Nafisah Carter: Creating Beauty Within Beauty

By Corletha Norman, MSW, LCSW

Nafisah Carter is no stranger to hard work and hustle and that is why she has been so successful within her lane in the beauty industry. Read on to learn how her creation of beauty has manifested beauty in her life.

What inspired you to jump into the hair industry? 
I have a lot of inspirations. My mom inspired me. Also, I worked for a celebrity hairstylist and she was my inspiration. My mom had a business growing up and she always traveled and had to go to shows. She would fly to New York in one day and fly back home with my sisters and I. I saw how hard she worked, and she definitely inspired me as an entrepreneur and traveling and staying busy. 

As far as hair, Rita Hazan inspired me. I worked at her salon in New York. I saw her travel all over the world and color people’s hair and work with a lot of different celebrities. I knew I wanted it to be like that, so she inspired me as well. 

What has been your experience working with celeb clientele? 
I love it! It has been really great. Everyone has been really nice to me. It is fun and exciting. I like to meet new people. So, it is different than going to the salon every day and working. It keeps me going. 

Can you tell me about the first time you booked a celebrity? Like, how did you feel and what went into that process? 
My first experience going out of town with a celebrity, I was an assistant. I remember I was working in New York and it was my first time going to Miami. It was for Tamia Hill. She had a photoshoot there. I was so excited. I had never worked on a video shoot and it was just so amazing. It was really nice.

Great! Tell us about your story. How does a single mother maintain this amount of longevity in the hair industry?
I started out in Durham, NC. I graduated from Dudley’s Beauty College. Then, I knew I wanted to work with celebrities so my son and I moved to New York. I worked a few years. It was hard because I am a single mother but I did have my family to help me. I had my sisters, my mom, my grandma there and my aunts. So, I’ve always had a support system. 

I worked there then moved back to North Carolina and opened up my studio. At the same time, I was still juggling a lot because I am a single mother so it was very hard. But, I think that if I wasn’t a single mother, I don’t think I would have worked as hard. When it is just you, you have to do it. You have no other choice. You have someone looking at you and you just have to make it happen.

You mentioned having some support from sisters and grandmother. Generally speaking, with a lot of things that we do in life, support is very important. There are a lot of individuals (even myself) that I come across that have dreams and aspirations but when they mention them to the people that are closest to them like moms, dads, aunts or whomever, they shoot them down and say the worst things that could happen or whatever the case may be. Do you happen to have any advice for unsupported young ladies or young men that are considering the hair and beauty industries as their career path? 
Don’t give up because a lot of times people don’t understand. Whether it is family members, your friends or whoever, they don’t understand your vision. Just don’t give up. Of course, people are going to say, “No, you can’t do it.” Don’t listen to them. Do what you want to do. Do what you feel is best for yourself and just keep pushing. 

When it comes to going on tours, working with your clients out of town and things of that nature, it sounds like you need to balance work and play. How does that work out? 
Oh, that is extremely hard! A lot of times I say, “I’m going to work three days and then I’ll play two days.” but it never works. I end up working way more. But, I try to get in that day of doing whatever I want to do, relaxing or sightseeing or whatever. But it is hard to balance those two.

Can you tell us a little bit about your line?
It’s called Pyara Hair. It consists of different types of hair. I have Indian hair, Brazilian hair, Peruvian hair, Cambodian hair. I have everything. Curly, straight, wavy, etc. It is really high quality hair. It doesn’t tangle. It doesn’t shed. It colors very easily and it lasts about two years with proper care.

When it comes to proper care, what does that consist of?
Using the correct shampoos and conditioners and just taking good care of your hair. If it is a sew-in, when you take it out, shampoo it, condition it, hang it up and let it air dry. Don’t apply too much heat to it. It is kind of like what we would do with our natural hair. You don’t want to damage your hair or over-process it with color. Take care of it like you would take care of your own hair.

With hair extensions, there are all of these new innovations or inventions in the world of hair extensions like frontals and 360 units, for example.  What would you say has revolutionized the extension game?
Honestly, it is really not even new. Celebrities have been doing it for years on TV, in photoshoots and things like that. I think now that we have social media, it is getting around and people are realizing how to do it on their own. Microlinks is still not new but that is kind of like the big thing on social media right now. People want microlinks.

Can you explain what microlinks are?
There are a lot of different types of microlinks. You can have the individuals that are closer to the keratin bond method. It is safer on your hair. You just kind of clamp the strands in. Then when it is time to take them out, you unclamp them. Then you may have a track with the beads and then you attach your hair into the bead. Then, you just clamp it in and that’s it. It is really easy and low maintenance. You can wear your hair up and down. A lot of people are beginning to like the microlinks but there are about four different types of microlinks.

With yourself individually, what influence do you hope to place on the hair industry to change the game?
I would just like for people to be themselves because that is what I am. I haven’t changed my style of hair. I see where one thing will come out, and then people will go do it. Something else comes out and they will go do that. I just like a very natural look. That is just me. I like for things to look real. I’m just being myself. I’m doing what I like to do and I feel like that can take you further than trying to jump around and do what everyone else is doing. Just be yourself and you’ll do great.

To book an appointment with Nafisah Carter, look her up at styleseat.com. Also, follow her on her Facebook and Instagram page @NafisahCarter. 

Photo: Nathan Pearce
Creative Director: Divine Influencer PR
Hairstylist: Nafisah Carter
Makeup Artist: Makeup By Barbee

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