The aboriginal affair you apprehension about Monica “Mo” Stevens is her beard — a glorious, animated acme of luscious, agleam red curls.
A lot of dolls gave their lives for that hair.
When Stevens’ was young, her mom styled her hair. But that huge arch of heavy, thick, God-given beard was a challenge.
“She could do basal things … a brace of ponytails,” the 32-year-old Kansas City built-in recalls. “By the time I got up to maybe fifth cast I’m attractive at added kids and they’re sing to get added teenager-looking hairstyles and I was still with the pigtails. I said, ‘Momma I appee this.’ And she didn’t apperceive w to do it.”
So Stevens experimented on her dolls.
They never grimaced or fabricated faces as she twisted, coiled, captivated and acclimated Kool-Aid to dye their constructed tresses.
“Over time I destroyed every baby anytime bought for me aloof by consistently accomplishing their hair,” she laughs.
She abstruse added about beard by blind about her aunt and cousin’s adorableness sps again accelerating from alive on dolls to accomplishing her friends’ hair.
Now the Kansas Citian is allowance women beyond the country do their hair. Stevens has become an online celebrity in the growing actomed beard ociation of women w don’t use chemicals to relax or coil their hair.
Her YouTube videos about curls, braids, wash-and-go styles and accepted actomed beard aliment accept been watched about 11 actor times back September 2013.
People accelerate her e-mails all the time requesting accessories and she tells them — as she addendum on YouTube and her blog, MoKnowsHair.com — that she is not a able stylist.
She’s accurate not to abjure her abecedarian bounds, commonly cogent women to argue a accountant able — doctor, dermatologist, esthetician, stylist — for advice on added austere adorableness issues.
She’s been abashed by w abundant atramentous women from East Coast to West Coast do not apperceive about their beard — she’s admiring bisected a actor Instagram, Facebook and YouTube followers.
Her Internet acceptance has affective the absorption of the $600 billion atramentous beard affliction industry.
Popular name brands including Dark and Lovely accelerate her about the country to accord worksps. A summer bout for Dallas-based Sheer Luxe Adorableness will accept her arch seminars in four cities, including Kansas City.
“She’s a actual personable YouTube personality. You feel like you’re talking to your girlfriend,” says Anthara Carr, architect and buyer of Sheer Luxe Beauty. “You feel like if you saw her in your bounded grocery abundance you could stop her and ask her, ‘Hey, what are you accomplishing with your hair?’”
Darren Orlando, administrator of multicultural adorableness for L’Oreal in New York, calls her one of the “top 5” actomed beard aficionados in the country.
Last year L’Oreal bought Carol’s Daughter, a band of hair, anatomy and skincare articles accepted with celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Jay Z. Stevens has formed with Carol’s Daughter for added than two years, starring in videos for the aggregation and autritative “guest” appearances on the company’s Instagram page.
Stevens, w has a full-time, non-hair accompanying job, is activity the tug to fo added of her time and absorption on her Mo Knows Beard brand. She has a able absorption in artistic administering and beat styling, jobs that would advice her set trends and appearance the public’s aen of beard of all types.
But actuality a beard guru, as some bodies alarm her, isn’t what Stevens set out to do in life.
The University of Missouri business alum formed at Accepted Electric for a while, again advised business at Avila University.
Then she acquainted the able cull of her artistic ancillary — the noncorporate ancillary of her personality that brand to draw, acrylic and comedy with architecture and nails.
Toward the end of 2012 Stevens set up an Instagram annual where, like best people, she acquaint ptos of herself and her friends.
But what happened aing was a little breathtaking.
Total strangers w saw all of that big, ample beard on her arch sed tagging her ptos, sending them out into the all-inclusive admirers of cybere.
Almost immediately, natural-hair companies, advocates and media outlets began reposting her ptos, too.
People she didn’t apperceive acquaint questions.
What did you do to your hair? What articles did you use in your hair?
So she sed talking about her hair, artlessly administration advice about the articles and metds that fabricated her beard so cottony and shiny.
With her Instagram attendance demography off she congenital a website and sed autritative w-to videos guided by two multimedia-savvy accompany w absolved her through accepting a blog sed and counseled her to buy the best video accessories she could afford.
In September 2013, MoKnowsHair.com went live, featuring beard affliction tips, administration metds and artefact reviews for all beard types and textures.
Her business training told her to carve a niche. She saw that about anybody on YouTube approved techniques on their own hair.
To accomplish chastening altered and to advertise what works for beard types added than her own she absitively to use ancestors and accompany as models.
“I use added bodies because I apperceive added about beard than aloof w to administer my own,” she says. “I accede myself added of a ability than ‘Oh, attending at me, pretty.’”
She additionally scours science journals and acclimated cosmetology-scol manuals to apprentice the allure of beard and ucts. Carr of Sheer Luxe Adorableness says that abyss of ability sws through in Stevens’ videos, added ambience her afar from the crowd.
It became bright to Stevens actual bound that advancement and administration untreated, actomed beard like chastening was abstract for women w accept spent years and money on actinic relaxers, acquisitive wigs and glued-on weaves.
“There are bodies w accept never done their own beard in its actomed state,” she says.
Natural beard can booty added time and accomplishment to advance and appearance than chemically straightened hair, and the acquirements ambit is alarming and abrupt for abounding women.
“It’s not activity to be silky-beautiful calmly all the time. It’s activity to coil up if there’s any baptize in the air and you haven’t layered in your articles properly,” she says.
“And if it’s coiled or you appee to align it, it’s not as accessible to align now. Now you’ve got to amplitude it, collapsed adamant it, you’ve got to be accurate that you’re application the appropriate articles and accoutrement so you don’t accident the coil pattern. There are so abounding things.”
She’s been filming Cherie Williams of Kansas City for the aftermost 19 months as the mother of three transitions from chemically advised to actomed hair.
Cutting all tse long, chemically straightened duster off her arch — abrogation srt, adaptable beard she hadn’t apparent in years — was affecting for Williams.
“You get acclimated to seeing yourself in a ertive way, so back you annex out into activity actomed it’s about like a claimed journey,” says Williams.
“It’s not about a hairstyle change in some faculty because you accept to embrace yourself on all levels. It absolutely makes you alpha to ane about admiring yourself in a altered way.”
Williams afflicted up her beard afterwards chief that she capital her daughters, ages 5 and 7, to apperceive what their beard could attending and feel like after actinic relaxers.
“I aloof capital them to embrace their curls,” says Williams. “They don’t accept to (have beeline hair). They don’t accept to attending like what anybody thinks they suld attending like. They suld embrace what artlessly grows out of their head.”
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