Arise Magazine Interview Answers with Viola Levy
1. What are your favorite products for afro hair? 
 
My favorite products for Afro hair are my own.  I developed my line of hair care products to address the needs of Afro hair.  Ellin LaVar TEXTURES, are moisturizing and light. They do not leave Afro hair heavy with oil and residue. When they are used as directed, Afro or textured hair will be soft shiny and smooth. This line also promotes hair growth by nourishing the scalp and strengthing the hair shaft.  I use my PenetratingBalm the most. It is a leave in deep conditioner. However, it can be used to press hair straight using a pressing iron or flatiron. Hair will be light and bouncy. No oil needed. It can also be used on children and for braiding.

I also like the Paul Mitchell hair care line.  I love their Super -Charged Moisturizer. A weekly conditioning treatment. I also like their Super Clean Light hairspray. It has a light flexible hold.

2. Were there any particular afro hairstyles on this season's catwalk that caught your eye? 
 
I did not find any style particularly interesting during Fashion week.  I did like the hair of Behnaz Sarfpour. The tightly wrapped hair with the height on top was very flattering for the faces of the models. I also liked the bangs of Yigal Azrouel. It was a very retro look.

3. Can you comment on afro hair trends you've seen develop recently (with regards to both style and treatment) and where do you think the future lies?
 
I have noticed a trend toward natural hair. Women are embracing their natural hair textures and opting out of relaxers.  Even if the woman wears a weave, her natural hair remains chemical free.  I think the future of hair is going to depend on the economics of the world. Chemically free hair is much more economical to maintain. Women are going to the salon less and looking for styles that they can maintain themselves at home.
 
4. What has been your experience with salons abroad? Where are your products sold?
 
Unfortunately, I have not had any experience with salons abroad. I have been inspired by some of my European clients over the years to incorporate all ethnicities into my work, since the Black race is so diverse, so are our hair textures. Therefore, I believe that hair care should be categorized by texture and not race. My products are sold in CVS/pharmacy stores throughout the United States. However, they are in the general market section and not the African American section of the stores. This is because there are Jewish, Latin, Indian and multi-cultural women with curly or textured hair.
 
5. Do you have any DIY hair conditioning/care tips?
 
DIY hair conditioning is very important. When you are conditioning your hair at home. Make sure that you distribute your conditioner from roots to ends. Use small sections to allow for total coverage. Extra-virgin olive oil can be used in a pinch. Just make sure to do a light shampoo after rinsing to remove any excess oil.  You may wrap your head with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to trap your body heat for a more penetrating conditioning.
 
6. What would be your main advice for maintaining afro hair?
 
My main advice for Afro hair would be to be very careful when using hot tools.  Women tend to turn them on and walk away while hey heat up.  Make sure that you use a damp towel to temper the iron before you put it in your hair.  This way you lessen the heat and this protects you from burning or damaging your hair. Also, use a heat protecting pomade or spray.
 
7. With new models such as Jourdan Dunn & Chanel Iman taking the spotlight, do you think there will be more demand for "fashion forward" and cutting edge afro-hair-savvy stylists who can react to younger black women wanting a more "couture" look?
 
I don’t believe that the Afro –hair savvy stylists will become more popular in the fashion industry in general.  Fashion is not geared toward the Black woman. The fashion industry is going to always try to assimilate the ethnic haired model into the general look that they want. That is why most ethnic models wear weaves. This allows them to be able to achieve the desired looks of the designer easier.
 
8. Finally have you ever had any hair-mares growing up- that you'd like to share with us?
 
The reason I started styling hair was because of a bad relaxer. At the age of 9, I was forced to wear a wig. The boys in the neighborhood used to run by and pull it off. I was determined to find a way to keep hair on my head even if it wasn’t mine.