We were all captivated when Oprah debuted her natural hair on the cover of September 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, and the hair stylist behind it took note. Andre Walker, Oprah's long time hair guru, will debut his first natural hair care system for women of color, The Gold System has launched and beauty insiders are already excited about the product. Walker sat down to chat with EBONY.com to talk about his new natural hair care system and gave us some expert tips on keeping our locks healthy.
EBONY.com: I love the fact that you have a product for natural, curly girls who may want to go straight as well. So many companies forget that wearing your hair straight doesn't mean it isn't natural ! What influenced you to include the Get It Straight Styling Crème?
AW: I agree with you that natural hair can also be worn straight, and yes, many companies forget that option. The Gold System is a complete system that allows you to get rid of all the clutter, all the mixing of products, trying to find good results that never really happen. With this system, you wash in clean moisture (sulfate free), condition in keratin strength, then choose the leave-in styling cream for natural kinks or curls, or the style cream for going straight with heat. That's it! And I love the gold and rich chocolate brown design, so I made sure that The Gold System looks good in your bathroom too!
EBONY.com: What is your take on the "completely natural" products that some women with natural hair use? For example, essential oils as conditioners and apple cider vinegar as a co-wash. Do you think their strands miss out on important moisturizers that products like yours offer?
AW: I do not believe you are getting the best available if you limit yourself to "completely natural." I prefer to take the best of both worlds — nature and science. For example, The Gold System is designed for kinky and curly hair types. I use natural African Mongongo Oil in the line because it has been used for centuries to soften and moisturize dry hair. There are numerous other oils and natural extracts in my products too. And only the best quality oils, which is also important. But all those oils and nutrients will literally sit on top of the hair and damage your clothes and furniture, without giving your hair maximum benefit, unless scientific technology is used to optimize the delivery system. All that good stuff needs to go INSIDE the hair. And then some of it needs to coat the hair without rubbing off. You want moisture, strength, shine, and flexibility. If we can add a little science to increase your hair health, keep that hair from drying out and breaking, make you happy with the results you see in the mirror, I say go for the Gold!
EBONY.com: The Curling Crème seems to be the star of the set. Us natural girls have such a hard time trusting curling crèmes because they can either make our hair crunchy and hard or dry and brittle. What is it about your Curling Crème that the everyday natural girl will love?
AW: Oh I know what you mean! I know the creams and gels are tried and discarded and cursed and then tried again! Here's what we did: My partner at Andre Walker Hair, Dianne Hudson, did the Big Chop, down to an inch of natural virgin hair. Then we started formulating and testing on her. Creating the Ultimate Moisture Sulfate Free Shampoo, and improving my famous TKO Conditioner didnt take long. But creating the best style cream for kinks was a challenge. I wanted no crunch, no flakes, no dryness. I wanted to see shine, curl pattern definition, flexibility, and hold. I wanted it to offer the best qualities of a cream and the best qualities of a gel. That's why I ended up calling it a Crème Gelee. I wanted it to be the best available anywhere, and we did not stop until we got the results I wanted. Dianne was washing and testing all the time for over a year before we started seeing the results I wanted. We named it Beautiful Kinks because that's what you get. Of course, curly girls can use it to get beautiful curls. But I wanted the kinky girls, like Dianne, to know this is formulated especially for them. Because kinky girls are not curly girls. Kinky girls are kinky girls, and we need to stop selling curl products to them. It is the other way around. Kinky products work for curls too. But curl products do not work for kinks!
EBONY.com: Where can your products be purchased?
AW: The Gold System, and all my products, can be purchased at AndreWalkerHair.com. We have a great Rewards Program too! I like having my own site where I can explain the products and deliver hair information to my customers. But soon I will also go into stores, because I know that is also convenient for some people. The Gold System is in pre-sale online right now, delivered to you early August 2013. I advise ordering now because that first supply is selling fast. Dont get left out!
EBONY.com: We’ve seen Oprah wearing her hair natural a little more lately. Do you use the Gold System on Oprah’s hair?
AW: Oh yes, I use The Gold System on Oprah, and also Q-Oil for a quick hair drink and shine (this is a product from my original collection and is also available on the website). Once I got the formulas close to perfect, I started using the system on Oprah and we are having fun with natural looks, because she has very little relaxer in her hair these days. You know I am an advocate of a veryvery light texturizer if your hair is very thick and kinky and tends to dry out and break. There is that blending of nature and science again, which I believe in! I think Oprah's hair speaks for itself, and yes now The Gold System is my regimen for her. The Get It Straight Styling Crème even works great on weaves, which she sometimes wears. I am telling you, this line covers it all, so yes, I use The Gold System on Oprah all the time.
EBONY.com: What do you think separates your Gold System from the selections of natural hair system sets out there?
AW: In addition to using the highest quality products, which is very important, I formulated The Gold System based on my standard of excellence. I can't be half stepping and keep my job doing Oprah's hair, and I wanted that same level of excellence available to every woman with coarse hair. I compared my results to everything out there. Most shampoos, conditioners, creams, gels, are not what they should be, in my opinion. The Gold System is in a category by itself because of the results. That's the bottom line. When I say Beautiful Kinks, I mean Beautiful Kinks!
EBONY.com: What are three tips that you can offer for women in the process of going fully natural?
AW: If you are going fully natural, my best advice is to just do it. Big Chop. Just live in the moment and enjoy getting to know your real hair again. When Dianne did it, she realized she had not experienced her own natural hair since age 10, when she got her first relaxer. Back then, relaxers were strong stuff. So as we tested formulas on her new natural hair, she was also on a journey discovering her real texture and thickness and beauty. I realized how exciting this can be for a woman. If you wash often — at least twice a week or more — and use The Gold System, your new hair will grow quickly to the length you prefer, and you will be like a new woman. I think it is a new day for us in terms of my motto, which is “Make Peace With Your Hair." That's why I started Andre Walker Hair. To help give you beautiful hair peace.
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Associate Beauty and Style Editor, Digital