Listen Live
92Q Listen Live
92Q Jams Featured Video

Before we start accusing anyone of being first in fashion, or anyone biting anyone’s style – let’s just give credit where credit is due.

Back when Kelis was THAT CHICK in 2006, a gentleman named Anthony Dickey was responsible for the hot hairstyles she was sporting. And that very style has come back big time.

“Everyone talks about the Rihanna cut. Well, that came from me cutting Kelis’ hair off. It’s been a great look for a lot of women who want something a little more modern,” says Dickey.

He’s a celebrity stylist who has crafted looks for Minnie Driver, Estelle, Alicia Keys, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rihanna and Michelle Obama. He’s got a book, a line of products, and his own salon — all called Hair Rules. And now A. Dickey is setting out to spread his gospel of hairdressing.

“Right now we’re in the process of developing a curriculum for licensed stylists so they can know how to work with a variety of hair textures. [Our presence will] be in contrast to how segregrated the industry is. In beauty school you start out learning the basics, and you find salons segregated by ethnicity and hair texture. There are white salons that don’t do kinky hair and black salons that use too many chemicals. And there are women of all textures who want that A-list, high-end experience,” he explains.

That’s what clients get at Dickey’s salon. Hair Rules New York is billed as the “first and only multi-textural salon in the US.” Dedicated to offering a healthy approach to hairstyling, the Hair Rules salon exclusively uses — what else? — Hair Rules products. I’ve reviewed Dickey’s products in the past, and I gotta tell ya, my hair ADORES the Quench conditioner! In our interview, Dickey gave me an over-the-phone hair consultation that I believe will help to answer questions for me and for many other women with dry hair, or natural hair issues.

“You need the Daily Cleansing Cream. It will change your hair and your scalp. It’s much like Cetaphil is — it’s gentle and nourishing and will make your conditioner work more effectively, now the hair hasn’t been depleted of all the natural oils that regular shampoos strip away. Those shampoos are such old dinosaur formulations and they destroy natural textured hair. That’s the most important product in the line: the daily cleansing creme. The Aloe Grapefruit [clarifying shampoo] should only be used once or twice a month.” Good to know — apparently I was clarifying my hair too often.

Talking to Dickey was like having a lightbulb turned on over my head. The more we discussed hair products and formulas, the more I realized what a vast conspiracy there is in the marketing of mainstream shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. The old mantra of washing your hair with shampoo twice a week is beyond dated — it works primarily for women born with the kind of straight hair that tends to get limp and appear greasy in between washings. Black hair has different needs, and yet we’re being marketed the same kinds of products (that perhaps are repackaged in shiny new bottles, or given a special name so that we think they’re formulated to fit our needs). Many of these products are formulated with alcohol, which dries out your hair. And the drier the hair becomes, the more it wants to become frizzy; hence, the need for more products.

“The whole beauty industry, the product market has segregated women based on ethnicity. When you start to look at hair texture and what it needs, you realize it markets to women based on ethnicity rather than hair texture,” says Dickey.

I had to ask him about one controversial topic in the natural community — mineral oil. That particular ingredient is a red flag to women with natural hair who read the ingredients of the products they use, and Dickey readily admitted to using it in some of his styling products, like Hair Rules Finishing Creme.

“Yes, we use mineral oil in our finishing creme and the biggest backlash was from women online. Like, they love Hair Rules but it’s got this cheap sh– in here called mineral oil… we’ve tried everything to replace mineral oil for its performance, and nothing out there does. It’s been a struggle because we want to relate to everyone’s needs, but by the time mineral oil has been strained & purified, there’s no information that shows that it’s bad for you or for your hair. It’s ‘slippability’ is what we use it for. There’s no product out there that has that and maintains the performance we’re looking for. We’re looking for ways to change it before we do our next run. It has zero to do with cost of goods. It’s about performance.”

In 2010 Hair Rules will expand their product line to focus on those who want straight hair. “We’re making blow-dry cream for kinky, curly, wavy textures. That’s the beauty of our hair – that versatility without chemicals.”

Currently you can buy Hair Rules products on HSN, online, and at the salon. The salon experience is something that Dickey takes very seriously — he’s heard too many horror stories from women who deserve better.

“Hello, hair is SO emotional. And women are coming into a place at such a vulnerable time. To walk into a place where it’s intimidating, or where there are small comments, or negativity… you don’t need that. Hairdressers can be so complacent sometimes. You’re making women beautiful, you’re not digging ditches! And you’re not gonna lose a woman who you’ve taken the time, consideration and willingness to show her the possibilities of how beautiful she can look and feel. A lot of it is listening to their needs, and half of what I do is listening. If you can find that balance in doing something they’re going to be excited about and listening to their needs, you’ve made a client for life.”

Take a look at the video clips on 55 Secret Street to get an idea of what the Hair Rules salon experience is like, and check out HairRules YouTube channel for more. It isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it. And who knows — you may just run into one of Dickey’s celebrity clients.

When I asked him who were his favorite celebrities to work with, there was no hesitation.

“Um, it probably is Kelis. For the same reason that everyone talks so much smack about her.She looks at fashion as fun, loves to wind up on the worst-dressed list, she likes to change her hair. [That’s] what’s great about celebrities — a celebrity knows how they want their hair to look — versus in fashion, where it’s about what the photographer wants, what the stylist wants, not what the model wants. I love working with Kelis. And Michelle Obama loves a healthy head of hair. It’s been nice working with her and knowing it won’t be a tore-up head of hair,” says Dickey.

I had to ask him what his favorite client is up to these days. Any word of a comeback?

“Kelis is working on her new album, and her new music sounds so refreshing. After having a breakup with her husband, becoming a mother… she’s got so much to sing about.”

Dickey is charming, compelling, and one heck of a hairstylist. To make an appointment at Hair Rules, visit their official website. And if you have any questions about hair, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to pass them along!