A hairdresser and industry insider favourite for over 30 years, being inducted into the British Hairdressing Awards Hall Of Fame comes as a well-deserved honour for celebrity afro and textured hairstylist Charlotte Mensah, who is also the three-times winner of Best Afro Hairdresser of the Year from 2013, 2014, and 2017 from the Hairdresser’s Journal annual event.
“To be the first black woman to win this award is such a wonderful feeling – and also very humbling”, says Mensah, fresh off the stage from collecting her version of the hairdressing Oscars last night. “I hope that I can act as an inspiration to the younger generation who might want to get into hairdressing – to show that anything is possible if you stay focused, work hard and follow your gut. Being able to fly the flag for afro and natural hair textures in the UK is such a huge privilege – it’s greatly rewarding to be recognised and celebrated by my peers.”
As a leader in the natural haircare movement, Mensah’s salon – Hair Lounge, in London’s Notting Hill, which was established after she applied for funding from The Prince’s Trust in 1999 – has become a destination for women and men with natural afro, mixed and curly textured hair (and, as an aside, the hair scrub treatment is amazing for all hair types).
Go into her salon on any given day and you are more than likely to see some recognisable faces – clients include Jada Smith Erykah Badu, Eve, Janelle Monae and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, to name but a few. “We have clients that fly in from America, Hong Kong and Senegal”, she explains. “So I love that it’s a destination salon, but one that has a holistic approach.”
The holistic approach filters all the way down to her eponymous range of products. Sustainable, organic and ethical, the hero ingredient is the antioxidant-rich Manketti Oil extracted from the nut of the mongongo tree. Whilst the range very much has afro and curly textured hair in mind, it’s suitable for all hair types that need a little bit of nourishment and love.
“My favourite thing about being a hairdresser is how I can transform someone’s day. I love having a tailor-made approach for each client and really providing that bespoke service.”
The Hall of Fame adds a true star to its repertoire.