Like many Black girls, Waveney Pierre-Antoine has a sensitive spot for her hair. After taking out her braids a few years ago, she was "unimpressed with the proportion of her hair to the size of her head," she tells Refinery29. So she headed to a local salon with a look in mind and a photo in her hand. Sadly, she and her stylist had creative differences in the chair.
"I found a picture of this great style, but the salon basically laughed at me" Waveney tells Refinery29. "They said to come back in four years." Instead of getting mad, she got even. That's how Koil, a line of hair extensions and wigs for kinky textures was born.
Waveney and her husband, Ruben, used their Stanford University backgrounds and Waveney's uncomfortable experience to help naturalistas achieve the styles that their hearts desire...without all of the handiwork (and eye rolls). For the record — Koil isn't the first or last hair company that caters to natural clients that want natural textures to match. But according to Waveney, what differentiates Koil from the rest is the fact that they aim to enhance Afros and the like, rather than require their customers to comb it, brush it, and flat iron it every single day. Translation: They're the place to go if you want more hair, not smooth hair. Of course, this makes perfect sense from a business standpoint, too. While natural hair isn't a trend, we've still seen our favorite stars like Solange wear her Afro in new, inspired ways, and have observed the industry grow to embrace frizz and texture.
"People try to put coily hair in a curly box," she explains. "That's where the difficulty lies. But if you go with where your hair is supposed to be, it becomes simple. We want our shoppers to embrace the humidity. People always get scared that their hair will shrink up or turn into an Afro. There's nothing wrong with that! You're going to end up with a 'fro at the end of the day anyway."
Koil's wigs and clip-ins promise to behave like your real hair would. You can twist it, braid it, and "stretch" it by blow drying it, if you please. And if you do want to add some bigger waves with your curling wand or iron, that's okay, too — the hair springs back to its normal state by washing and conditioning it. Waveney wears a wig from the line that she wand curled months ago. Instead of brushing the curls out, she let the hair loc together for realistic-looking dreads (I can attest to this — I've seen it myself!). "You can really fool people with this hair," she says. "It's not to meant to make you look like you're overdoing it."
In fact, that's what Koil's aim is. They want customers to love their hair — and themselves — without having to fight with their texture every day. "You put on a little tinted moisturizer for glow sometimes, right?" Waveney reasons. "But you still love the skin you're in. Maybe a girl wants her 'fro to be a little bit fluffier and bigger, and that's fine. But at the very core, we want our girl to love her base self." We can get behind that.