Welcome to Texture Talk, a column that deep dives into the dynamic world of curly hair, from crowns of curls that are free flowing to strands that are tucked away in a protective style.
With each fragile twist and turn, curly hair should be met with a hairstylist educated in the workings of textured hair who just gets it — curls, coils, kinks and all. Continuing our Canada-wide search for some of the country’s best curly hair salons (first came Toronto then Montreal), we’re taking this next roundup to the West Coast: Vancouver.
Home to breathtaking sea views and mountainous landscapes, this city also has expert stylists and salons for natural hair necessities. Scroll on to explore Vancouver’s curl scene (and check back for new additions).
Alara Hair Solutions
At Alara Hair Solutions, tick all your hair boxes from braiding and hair extension services to curl-strengthening treatments. If that weren’t enough, founder and celebrity stylist Clara Amaguru’s star-studded resume (including Vivica A. Fox and Jason Momoa) is sure to impress. “As more movie productions moved up to ‘Hollywood North’ [Vancouver], the demand increased for stylists that could especially work with [Black hair],” says Amaguru about her career journey into the film industry after opening her salon in 2003. In addition to being a film set regular, Amaguru is also an artistic educator and ambassador for Design Essentials, one of the leading multicultural hair product lines in North America.
Ammerose Hair Salon is where multi-talented stylists take a multicultural approach to styling. In the heart of downtown Vancouver, Ammerose offers over 20 salon services including braiding, beading, wash and styles and chemical treatments for all textures, putting inclusion at the forefront of its work. On its multicultural message: “It allows us to work with diverse styles and creates an opportunity for the fusion of new styles,” says a salon representative.
Axis Salon is home to in-demand curly cut connoisseur Dawn Archer. “My decision to focus on curly textured hair is rooted in a desire to create a safe space for people like me that have salon horror stories and haven’t been encouraged to love and accept how their hair grows naturally,” says Archer. On her signature cutting method, she adds: “I would say that my technique is more organic as I adapt to how the hair wants to move.” Archer also hosts a workshop called “Unapologetically Curly” on how to create a safe space for textured curly hair clients.
Her Royal Hair
Her Royal Hair is a salon-meets-store where wigs and hair extensions are the main attraction. You can shop top quality human hair wigs and extensions at affordable prices both in-store and online, and, in the studio, the “celebrity style wig installation” is Her Royal Hair’s most sought after hair extension service. “The service includes customizing a human hair wig to the clients desired look and applying the wig to fit the clients needs. The undetectable lace material used helps to give the installation a flawless scalp-like look — the wig literally looks like it’s growing from the client’s scalp,” says a salon representative. “Wig installations can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending on the client’s skin type and after care.”
For your next colouring service, visit Kokopelli Salon’s resident colour and curly cut specialist Lala Santos. Though colouring curls can be daunting, rest assured Santos carries out her colouring treatments with care. “In order to colour curls hair without damage, there first needs to be a consultation where I will learn about a client’s hair journey and, if necessary, do a strand test to see how their hair will react to be sure the colour won’t disrupt their curls,” she says. Santos is also the creator of the signature “Lala cut” for which she uses a dry-cutting technique to accurately shape curls.
The Texture Workshops
Not a brick-and-motor salon per se, but this next one is definitely worth noting — especially for hair professionals. Hairstylists can benefit from a visit from The Texture Workshops team to master natural hair education. Founded by celebrity stylist Alicia Chowen, the team consists of two main educators: Michelle St Hill (natural hair specialist) and Mary Kiarie (braiding and wig application specialist). “Our two-day intro workshop includes history — because you need to know our story before touching our hair — product and curl knowledge, a lace-front wig application demo, braiding techniques and hands-on work with models,” says Chowen. Completing approximately thirty workshops to date, this accomplished group hosts public workshops and private in-salon bookings. Though based in Vancouver, classes are offered Canada-wide.