Celebrity stylist, Diane Da Costa shares tips and advice about wearing, caring, maintaining and loving natural and textured hairstyles in her book TEXTURED TRESSES: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining and Styling Natural Hair . This hair guru is spreading her philosophy of “healthy hair is happy hair” through Diane Da Costa’s American Beauty Tour where American Beauty Sweepstakes winners forgo a beauty journey with a complete hair, makeup and wardrobe transformation, proving that a sexy head doesn’t always have to be straight and sleek.
Q: Explain your foray into hair styling . . .
I’ve really been creating and cutting hair since I was five years old. I look back now at some old photographs my mother has in her photo albums and I see myself with a doll in one hand and a comb and shears in another. Later, after graduating with a Bachelor in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a short stint in PR & Marketing, I enrolled in Robert Finance Hair Design Institute in New York City. Several mentors in music entertainment and beauty encouraged me to open my own business and work in the entertainment and beauty industry by creating styles for album covers, video and editorial print work. And I’m happy I took their advice and guidance.
Q: Your book TEXTURED TRESSES: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining and Styling Natural Hair says that the textured hair we see everywhere nowadays is nothing new, but a rediscovery. How so?
Sure, there is really nothing new under the sun. As we evolve, the methods and techniques advance, but history always repeats itself. The history of textured hair began way back before Christ–who had ‘hair like wool’–was born. It started with Egyptian Civilization and the 18th Dynasty, where African Queens (Neffertiti) who wore her hair in braided and weaved styles. Then the Massai tribe was the first to wear locs. In the 60s and 70s, the big ‘fro was introduced. Now it’s the textured twist out or BIG weaved curly ‘fro’s. Cleopatra & Vidal Sassoon created the geometric bobb you see on Rihanna and Victoria Beckham today. So you see, it’s really nothing new, but rather a rediscovery, a reinvention and inspiration from the past.
Q: In the introduction to your book, you describe the process of cutting off your relaxed hair and going natural. For those who aren’t ready to cut off and start anew is it possible to wear textured styles with relaxed hair too?
Definitely, I’ve mellowed out since then. The drastic route isn’t for everyone! There are several options, if you would like to grow out your relaxed style. First and foremost, keep your relaxed hair conditioned with a protein/moisture cocktail conditioning treatment. Then make sure you condition the new growth of the natural hair with a moisturizing conditioner. The new growth creates a line of demarcation and you want to avoid breakage at this point. The free ‘twist out’ look can be achieved with the flat twist natural set. After the set is dried completely and released, simply separate and finger comb at the base for a voluminous free wavy curly coif. Long rod sets are also another option to create spiral curly hairstyles. If you don’t have the patience to grow out your relaxer, but are fearful of a short look, you can also look into curly and wavy weaves for that immediate gratification. You will obtain a curly look while you grow out your relaxed hair.
Q: How easy is it to maintain textured hairstyles?
What does textured hair really mean? Well there are wavy, curly and tightly coiled hair patterns. Then there are dimensional styling on highly textured hair, like locking, coiling and braiding. Maintenance is required on any type of hairstyle, whether it’s relaxed and smooth straight hair or textured hairstyles. All styles require maintenance from cleansing, properly conditioning, moisturizing and protection against hot tools. Now, the least amount of maintenance can be found in the short Caesar and cute curly cropped fro. However, after your locs have blossomed to about 4-5 inches in length, you’ll enjoy a great amount of freedom. Another low fuss, frizz-free style is the softened textured curly look which is achieved by applying a softener or texturized chemical relaxing process or lye-free relaxing process.
Q: Are there any celebrities whose textured looks you like right now?
I love the natural textured curly styles of Tracee Ellis Ross, Cindy Blackman and Corrine Bailey Rae. All the wavy and curly looks that BeyoncÃ© rocks day in and day out! Not to mention the many natural coifs that Lenny Kravitz sports, one of my sexiest clients ever.
Q: Describe a total “American Beauty.”
An American Beauty is a woman of all colors who embraces her inner and outer beauty and enriches her physical, mental and spiritual being to complement her appearance.
Q: A complete hairstyle, makeup and wardrobe revamp . . . The American Beauty Tour 2008 sound so fun! What inspired it?
I was actually inspired while I was creating a total transformation for a beauty photo shoot and writing a makeover book for teenagers. I was combing out a whole head of locks to create a free flowing soft afro look on an editor. Yes, it was a crazy process, and yes it can be done! Not recommended, but you can comb out locs, depending on the texture. Let’s just say about 100 hours later, she had length and free-flowing hair again. I was inspired to create a total transformation for the young adult market that also needed to know more about their natural hair texture and how to work it in other forms or fashions. The tour started there and blossomed into this amazing beauty, wellness and total makeover glam contests in several magazines. Now we are coming to four cities and bringing it full force with beauty editors, beauty business owners, makeup and hairstylists, products and all that! So you’ll definitely want to check it out when it comes to a city near you. For more details visit www.ddabtour.com
Q: What do you hope people will take away from this tour?
A wealth of education regarding the history of where textured curly hair comes from is the first message. Secondly, that women of color and hair textures comes in all shades and curl patterns. Definitely, shaping the world to understand that curly hair is here to stay. Wearing your textured hair has so many possibilities and is endless from softened textured looks to natural locked, braided or weaved looks to relaxed healthy styles. Loving who you are first, accepting the texture you were born with and understanding that you can create any style once you start with healthy hair is the most important message I can bring to any and all nationalities. “Textured hair is beautiful hair” is my motto!