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Vixen Chat: Ursula Stephen Dishes on Rihanna’s New ‘Do, Talks Natural Hair Care

Mane maven and Motions spokesperson Ursula Stephen boasts a client lists that includes international pop princess Rihanna, Scandal star Kerry Washington and Tinseltown sweetheart Gabrielle Union. By taking even the slightest glance at her portfolio, it’s clear the Brooklyn bred hairstylist understands the growing natural hair movement and how to nurture of all type of curl patterns while keeping them fashionable and on-trend.

Vixen caught up with the guru of Black haircare at last night’s Motions Meet Up (over cocktails and good conversation, of course) to discuss Motions new product line, Rihanna’s ever-changing mane and her favorite celeb naturalistas. VIBE VIXEN: Besides shaving their hair or rocking it super short, what other ways can women be funky and edgy with their hair?

URSULA STEPHEN: I think the whole bohemian thing is definitely an edgy look, and wearing it undone. Kinda wearing it undone is very edgy. It doesn’t look like you just stepped out the salon. It’s kinda that beach wavy, that messed up wave that I like. I think that’s definitely an edgy way but also a sexy way.

Like, the just-woke-up look?

Yeah, the bed head. Definitely.

With you as a spokesperson for Motions, what are you most excited about with this new line of natural products?

I’m excited that we have a new line for natural hair period, because what natural hair is now is more than a trend, it’s a movement. I’m glad that we cater to those visions. ‘Cause there are so many girls going natural now. You see girls with their hair short, and they’re like, it’s natural! It’s good cause they want to feel like they have a product to go to. They don’t want to be using just any product cause they can’t find something. It’s good that we have something specifically for that need.

Give young women three ways that they can stay on team natural and no revert back to relaxers.

The best way to stay a part of team natural is to really condition your hair, because as African American girls, our hair is naturally dry. Our natural hair is dry period, so we have to use products to keep it soft and to break it down so it’s manageable. That’s what it is. That’s what a lot of people want from it. They run from natural because they realize after a while it’s not that easy. Don’t go natural ’cause you think it’s easy ’cause it’s not. You still have to put work and time in it.

Exactly.

So a lot of people when they get to that point where they start going crazy, they run back from natural, so it’s a matter of patience and finding products like the Motions deep conditioning mask because it’s for natural hair. It’s gonna soften it and help you to manage it. Also, even though I promote products we can use at home, find a hairstylist that is great at natural hair ’cause you need somebody to help you with it in between. And you got to have patience. You got to because it’s not easy to have natural hair.

Which product from this new line is your favorite?

God, it’s rough. I love the mask. I love the conditioner. Anything that’s gonna make my hair soft and pretty, I love it. I love the gloss which is good. Everybody needs the gloss in their life.

How often should a person condition their natural hair? Weekly?

I think personally, when it comes to conditioning, it’s a matter of preference. You really have to start learning your hair. I always say with conditioners and natural hair, it should always be increased. I would definitely do weekly, but at the same time, that’s my opinion. If you’re someone with natural hair and your hair works better with two weeks, then you condition your hair every two weeks. It’s really a matter of learning your hair and figuring out what it is because you don’t want to over-condition either, ‘cause when you over-condition, it gets too soft to hold the hairstyle. I always say conditioners are great like once a week or every two weeks.

Which natural-haired celebs are you’re lovin’ right now? Top three.

Alicia Keys, for sure. She came back with a bang, I love it. She’s lookin’ really really good right now.

I know Tracee Ellis Ross. She’s always been a staple.

Right, I love her hair. You could definitely say she’s one too, but I’m just tryna figure out. Brandy is obviously not wearing her own hair natural, but she’s played around with that more natural type.

Yeah, at that Billboard Music Awards.

Like, really stepping out of the box and doing something that’s just fun. It’s not about what everybody wanna see, it’s about what makes you feel good. The trend is not worth anything at all if it don’t look good on you. Everybody wanna shave their side but are you really that girl? If you wanna follow the trends but make sure that it fits to your lifestyle. Don’t fit it into a lifestyle.

VV: What you’re gonna do with Rihanna’s hair next?

US: Girl, I do not know. That girl is driving me crazy!

Nobody saw that black, shaved sides style coming.

She’s like, ‘This is what I want,’ and we’re like, Alright, gotta make her happy…but I really love the blonde ombré. That was great and then she actually changed to the shaved side without me.

Oh, so she didn’t want the ombré anymore?

She loved it, but she felt like she always wanted to go black. I kinda made her stop at blonde. I was in South Africa with Motions and she was in London doing promo, and she just did it.

Now with the different colors you put on her hair, how do you keep her hair healthy with the colors?

Yeah the colors is dangerous, I always condition her hair…

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