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Celebrity Hairstylist Johnny Wright Releases ‘Natural & Curly Hair for Dummies’ Book

Wright, who counts former First Lady Michelle Obama among his clientele, is tackling the misunderstanding surrounding the care of natural and curly hair with a guidebook that joins the "For Dummies" series.

Celebrity hairstylist Johnny Wright has always understood the beauty of Black hair. 

From his Chicago, Illinois, upbringing to stints at Frédéric Fekkai and L’Oréal and becoming the personal hairstylist of former First Lady Michelle Obama for eight years, Wright has honed his craft by seeing possibilities where others have been taught to see problems.  

“I make it my business to talk about natural hair in a very positive light,” said Wright, whose book, “Natural & Curly Hair for Dummies,” launches Tuesday on Amazon and at Walmart for $29.99. 

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In the book, Wright explores the stigma surrounding natural hair and details how readers can embrace theirs by understanding their hair biology, porosity and texture, and how to wield that information to create the hairstyles they desire. 

Natural & Curly Hair For Dummies
“Natural & Curly Hair for Dummies” courtesy photo

“When I went to hair school there was no natural hair care portion in our curriculum,” said Wright, whose love for hairstyling began at just three years old, when he would comb his grandmother’s hair into a sleek ponytail. 

By age 11, Wright had secured his first client — his mother — and was a beauty supply store regular. 

“I worked at my first salon when I was 14, and that was an all-Black salon, of course, so everybody appreciated everything there,” Wright said. “It wasn’t until I started working in more multicultural salons that I realized there was a lack of education when it came to understanding all hair textures.” 

From then on the disparity only grew more apparent to Wright, who wrote his book with the aim of educating hairstylists, as well as consumers, on how to accommodate the needs of curly and natural hair.  

“If you want everybody to be able to sit in your chair, you need to seek out that education,” he said. 

Wright’s book has sections devoted to mastering hair tools, applying heat, choosing suitable products, protective styles, cutting curly hair and kid-friendly styling ideas and products. 

“In my research as I was writing the book, the words I kept seeing next to ‘natural hair’ were ‘difficult’ and ‘hard’ — people reading that aren’t going to want to transition [to their natural hair],” said Wright, who sought to change that narrative with his book.

According to Wright, who has styled the hair of Queen Latifah, Kerry Washington and Samira Wiley, among others, education is the portal not only to promoting self-acceptance but to challenging the false associations of curly hair as being unmanageable, unpresentable or something only Black hairstylists should be equipped to handle. 

“Curly, natural hair is a beautiful thing. It’s not a chore that you have, it’s just a process you need to learn,” he said. “Yes, it can be challenging, but we’re up for the challenge and practice makes improvement.”