The demand for stylists who understand and celebrate natural hair is high and Mane Master Haiya Eliza has established herself as a force in the curly hair community since 2014. Haiya, also known as HER Curls, has developed a custom technique for cutting curls and coils that has attracted clients from around the globe. Based in Dallas, TX, Haiya brings an element of self-love with every cut and style she creates. Many clients come to her as new-naturals and leave with a renewed sense of self and excitement for the possibilities of their natural manes.
When and how were you inspired to become a hair stylist?
Honestly, I think it was when I stopped doing gymnastics. I was like, “Okay, that part of my life is over, what do I do now? What else am I interested in?”. I grew up playing in hair and never really thought it could be a career. Until one day I thought, ”You know what? I think I want to try doing hair.” I just felt like I had an eye for it. Once I was in cosmetology school, I felt like hair was my thing.
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You’ve created your own technique when it comes to cutting curly hair, what was that process like for you?
Whenever I first started, I was an assistant for about six months and just started working my way up. Before then, I had girls that would come in and want to straighten their curly hair and I would be like, “Man, your curls look so good. You should wear them naturally,” but of course that was four years ago, or however long ago, and it wasn’t really in trend. Especially in Dallas where the trend took a bit longer to catch on. So whenever you came to me in 2014, that was the first curly haircut I ever did! In my head, I was like “Well, it just makes sense to cut it in its natural state, dry, without anything wet or stretched.” I thought, “If she wants it shaped and she wants volume, this is how I can best see it come to life.”
It’s funny because at the time I didn’t know who you were, I didn’t even follow the curly world or the blogging world. After your video, I got a lot of people hitting me up and it really made me realize that I enjoyed working with curly hair and helping women embrace their natural texture. Especially because I already encourage people to do things more naturally and not feel like they always have to fix or change themselves. It was really cool to join the natural hair movement.
I didn’t even know I was your first curly client because you were already such a pro! Can you explain more about how social media has affected HER Curls?
I think that it’s been good and bad. I think good, because of course people can see what’s trending and feel more comfortable to do different things. At the same time, there are times when girls come in with unrealistic expectations. Maybe someone with a 4C pattern wants a cut like a girl with a 3A curl pattern, and I have to ask questions like “What is it about this look or cut or color that you like?” in order to figure out how to create something similar that will make the client happy.
You are most known for your curly cuts and wash-n-go’s when it comes to styling. Do you see yourself ever branching out beyond that?
I like to teach people how to enhance their natural hair and rock their hair without feeling like they always have to manipulate it to be happy. I want my clients to always have their hair in it’s natural state as an option. The same way great skin affords you the option to wear makeup, or nothing at all. Great hair allows you to wear it on it’s own, or in a styled state.
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What trends do you see coming for natural hair in 2019?
I think there’s so many protective styles out there like braids and twists that are really great. I think there also has to be balance, because if you’re always doing something protective it’s not really so protective because it’s either tension or you’re not getting moisture for weeks at a time. It’s good, but you just have to have a balance with it. I also love bolder curly cuts, and people are finally ready to go from “I’m wearing my natural hair,” to “I’m ready to make a statement with my natural hair.”
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What advice would you give stylists who want to start working with natural hair more?
Honestly, I would say because the internet and social media is so big, once you’ve finished school and you’re ready to start figuring out what it is that you want to do, find whatever stylist it is that intrigues you and find ways to learn from them. Put yourself out there to be an apprentice. Travel and shadow a stylist for a day or a week. Test new techniques out and be willing to learn. Then, you can develop your own style and no one can really copy it because it’s your thing.
What are your three must have hair products?
The first has to be the Kevin Murphy Re.Store, which is a cowash. It has pea protein in it to strengthen your hair and great oils to moisturize. Especially if you have color treated hair, it’s like a multivitamin for your curls. I have yet to work with a client that didn’t like it! It’s amazing.
My second must have would be the Kevin Murphy Leave-In.Repair. The Leave-In.Repair’s really, really great because it works on everyone’s hair. You can put it from root to ends and doesn’t leave a residue or feel sticky. If you have fine hair or if you have super coarse hair, you can put it all over on both and it doesn’t feel weighed down.
Then my third product would be the Kevin Murphy Hydrate-Me.Masque which is a really good deep conditioner. It’s nice and thick and truly works for everyone.