Miss Jessie’s Founder Gives Curly Hair Tips

Rachel Adler

Curly-haired girls are notorious for wanting to straighten or chemically relax their hair (and yes, straight-haired girls more often than not want to go curly– but they also know they’re lucky for not having to deal with unruly strands). Between fighting frizz, split ends, and dried out hair, there’s enough reason to just want to call it quits some days and buzz off your curls.

Titi Branch, co-founder of Miss Jessie’s, a hair care line developed specifically for girls with naturally kinky and wavy hair, gave us some tips for managing curly locks– and getting them to look their best.

SC: First off, for anyone with curly hair who is new to Miss Jessies, what is the must-have product from your line?

Titi Branch: I would say Curly Pudding. It’s an excellent curl-defining creme with plenty of shine. It helps with curl elongation. As with all Miss Jessie’s products it has a classic yummy scent.

SC: Based on feedback from clients, what is the biggest challenge that women have when styling unruly hair and what can they do to overcome it?

TB: Frizz is the number one issue with curly hair and it has many of remedies. To minimize frizz in the first place, you must be dealing with well-conditioned healthy hair. Hair that is split, broken, and dry is more prone to frizz than hair that is plump and well moisturized. Once you have healthy hair, how you apply product is very important. Ideally, curly hair is in its most frizz-free state when it is wet. So, apply product to damp or wet hair. You want to smooth on product from root to end without fussing with it too much. Put it on the hair strands as smoothly as possible, and be sure not to touch it too much as it’s drying because this can create frizz too.

SC: Jessie, your grandmother, used to concoct all sorts of homemade mixtures for the both of you. Which recipe was the most helpful when dealing with curly hair?

TB: Her deep conditioning treatments. She once made an egg and mayonnaise concoction that was an excellent softening, deep conditioning creme for the hair.

SC: Are there simple things that curly-haired girls on the go can do to tame their hair in a pinch?

TB: To revive one’s curl in a pinch, you have to add moisture. That means either adding a moisturizer like Baby Buttercreme or dampening the hair to refresh the curl.

SC: What is the biggest mistake that somebody with these hair types can do to their hair?

TB: One of the biggest mistakes is not applying product to the hair in a smoothing motion. Everything about curly hair looks great when there is no frizz. So anything that kicks up frizz is a no-no. Another mistake is not carefully blotting the hair with a towel in a downward motion when it’s wet. Drying the hair with a towel by randomly blotting the hair can spell disaster.

SC: You count Alicia Keys and Erykah Badu as clients. Is there a significant difference between the way you style Alicias hair as opposed to Erykahs?

TB: Alicia Keys and Erykah Badu have two distinctly different textures. With Alicia, you can simply wash her hair and apply Curly Pudding and go. Erykah’s texture requires more manipulation to obtain a curl. We would twist her hair with Curly Pudding and Baby Buttercreme. Then, we’d allow it to dry and untwist the sections.

Titi Branch founded Miss Jessie’s hair care with her sister Miko after growing up with their grandmother’s hair concoctions to control their crazy curls. The product line was originally sold at the Curve Salon, which they opened in 1997 in Brooklyn. The line is now sold in retailers. Curve Salon closed and was recently reopened under a new name, Miss Jessie’s Salon.

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