Regina Harris, the star of this week's episode of Hair Me Out, has been on a lifelong journey with her natural hair. Growing up, she would get routine perms or relaxing treatments; in the summer, her mom would give her braids as a protective style. Now, coming into her own as a woman in her 20s, Harris wants to be the author of her own hair story, so she decides to colour her natural curls for the first time ever.
For her transformation, Harris visits Spoke & Weal Salon in Manhattan's Flatiron district, where she books in with colourist and natural-hair specialist Alexandra Hiers and asks for her interpretation of "cinnamon hair colour."
"I want to get cinnamon colour hair, mostly because I saw it back in August and I really wanted to do it," Harris says ahead of her appointment, noting that the choice wasn't as straightforward as it might seem. "I face that stigma of, 'With your skin tone you can't dye your hair a certain colour,'" Harris continues, "but as I'm getting older, I'm really coming into my own womanhood and I don't really care — I'm going to do what I want with my hair. Today I'm obviously a little nervous, but I know Alex is gonna fleek it; she does amazing work, so I'm super excited."
Hiers is more than qualified to take on this transformation. "I specialize in colour and work with all hair textures, but my favourite is coily hair," she explains of her natural-hair expertise, adding that she has a clear vision for Harris's colour. "Today with Regina, we're going to be turning her natural textured hair to a golden cinnamon brown. We want to make sure we keep with her complexion, so she doesn't look too warm or too ashy. We want her to leave looking like a goddess."
First, to ensure that the bleach solution doesn't stretch or damage Harris's coils, Hiers begins by saturating her hair with a heat protectant (she uses Aveda Heat Relief). She then paints the custom-mixed dye from roots to ends and lets it process under a cap for about 45 minutes. Once the cinnamon colour has set, Hiers shampoos, conditions, hits the hair with a blow dryer, then presses it smooth with a flat iron for the big reveal.
In the end, Harris is ecstatic with her new look. "I feel so good — I'm so happy with the colour," she says. "This matches my skin tone so perfectly; I feel like a new woman, like, who is she? I just feel like this next year, I'm going to feel like I'm a new person, and now I can see that I'm a new person. I feel like I'm really stepping into that womanhood, so it's nice to see that actualized."
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