By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
In the way that your manicurist is there to take care of your nails and your dermatologist is there to take care of your skin, Tara Miller is there to make sure your hair remains nice and healthy.
A hair stylist with more than 16 years experience in the business, she is especially dedicated to managing hair loss in women.
The owner of the Metamorphosis Beauty Salon on Jerome Avenue, Ms Miller said that beyond staying up-to-date with the latest style trends, it is important to be educated on the newest developments in hair care.
“In the Bahamas we have a lot of women with thinning along the sides and crown of the head, and most of the time after a consultation the most common reason is because they were wearing a weave for too long without taking a break in between weaves,” she explained.
“A weave should be worn no longer than two months at a time, after which you should go through the necessary regimen – whether a relaxer and treatment or just a treatment – then you should give you hair a two-week break, and then if you wish, you can have it weaved over.”
She believes it is important for women to know that having your hair weaved on the same day you have received a fresh relaxer is a bad idea, as your hair is in a weakened state due to the relaxer.
“To put the stress of a weave on top of that is bound to cause damage. What you can do is relax the perimeter of the hair that is going to be left out and not the section that is going to be weaved, to alleviate the problem, hence having your smooth sides but still protecting the hair that is weaved,” she said.
“Also, weaving too tight can cause traction alopecia. This happens when the braid or hair is detached or torn from the scalp and you would see little white bulbs at the root of the hair shaft, leaving a bald spot where the hair should be.”
At her Metamorphosis Salon, Ms Miller said they offer treatment for this problem. Clients with hair loss problems are also urged to not wear weaves until their scalps and hair have fully recovered.
“This can be a daunting task because they have become one with the weave and sometimes they are upset, but when they see the results it’s all worth it. Hair care is always my first priority. I can honestly say I love what I do, and in order to be one of the best you have to educate yourself,” she said.
Ms Miller’s original career plan could not have been farther from her current occupation.
She initially wanted to pursue a degree in cardiovascular technology, but hair styling was a talent she could not run away from, especially after receiving a push in the right direction from her sister Vernencha Forbes.
After receiving a cosmetology diploma from the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), Ms Miller later underwent advanced training at Dudley’s Cosmetology University in North Carolina and then went on to study at the headquarters of Ashtae, a hair care company created for African-American, Hispanic, and mixed hair textures. After completing her training with Ashtae in Greenboro, North Carolina, she became an educator with the company.
“Teaching classes at their headquarters as well as at Bronner Brothers in Atlanta and of course here at home with Renea Johnson at the RACA (Renea’s Advance Cosmetology Academy) solidified what I was able to do. I am also a freelance hairstylist where I am contracted for services outside of the salon such as an engagement session, commercial photography session, advertisements and branding, weddings, or for groups and organisations. I pride myself on being able to cater to a variety of clients from short to long relaxed, natural and every type/texture,” said Ms Miller.
And even after so many years in the field, she still enjoys the work. Her clients, she said, allow her the opportunity to be creative and transform them into the vision they have for themselves.“It’s something about the way they smile and the boost of confidence they gain that reminds me that I’m good at what I do. It doesn’t feel like it, but it’s been 16 years in the business, and honestly, every year feels like the first year, as there’s always new trends and I pride myself on being up-to-date to meet my clients needs and exceed their expectations,” said Tara.
Offering hair care tips to readers, Ms Miller spoke about using spritz and gel – the two most common products teenagers use. She said most of them have a tendency to soak the hair with spritz then curl it with a curling iron that is more than likely too hot – an overall bad idea.
“While curling the hair you would here a sizzling sound or your hair might stick to the curler, or even worse, when you remove the curler from your head the hair is still attached to it. If you have experienced any of these situations you more than likely have a head full of damaged hair. The next product you ladies overuse is gel. Applying gel on your hair today, then adding more tomorrow, then two days later you want to change your hairstyle so what do you do? Comb or brush the gel out. This causes breakage and can also lead to thinning edges. Remember, your hair is your beauty, take care of it,” she said.
Ms Miller said it is also important to adhere to daily hair care routines such as sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase to prevent frizz, breakage and dryness.
“Cotton pillowcases tend to snag hair and create splits and tears. They also tend to suck the moisture out of your hair, which can make it even more frizzy and brittle at the ends.” On top of that she said it is also important to always moisturise hair ends.