The Real Hair Story

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Hair is an important aspect of our physical selves. With the help of Gwendolyn Rasul, licensed cosmetology instructor, educational consultant, hair repair specialist, ethnic hair care expert and co-owner—along with her husband Salahuddin Rasul—of Bismillah Hair Salon located in downtown Easton, PA, African American parents are learning the proper way of meeting the hair care needs of African American children. Gwendolyn and her husband co-founded Splitting Hairs, an educational program to help parents and caregivers care for their children’s hair, with a particular emphasis on the special needs of African American ethnic hair.  The program includes information on hair structure, basic implements and products needed, as well as training in caring for children’s hair as they grow through the infant, toddler, school age, adolescent and teenage years. Gwendolyn has teamed up with JOHNSON’S BUDDIES, a new line of hair care products formulated specifically for toddlers to help parents keep their children’s hair healthy, promote proper hygiene, increase self-image and foster bonding between parent and child through hair care rituals and routines. Recently, the Rasuls spoke with The Black Star News’s Nicole U. Hopkins about the importance of having healthy and well-groomed hair, toddler hair care and her mission to educate parents about the specific needs of African American hair care.

BSN: How did you get started in the hair care industry?
GR:  In actuality, I was looking for a field after military duty and I wanted to step into a  Career that I would be passionate about and where I could have independence.

BSN: What kind of training did you have?
GR:  I had a cosmetology license in the State of New Jersey and a teaching license in  the State of Pennsylvania.

BSN:  Why do you think that many parents find it difficult to style toddler hair?
GR:  Years ago, when I use to get my hair done I would look forward to Saturday  Morning, sitting between my mother’s legs, getting my hair plaited.  It was a real
 Bonding experience.  Now, many parents see it more as a chore.  We created a  Family salon because we believe that the hair care process should be a bonding
 Experience.  We allow children to be part of the process.  We let them touch the  Shampoo.  We turn it into a kind of show and tell and parents are really amazed at  How their children respond.  The children like being part of the process and they  Get really excited with they see the JOHNSON’S BUDDIES products because of  The colors.  Parents can also play games with their child while doing their hair.    Make this hair care process fun for children and they will respond in a more
 Positive way.

BSN:  Do you have an educational program that focuses on training in caring for adult  hair?
GR:  Yes our program Splitting Hairs focuses on hair care from infancy to adulthood  Because not every parent that comes to us have an infant.

BSN:  How did the union between your company and JOHNSON’S BUDDIES occur?
GR: After people started to come to me and I wrote the pamphlet on hair care I began   To think of Johnson and Johnson no more tears but there were no other products  After that for toddlers so I contacted Johnson and Johnson with my ideas and  That’s how the union came about.

BSN:  Did you have a creative hand in the ingredients of Johnson’s Buddies?
GR:  The product line was already completed and they felt it would work well on  Ethnic hair.

BSN:  What do you want African American parents to know about healthy hair care?
GR: I am concerned with the little girls wearing extension braids and having perms. When it is too soon for braids and perms.  Extensions should not be in a toddler’s hair.   Toddlers are not advanced enough to say that the extensions are an irritant.  Hair should be clean.  When it’s natural, it’s healthy on its own.  If you feel you need more control, I like pressing the hair because it’s not so permanent.  Parents should compliment their children on their hair and let them know that all hair is beautiful.  Let them know that no one’s hair is better. To reach the company please visit
or call  610-258-2530.

For more articles and reports please call (212) 481-7745 to subscribe to the newsstand edition of The Black Star News.

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