Travelling Sisterhair Diaries – Stevie Jane French

Join me on my journey while I travel to interview people with awesome hair. We will learn how to care and fall in love with our hair. Become our hairs best friend; treat it well whilst enjoying a giggle or two. I was inspired by @syllableinthecity blog post where she featured an awesome info-graphic on hair. After giggling, I thought the info graphic opens up many talking points around weird and wonderful hair facts and so armed with the love of meeting new people and a similar fascination for hair; I set off to find my first hair diary host.

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I have known @steviefrenchSA for almost 9 years now and one thing I can state as fact is that Stevie has the most beautiful long curly brunette hair. I have always wondered how she manages her hair and gets it looking so beautiful all of the time. I put together a list of questions for the fun loving sister-in-law and eagerly set out to meet Stevie at her beautifully renovated Houghton apartment. Prior to the interview Stevie and I had agreed that she would wash her hair and walk me through the steps of how she styles her hair. The thing that makes this host a hair expert in her own right is that Stevie is a successful TV personality/presenter. You may have seen her in the Media Career Guide (SABC1), Wimpy adverts and A.C.T.1 kids show on YoTV. Stevie has recently returned from a yearlong stint in Alaska, America where she was a news anchor for ABC news. I am not over exaggerating when I say that Stevie always looks ready for the screen and this includes her hair. Stevie has a close relationship with her hair and has spent many hours perfecting her styling habits so that it takes minimal time with maximum glam effect! Read on to find out how!

Hair Host: Stevie Jane French @StevieFrenchSA

Hair Type: Medium to fine curly dry hair (note girls with curly hair tend to have dry hair, it comes with the package)

Hair Colour:  Brunette with a few blonde streaks and occasional low lights to compliment the natural ombre that the sun creates in the front sections.

Hair Length: Measured from crown to tip of hair at approximately 58cm and could probably be longer if completely straightened.

Hair Hate: Frizzy bits surrounding the face which used to be worse when Stevie was younger but after discovering the power of trimming, she has cut her fly away’s and found that they grow out stronger and prevent her hair from looking too frizzy.

Hair Love:  Stevie just plain and simple loves her hair although she does think her face shape suits straighter hair. While her hair used to take 40 minutes to dry and style, Stevie has learned to care for her hair in 15 minutes and here is how.

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Stevie’s 15 Minutes Hair Care Programme Pre-Styling Regime

Note 1: Once washed with Head and Shoulders (that helps counteract a dry scalp) and conditioned with Pantene Repair and Protect conditioner, Stevie lets her hair settle by letting it air dry for between 30 and 40 minutes(depending on how long you have to get ready). This seems to leave her hair feeling softer after blow-drying it. Due to the fact that Stevie has “a lot” of hair, buying expensive hair products is not budget friendly and the regular products work just as well for Stevie’s hair and budget. Stevie is a strong advocate in prioritizing your beauty regimen. Stevie would rather spend the money on other beauty aids (a good leave-in treatment, hair dryer and straightener) and few select products. Stevie also maintains that all beauty aids should be used in moderation like hair dryers, and GHD straighteners as they can cause damage to the hair.

Note 2: A good strong blow dryer is necessary for Stevie’s hair. Stevie prefers hair dryers that have three heat settings and a high wattage (about 2000W). The higher the wattage, the more air pressure felt from the hair dryer, the more drying time is reduced. And the hotter the heat setting, the smoother the hair style. Stevie keeps the dryer on maximum heat and speed settings for optimum results. Stevie taught me not to stress about the ‘smoke’ that results from drying your hair, it is actually just steam coming from the damp hair. Yayness, because this has always worried me.

Styling Programme

  1. Flip your hair upside down and dry your hair till it is just damp, the upside down part gives the hair more volume.
  2. Separate the bottom third of your hair, clip the rest on top of your head. Part the hair at the back (so that your hair is equally split on either side of your neck). Starting with one side, part the hair in 3 again and start drying the section closest to the back of your head – moving forward towards the face.
  3. Dry the hair from the underside (brush sits on top of the hair), lift the brush up (to create volume) and focus on blow-drying the roots. Move the blowdryer down towards the tips of the hair (but never reaching the tips) constantly curling the brush. Whilst curling the brush, the roots will dry from indirect contact with the hot air. Use a large round brush (available at Clicks or Dischem) to aid in the process
  4. So once again, working with 1/3 of hair at a time (note the power of three), roll your hair onto the brush, lift up, focus the dryer on the root, curl up and straighten. Once the hair is 80-90% dry, brush the piece once and when the brush gets to the tip of the hair twist and let curl fall
  5.   Having curly hair helps the curl last longer because you are not taking all the moisture out. By only drying the hair 80- 90% it allows it dry naturally once styled.

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Post Styling

  1. Flip hair over gently and apply heat once more all over (for about 10-15 seconds). Be gentle so that you do not disturb the natural curls.
  2. Gently straighten the flyaway bits with a straightener.
  3. On day 2 of the hair dry, Stevie uses argon oil to preserve the hairstyle and keep her luscious locks moisturized. Investing in a good argon oil product is key element of Stevie’s hair care regime. Stevie suggests either Moroccan oil, Argon Oil or the L’Oreal Mythic Oil. Note the main ingredient is Argon which impacts the moisture levels in the hair. Stevie finds that using it on the first day can cause her hair to lose the volume created with the hair dryer.

Some strange hair facts and Stevie’s thoughts

1.       Hair can be used to make an additive that is found in foods such as the dough for pizza crusts and bagels. Which do you prefer? Pizza or Bagels and why?

I would not eat if I knew it was made with hair… but then again there are loads of foods with dodgy additives that I am blissfully unaware of. But I would have pizza over bagel any day. Tomato base with avo, in fact any pizza. I love pizza, a bagel is harder to make, and not everyone gets it right where as if you desperate, Debonairs will do.

2.       Healthy hair, when wet can stretch to 30% its original length – can we wet you hair to see if this is true. I am sure it is true but I would like to meet the woman who can stretch her hair 30% when wet. I don’t think I have any girlfriends that could do that.

3.       Hair absorbs oil from water, working as a natural sponge – would you ever consider washing the floor with your hair? No (point blank), absolutely not. What conditions would have to be present for this to happen?  A gun to my head!

4.       The anticipation of SEX makes hair grow faster. Any comments? Stevie smiles and blushes then states, “that explains why my husband needs a haircut every three weeks!”

5.       Human hair is used by groups of eco-friendly volunteers to clean up oil spills. Would you donate your hair to this cause? No, I would rather donate my hair to a cancer organisation. What is your favorite cause and why do you support it? Youth empowerment – after school programmes, mentoring programmes and mentorship but not only academics, through the arts as well. It takes many different people to make the world go round and youth who are interested in the arts should be mentored and encouraged. Give kids the power and confidence to follow their dreams. We can’t change the past but we can create a future that is better than our present. An informed and active youth is a powerful weapon. Amen Sister

6.       How strong do you think Rapunzel’s hair is (give in units of number of men) – goodness that’s such a hard question – I guess hair is really strong – kind of like people, breaking one person is easier than breaking a ponytail of people…Haha! How many Alasdair’s (Stevie’s Husband) would equate to the strength of Rapunzel’s hair? 5? 45 (we both start to giggle)

7.       Did you know that only 2% of the world’s population is blonde?  No Would you ever consider going blonde and why? OMG, I have considered it so many times, I always want to be blonde. I shot a TV show – A.C.T.1 on YoTV – and couldn’t change my hair for more than a year. The very fact that I couldn’t change it made me go stark crazy and that’s when I did blonde highlights in Alaska.  It was kind of traumatic at first. I was like, “Whoa! My hair’s a different color!”. But in all honesty, I don’t think I have what it takes to be a blonde. Blonde-haired people have a different kind of will, patience and wallet power. I guess if I had been a ‘blonde-by-choice’ all my life it would be different. Who is your favourite blonde? Probably Taylor swift, natural beautiful blonde.

8.       What if I told you that blonde hair could fetch up to $1600 for 100g of blonde hair – would you consider it then? No, plus I don’t think you can sell treated hair so I wouldn’t be eligible. For example for wigs, I’m pretty sure you cannot donate if you have dyed it. We should check that. Big on the “I think” part. In addition, even if they do accept hair that is dyed, I would probably only make like R100 profit after all the money spent on getting it that color, so no.

9.       What do you think the average number of hairs on a head is? I am not sure but I do think about it a lot. How many do you think you have? I don’t know hundreds of thousands – it can’t be a million surely? I would never count them though….. although I would count my hairs before I cleaned the floor with them. That is for sure!

10.    Do you know what hair is composed of? Proteins? Noooo no, it is keratin like the stuff in your nails.

11.    Hair is one of the most common types of forensic evidence. Have you ever committed a crime and left hair at the scene? If I ever did commit a crime, I would probably leave hair at the scene. That is how I would be caught. Any crime in mind?  No crimes in mind.

12.     Do you have hair on the soles of your feet, palms of your hands or lips? No (Shoo, Sasha tells Stevie the story of friend who had a thumb skin graph from his arm and his thumb grows hair) – on cue…ewwww!

13.    We get goose bumps when it is cold because our hair follicles contract, causing our skin to bunch and hairs to stand on end. What is a sure fire way to give you goosebumps? Listening to a good song – listening to Lea Michelle for example (she is on Glee) or any song on Smash (another TV show).

14.    The world’s longest ear hair was measured at 25cm, OMG that is half the length of my hair! Would you ever date a man with ear hair? Yes and how long is too long? Nothing that wax can’t fix

15.    1 hour and 53 minutes is the average time girls spend washing, drying and styling their hair per week. How long would you say you spend on your hair per week?  I do not wash my hair often, maybe two or three times a week. So 15 mins to wash, 15 mins for drying, probably 1 hour and 15 minutes per week including pruning and straightening.

16.    What do you spend on average per month on your hair? Not a lot – besides Moroccan oil or argon oil which R300-R400 but lasts ages – maybe R1 per day? I only get my hair cut every two to three months – R300 (don’t have it blow dried, Stevie gets her locks trimmed at Sneak Preview in Parkhurst). Affordable shampoo and conditioner is about R120 and lasts up to three months. So about R510 every three months so approximately R170 per month.

17.    It takes 13 days for any white or grey hairs to show through stress, shock or aging. How many grey hairs do you have? Maybe like 10, I do have them, they only pop out every now and then. Do you ever pull them out?  I am not big on pulling hair out.

18.    In ancient Rome, women died their hair blonde with pigeon dung, would you ever consider doing this? Sounds cheaper than hair dye so yes I would. I am not adverse to weird and wonderful beauty remedies. I will try anything once when it comes to beauty remedies…. but no I would not wash the floor with my hair!

19.    What about horse urine? I don’t know, if Sarah Jessica Parker said it works I probably would. This was apparently done in renaissance Venice. OMG. Eeew

20.    What is your favorite way of styling your hair and what are your favorite products?

a.       Moroccan oil

b.       Keretese mask is amazing

c.       Down and just loose or in a high bun because it’s easy

Till next time. XOXO

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