If we’ve learned anything about Lupita Nyong’o from her Vogue cover story, it’s that she’s a real life goddess. Another takeaway: She surrounds herself with a team of positive, lively, kick ass individuals—one of whom is her hairstylist Vernon François.
François has spent the past couple of years styling and shaping Nyong’o’s mane, much to the delight of her fans. Remember that hair-raising style she donned at the Met Gala? Yeah, that was all him. Now, he’s taking his talents to the shelves and releasing a line of products made specifically for different curl types—kinky, curly, and wavy.
The namesake collection is comprised of three different lines: Re-Vamp, Curl Command, and Pure-Fro. Each group includes a shampoo, conditioner, and moisture spray, while a serum, shine spray, co-wash, and scalp nourishment spray round out the 13-piece assembly. François, a champion of the natural hair movement, tells us that he hopes to help spread the love even further with his products.
“Curly hair is so, so beautiful, and nothing makes me happier than seeing someone embracing their genetic gift,” he says. “I’ve learned that doing this can be a deep internal issue for most people and that fear is what holds people back; fear of [not] being able to confidently manage their hair at home. All that’s needed is the right tools and knowledge, which is where I can help.”
When it came to formulating the products, he tells us that performance was, by far, the most important factor. “It was a very detailed process,” he says, one that came down to what ingredients were best for which hair type, getting the packaging right, and establishing an appropriate price point.
But was François successful? Did he figure out the perfect curly hair concoction? Three Nylon ladies tried out the shampoo and conditioner from the lines (including myself) and we were more or less indifferent.
Let’s start with the shampoo. Keryce Henry, NYLON’s associate editor, has curly, colored hair and tried out the Re-Vamp line. She notes that, while she appreciates the fact that the shampoo didn’t dry out her hair, she expected it to feel a bit cleaner after washing.
But, for both NYLON’s video editor Tina Vaden, who has looser curls and tried out the Curl Command line, and myself, with a head of tighter coils and who tested out the Pure-Fro products, the opposite experience happened. “It left my hair fluffy and clean. So clean. Too clean,” Vandem says about the shampoo, emphasizing that that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I’m always pretty wary of products that lather. The natural hair motto that’s been drilled into my head is no suds under any circumstance whatsoever. This is because suds typically mean detergents are present, which result in dry, parched strands. And while my hair felt so fresh and so clean once I rinsed the formula out, I couldn’t help but notice the thirsty strands that were left behind.
The conditioner was also a toss up. Vaden said it best: “It needs to do more than it does.” For Henry and I, we’re used to using conditioners that double as detanglers, something that the product in this line failed to do. It could probably be substituted as a leave-in (although it’s meant to be a wash-out product) but if you’re looking for something with slip, this isn’t the bottle for you.
François plans on introducing more products to the line in the next few months. Although we might not be trading in our tried and true shampoos or conditioners any time soon, like the collection emphasizes, everbody’s hair is different. What didn’t work for us might work flawlessly for you and vice versa. Check out the products for yourself below, along with others we didn’t have the opportunity to test out.
Vernon François Pure-Fro Shampoo, $36, available at Net-A-Porter.