When you’re talking about Nikki Nelms and her work, it seems like an understatement to describe her as a hairstylist. Sure, technically, she does style hair, but the sculptural, experimental, and downright dope things she does with all that stuff coming out of your scalp makes hair artist a more appropriate term.
Over the years, Nelms has pushed the limits of our imaginations with not only what hair can do, but what black hair can do, specifically. With her, there’s no “I like what it’s doing already,” spritz the ‘Fro with water, and go. She may add a dusting of gold leaf to your cornrows. She could put some wire in your braids and twist them into towering, curling spirals, adding a few doorknocker earrings as flourishes. She might even put googly eyes in your updo.
But to create such inspiring work, you’ve got to have the right tools. It’s a plus if those tools aren’t super pricey — and it’s even better if they’re built to withstand the kind of demands an artist of Nelms’s caliber is bound to put them through. Goody was obliged to create such tools and have Nelms promote them. The brand’s new Total Texture and Planet Goody collections boast the kind of hair-care tools and accessories Nelms relies on to do what she does best: create. Now, when I say this stuff was affordable, I absolutely mean it. The most you’ll shell out for a tool is $10, and prices start at a mere $5.
The Total Texture Collection (available at CVS) is a seven-piece range of hair tools that anyone with a curl, coil, or kink would be happy to have sitting atop their dressers. The line includes three different detangling brushes, two detangling combs, and two sets of elastics (one thin and one thick). First up is the Oil Infused Detangler ($10), boasting synthetic and boar-like bristles bathed in mongongo oil to make easy work of getting those snarls out. Nelms likes to use this when she’s creating sleeker looks.
Rectangular paddle brushes not your jam? Not to worry: The Intelliwave Detangler ($9) has an oval shape and synthetic bristles that glide through hair ever-so-gently, so as to keep damage to a minimum. But perhaps the coolest brush of the bunch is the Intelliloop Detangler ($9). Shaped like a teardrop with bristles that form small loops, this brush is just what your wigs and extensions have been praying for. (Hairpieces are very religious, you didn’t know?) The loops help the brush work through the hair without snagging, allowing you to style it cleanly and effortlessly. “You can get closer to the scalp when you’re detangling,” Nelms told Allure when she visited HQ back in March. “Sometimes when you’re doing extensions, you don’t want to aggravate the base, but you want to get as close [to it] as possible.”
With textured hair, combs are a must, and Goody delivers with a standard wide-tooth detangler, complete with an ergonomic handle so you can really feel like you have some control. The real star, however, is the Pick Comb ($7), which functions as three different hair tools in one. Complete with a grippy, rubber-covered panel, the Pick Comb is an Afro pick as well as a detangler. The feature is the added rat-tail, which allows you to part your hair without even needing to switch tools. “I love to condense my kit,” Nelms says. “I try not to have so much stuff because I get afraid that I’m going to lose something or have too much. Sometimes, I’m asked to work in really small spaces, so I try to minimize my presence. Anything I can get multiple uses out of, I like that.”
If you look closely at the pick, you’ll notice that there are tiny indentations on the teeth. “They help for detangling,” Nelms shares. “When you’re gliding in your curls, they do their own thing. When you [are combing through them], you want it to be smooth and stress-free — no snagging or snatching.” At the top of my list of first-world hair-care problems is having to go from my dresser (where my rat-tail comb lives) to my vanity (where my favorite Afro pick lives) in order to part and give my ‘Fro some volume. This remedies that completely.
As for the elastics, well, they’re a must for any hair texture that’s grown a certain length. But for those with lots of hair, this collection’s got Super Stretch ($5) ones (which do what their name suggests) and Extra Thick ($6) elastics, which are twice as long for the genetically blessed. If you’re working with a lion’s mane, Nelms suggests folding one of Extra Thick elastics over on itself to double it up for a stronger hold and to save time securing a section of hair.
Now, you want your hair to be poppin’ — not the tools you’re using to create the look. But sometimes, it happens. As I spoke with Nelms about the collection, she lamented about the times she’s tried to use claw clips on shoots, only to have the springs holding them together go flying, leaving her with two plastic pieces one less hair tool. This won’t happen with the ones in Goody’s collection. “I’ve come across a lot of those sectioning clips and the hinges, the spring pops out. It’s that’s really embarrassing at work when you’re supposed to be this professional hairstylist, and your little hinge thing just looks like trash. Now we have something that’s more durable,” she says. “The hinges in there can keep the thickest of hair together.”
As part of its Planet Goody Collection (available at Walgreens), a hair accessories line crafted with plant-based materials, the brand offers three sets of claw clips — in small ($6), medium ($6), and large ($7) sizes — all made from corn starch which over time, breaks down. That doesn’t mean that these will disintegrate after you get them wet a few times. However, over a few years, they will biodegrade. Yay science!
The collection also includes extremely soft scrunchies and headbands, made from sustainably-sourced organic bamboo fibers. Nelms suggests wearing the headbands underneath a headwrap in order to protect your edges from the rougher material headwraps tend to come in. As an added bonus, the packaging for all Planet Goody products are biodegradable, too, so you can pat yourself on the back for spending your hard-earned coins on something that’s good for the planet.
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