Learn to love the texture of YOUR hair. Stop looking at other people’s hair and saying, “I wish my hair looked like that.” Ask those people how they manage, style, and protect their hair. Then apply it to your routine. However, learn to love your own texture. It is beautiful and unique to you!
As a part of our series about “Five Things Anyone Can Do To Have Fabulous Hair”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsey Gene.
Lindsey Gene, (@lindseygene_ on IG) is a natural hair expert, model, creative consultant, and the social media manager for personal care company Soapbox.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I am originally from South West England and relocated to the States in the early 90’s. My accent has faded but I still have the quick wit of a Brit. I have always loved fashion and the inspirations behind it. My work in the fashion industry began as a plus-size model appearing in the pages of Essence, Ebony, and Instyle Magazine. I’ve always been interested in the business side of fashion and transitioned my career to become a menswear and footwear buyer for stores internationally. However, I learned that I missed connecting with people and being creative. I found that social media allowed me to combine all the things I love: connecting with people, creating content, and also helping businesses scale through creative strategies.
Some people refer to me as a natural hair expert. This honestly happened by accident. I stopped relaxing my hair in high school and began the journey of learning how to love and maintain my natural curls. It’s been over a decade now and I love sharing tips and tricks with women and men on how they can learn to love their texture and take care of it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I was actually signed to my modeling first agency because I lied about having a meeting with one of the agents. I initially met an agent from MSA models in Orlando and months later I visited New York in the hopes of getting signed. I didn’t actually have a meeting with the agent but I figured if I told the front desk assistant I did, the agent would at least come out to see who I was. That risk paid off, as I was signed that day!
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
I consider myself a permalancer, meaning I have a full time job and I freelance as well. In the beginning, I used to hide this. Many companies don’t like you to do freelance work on the side. I learned those companies aren’t for me. My freelance work allows me to be creative and bring fresh ideas from other industries into my full-time role and vice versa. Once I found a company that trusted me to get my work done regardless if I was at the office, on a plane, or sitting in the makeup chair for a shoot, it made my life much easier. My advice to anyone who wants to live a permalance life: make sure your work is top-notch at all times, make a daily to-do list, and stay organized.
In your experience what were the most effective ways for your business to generate leads and sales? Can you share a story or give an example?
Social media is your best friend! Social media allows you to have a virtual conference everyday and create a real connection with your audience. Especially now with COVID, people aren’t in stores, on vacations, or buying magazines. They are on social media finding out what is new and trending. You have to meet your audience where they spend the most time.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! My first casting for a bathing suit company, I was told to come “bathing suit ready.” I thought this meant to bring a bathing suit to the casting for them to see me in a suit. I ran all over New York City to find the best bathing suit. When I got to the casting I learned “bathing suit ready” really meant, get a bikini wax. If I had simply asked the question in the beginning I would have saved time and money.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
Keep pushing and just know the universe has a plan for you. I wanted to leave my job as a buyer 2.5 years before actually leaving. I knew there was work I had to do on my end before I could apply or freelance as a consultant. I went back to school for my MBA, started my own website, and used my personal social media pages as case studies to test out marketing strategies. It took me earning my MBA and building a portfolio of clients before I was able to leave my life as a buyer. Trust me, there were a lot of tears but, eventually, it all came together.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you please share “Five Things Anyone Can Do To Have Fabulous Hair”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
1. Deep condition weekly. Your hair needs moisture and the best way to ensure you’re adding back the moisture your hair needs is to deep condition once a week. My suggestion is to use Soapbox’s Coconut Oil Deep conditioner. Leave it in for 5–10 minutes, wash it out and then style your hair.
2. Ensure your scalp is cleansed, not stripped. Many shampoos strip your hair of its natural oils which are needed to protect and hydrate the scalp. Make sure you are choosing a shampoo that cleanses while leaving your natural oils in place. My suggestion is to use a shampoo infused with tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is known for its purifying qualities of removing build-up on your scalp and hair to leave your tresses feeling light and airy. The tingly sensation of this oil will give your locks and scalp a breath of fresh air as you cleanse with each wash.
3. Remove product buildup. Product buildup is the result of layers of creams, gels, butters, oils, and hair spray not fully being washed out of our strands. This results in your hair follicles not being able to retain moisture and becoming dry and brittle. To ensure your hair follicles are free from product buildup try doing an apple cider vinegar rinse or use a shampoo with activated charcoal like the shampoo bar from Soapbox.
4. Buy a satin or silk pillowcase. Have you ever woken up and felt that your hair was dry? The problem could be your pillowcase. Cotton absorbs the moisture in your hair and scalp which can leave your hair dry and brittle. Make sure to sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase which won’t strip your hair of its moisture and will also help with managing frizz.
5. Learn to love the texture of YOUR hair. Stop looking at other people’s hair and saying, “I wish my hair looked like that.” Ask those people how they manage, style, and protect their hair. Then apply it to your routine. However, learn to love your own texture. It is beautiful and unique to you!
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Daily affirmations. Repeat daily affirmations to yourself in the morning. Say whatever makes you feel happy or confident. It can be simple as, “I am beautiful,” “I am worthy,” or “I love myself.”
2. Move your body. Get up and move your body, whether it is dancing to your favorite song on full blast, going for a walk, or doing a hardcore workout. Get those endorphins kicking, because when you feel good mentally it will set the tone for how you feel about yourself.
3. Give yourself grace. We are all too hard on ourselves, picking ourselves a part, which is dangerous. A negative mind space will create negative thoughts and habits. We have to learn to love ourselves inside and out to create a positive mindset.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Protect your mental health on your journey. In today’s society, we are taught to keep going and never stop to truly check in on our mental health. For each step you take in your career remember this: if it makes you unhappy it is not worth the money or the resume title. If you have to take that role, make it temporary, and continue to look for other opportunities.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
No matter what your religious beliefs are, we all spend so much time on the things we cannot change. Instead, learn to focus on the things you can change because that will actually produce results.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
Michelle Obama! In my mind she is already a mentor to me. She’s educated, outspoken, fearless, and relatable. I feel like I could have an open, honest conversation with her about anything.
How can our readers follow you online?
Follow me on Instagram at Lindseygene_
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!