A Jamaican Hairdresser Down UnderTuesday, October 26, 2021
She's styled the tresses of noted Australian actresses Rebel Wilson and Cleopatra Coleman, yet Andrea Scott is rather bashful about being the first Jamaican to open her hairdressing business in Victoria: Tantalizing Hair Extensions. The single mum's 20-year journey of creating hairstyles for black and non-black communities has earned her a reputation for being a perfectionist with an innovative mindset. Scott is a trailblazer and has the receipts: She was officially the first Jamaican to earn distribution rights to the Saphira haircare brand for Australia and New Zealand. She was also the first Caribbean participant of the largest haircare expo in the Asia-Pacific region.
Her sojourn into hairdressing, Tuesday Style Dryer gleans, started with a holiday Down Under and a warning.
“My first visit to Australia was in the '90s. My sister warned me that there are no hairdressers here who could do black hair. She said to come with a hairstyle that would last a while. So I came over with braids,” she explained. After meeting her then partner on that trip, Scott returned to Jamaica to await the birth of their first daughter. Whilst back home the Manchester native made a point of visiting hairdresser friends and soaked up as much knowledge about hair as possible. Her plan was to return to Australia and start her career in a ripe market. “I knew that I needed to learn how to do every type of hair. Plus, I had to master skinny braids,” she informed.
In fact, Scott gained quite an Aussie fan base as a result of her braiding skills. The mother of five also studied extensively haircare products so that she could advise her clients. “Different products do different things. The Saphira Hair Care range is made with minerals from the Dead Sea. The treatment collection and moisturising products for afro and dry/damaged hair keep it hydrated,” she added.
Her pandemic haircare advice during the lockdown that has only been recently lifted in Australia was that it was alright to wear an afro. Yes, even a messy one! People warmed to the look, especially with Scott's maintenance plan, which includes a hair mask and Jamaican castor oil. “With braids,” Scott says, “most people can do cornrows themselves. If you can't do cornrows, use big plaits to keep hair in place and prevent tangling. Invest in a lace-front wig.”
Australia is still on a journey of discovery with black hair. There are not enough colleges that train hairdressers in the essentials of afro haircare. But this is something Scott is working on with her daughter, who is following in her footsteps.
With the pandemic offering no signs of disappearing, Scott is embracing the wellness side of beauty. Clients can now expect to enjoy state-of-the-art equipment at her clinic, including a hyperbaric oxygen chamber chair that works at a cellular level. She is the only person in southeast Victoria to have this equipment. Jamaicans are resourceful, which is why Andrea Scott keeps making waves over hair and beauty Down Under.
To find out more about Tantalizing Hair Extensions, please visit the website tantalizinghairextensions.com.au
— Bridgett Leslie
Bridgett Leslie is an internal auditor by day and media correspondent by night.