Angela C. Styles Talks New Cantu Line & Life As A New Mom
Emmy award-winning hair stylist Angela C. Styles is on a mission to make women look and feel incredible about their hair. The Chicago native has blessed thousands of clients’ coils, kinks, and protective tresses for over 13 years, making an indelible mark on the industry with her passion for hair care, health, and education. The brand consultant and TV host has styled the crowns of some big named celebrities, including stars like Rihanna, Keke Palmer, and 32-time Grammy award-winning singer Beyoncé.
Whether you’re rocking a fro, long locs, or a beautiful sew-in, health, and longevity are always at the top of Styles’ list when she’s tending to clients. Let’s face it. In today’s inflated economy, maintaining natural hair or a protective hairstyle like braids can be costly. But that’s where Angela thrives. The beauty brand consultant and salon owner loves helping her customers “keep the longevity of the hair they invest in” while maintaining optimal scalp health.
“One of the benefits of working with celebrities, especially in TV and film, is that I’m working on the same person every day. And because of that, I understand what kind of products build on each other,” the busy entrepreneur told HelloBeautiful over zoom.
“Sometimes you can’t use a certain product every day of the week because you’ll have too much buildup, but there are products that you can layer, and it doesn’t affect the amount of buildup you have on your hair.”
Styles has packed her extensive knowledge of haircare health and maintenance into a new line called Protective Styles with Cantu. All of the products come loaded with healthy scalp-stimulating ingredients, like tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar, that helps to promote growth and shield the hair of women who rock wigs, braids, locs and other protective hairstyles.
You may have little time to tend to your crown daily if you’re a busy gal with a jam-packed schedule. Styles said she created her new collection of haircare products with working women in mind. Take the Set & Refresh Foam, for example; it’s a rejuvenating foam packed with aloe vera and other natural ingredients that help refresh the scalp and reduce flaking and dryness.
“I created the Set & Refresh Foam to have apple cider vinegar and aloe vera in it because I wanted something for the person who can’t necessarily do a full shampoo on their hair every day to still be able to use a water-based product that will refresh the hair and the scalp. It will take back some of the things that they have accumulated in the course of that week,” Styles explained of the product.
“That’s something that I have to tackle with my clients. You can’t shampoo their hair every day. Sometimes, you can’t even shampoo their hair twice a week because of the way their schedule is set up. So, I wanted to create products that made sense for the practicality of our life.”
But other exciting products are offered in Styles’ extensive hair care line. The famous hair aficionado sat down with HelloBeautiful to chat more about her new line with Cantu, her life as a new mom, and a few tips on keeping your protective styles and natural crown looking shiny and voluminous throughout the winter and summer.
Before we chat about your incredible legacy in the hair care space, we’re interested to hear about your life as a new momma. You just welcomed your son not long ago. How’s motherhood treating you?
Thank you. It’s going great! You know, every day is different. I’m still learning our rhythm and just enjoying him. But it’s really a beautiful experience. I can’t even put it into words! He just made two months on the 28th. So, we have our first two-month doctor’s appointment coming up. I love watching him grow.
We love seeing you share advice on your Instagram page for first-time mommas. Whether that’s how to pack a to-bag for the baby or sharing different recipes for mommas that might be on maternity leave. With all the advice that you’ve been giving to your tribe on Instagram, has there been one piece of advice that you’ve received from your community that has opened up your eyes along your motherhood journey?
Oh my god! I’ve gotten so much incredible advice. That’s what I love about social media. It’s the best for sharing and exchanging information, and I haven’t had a ton of hands-on assistance. So, I get all of my help from social media. Everything from just realizing that you’re not only birthing a baby, but you’re birthing yourself, a new version of yourself, and giving yourself that grace. I think that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve gathered from the tribe.
But on a practical level. Somebody commented about getting a mini fridge in the baby’s room. And that’s been a game changer for us just because I’m breastfeeding and pumping. You have to put the milk in something cold in the middle of the night. It’s so much easier to put it there versus going all the way downstairs and all the way into the kitchen. So, that was great practical advice.
I explained to a lot of my friends who haven’t had kids it’s not so much having the baby but more so the recovery process from the surgeries. It’s breastfeeding the human that you’re caring for, plus caring for yourself mentally, all at the same time. It kind of slaps you in the face. So, I just love the number of resources I’ve been given around taking care of yourself and taking care of the baby at the same time. It’s been really uplifting, to say the least.
So happy to hear. Let’s get into your career in the hair care space. What sparked your passion for styling and hair maintenance?
Honestly, I’ve always loved hair, and I think it was because my mom was not a hair person. So when I was a little girl, I would try to fix my hair because I just didn’t like the way it looked. My mom was more of a creative. I think she would have been better with hair today because now, it’s all about the natural looks. But back in the 80s and 90, you had to have that sleek and styled appearance.
I was probably 5 or 6 when I first started playing in my hair. I was just trying to figure out how to make it look better. By the time I was in college, I told my mom I think I really want to go to cosmetology school. She obviously was not surprised because I was braiding in high school and doing all kinds of things to my hair. I was even styling my friends and taking in clients. So, she already saw that spark was just natural in me. She was very encouraging about helping me figure out the right path to make myself a professional.
You’ve styled the crowns of so many different celebs. Keke Palmer and Rita Ora, to name a few. What’s one thing that you have learned from working with so many incredible stars? And has there ever been a time when you’ve been starstruck to work on somebody’s hair?
Yeah! When I used to assist and work with Kim Kimble early in my career, I got an opportunity to work with Beyoncé under her. I can say I was starstruck because she’s been a star for 20 years. I’ve worked with so many people. After a while, you realize they’re just people like you and me. But sometimes, after you put them in glam, they get styled and put on their clothes, it’s like, even though you’ve been in the room with them, it’s something about that final moment that’s like, ‘wow, oh my god. You’re you!’ Or when you see them on stage.
I’ve had moments like that with Eve where I’m with her One on One, but when I see her in her element, I’m like, dang, that’s really “Evie Eve!” So I’ve definitely had many of those experiences where you almost see two different people; You see the human, and then you see the celebrity simultaneously.
What we love so much about your work is that it’s not just about styling hair. For you, It’s about making people feel happy, confident, and beautiful in the body and skin they’re in. Hair is just one facet of expressing inner beauty, and that message is truly amplified through your new Protective Styles line with Cantu. Tell us more about it!
I love the natural hair care movement. I love what has sparked from it. It has brought so much confidence in women. But one of the things that I told Cantu was oftentimes, we do a lot with articulating how much you need in these creams and these gels for style curls. But the diaspora of natural hair is much bigger than the styles and products we’re creating. I said we need diversity.
So, I love that I could share my insight with a whole Black female-led team and that we were all totally in agreeance. We had one member on the team that was locked. One of the executives wore braids 90% of the time. We all understood the importance of creating products that uniquely care for people with different types of natural hairstyles versus just natural hair. That’s the biggest thing that I was excited about. I have yet to really see a product line speak to this.
I wanted to incorporate key ingredients like apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, tea tree, rosemary, and lavender because protective styles tend to have a negative connotation about breakage and being too tight. But the reality is, if you pair a protective style with the right products to manage it, you will succeed no matter what. So for me, it’s all about educating and creating solutions, and that’s what we did with this line.
Yes! We were particularly happy to see that this could also be used on locs. We’re always looking for natural products that don’t cause buildup and help to promote volume and shine. Tell us more about the natural ingredients that are packed throughout the line.
Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural cleanser for the hair. It’s a natural product that refreshes the hair, removes buildup, removes odor–all those things. But it is not the greatest if you smell apple cider vinegar in its natural essence. So, pairing that with aloe vera and our signature Marula blossom scent gives the products a whole new experience.
For most people with locs, they get a retwist once a month. They might shampoo their hair a few times within that month. But you can’t shampoo daily because the water sits in the hair and takes too long to dry.
So, if you have itching, flakes, dryness, or frizziness and want to control it, these products can manage all of that. It also works with wigs in the same way. If you have a curly weave and it gets frizzy, you can use our Set & Refresh Foam, and it’ll refresh the curls and bring it back to life without you having to shampoo. But if you do have time to cleanse your hair, we created Hair Bath, a product that can be used to create a bath-like experience for your extensions or locs.
You can also pour it directly onto the scalp. What’s great is that it has this cooling and tingling effect that is so great and therapeutic when you have protective styles. That’s really how we designed these products because cleansing is so important for growth, health, and vitality.
Yes! And we love that these products aren’t harsh on the hair either. There are no sulfates or harsh chemicals included, correct?
Yes! It’s sulfate-free, paraben free, and vegan. We really wanted to make sure that we were speaking to customers who really care about ingredient formulation and not placing chemicals inside. So, we want to make sure we’re taking care of everything in its totality in a positive way.
That’s a beautiful thing, especially in this very eco-conscious environment that we’re currently living in. Okay, let’s talk about a few hair care tips for the winter and summer. There’s been a lot of debate about oil versus water in the hair care community. What should people be using to hydrate their natural and protective styles as we transition into warmer months?
I always say water is the best form of hydration for your hair in any capacity. It doesn’t matter if you wear it naturally. It doesn’t matter if you wear weaves, and it doesn’t matter if you wear locs. Water is the best form of moisture and hydration. However, oil is going to help seal the cuticle and help seal the moisture into the hair. So cleansing, using water to hydrate, then coming behind it, and using oil to seal is the best solution.
You typically always want to use oil as your last product versus the first product. You can continue to layer a lightweight oil if you have dry hair. Our oil is extremely light. It has tea tree, rosemary, and lavender. It also comes packed with Marula oil. You can layer the product, and it won’t clog the scalp or get caught in the hair like coconut oil or butters.
This one is for the girlies who love to rock braids. How long should people be wearing these protective styles? Is there a time limit you would recommend?
So, it does depend on the size of the braid. But typically, with braids, you can go anywhere from a few weeks to a month. I would say no more than two months. Because usually, braids tend to start looking frizzy once the roots grow out a little bit. But the main thing is ensuring you cleanse your scalp and your hair when you’re wearing it. All of our products can be used with box braids, cornrows, faux locs– the list goes on and on. And just using the products for your hair as you see fit, but cleansing, conditioning, hydrating, resetting, restyling, the whole line is great to achieve those things.
We’ve definitely fallen victim to leaving our styles in for more than two months.
Of course. It’s an investment, and it’s expensive, especially because now the cost of hair has skyrocketed. Also, hair services have gotten much more expensive than in the past. That was something we wanted to address with these products. Helping clients keep their styles longer because if your hair is dry and not being addressed, you need to take the style out faster. But you can take care of your hair with products that give you hydration and cleanse the scalp.
Protective Styles by Cantu helps to remove buildup from synthetic hair. A lot of times, people have irritation or breakage, specifically from the chemicals that are coated on synthetic hair. And so we wanted to make this product a deep enough cleanser that it helps remove some of that buildup, too.
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