Toronto woman hopes to close the gap by offering textured hair curriculum to beauty schools across Canada

Caring for textured hair is T’keyah Prentice-Cupid’s specialty. She’s been doing this professionally for the past six years (not counting the 12 years she spent learning about naturally curly and curly hair). It’s a skill that makes her a rarity in the industry, she says.

“I worked in salons where there were ads of black women or mixed race women with texture in their hair, but they were missing the product that worked well with those textures.”

This is a gap she has seen throughout her career, especially working in “Eurocentric salons”, explains Prentice-Cupid. She says beauty salons and schools in Canada are not receiving adequate training on how to care for textured hair.

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“Our hair is in need of love the most,” said Prentice-Cupid who also has textured hair and sports a pink-tipped afro. “It requires some attention that not everyone is ready to do,” says Prentice-Cupid, many salons don’t offer the personalized care and time that textured hair needs – and services don’t respond on demand.

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“Most people around the world have textured hair and only 30 percent of that population is represented by services,” said Prentice-Cupid.

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The turning point and the rainbow came for Prentice-Cupid when she created a poll on her social media account, asking other professional hairstylists how comfortable they felt about taking care of their hair. textured. The results were surprising.

“Ninety-nine percent said they didn’t trust the training they received in school. “

“And then it was interesting because 37% of them then said they felt confident over time in their careers… (which) meant that they learned what they learned by trying. and errors, ”said Prentice-Cupid. “And it’s unfortunate because our hair shouldn’t be an experiment – people should have the tools they need in school to be able to provide the services.”

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So, in the spirit of ‘build it and they will come’, Prentice-Cupid has created its own tool: Textured Hair EDU – a one-of-a-kind program focused on bringing textured hair education to schools. beauty spots across Canada.

“The goal is to create the first textured hair study program in Canada. So not only do we want to offer courses, but we actually want to go into the [Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development]face and be like, you got to put curly hair, afro-textured hair education in your schools – that’s enough.

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She has yet to receive a response from the ministry on whether or not to implement her program, but Prentice-Cupid has already started to operate.

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“My first class I had was in the summer … it was a silk press class, where I taught everyone who signed up how to blow dry, style, wash and straighten afro-textured hair,” said Prentice-Cupid. “The next class will be a color class, so it’s more geared towards stylists… we’ll be releasing it and our website in the new year.”

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Prentice-Cupid says she is asking the ministry to implement its program to replace the current one, which is obsolete.

“The services stylists need to know about are relaxers and perms, and that’s the extent of training on textured hair,” Prentice-Cupid said of the current program in place. “And there are more women wearing their naturally curly, textured hair and protective styles than they rock, and [stylists] need to have the right training.

Prentice-Cupid believes the key to closing the representation gap in traditional salons is to tackle the root problem: confronting and changing training standards.

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“Until we build it, that won’t happen because [the Ministry] think the [textured hair] education already exists, and with that belief it perpetuates stigma, racism and misrepresentation, ”said Prentice-Cupid.

She says that currently the industry is pulling out “unprepared” and “poorly equipped” stylists, but with her program “we hope that confidence can build in stylists so that anyone coming off the streets will be. able to provide services for them because it is a human right to be able to walk into a public room and be maintained and not be turned away.

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