Your hair naturally, that is the meaning of Ngemvelo Afro only specialist salon. A journey of two best friends bringing back black hair health to where it’s needed the most.
“Our purpose is to educate black people about their hair so that they can be comfortable in living with it and treating it correctly.”
Tell us about Ngemvelo
Ngemvelo is an afro only specialist salon. We follow processes that agree with growing your natural hair healthy, rich and strong. We have a no-comb and no-heat principle. The comb abuses your hair, scalp, and it works against your hair growth; and the blow dryer is responsible for a lot of damaged hair that we come across during our consultations. We take care of your Afro from educating you through transitioning to the moment you decide to do the big chop. We encourage women to not only care for their hair, but to also enjoy styling their hair at any length.
What does Ngemvelo mean?
Ngemvelo means naturally. After a lot of research and brainstorming for a strong African name, we chose Ngemvelo because it was the most fitting for what we believe in. Your hair naturally.
What is your relationship?
We love that question! (Both laughing) We are best friends! We’ve been best friends for 15 years, half our lives now. We love travelling and discovering new worlds together. We know a lot about each other, we have learned to tolerate each other. We have become sisters. Our background has made the journey into business a little easier.
What processes do you take to educate your clients about their hair?
I love the fact that you mention educate, because what makes Ngemvelo stand out is our processes and the fact that we educate our clients. We first understand what the client wants, then we inspect the hair to understand what their hair needs and this consultation process is currently free.
We educate the clients by explaining the processes that we do to the hair. Some of our processes include cleaning the scalp and hair using naturally resourced liquefied black African soap. A lot of detangling. We live by detangling. We also sell the products that we use, supplied by Natural Moisture.
We have a scalp treatment that is our number one seller because you need a happy scalp to have happy hair. Our scalp treatment focuses on freeing your scalp pores from all the oils and moisturisers you’ve been applying to promote new hair growth and a healthy scalp. A lot of women tend to neglect the scalp whereas the scalp is the most important part of your hair growth; it’s connected to the roots and the beginning of your hair growth. We also have hot oil and protein treatments.
We only do safe protective hairstyles like box braids and twist braids using the crochet method. We stay away from wool, hairstyles that are too thin and may harm your hair or scalp.
What challenges do your clients face with their hair?
A lot of women have loss of hairline, breakage, damaged hair and scalp due to chemical processes and bad hair habits. A lot of people don’t know that most hair problems are on the scalp and not the hair itself. We encourage our clients to practice new good hair habits after the salon visit.
Ngemvelo caters for the whole family, from ages 2 to a 100 years. How has the response been?
Men are still skeptical about the salon experience especially at the beginning. But once they get the overall experience they do come back. We’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback for our replacement of the spirit spritz after a clean shave for gentle olive oil. The salon experience and journey should be a family affair.
Before we launched the salon we had the most beautiful photo-shoot, the challenge was to find models of all ages to emphasise that we cater for all ages. Finding our oldest model was special. The second we saw her we knew she was the one.
We wanted to bring this experienced to the township; it is where it’s needed the most.
Mamsie: Khethiwe would travel long distances to find a salon that is best suited for her hair and that was one of the problems we were solving.
What was the most important thing you had to do before opening a natural hair salon?
Mamsie: After having given up on growing my natural hair journey and Khethiwe holding on to the journey for 12 years, we finally decided to educate ourselves about our hair. We attended training provided by our product supplier Natural Moisture. It helped someone like me who knew nothing and helped someone like Khethiwe who thought she knew when there was a lot more to learn.
Khethiwe: Another important thing was and still is to educate people. Before we opened we had spread the word because we had to prepare our clients with knowledge before we open the salon. we continue to do so because people need to know about the healthiness of their hair, we need to keep knowing and hearing about it in order to rediscover ourselves. The good thing is people are starting to realize the importance of staying away from chemical processes for beauty.
What brands do you use in your salon?
We only use one supplier, Natural Moisture and the reason for that is the texture of their products agrees with our processes. We have special processes that require for instance spray based sulphate-free shampoos.
What are your biggest lessons with hair?
You don’t have to comb for your hair to look pretty, you can straighten your hair in a short period of time without a blow dryer. Afro hair can be neat, can be managed to suit any event. Our hair can achieve a lot.
What is your hair care advice to men and women?
Khethiwe: Take care of your scalp, especially men. Having a clean shave doesn’t mean you neglect hair care processes. Do your scalp treatments and miosturise. To women, after beginning your natural hair treatments at the salon continue to get into the habit of taking care of your hair at home.
Mamsie: When coming to kids, Mothers often opt for relaxers because it is not an easy job to detangle and style without the kids crying. But relaxers are too harsh on kids’ hair and scalp. Leave it up to us; we are here to take care of those processes. Keep your natural hair neat; don’t confuse party hair for office hair. Our hair is beautiful and we can achiever a lot with it. Keep it neat.
Ngemvelo, Afro only specialist salon contact details