Tag Archives: thandie newton’s hair products

Proud Pony

Post by Thandiei
Since I’ve allowed my natural hair to grow I’ve had the best time busting ‘down looks’, ‘up-do’s and everything in between.

At the Creed Premiere in London last month

At the Creed Premiere in London last month

Textured haired is a joyous world of opportunities – and it starts with confidence and pride; because Baby, big hair gets a big reaction! So get ready for centre-stage attention, and warm up the high beam smile to match.

A simple pony tail can be the chicest solution to a dramatic, eye-catching, killer look. Right now I’m loving the drama of pulled-back hair and giant, curly ponytail. And when it comes to ‘human hair’ wefts, the options are potentially, well, huge!
So here’s how…
You Will Need – hair wefts, needle and thread (colour to match your hair colour), good scissors, toupee clips (also known as weave clips), curling irons, large ceramic plate, clothes hanger (with skirt clips).
 The first step is to purchase good quality human hair that matches your own in texture. My go-to store in London is PAK.
The key is to buy single wefts. You can always double them for extra volume, by stitching 2 wefts together. You don’t want a lot of thickness at the root, so double thickness is the most I go for.
indian-virgin-remy-human-hair-wefts-straight-12-inches-2darkest-brownThe hair usually comes in long strips, which you can cut to your desired width. For this look I prefer placing smaller pieces here and there, rather than long strips from ear to ear.


I cut these pieces about 6 inches (15 cm) wide, and sewed 2 together to create the thickness I wanted. Stitch the second piece ‘just below’ the stitching of the first weft, to avoid the final weft becoming too bulky at the root.

Next, stitch the toupee clips (below) along the weft – one at each end, and one in the middle.

Weave (toupee) Clips

Weave (toupee) Clips

Make sure you place the clip’s ‘teeth’ towards you (obvious, but if you’re distracted it’s easy to do it wrong!).
I used straight hair which I home permed myself (using Boots brand home perm kit and perm rollers from Sally.) The perm is a looser curl than I wanted for this look, so I boosted the bounce with curling irons. For a curly look it’s always better to have permed the hair pieces ( or buy them already curly), as using irons on straight-to-curly isn’t as stable (the curl can drop quickly, especially in damp weather, or a sweaty club!).

Tools of the trade

The double pronged curling iron I’m using in the picture, was a gift from my long-time friend and hair hero Kerry Warn. He  got them from his favourite supply store in Paris (see below). But there are great irons out there, like this one  from hottools.com which you can order on-line, or buy from a good beauty supply store (see below).

Always protect your skin with tongs!

Always protect your skin from hot tongs!

But please be careful – and always create a place where the hot irons can lie away from anything that will burn (like wood, cloth, your skin!). A large ceramic plate will do. A millisecond burn from one of these things is NO JOKE, especially on dark skin where the mark will stay for months, even up to, or more than, a year. You can see that I covered my legs with my bathrobe when I curled the pieces.


A good tip I dreamt up recently, is using a coat hanger with skirt clips and hanging the weft between the clips.
Place the hanger on a low hook. It keeps the weft secure, and makes curling easy.
Before.  After.

Before. After.

Picture_14The other option is to use dress pins to secure the weft on a polystyrene head-shaped wig stand (available from beauty supply stores) and place the shoulders of the stand between your knees while you curl.

Styling IMG_0080

For this low pony tail look, I placed the hair pieces in the lower back section of my hair.


I created partings and clipped the pieces along the parted section, close to the scalp. I don’t back comb, because my natural, curly hair holds clips very well.
But if your hair is wavy, you might need to gently back comb along the part, to give the clips some purchase so they don’t slide out.


The pieces added length and a ton of volume to my pony tail (the bigger the better!). It’s amazing how much hair you might need, to achieve a dense, luxurious curly ‘do’. Especially if you’re being photographed – because as soon as a flash hits curly hair the volume is reduced by being able to see ‘through’ the hair.
So, be bold and stuff that barnet with pieces, you won’t be disappointed with the results.IMG_0075
Once the wefts were in place, I pulled all the hair into a ponytail. The great thing about textured hair is that it ‘hides’ clip in wefts beautifully, so once the wefts are prepped, it actually takes very little time to be out the door with this look.
The best kind of hair band for this much volume, is the ‘bungee band’Picture_5.  Once you’ve gathered the hair into a ponytail, hook one end and then wrap the band around and around, secure the other hook when you’ve wound it as tight as you can.
Keeping the ponytail tight adds much more drama to the volume of the pony. I also use a little Tancho hair wax to control stray curls and give extra sheen.


Caring for your wefts is easy. Use a spec of gentle shampoo to wash them, brushing as you go (I use a Tangle Teaser), and a little conditioner on the ends. Rinse. You can even put a dab of serum on the ends if they’re looking dry and split (‘human hair’ wefts behave as natural hair does, and get damaged over time, so keep them nourished).
Lay them flat on a towel (or hanging in the hanger clips!) to dry.
In my 'proud pony' & off to do press for Rogue in Cannes!

Proud of my Pony in Cannes 2013! Make up here by Kay. Vintage dress from The Gathering Goddess, clutch Lulu Guinness.


Other great Hair and Hair Tool supply stores:
New York:
721 8th Avenue
New York
NY 10036
tel: +1 212 757 0175
Various branches around Manhattan
Los Angeles:
12640 Riverside drive
Valley Village
CA 91607
tel: +1 818 655 9933
11252 Magnolia Blvd
North Hollywood
CA 91601
tel: +1818 760 3902
5270 Laurel Canyon Blvd
San Fernando Valley
CA 91607
tel: +1 818 769 3834
Kerry Warn’s go-to Paris supply store:
17-19 Passage de L’Industrie
75010 Paris
tel: +33 1 448 3500
Atlantic Road, Brixton.
London SW9 8JL

Global Neighbourhood Hair+Beauty Supplies

Posted by Kay

Thandie and I often discuss a particular type of large hair and beauty supply store, usually Asian-run, that seem to be found on the perimeters of most city centres in many of the countries we visit. They’re the jam-packed, no-nonsense kind, with ranges of hair and beauty goods designed especially for ethnic communities who are presently not catered to within high street chemists/drugstores like Boots (in the UK) or Duane Reed and CVS (in the U.S). It’s not ‘experience’ shopping, it’s about necessities and getting what works. The only customer service needed is someone telling you which aisle has what you’re looking for and if it’s on the left or right.

Nicola outside Catwalk

Nicola outside Catwalk in Brixton

Naturally, they are usually found within areas where there is a high ethnic population, in fact Thandie & I live a short drive away from one of our favourites in Harlesden called PAK.

The largest community of West Indian, Asian and African people in London, however is in Brixton, so along I went with my friend Nicola, to a shop she regularly goes to, called Catwalk on Atlantic Road.

There’s nothing fancy about these stores lined with never-ending, US-style aisles, but they serve an important purpose and are a thriving industry that take many people from the cradle, all the way through their hairdressing phases and ultimately to the effects of age on the hair and skin.

We all love Boots but the huge population of black and Asian women are not shopping there, and they are not supplying products for their needs, and whichever way around that dynamic is happening, the reality is that the market for beauty is still divided. It’s only a matter of time (I’m seeing baby marketing steps) that these women, along with the largest growing minority in the UK- the mixed race population- will soon find their conditioners, electrical tools, hairpieces and skincare and make-up all filtering happily into the high street. It’s simple, good old fashioned economics.

It's a family affair

It’s a family affair




But these stores are a beauty Mecca for all women, and especially professionals-I mean where else can I stock up on individual eyelashes at 7pm at night on a Sunday when I have an actress’s premiere to do the next day, buy myself clip-in hairpieces (thank you Thandie for introducing me to a whole new world of fabulousness), buy handfuls of hair ties, a bucket-load of hairpins in ALL forms, pure Shea Butter, Iman Cosmetics or pro-hair brands like Phyto…the list is endless.


The curler aisle

The curler aisle




The Culture of Hair

Whilst we all ‘girl-cooed’ over our limitless hairstyle possibilities, Nicola took me down a veritable memory lane of beauty products from her childhood. I sensed that there was an almost emotional connection with many of these products, memories of her mother taking care of her via her hair…


Nicola helps Kay fake it

The time and thought that black hair takes to prepare  before the hairstyle has even begun- is a whole story that straight-haired, ‘wash ‘n go’ people are blissfully unaware of. This kind of hair means you’d best learn to be your very own pro-stylist. It’s no wonder Thandie got so good at doing her own during years on set, as so few hairdressers without ‘the black hair knowledge’ know how to prep, style or know the right products that condition and style it.

Ultimately, understanding your own hair means having the freedom to enjoy doing many things with it, from Afro to the straightest blonde, there is so much beautiful potential.

Hair is a ritual and a whole culture within the black community. For any of us with even a hint of Sub-Saharan African blood, ‘wash ‘n go’ is simply not an option.

‘What lovely hair you have’ people might kindly say to me when it’s been done enough for a hair-down moment. Little do they know how much trial, error and product ‘bespokery’ goes into my high maintenance hair. But to be fair, apart from my post blow-dry fear of rainfall and the diary-worthy time consumption that my tresses devour,  it’s not been so hard. I say this because when I was a child I used to watch my Jamaican friendPaul-Michael-Glaser-as-Starsky-starsky-and-hutch-1975-28698751-1088-1479s endure their weekly hot comb/Dax Pomade and cane row routine (in West London’s West Indian community it was called ‘cane’ nor ‘corn’ row) that only lasted the week and longer if it was rather painfully plaited. So I guess my (caucasion) mother cutting off my hair to Starsky (as in Hutch) -style curls made sense.

“Once your hair was washed, that’s when the trouble started”


Nicola’s childhood shampoo..

said Nicola of her childhood hair routine. “My mother would always talk me through what she was doing,  and when she was doing it. She said ‘this is what you need to know, when you start doing your hair’ and I still do exactly what she did at the stages that she did.  Some cultures pass down recipes, the black community inherit the knowledge of how to take care of their hair, it’s part of growing up, I don’t know any black girls who were not taught how to take care of their hair.”



Nicola finds the dye that works for her







So thank heavens for the Paks, Catwalks, and all of the excellent places that Thandie mentions in her post here for supplying women of colour with the products and the tools to take care of their precious hair and skin.

All pictures above taken at Catwalk, Atlantic Road Brixton, London SW9 8LJ

Thank You Nicola St Louis!

And thanks to Jackie Dixon for the fabulous photography.

Nicola twitter

Jackie twitter


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