Mahogany Hair Revolution

By Tanya Dennis

Dr. Kari Williams with one of her customers.

Cornrows, braids, locks and twists – Dr. Kari Williams, trichologist, is chief creator and designer of Mahogany Hair Revolution, currently located in Los Angeles.

Dr. Kari, a UC Berkeley graduate in mass communications and advertising, gained her doctorate in Trichology –the scientific study of hair and scalp disorders – at the Elan Center for Trichology in Alabama, a four-year program where she studied everything from anatomy to nutrition.

“The most common type of hair loss is Alopecia. African-Americans suffer from traction Alopecia, which is the result of hair weaves, or braids that are pulled too tight as well as ponytails and chemicals that weaken or destroy the hair,” she said. “ Other hair loss factors are hereditary, male pattern baldness and a phenomena call Telogen Effluvium, a temporary loss of hair that women experience after giving birth.”

Dr. Kari has two salons. At Mahogany Hair Revolution the focus is on styling hair without extreme forms of heat, no flat irons or pressing combs.  Her stylists use a blow dryer and then sparingly to maintain the integrity of the hair.   Her other establishment, Mahogany 2, is a full service salon, but its focus is to keep the hair healthy and promote growth.

Not interested at this point in starting her own product line, she said, “I’m not sure I want to jump into the product market – there are so many good products out there. I simply inform people what to avoid: Sulfates dry the hair; petroleum or mineral oil that attracts dirt and debris to the hair.”

On the science of washing hair, she said it depends on the activity level of the individual. “Every time you wash, deep condition and lubricate your hair because our hair does dry out,” she said. “In our culture use essential oils like lavender or sunflower seed oil, olive oil or coconut oil.  The important thing is don’t mix and match; if what you’re using works, stay with it.  When people ask me how they can grow their hair longer and faster, I tell them that hair growth starts from the inside out. ¨

Dr. Kari also explains that stress and fad diets, medications, high blood pressure, thyroid imbalance and diabetes can affect hair growth.  Because hair cells are the fastest replicating cells in the body, hair picks up changes in the body. So diet is important.  

“I recommend consuming supplements, the antioxidants C, E, A and most important, vitamin B. Also selenium, iron and essential fatty acids (flaxseed and fish oil) are important,” she said.

Her advice for children’s grooming: “Just leave their hair alone! Be careful of tight ponytails, and please no chemicals or extensions.  Parents stress their child’s hair with extensions and weaves – parents need to stop projecting their ideas of hair upon their children.”

Because of  the poor practices of some cosmetologists, she says she is seeing “irreversible hair loss in women in their late twenties.”

“You can’t depend on your cosmetologist – they don’t pay attention,” said. Dr. Kari, explaining that she is currently working with the California State Board of cosmetology and barbering “so we can bring integrity back.”

 “If we don’t, we’ll be looking at a generation of hairless women.” 

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