Allure: I know you transitioned from relaxed hair to your natural hair a few years ago. What was that journey like?
Brunson: Well, for me, honestly I didn’t have money at the time, and I could not go to the hairdresser anymore. I had to learn how to do my own hair, and that involved transitioning to my natural hair state and learning how to care for it and style. It was an incredible journey. It’s fun because it’s one that teaches you a lot about yourself and gives you a lot of respect for your hair. That’s a beautiful experience.
Allure: Do you ever miss relaxers?
Brunson: There are times, but I don’t know. Every now and then, I’ll get my hair straightened, and I’ll miss it in its natural state. You know what I mean? I’ll miss the fullness of my own hair, and that’s what prevents me from ever getting a relaxer again because I won’t have the option. I’ll have to grow it fully out to be able to have the option to have it look full again.
Allure: How do you tend to take care of your hair?
Brunson: There are so many different ways now. Wigs have been really great because I can have my hair braided underneath them. So it feels like I’m getting to protect my own hair that way. I try to have my own hair out and conditioned as much as possible, but now with doing so much from the show to press, my hair’s being manipulated a lot more. So I’ve been doing a lot of deep conditioning to make sure that it’s staying moisturized and trying not to have that much heat on it, but for some styles, it does need a little bit of heat.
I’ve been blow-drying instead of straightening my hair now. That’s something I’ve worked out with my hairstylist. Blow-drying as much as we can and then gelling down instead of flat out straightening my hair. It’s been a changing process from what I’ve normally done because I’ve just been doing a lot more.
Allure: Are there any specific hair-care brands that you like?
Brunson: There’s a line called Bread [Beauty Supply] that I love. They gifted me some oils maybe two years ago, and I was like, “Oh, what’s this?” I get gifted stuff often, so I put it to the side for months. Then one day, I needed some oil, and I used [the Hair Oil Everyday Gloss]. I was like, “Wait, I really like this oil,” which is a rare feeling because I’ll pick up any oil and use it. But I really, really liked it. It smelled good, and I liked the consistency. That led me to open up the rest of their products, and I love the [Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser] and the [Hair Mask Creamy Deep Conditioner]. Now, it’s in my arsenal. I’m never without it. I make sure I always have those three products in my hair drawer, no matter what.
I really like Gabrielle Union’s [Flawless] hair line. I think it works really well with my hair. That was another one I was gifted to try. I really like Gabrielle Union as a person, but I was shocked that I really enjoy this hair-care line she has.
Other than that, I like some of the old-school basics. I went back to Blue Magic grease recently. And I’ll tell you what, I’m happy I did because, look, this is LA climate over here. It’s very dry. It’s very rough. It’s not the same as the East coast that has a bunch of moisture in the air. I was really struggling to find something to keep my hair from being bone dry, and I started using that again. It really changed the game for me. It’s a lot, so I cannot use it often. But when I do get to use it, it’s a very nice experience.
Allure: Do you have a go-to hairstylist?
Brunson: In LA, I work with a stylist named Randy Stodghill. He’s really incredible — a great stylist. He also does Angela Bassett’s hair and SZA’s hair. I don’t know how I got so fortunate to get him as my main, but he is. I love him. Then when I’m on the East coast, it’s actually my sister because my sister owns a hair salon [called Asanti Hair Studio] in Philadelphia. So I go to her, and she’s very good. She always has been. If I could move her out here, I would, but she has her own businesses and stuff.
I was fortunate to have a sister who styles hair and a sister who braids hair. I really grew up wanting for nothing as a young Black girl. They were doing hair when I didn’t want my hair done. I’d be like, “I’m good. I don’t want…” She was like, “No, I need to use you as a guinea pig to test out this style.” So my hair was always fly.