How To Build Up Confidence In Your Curly Clients
Here’s How Knotless Nation Founder Kamilah Gerestant Helps Her Clients Fall In Love With Their Textured Hair
Kamilah Gerestant—best known from her incredibly authentic online persona, @mshairandhumor—is no stranger to breaking down barriers and tackling stigma. As a late career changer at the forefront of #thefutureisknotless movement (who has worked with Beyoncé and Madonna), Kamilah has done it all—and with the admirable mission of bringing love and awareness to natural hair.
Before she could help her clients embrace their inner (and outer) beauty, Kamilah had to embrace her passion.
Before Kamilah found her calling in the beauty industry, she spent years as a professional gemologist in luxury jewelry. The catalyst: she was laid off three times. “I like the idea that being laid off was divine intervention. With the jewelry career, it was cool to say I was a gemologist. I could say it was interesting. But doing it was very, very unfulfilling,” she says.
After winning the 2016 Beauty Changes Lives Scholarship, Kamilah made up her mind that was what she wanted to do. “Beauty Changes Lives was the first wake up call,” she says, “They were the first company to tell me to proceed. They were the first company that told me they believed in me—and they were going to invest in my dream.”
Kamilah teaches that caring for textured hair is all in the approach.
While her days as a gemologist are in the past, Kamilah compares the industry’s value of gems to hair. “You can say that natural hair is the pearl of the industry, because you have to handle it differently,” Kamilah explains. That doesn’t make it less or more valuable than a diamond. It’s just that you have to know how to handle the gem the same way you know how to handle different types of hair.”
Unfortunately, many approaches to caring for and styling textured, coily and kinky hair is traumatic and painful—especially when it comes to braiding. From there, Kamilah’s goal began to take shape: to remind women of their inner beauty through the power of laughter and hairstyling.
To combat painful techniques, Kamilah stormed the internet with her virtual hashtag: #thefutureisknotless
The hashtag spread awareness for Kamilah’s speciality service: knotless braids. Traditionally, braids have a knot at the base that attaches the hair and, a lot of times, that base is where the pain and discomfort come from. On the other hand, knotless braiding techniques is painless when done correctly and leave flatter, more natural looking results.
When Kamilah saw her clients’ emotional responses to her treatment, she knew she was working on something much, much bigger. “Braids do not have to hurt. The majority of Black women have experienced that trauma—even before braids go in—because of the overall handling of natural hair,” Kamilah says, “It does not have to be painful. That knowledge is a process, and it starts with really knowing natural hair.”
Kamilah aims to change how the industry and clients approach natural hair through redefining education.
As a stylist who specifically services Black women with textured hair, Kamilah takes her job of uplifting her clients very seriously. “Sometimes, I’m the first person to tell them that their hair is beautiful or manageable, or that it could do so much more than what it currently does,” she says. She prides herself on being a personal hype man and advocate to every one her clients, and understands the importance of that role as a duty professional.
Kamilah has often stopped clients from using self-deprecating language to describe their hair—or language they’ve heard others use to describe it. “Your hair is a part of you. If you would not describe yourself with these words, why are you describing part of you that way?” she says. Kamilah describes these conversations as “reprogramming” her clients to see their natural beauty in a new light.
As the founder of Knotless Nation—an educational platform for knotless braiding techniques and awareness—Kamilah books highly-sought appointments with both everyday women and celebrity clients. She also encourages stylists who want to be more inclusive to textured hair to align to Black-owned businesses and products that speak out on topics surrounding natural hair—or to pop into Knotless Nation for a class!
To learn more about scholarships offered through Beauty Changes Lives, click here!