Celebrity make up artist Gemma Wheatcroft has worked with celebs such as Daisy Lowe, Pharrell Williams, Caroline Flack and has worked with British Vogue, Elle and Glamour shares her experiences growing up with her curls and gives Jewel Tones Beauty her top curl tips.
Gemma as a little girl not loving the camera or her curls
“As a little girl I HATED my curls growing up. I remember all the girls in my ballet class had long straight hair combed neatly into ballet buns for shows and competitions. (I was one of the only mixed race/ black kids in Rottingdean a little village in Brighton and I dreamed of one day having long straight blonde hair) It was a very negative experience growing up, as my mum didn’t know how to cope with my curls. She used to scrape my head so hard with a brush or comb trying to get the bumps out and pinning my huge curly fringe (that I insisted on having as I didn’t feel pretty and wanted to hide behind it!) my head was like a pin cushion and It used to take ahead to wash the hard hold gel out of my hair. I still hate that smell to this day. This put me off ever letting mum touch my hair, which lead to little dreads forming and two hours in a hairdresser chair with three people combing out the knots with small toothed combs!!!! This put me off hairdressers FOR LIFE. Growing into a teenager I discovered Bjork buns and this was my saving grace as it was cool to be different as I was a bit of a ‘grunger’ so little dreads were in too! It wasn’t until I was 18/19 when I learnt to embrace the fro. I found products from my Jamaican friend’s mum that she bought back from Brixton market that worked with my curls. I started taking more care of my hair, got a decent cut from hairdresser friend who’s worked with curls before and learnt how to do my makeup properly. I felt prettier and there where more people on the tv and in magazines who looked like me! Boys took notice and no longer called me ‘fizz gig’ and People started complementing my hair and look wherever I went! I grew in confidence and soon my hair was my favourite feature! Finally I found an afro picK and voila my life was complete! I rocked the fro with pride. Girls with straight hair started wishing they had my curls. I learnt to love my hair!!”
Gemma’s best friends who helped her to discover black hair products
Gemma’s Top Curl Corner Tips
“On my hair I tend to wet my hair each day to revitalise the curl, I just spritz water or stuck my head In the shower. As my hair is afro European it is quite soft even though it holds a good spiral curl, so I don’t tend to wash it too often and only condition when it really needs it, (once a week shampoo and once a fortnight condition) or it tends to go really fluffy and soft and hard to style. My hair works best when it has a bit of ‘grit’ to it. So I add a small blob of Bumble and bumble Curl Conscious Defining Creme, £23.50, www.feelunique.com after towel drying each morning if I’m feeling lavish or if I’ve run out I have found the best cheap alternative in Boots Essentials Curl Creme, £1.99, www.boots.com.
I then like to dry my hair on a low heat and setting from far away with my head tipped over. This starts drying the ends and is faster than natural drying but allows the curls to form and keep their shape. I then like to blast the roots of my hair once nearly completely dry allover to distress the curls and manipulate the shape so that they don’t dry too tight and uniformly. This adds volume and shape to my fro! I like to finish off with a little more cream in the ends and a quick go over with the afro comb in the roots for extra vavoom!!
I colour my hair with toners, as I’m a natural blonde but like to change it up a little. The Bleach range in Boots, www.boots.com do great modern colours. I like to highlight my hair and bleach the tips for extra brightness and to add an edge”.
Gemma growing in confidence as she has learnt to care for and love her curls