Ghanaians are certainly making waves in the fashion industry in the UK and Charlotte Mensah is an inspiring and charming one among them, having made her mark and deservedly earned the tag ‘Britain’s undefeated celebrity hairstylist.
Known for her magic fingers on both natural and permed hair, Charlotte is a leader in the natural haircare movement in the UK, little surprise the number of celebrities on her clients list from across the globe which includes Jada Pinkett-Smith, Janelle Monae, Chimamanda Adichie, Eve, Tessa Thompson, Erykah Badu, among several others. She has also been a natural hair activist since 2000, encouraging black women to embrace and display their natural curls.
Mensah was inducted into the British Hairdressing Hall of Fame in November 2018, becoming the first black woman to be so honored, on the heels of having been awarded the UK’s best Afro Hairdresser of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2017 respectively.
Born in the United Kingdom, Mensah watched her parents style their hair on their own in the 60s and 70s. On several occasions, her mother had to go to friends’ house to get her hair done because of the lack of salons catering for black women.
Mensah developed a strong love for hair and its maintenance when she lost her mother at 13 and was left with the responsibility of helping her younger sister with her hair. :Her journey to becoming a star began in earnest when at age 13, her mother passed on, leaving for her the responsibility of taking care of her sister’s hair, which started out first as fun
“I would see a new style in a magazine and practice it on her hair, and she was only three, so she literally likes everything. I would finish putting her cornrows in, and she would say that I did a good job, so that was an encouragement.” She says.
Three decades down the line after professional training, Charlotte opened her salon ‘Hair Lounge’ in Notting Hill, UK. She has people from all races patronizing her, gaining her an authority status as professed by elite fashion labels such as Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar.
The hair styling queen didn’t just stop at styling hair but is adding premium value to the whole shebang as she now has a line of products to aid women with natural hair. After research and all others which took six years, the Charlotte Mensah Manketti oil products has now become one of UK’s and Europe’s most purchased hair product.
Mensah is also involved in other things; she is the ambassador for Afro hair in UK’s hairdressing industry, does top shows on radio and TV while creating YouTube videos on how Black women can style and protect their hair, using her diversity to stay jumps ahead of the game.