Lime interview - Beauty & Lifestyle
Lime’s editor gets the Blackfingers experience and talks racism, business and hair follicles with the award-winning founder, Tasha Dixon.
Starting her career as a junior hairdresser at the modest age of 13, Tasha Dixon is a veteran in the hair and beauty industry. She has worked in some of Britain’s leading salons including Hibiscus Hair and Nail Studio, Vanessa Andar, Toni and Guy, Expressions InHair and Junior Green. As my natural hair was given a treatment Tasha Dixon and I chatted away like old buddies. This wasn’t any old salon experience; my chair massaged my back, my eyes feasted on the fabulous leopard print and sophisticated black décor. No corners have been cut in making this hairdressing boutique one of a kind.
Well done on opening your hair salon – you must be so excited having worked from home for so long. How does it feel to live the dream?
It’s a blessing. I do have to pinch myself – especially as it’s in this area; Buckhurst Hill. We’re the only black business in the area too.
Why did you choose Buckhurst Hill? [Lord Sugar drives past whilst I’m there]
Buckhurst Hill chose me – it wasn’t the original plan but it’s a nice area. It’s affluent and there isn’t anything around here for black women although quite a few black women live here.
Why did you decide to go for the more luxurious ‘boutique’ style when it came to deciding the type of salon you wanted to open?
As I’ve mainly worked on my own or from home I wasn’t sure where I fitted in, in this ocean of an industry. I wanted to do something that felt normal and comfortable to me. I wanted it to be personable – so that’s why I made it a boutique.
What kind of setbacks occurred when you were setting up the business from home to salon?
The initial transformation was easy. It’s when you want to elevate yourself and progress further is when doors get shut in your face. I knew the kind of area that I wanted to be: Snaresbrook, Woodford etc but estate agents would suggest I go to Ilford, Leytonstone or Stratford. I couldn’t even get viewings. I’ve always lived in Essex so I’ve become thick skinned but I was quite scared to open up in Buckhurst Hill. A few weeks ago a friend of mine was in Loughton and this guy came up to her and said ‘this isn’t an area for black people’. I feel quite naïve in saying that I can’t believe that people still have that level of ignorance. However, since we opened the other businesses have been so welcoming and I’ve never known anything like it. I wasn’t sure how I would be received being the only black business in the area but people have been nice and I think it’s genuine.
So do you do European hair also?
Yeh, a lot of European women come in to get their weaves done and we also specialise in combination hair -there are a lot of mixed-race girls with white mothers who don’t know how to deal with their children’s hair in the area too.
The UK seems to be going through a natural hair revolution. What are your thoughts on this?
Tell us about your hair story – favourite styles you’ve rocked over the years; hair disaster stories etc?
Oh my gosh; I’ve had it all. This time last year it was red. I’ve been short, including number one, which I’ve had before. But this time it was because my hair fell out. I went to a very good friend’s salon - she’s still my friend [laughs]. It was her junior stylist who did my hair – she relaxed it but didn’t wash it out properly and it affected the whole of my hairline. I was so upset. I’d just spent the last two years growing my hair. Even though I’m a hairdresser it’s nice to go and get your hair done. So I just went to the barbers and just cut it off – it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Luckily I’ve got the face so I can carry off most hairstyles, but I know short suits me.
You were just 13-years-old when you started out – it’s a bit young don’t you think?
I loved hair and I wanted to get a job. So I got a job in a salon – I lied and said I was 16 but I think they were just looking for cheap labour. He paid me £10 for a whole day’s work of braiding. I did this every Saturday and sometimes Friday after school for about two years. But I loved it so it didn’t matter – I was learning. I don’t braid anymore – I hate it. I’m traumatised; I don’t even braid my own daughter’s hair. I encourage my students to try as many different salons that they can.
Which celebrity hairstyles do you like?
I want to make-over Kelly Rowland. Kelly is so beautiful she doesn’t need all of that hair and it’s just too ‘wiggy’. Let’s just bring it so it’s not so obvious. I’m loving Misha B’s hair too. I look at celebrities then I look at who is styling them unfortunately none of these people never really wear their own hair and I’m very much for your own hair.
What are your favourite hair products and why?
I like Philip Kingsley, Milkshake, Keracare – there are some Keracare products which I couldn’t live without but when it comes to styling products you need a bit of everything.
HOT IN 2012 : So what do you predict will be the hair trends in black hair for 2012?
I think we’ll be coming away from the red to more purple/plum colours. In terms of Blackfingers we’ll be holding more client parties and swap shops.
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