Lupita Nyong'o's Hairstylist Has the Perfect Product for Second-Day Curls

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Most black women with 4c curls (thick, tightly coiled ringlets) like mine often wake up with an Afro that’s flattened into Gumby hair (yes, like the green clay animation character). With a texture that’s more prone to shrinkage and not as defined as wavy-haired ladies, this unintended and unflattering misshaping comes with what I’ve got growing on top of my head. While I’ve perfected a natural hair routine over the years that consists of using oils and creams to twist and manipulate my strands into a stronger curl pattern, in the mornings all I want to do is roll out of bed, fluff my curls, and go.

Using products that are made specifically for my kinky hair would obviously make this a lot easier. So I jumped at the chance to try the new Vernon François collection. You may not recognize that name, but you have probably seen the celebrity hairstylist’s work worn by Lupita Nyong’o, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Uzo Aduba, just to name a few. François’s eponymous hair care includes shampoos, conditioners (with a spray top!), and scalp and shine sprays for wavy and curly hair as well as locs and braids.

What stood out the most to me about the pro’s collection is that the packaging has very clear imagery, making it easy for women and men to identify the products they should choose for their hair texture. This design element wasn’t just for flair. In fact, it was a very personal choice, according to François. “First thing, I’m very dyslexic,” he tells Yahoo Beauty. “A lot of things I see have to be really simple — I have to be able to get it. If I don’t get it in those first five seconds, I’ve lost interest. I also recognize in talking with my clients, friends, and family that people don’t really understand the definition of texture and what their texture is. When you can understand what your hair texture is, you can go out and find products for that.”

With a clear guide, I immediately reached for the Pure-Fro line to revive my lackluster and stiff hair. The shampoo worked into a rich consistency despite being free of sodium lauryl sulfate (an ingredient typically found in shampoos that forms a sudsy lather), and it only took two washes to cleanse away two weeks of dirt and build-up.

A conditioner with a spray-top is absolutely brilliant, and I have no idea how I survived without one for so long when it provides an effortless way to apply product directly to the strands (or where needed) without wasting a single drop. Though François admits that not everyone was on board with his vision. “When I came up with this concept, I was told it was impossible,” he recalls, “and I said, ‘OK, tell me why it’s impossible.’ It’s like asking a watermelon to go through a pea shoot because of the traditional ingredients (i.e. silicone) used in conditioner. I wanted to recondition the way that we apply conditioner.”

Ditching the silicone and amping up this product with nourishing and strengthening olive, castor, and watermelon seed oils made for a stress-free detangling process when it was time to run a wide-tooth comb through my conditioner-soaked strands. Not to mention, the combination of plant-based ingredients made my hair smell absolutely divine.

My holy-grail product from the collection is definitely the moisture spray. While my hair felt softer immediately after giving it a good shampoo and condition, this hydrator made my curls bouncy and lustrous. Its lightweight consistency penetrates deep within the strands and doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue. That oil and cream cocktail I used to whip up to stretch my hair is now collecting dust underneath my bathroom sink, as it takes just a few mists of the moisture spray to refresh and elongate my second-day curls. I can officially say bye-bye to flat hair days.

The Vernon François collection is now available at and

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