosted a series called Transformational Beauty during Pride Month. Classes focused on feminine, masculine and androgynous expression. It was another way Moody emphasized the importance of self-esteem and self-expression.

“The beauty industry is huge and there are so many different things that people don’t think about every day and it’s growing, growing, growing,” Moody said.

Moody’s plans to expand its courses to hairdressing schools. She also wants to expand outside of Muncie and include other cultures that are not taught in schools.

Contact Katherine Sehgal with comments at [email protected]

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