Steven Noss — or "Weavin' Steven" as he's known in the hair industry — has styled coifs for television shows like "RuPaul's Drag Race" and "America's Next Top Model" and even Lady Gaga herself. But when it comes to hair color, the everyday folks in Atlanta make the boldest statements.
"Atlanta wears a lot of color — whether it's natural, weave or relaxed, the trend is a lot of color, even with the guys," Noss said. "I see a lot of reds and bright colors; I see more getting into summer and I love it. Guys are experimenting more, too."
The Pittsburgh-based hair guru — who has displayed his work at the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show, the largest African-American hair exposition held annually in Atlanta— showcases his mastery of hair design, color and style in his new book "Weaven's World: A Journey With Fantasy Hair," available now. By his definition, fantasy hair is "hair that's created with specific shapes, designs and accessories."
The coffee table book features striking pictorials of his fantasy creations, shot in places like the Florida Everglades, where he took inspiration from reptiles, and Detroit, where his hairpieces paid a nod to the city's decay. One of his best-known works is the hairy-copter — a fully functioning motorized toy helicopter blended into a weave that was featured on "The Ricki Lake Show" and several programs.
Of course, fantasy hair styling isn't for everyone. For those who like to incorporate playful elements into their hair while maintaining an everyday conservative look, Noss suggests pinning a butterfly or playful accessories for subtle flair this spring and summer.
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But a bold splash of color can be an effective style statement too, Noss advises. "I've seen a lot of steel grey, especially with dark roots," he said. "It looks good, especially with long hair or short-spikey on relaxed or natural hair. Adding color spices it up."
For low maintenance cropped styles, a way to stay on trend is to get a haircut with "soft edges, not hard," Noss insists, explaining, "if the hair is cut short, the stylist should razor it. You want to request that and they will do it, otherwise they might do hard lines."
The men in Atlanta tend to experiment more with their hair than in other cities, Noss said, but they still need to "step it up" — especially men with dreadlocks.
"Guys want to go into locks, but they don't style it," he said. "They should try color and maintain the locks every four to six weeks to keep it neat and uniform. Pulling it into a ponytail is the norm, but getting creative like twisting it into a direction and ombre coloring is key; step it up."
Seasonal makeovers, he adds, should start first with a conversation between you and your hairstylist.
"The stylist and client should have good communication," Noss advises, adding that bringing in a photo of a style is "somewhat helpful," but re-creating a celebrity's exact hairstyle is unrealistic.
"Pictures give something to work off of," he explained, "but you aren't the person in the picture — the texture is different, and your hair might not be long or thick enough."
Finding the right hair care professional is a matter of "word of mouth," he said, adding that such a method can be especially helpful for people who relocate to Atlanta. "My advice is to talk to people, look at their hair and ask where they go — you get first-hand knowledge."
"The bottom line is word of mouth," he said.
Noss, who has assisted in hair product development for Proclaim Shea Butter line with Sally Beauty, recommends the following products for fighting the elements this spring and summer:
For maintaing natural hair: UR Curly.
For maintaining healthy relaxed hair: Proclaim Anti-Breakage Coconut Oil and Proclaim Shea Butter lines.
For maintaining dreadlocks or fighting dry scalp: Dudley's Skin and Scalp Antiseptic, Dudley's Dandruff Shampoo and Dudley's Scalp Special.