Rebecca Emmanuel is a talented London-based crochet hair stylist. But being a hair stylist was not always her calling; she was, in fact, a budding software engineer and later discovered her true passion of hair styling. Her drive and love for the craft have taken her to the set of Coming to America 2! Rebecca talks to us about her journey and goals as well as hair trends and tips.
1. Where did your love for hair and beauty come from? How did you get into hair styling?
My love for hair came from my love for getting my hair done, at the hairdressers, all the time. I used to only keep my hairstyles in for around 2 -3 weeks max. One day I couldn’t get in touch with my stylist, so I just grabbed a pair of scissors and just cut my hair short. I can be pretty impulsive sometimes, haha!
Once my hair grew a little bit, I didn’t know what to do with short hair, so I looked on YouTube for style inspo. This is how I first came across crochet braids, way before they became popular in the UK. I kept practising doing it on myself until I became good. 7 years on and I am still as passionate as ever about crochet braids.
I actually fell into hairdressing. I originally studied software engineering, then went into real estate. My background experience helps me because, I was able to take the part of me that loves software designing and bring it over to designing hairstyles.
2. What made you want to specialize in doing crochet styles?
I love the versatility and natural finish of crochet styles. It’s also quick to do. I found that crochet braids allow me to create different designs and styles while using similar techniques and patterns. I believe in finding that one thing you’re good at and perfecting your craft.
3. What is your favorite part of being an afro hair stylist?
It has to be my clients. I love my girls. I have a passion for women. Mentoring and speaking life into them have made me love my job even more. Doing hair is our avenue of self-care! Sometimes women will come to get their hair done and
we will just talk about any challenges they may have in their life. When we talk, I might share my experiences or give them advice and then we might pray about the issue. When they come back, I like to follow up with them and ask how things have been. I get to build a relationship with them that goes beyond just doing hair. Its mind, body and soul work. I have a tattoo of a butterfly on my wrist. When the women come in, they come in as caterpillars but when they leave, they’re like butterflies. They’re beautiful and colourful! This is because we’ve not only worked on the outside, but we’ve worked on the inside and the women glow from the inside out. There is a transformation. The glow, smile and feedback are my favourite part of my job! I also have another tattoo of a queen and this is how I see women. Like queens.
4. Who are your celebrity hair style icons and inspirations?
I love big hair so my celebrity hairstyle icons are Chaka Khan, Diana Ross and Kelis when she had her big colourful hair.
5. Which celebrities have you worked with?
I have worked with a range of well-known people. I’ve worked with Valerie Campbell, Angelica Bell, Claudia-Liza Vanderpuije, Charlene White and Sarah Niles to name a few. I was commissioned by Amazon Prime to make some wigs for production sets like Coming to America 2!
6. What do you think are the benefits of doing crochet styles in comparison traditional braiding or weaving styles?
Oh, there are loads! The fact the braiding pattern allows you to get into your scalp means that you can wash and oil it. Plus when you are working out, it allows the fresh air to reach the scalp. Crochet styles give the most natural-looking finishes. If the hair is done by an expert, you can literally squint to look at the person’s hair to try and figure out if it’s their hair or not. Crochet braids also have low tension which is great for your hair roots. Also, it’s a quick style! Instead of taking 6 hours to install traditional braids, with crochet braids, you can be done in 2 hours! You’re in and out!
7. What is your favorite crochet hairstyle to do? Why?
My favourite crochet hairstyle to do is the straight kinking install because that hairstyle gives one of the most natural finishes. Everyone who does it loves it! It’s one of those styles that meets your needs and you can fool a room full of people that it’s your hair! I often use Mane Concept’s BRD05 to create this style.
8. What are some of the best ways to make your crochet hairstyle last for weeks?
When you go to bed, make sure you put your hair up in a pineapple style and wear a silk scarf or bonnet. You can even use a satin pillowcase to reduce frizz when you sleep so that your hair won’t matt. I also tell my clients to mist and detangle their hair now and then and snip any flyaways before they matt. You can also put your hair in a two-strand twist when you go to bed to help maintain the curls.
9. What hairstyle or hair product do you think has “changed the game” when it comes to crochet hairstyles?
Crochet locs! When I first started doing hair for clients, I would hand-make the crochet locs myself. Now you can buy them in a pack.
10. What are some crochet hairstyle trends that we can look out for?
It has to be crochet locs! There is a big trend for locs! Goddess locs, boho locs, ombre locs, butterfly locs; the list goes on! There are so many types of locs you can get. They are the in thing right now and I don’t see the trend going away anytime soon. I think it's because locs are low maintenance and people love it. The great thing about it is that the longer you keep them in, the more natural they look.
11. Have you used human hair crochet in your styles? If so, what has your experience been?
Yes, some people prefer not to use synthetic hair, so they opt to use human crochet hair. For this hair, I have to use a slightly different technique when installing the hair but the hair is versatile and can be straightened or curled.
12. What advice would you give to someone who wants to get a crochet hairstyle?
The first thing I’d tell them to do is to go on Youtube and watch videos of the crochet style they want to do. This is so that they can hear people’s experiences with the style and know what to expect. They also get to see how the hair will look and will behave over time as well as see the curl pattern of the hair and pick one that works for their lifestyle! For example, big hair flattens over time, so you have to consider that when you do that style.
13. What do you hope the future has in store for you? What are some of your goals?
One of my goals is to have a shop front that has other services. I’d love to have a chair that gives you a massage while you’re washing your hair or a corner where you get champagne. High-class service! Who knows one day I might even have my own team!
Find style inspo on Rebecca’s Instagram @BeCrochetCreation.
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