To the New York Times, he’s 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 them celebrate the unique beauty of their hair, whether its 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, creating iconic styles for the likes of Alicia Keys, First Lady Michelle Obama, Kelis, Rihanna, Estelle, Faye Dunaway — but most proudly, he's also taught thousands of women to overcome the frustration of dealing with so-called “hard-to-manage” locks, and embrace the beauty and versatility of their natural texture.
Born biracial during the tumult of the Civil Rights era in Seattle, Dickey experienced first hand 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. Dickey 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.
In Manhattan, Dickey also 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 a zillion 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 (and one size definitely did not fit all!). Soon he began to think of ways to merge the aisles and the cultural landscape of beauty.
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 that they address the needs of a multi-textural world. Now in its third printing, “Hair Rules!” has recently been endorsed by Los Angeles’ esteemed Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and has become a staple in its’ curriculum.
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 2008, 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 hair and straight strands.
With the success of the book and the product line, Dickey began to imagine a space to house this philosophy. In July of 2009, he opened hair rules salon. The first and only multi-textural salon in the U.S., hair rules New York offers the healthiest approach to hair care and styling as a means towards evolving mindset, changing perceptions and influencing practice. Dickey’s hope is to encourage people to embrace their natural beauty and remember that all hair is not created the same, but has the absolute right to be treated equal.