The Texture Guru
To the New York Times, Anthony Dickey is a “Style Svengali.” To Ebony, he’s a member of their elite “Power 100.” To clients like Solange, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Minnie Driver, he’s the “texture guru” who’s helped each of them celebrate the unique beauty of their hair, whether it’s kinky, curly, wavy, or straight. To devotees of his game-changing Hair Rules brand, he’s simply a lifesaver.
During the course of three decades, Dickey has mastered the mystery and artistry of all textures, leading him to create iconic styles for the likes of Alicia Keys, First Lady Michelle Obama, Kelis, Rihanna, Estelle, Faye Dunaway. His greatest pride, though, has been teaching thousands of women to overcome the frustration of dealing with so-called “hard-to-manage” locks, and helping them embrace the beauty and versatility of their natural texture.
Born biracial during the tumult of the Civil Rights era in Seattle, Dickey experienced firsthand the divisiveness and prejudice that skin color inspired in American culture. After a stint in a San Francisco cosmetology school, he soon recognized disturbing parallels between skin color and hair texture. He longed to have a positive influence on the largely monochromatic fashion images being published in magazines in the late eighties, so he moved to New York City to pursue editorial work.
Over the years his bold and imaginative styles have been featured in numerous publications, including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Essence, Glamour, Vibe, and Harper’s Bazaar. He cut his teeth at world-class salons like Oribe, John Frieda, and Louis Licari and soon established himself as the go-to stylist for women with “unmanageable” textures. As he became familiar with multi-textural hair, he realized the limitations of the marketplace and questioned why beauty couldn’t be inclusive. There are endless hair textures, but in the beauty aisles there was one row for black hair, one row for white hair, and absolutely nothing for the spectrum in between. Knowing that one-size does not fit all, he soon began to think of ways to merge the aisles and the cultural landscape of beauty.
Behind the Book
Prompted by the mystery surrounding how to care for textured hair, Dickey authored “Hair Rules! The Ultimate Hair Care Guide for Women with Kinky, Curly, or Wavy Hair” (Random House, 2003). The book immediately became the catalyst for an industry-wide redefinition of haircare and styling standards, so the needs of a multi-textural world could be met. “Hair Rules!” has been endorsed by Los Angeles’ esteemed Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) as a staple in its’ curriculum.
An Inspired Product Line
While the book was a hair styling game-changer, Dickey’s work was not done! Now that women were armed with the information on how to care for their waves, curls, and kinks, it was time for a product line that did the same. In 2007, fatigued with playing mad scientist at the styling chair (i.e., mixing products to get his desired result), he launched his own line of customized, texture-specific cleansers, conditioning treatments, and styling aids — all geared to the special needs of kinky, curly, wavy, and straight hair.
A Multi-Textural Haven
With the success of the book and the product line, Dickey began to imagine a space to house his philosophy. In July of 2009, he opened the Hair Rules New York salon. The first multi-textural salon in the U.S., Hair Rules Salon NY offers the healthiest approach to hair care and styling as a means to evolve industry mindsets, change perceptions, and influence new practices.
Dickey’s hope is to continue to encourage people to embrace their natural beauty and remember that while all hair is not created the same, all textures have the absolute right to be treated equally and with love.