Having been nominated twice for ‘Afro Stylist of the Year’, appeared as an afro hair specialist on Gok Wan’s ‘How To Look Good Naked’ and worked behind the scenes of both the Brit Awards and X Factor, celebrity hairstylist, Gemma Humes is a firm fixture in the afro hair world. Curly By Nature sat down with Gemma to chat about her journey as a kinky hair specialist and stylist to the stars.
Q: What hairstyle are you rocking at the moment?
A: The hairstyle that I think suits my face shape and personal style the most – a short pixie cut. I love it, it’s just so easy to maintain!
Q: When did you first realise you wanted to become a stylist?
A: I’ve always loved doing hair from when I was a little girl. I taught myself how to braid on my dolls’ heads and was always styling my friend’s and family’s hair. As soon as I left college I knew I wanted to pursue a career in hairdressing.
Q: How did you gain experience in the profession?
A: First I enrolled at Joshua Galvin hairdressing college. Once I had secured a place at the college I was put on an apprenticeship scheme and then had to find a salon to work in. I knew I wanted to learn how to work with both Afro and European hair at the highest standard. So, I did my research on the top salons in London. Errol Douglas seemed perfect so I called to arrange an interview/trial day with Errol and the rest was history.
Q: Have you got any tips for anyone trying to get their foot through the door of the industry?
A: To become a qualified hairdresser you have to do your NVQs, so my advice would be to enrol at a good hairdressing college that can help you to find a work placement. Choose top salons to do your apprenticeship in. The standard of training is a lot better.
Q: What has been your biggest achievement?
A: Being nominated twice for British Afro Hairdresser of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards was a big achievement for me.
Q: Who is the most interesting client you’ve had?
A: I loved working with Zoe Kravitz on the set of the X-Men movie. That was fun and she was a laugh.
Q: What style do you enjoy creating the most?
A: I love complete transformations, so that could be anything from curly to straight or straight to curly. I also love creating short, cropped hairstyles.
Q: How does styling curly hair differ from straight hair?
A: Curly hair requires more freehand cutting, as there are lots of different curly patterns. Curly hair also needs a lot more product to finish, to ensure a non-frizz look.
Q: What is the most common issue that your curly clients have with their hair?
A: A lot of ladies that wear their hair curly find that throughout the day their hair can frizz. I would advise anyone to have a nano keratin treatment done. It will change your life!
Q: What advice would you give to women thinking of transitioning back to their natural curly hair?
A: Regular treatments are a must (every 2 weeks) and regular hair trims (every 2 months). Moisturise the hair twice a day, morning and night. Natural oils are always better; coconut, argan, castor or carrot oil are all great for your hair.
For more information on Gemma Humes, visit Gemmahumeshair.com.