Category Archives: Interview

Interview with: Joël Benjamin.

Did you always think braiding is a typical women “thing”?

Meet Joël who just finished his personal Instagram project: #100BraidsofHappy.



This project has received some great press from the likes of Emerald Street , Cosmo and TimeOut London where the project has seen him create a unique style of braid each day for 100 days straight.

Joël Benjamin, is a London based freelance hairstylist and has been styling hair for over 10 years. More recently, Joël’s become known for his braiding skills.

Can you tell me something more about your project: #100braidsofHappy?

My project #100braidsofhappy is a simple one, I opened my project to the public for free/a tip, they usually posted on social media and I tried to post a braid everyday for 100 days.

100 x famous people, bloggers, braiders, followers, clients, PR, brands, friend and family, anyone, a mixture and for free.

I worked with the hope people would post on Insta to their followers, to get more people to know about my braiding skills and maybe more followers and clients. I got to work with Nike, adidas, Liberty London, Selfridges along with loads of other brands, magazines and people of influence.

I just had fun doing it, learning more about braiding and I felt good making people’s hair look good and gaining more recognition for myself and the craft.


Was it your own idea?

Yes, #100braidsofHappy was my idea. I did think of making 30braidsofhappy, but 100 had a better ring and longevity.

Was it easy to find volunteers who were willing to give a tip and publicity on their own insta?

Yes, it was pretty easy to find people to braid, and most were willing to post on social media and tip. Sometimes even £20, I think it works because it’s something different, ‘free’ and clients, models and followers get to share/show off something new they don’t usually get to. Plus I get better at braiding, as well as feeling good about making someone feel better. The fact they posted on their social media, widened the amount of people who could see what I do, and possibly get braided as well. Everyone won.

In what way did you promote your project or did it promote itself?

I promoted on my Insta, and I have a friend in PR so we approached various brands, PR companies, magazines, bloggers and people of influence. And once I got featured in a few magazines people started contacting me. Quite a few of my followers have had their hair done, and I think some of my followers follow in the hope to be part of the project. Whenever I post – models needed, tag a friend! The response is great and attracts new followers and people to braid.

Could you always execute your own ideas?

Yes, I could always do whatever hairstyle I liked. I always expressed that as my project was free I do not take request, and everyone was happy to let me do as I wished. If people had requests, they had to pay because as it then became my job as a hairstylist. #100braidsofhappy is my passion project. It’s fun, creative, full of possibilities, not a job. As much as I do love my job as a hairstylist.

Which day(s) of the 100 was/were the most special for you and why?

Everyday of #100BoH is special, seeing it grow into what it has, how it’s opened doors for me creatively and work wise. It’s also special because of what it’s taught me and will allow me to teach. Every braid is different, as is everyday and every time you braid someone’s hair your opening yourself up to being better and honing your skill, that’s very special.

How long did it took you to finish your project?

It’s taken a few months.

Joel Benjamin

Hairstylist & Director at HairbyJoël


VIEW LATEST #100BraidsofHappy – PROJECT

+44 07927711241


Braiding makes a great summer job.

I am delighted to bring you an interview with someone who used braiding as a summer job. Meet Aaron Celeste. He started braiding at ten years old and did street fairs and festivals in the summers.


I started braiding when I was ten. I asked my mom what a good way to make money in the summer would be. She was setting up braiding booths at street fairs and festivals on the weekends for extra cash. She told me I could join her in the booth.


At first I just did pop out braids, $2 each.

As I slowly started learning more and more ways to braid, I upped the cost of the braids and made sure I took photos of my work to put in an album so the wary could see my actual work.

Most of my customers were girls or women and they never seemed to mind that I was a male. In fact, I think it helped. Sometimes I did better than my mother. The novelty of me being a teenage boy drew a crowd sometimes.

Some of my customers were men. It was fun to get a little crazy with their hair and I even did beards. When a man had long hair and saw me braiding, they thought it was awesome and they got their hair done.

I know if I have a daughter I will braid her hair for special days or school sometimes. It is a handy skill to have. It is nice to know in the back of my mind that I could always set up a booth at a street fair and make a few bucks.

12088398_891153000933813_5192641130254299928_nIt was tricky learning the five strand and nine strand braids.

But, I highly recommend it. Despite the initial frustration, it is worth learning. I cannot help but smile when I get compliments for my work. If you start to learn the larger number strand braids and want to give up, just think of me…if a ten year old boy can do it…so can you.

12342834_918209818228131_2438879206952380838_nIf you would like to talk about braiding, come join in or start a conversation in The Braid Zone’s Facebook group online, I am there and would love to chat with you.

To read about Aaron’s world travels visit his blog here.

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From the child

All the moms are on the internet searching for fun braids.

We do our children’s hair, so they can look neat, tidy, and groomed. But what do the kids think of all this? Each one has their own opinion about it. Today we have pulled up one child’s opinion on getting her hair done:

Interview with Alayna, daughter of An J.

Q: When did your mom start braiding your hair?

A: I’m not exactly sure, but I think I was four years old. My hair was just long enough for a braid.

Q: Do you like it when your mom does your hair?

A: Not all the time. Sometimes, I just want to have a ponytail or have it loose, but then my mom wants to do something with my hair. Most of the time, I do like it.

Q: Do you have a favorite style?

A: Not really, I like a simple braid, but I also like more complicated braids.

Q: Does your mom always choose what to do with your hair?

A: Not all the time, sometimes I choose, sometimes she does. And sometimes we choose together.

Q: What do you like the most about your mom doing your hair?

A: The compliments that I get and that I can choose what she is going to make. I like it when we talk about what kind of braid she is going to make.  And, I liked the time my mom also made two dresses. We had a real photo shoot.

12321152_907802972649674_8351927965819451139_nGet our blog posts immediately: subscribe. We will see you tomorrow at The Braid Zone!



Do you want to grow your hair out? I have invited Heather Dawn Eberly (Torrin Paige) to share her long hair experience  with you.

Heather Eberly:

I’ve had long hair most of my life. About 16 years ago I had it cut in a chin length bob for a change of pace with the thought that a shorter hairstyle would be easier to take care of. Boy was I wrong!


When it was short I had to put product in it, blow it dry, and fix it every day. I missed my long hair. I decided to grow it back immediately. This time, I wouldn’t fall into the “I’m bored with it, let’s cut it” trap. I began learning how to style my own hair in more ways than one. I can do a lot of things with my hair now, and try to share what I’ve learned with others.

I’m currently maintaining at classic length because when it gets any longer than that, I start to sit on it and I just don’t like that. I’ve gotten to fingertip length a few times, but I find classic length to be my sweet spot. It took me awhile to get there because I struggled with quantity versus quality, and I’d rather it be shorter and look healthy than be longer and look dead and scraggly.


Around 10 years ago I was having neck problems, so I went to a stylist and had her give me layers. I felt like I had no hair and it lay beautifully. However, the love went out the door the first time I braided it. The length of the braid was littered with the ends of my layers poking out, it was horrendous. I had not thought of that before I went in for the cut. While it was layered, I worked on my neck muscles. Now, I have no problems. I think it also helps to move your hairstyle around a bit during the day: up in a bun, down, and braided. This relieves a lot of the scalp tenderness that sometimes happens when your hair is all piled up in one place all day. Also, learning hairstyles that disperse the hair around your head is a big help.


Genetics determine what type of hair you’ll have be it silky and fine, coarse and curly, or somewhere in between. I’m in the coarse and wavy boat, myself. As far as getting it to a more extreme length? Take care of yourself. Eat right, drink plenty of water, and take care of your body. Your hair is just another part of it. Although, I will say I think that dairy and protein help a ton. I mean, I eat a lot of dairy and protein, so maybe that’s my secret? Heh?

Other than that? Just be nice to it. Wash less, heat style less, dye less, wear it up or contain it more – just be nice to it. I’m not saying that you can’t dye it or heat style it – maybe just pick one of those things, though. Choose your torture method and try not to torture it too much.


Visit Heather’s youtube channel

Visit Heather on Facebook

See Heather’s pins on Pintrest


Want long hair?

Not everyone’s hair grows as long as they would like. I have invited Andrea Colson to share her long hair experience with you.

Andrea Colson:

I have always had long hair, even when I was a little girl. I’ve never cut it short. I do trim it regularly to keep the hemline even.

11393347_854187827969115_1763908086953542155_oOnce, when I was a teenager, I cut several inches off because it had developed a “V” shape in the middle. Then, a few years later I went swimming in the ocean and ended up with a huge tangled mess. After hours and hours of combing we had to cut out the tangles.


I babied my hair for years after that. A few months ago, I started using coconut oil (which, I absolutely love)! Before that, I never considered using oil on my hair. I mainly used Johnson and Johnson’s No More Tears detangling spray on freshly washed hair.

Now, my hair care routine is this: I wash my hair twice a week. But, first, I take it down (it’s always in a bun or braid) and put coconut oil on the length of my hair, especially towards the ends and sides. I don’t put coconut oil on my scalp or the hair closest to my head. I put my hair in a bun and leave the oil in for a few hours. After I get in the shower, I will rinse the coconut oil off in cool water, then 1. condition 2. wash 3. condition. For me, that means putting Herbal Essence conditioner on the length of my hair, shampooing the top only, rinse all that out, then condition the length again. (I condition only the bottom, and shampoo only the top.) I don’t over-rinse my hair the last time, because I like the feel of a little conditioner still remaining in my hair after washing. Normally, the coconut oil has done such a great job of conditioning my hair that I don’t need a detangling spray. I do have some spray-on coconut oil and argan oil. These sprays are nice to use when my hair is dry or the ends look parched. (The coconut oil I use is from the grocery store, actual coconut oil.)


I always use a big tooth comb on my hair, never a brush or smaller comb. I do have a rat-tail comb perfect for parting when I braid. And a round brush that I use on my bangs. I blow-dry my bangs, which I wash each morning to keep fresh. When I wash the length of my hair, I do so at night. I always let the length of it air-dry. The key is to keep it draped over the side of the bed without rolling onto it, so that by morning it will be dry.

I eat a spoonful of peanut butter every day, which has been so good for my hair! I started doing this after my hair swimming accident. My hair grew very fast, strong, and healthy. I credit the peanut butter. I use an apple-cider vinegar rinse (just a spoonful of vinegar in a large glass of water) once every few months or so. This helps with buildup from hairspray, conditioner, etc.

I’ve lived all my life in the Pacific islands. First, in Hawaii growing up and now in Chuuk, Micronesia. We have summer weather year round, and I use rainwater (which is probably the real secret to my hair)! A lot of the island girls have long hair, although theirs is black and straight like Hawaiians. They can braid beautifully, and sometimes I show them braids I’ve seen online. We learn from each other. I am a Baptist missionary and teach the children in Chuuk. I love baking birthday cakes for the boys and girls in my Sunday School class. Each week I visit the hospital and meet people from many different islands in Chuuk.

Chuuk, Micronesia is actually a country made up of many tiny islands scattered across the western Pacific. We speak an island language called Chuukese, and I love to talk and sing on our Christian radio station. I have been able to travel across the ocean to remote outer islands to visit the people that live there. Friends and supporters in America send children’s clothes, toys, and other fun things like coloring books and crayons, so I can give them to the children here in my islands. I am thankful to God, not just for my hair but for the life He has given me. It’s wonderful to meet other friends through the internet who share the same feelings I do about hair. Some of my hair-friends have helped me in my mission work by giving donations or by sending things for the children. How wonderful it is when God brings people together.

Learn about Andrea’s Mission

Read about Andrea’s travel experience

Check out Andrea’s Long Hair Blog

Hair accessories

I would like to introduce you to Nicolien Anthonisse. She owns (Dutch for Goldylocks).  She and her husband have an online business selling hair accessories. What makes this website so special is the vast selection (over 500 products to choose from) and the video tutorials that teach how to use the products. What more could you want? Join me in an interview with Nicolien.

Nicolien Anthonisse croppedNicolien, how did you come up with the idea to start an online store selling hair accessories?

When I was visiting a theme park with my daughter, a woman came up to me explaining that she could only do two clips in her daughters hair… ever since, I have been exploring hair and accessories. I realized there were no Dutch websites selling a diverse assortment of accessories. So together with my husband, we took the chance and in 2012 Goudhaartje was a fact.

Which product is a must-have for every household?

bobby pin

The spin bobby pins are so handy! Two spin bobby pins (more for thicker hair) can make an easy, fast and pretty updo even on yourself.

What makes your online store different from other websites in the same category?

Goudhaartje can be found on Instagram, Pintrest, Facebook and Google+. There you can see how the accessories are used in the hair. Service is very important to us, if a client wants something that we don’t have, we make an effort to find that specific product.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes, I get inspired when a new hair accessory arrives in our workshop and I come up with a new hairstyle that goes with the accessory. My greatest inspirations come from


My goal is to inspire people how to use accessories to create beautiful hairstyles. It’s important to show you’re thankfulness for every follow, like and comment. And last but not least, always mention your sources of inspiration out of respect for other people’s hard work.

What can you tell us about your future goals for

Goudhaartje takes orders worldwide and that is why we will be translating it into English in the near future.