Elgin Charles is a hair connoisseur and “Beverly Hills Fabulous” in his new VH1 show which aired last night at 10 p.m./ET. Elgin put his celebrity clients at bay to speak with GlobalGrind about black hair secrets, drama in Beverly Hills, and his amazing journey to hair stardom.
Elgin certainly has better hair than any woman around the Beverly Hills town, and he knows how to make you feel and look like a star. There’s lots of hair drama and trauma in Beverly Hills and Elgin has all the solutions. To be one of his clients you may pay more than the average salon visit, but it’s well worth it. Elgin also dishes about which celebs have the best hair in Tinseltown.
“Beverly Hills Fabulous” airs every Monday on VH1 at 10 p.m./ET.
GlobalGrind: There is lots of laughs and plenty of drama, what else can we expect to see on “Beverly Hills Fabulous?”
Elgin Charles:Expect to get great pointers about hair, and how hair is done in Beverly Hills. Expect to see a little bit of the dynamics of my son and my ex-wife Jackee Harry. And some of the hair stylists personal lives as well.
GG: How did you get started in the beauty industry?
EC:Twenty-five years ago I started at beauty school. Truth is, I’ve always had a natural passion for hair since a little kid. But I have always gravitated to hair styling even when I was a child. However, at that time I didn’t respect it as a career choice. So after I grew tired of corporate America, I started thinking about what else I could do and my mother encouraged me to do hair. I did research to look around to see what the hair styling career was all about and I realized that it was incredible. The hair industry is a $9.6 billion dollar industry that you could do hair styling, to owning a salon, product lines, and platform work. I discovered that it was limitless. I could pour all my creativity into it and do whatever I wanted. When I came into that vision I went full stream and all I can tell you is that I just love hair.
GG: Is it crazy to think about where you started and where you are now?
EC:It is amazing. It’s so mind-boggling. When you are working and immersed in your career, you can’t really step back and see all that you have done. And then, next thing you know 25 years have gone by! It’s amazing.
GG: How did you go about starting a black beauty salon in Beverly Hills?
EC: When I decided to start my own salon the revelation came when I was giving the salon I was working in about $3,500 a month in commission. When I was doing the numbers I was like ‘Wow I could get my own salon with this amount of money.’ I was truly in the word of God and prayed. I was on the way to do Natalie Cole’s hair and I seen the space. It was on the 6th floor in a high rise building and when I walked in I saw a sink, and I was like ‘OMG! This is my space.’ I went ahead and applied for the lease. I had no credibility and I had only been doing hair for 5 years. He gave me the opportunity to lease the space and do hair. I knew I could pay my rent because I had the clientele. All of the sudden people I heard I had a salon. There are not a lot of places for black people in Beverly Hills to work so when they realize I had one, they all started asking me “hey can I work for you?” Then I had taken the whole entire half of the floor, and we were hustling in the salon. It was dream come true.
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GG:Your hair is gorgeous! When did you start growing your hair?
EC:I’ve been growing my hair for about seven years. After my divorce from Jackee, I thought, let your hair grow and don’t cut it [hair] for a year. So I would just come into the salon and use some relaxer, I had to keep the edges smooth (laughs). So I was relaxing and I wouldn’t cut it. The hair grew out within a year with big ringlet curls. After three years it was down my back and I decided to start flat ironing it straight. I had developed my own flat iron at that time. I realized how pretty it was and how much body it had. I started wearing it down and I realized God blessed me with a great crop of hair.
GG: So can you name some of your celebrity clients?
EC: Tatiyana Ali, Keri Hilson, Meagan Good, Lauren London, Jackee Harry, Star Jones, Diane Carroll, Verdine White of Earth, Wind, and Fire, and singer Estelle. We have all kinds of celebs that come through here.
GG:In your opinion, which celebrities have the best hair, and which celebrities need to come see you (laughs)?
EC: Janet Jackson’s hair is always on point. I like Kim Kardashian’s hair. Lately, I’ve been loving Jennifer Hudson’s hair. I love Mary J Blige’s blonde short hair. And Halle’s short crop is always off the chain. Beyonce’s hair is good. Brandy’s hair is nice too. Vivica also keeps it going. I’m going to leave the worst hair-dos alone. (laughs)
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GG: What are your bestselling hair products?
EC: There’s a fight between three products that my clients will get upset with me if I run out. Eminence style control lotion, which I tried to stop making but they [clients] made me bring it back. Poshtress finishing cream with light oil which is great for the edges and running through the hair women love to use poshtress between salon visits. They also love the luminance shine spray which is just a sheen spray that revitalizes the hair.
GG:What is the biggest mistake that women make with their hair?
EC:The biggest mistake that women make is that they will sit in anybody’s chair and get their hair done. I think women should go to someone who is truly trained especially when it comes to using chemicals and lace front wigs. Our culture is very trendy and what happens is people get caught up in the look and don’t realize that this new hair style could adversely affect your hair. Once your hair is gone…it’s gone.
GG: Is there a set formula to ensure hair growth?
EC:My products are formulated to promote hair growth. You have to keep the blood circulating in your scalp, and the hair will continue to grow. My products with soy protein will mend damaged hair. I also have products with avocado oil that add moisture to your hair. With African-Americans hair is naturally dry. Back in the day we used to use a lot of oil and it made our hair heavy and flat, and gave everyone pimples. (laughs) You can keep your hair healthy with moisture.
GG: Black women who get relaxers usually have problems maintaining length and luster to their hair, what are some solutions to breakage stemmed from receiving relaxers?
EC: Please make sure you’re consistent with your touch up. If you have curly hair you should get your hair relaxed every six weeks. If you have a deeper wave you will be okay with getting a relaxer every eight weeks. You should get your relaxer every six-eight weeks on a consistent basis, because the line of demarcation between re-growth and relaxed hair becomes gradual and will cause the hair to snap if you don’t keep up with the relaxers. Also, always get a deep conditioner after getting a relaxer. It keeps the hair soft and not brittle. Also make sure you wrap your hair up at night before you go to sleep.
GG: Besides Elgin Charles products, what is the best in-store over the counter products black women should buy for their hair?
EC: Always read the back of the products at your local stores. Get a conditioning shampoo, not a cleansing shampoo especially if your hair is relaxed. You want a shampoo between a 4. 5-5. 5 pH. If your hair is real fine and you notice breakage you want to use a reconstructor which is a protein, but only ONCE.
Follow up with a moisturizer and then use a protein treatment maybe twice a month to rebuild the hair, and then you want to stop using so much pure protein treatment.
Put a leave-in conditioner before you blow your hair out. Wrap your hair at night, which will minimize your usage of heat products. You can hit your hair with a little heat twice a week. But remember, hair grows an average of a ½ inch a month, so you have to take care of it.
MORE PICS OF ELGIN ON THE NEXT PAGE!
Elgin Charles on CBS morning show “The Talk.”
“Beverly Hills Fabulous” Elgin Charles and his stylists.
Elgin Charles and his ex-wife Jackee Harry.