In between traveling the world with Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o as her personal hairstylist, 30-year-old Vernon François spent three years perfecting his collection of products for textured hair. His namesake line — comprised of three collections and 13 products — hits net-a-porter.com and Francois’ own site at vernonfrancois.com on Sept. 12. Prices range from $30 for shine spray to $40 for treatments and conditioners.
“There aren’t enough people embracing textured hair and managing consumer expectations. The feedback over many years is that women and men are confused,” said the self-taught stylist, who this week embarked on a press tour with Nyong’o to promote her upcoming film “Queen of Katwe” that will come out Sept. 23. He’s also worked with Tracee Ellis Ross and Uzo Aduba.
François, who called himself a “champion” of textured hair, counts his brother as his first client. François moved to London from North England at age 14 and took at weekend job working at a salon.
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He continued: “My experience has been, people don’t know how to manage it and because of lack of education, the stylists don’t know how to manage. Whether it’s wavy or tight curls, the stylists don’t have the fundamental base knowledge and the confidence. That’s a ripple effect in the consumer being turned away; a lot of my clients have been told that their hair is too unruly.”
To combat this lack of knowledge, he has designed three specific lines that each target a different texture, with visual language on every bottle to help consumers decide which is right for them. Pure-Fro is for kinky, dense and tightly coiled hair; Curl-Command is for wavy, loose, curly hair and Re-Vamp is intensely moisturizing for damaged and color-treated hair. Each line has a shampoo, conditioner and moisture spray and four additional products include a lightweight serum, a Dazzling Spritz shine spray, a shampoo and conditioner co-wash formula and a Scalp Nourishment braids and loc spray.
All conditioners in the line have a spray in, wash-out application — which François was told was an “impossible to journey to go on” by the scientist he developed the range with. But he felt strongly about this issue and plugged away until they were able to achieve three different spray-in conditioners. He explained that since curly hair is so dense, when a pump or squeeze bottle is used, the product can’t cover so large a surface.
“If you spray the conditioner on a wider surface more quickly — the actual application is smoother and you have less product waste. That’s going to resonate with the consumer,” he said.