The founder of popular hair and beauty salon, TasalaHQ, Dupe Talabi, shows us how to groom our natural hair


 I have a Bachelors degree in Computing and Business Studies from the University of Birmingham, UK and a Postgraduate Degree in Education Management from the Institute of Education, University of London. I also have NVQ Level 4 in Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy and Salon Management from University College Birmingham. I am a qualified Assessor, External Verifier and Examiner for City and Guilds of London for West Africa.

Tasala HQ founder, Dupe Talabi
Tasala HQ founder, Dupe Talabi

Transition to hair care

My journey into hairdressing began 15 years ago when I was at the University; I had a summer placement at an Investment Bank for three months, which was ok but tedious. After I graduated, I could not imagine being stuck in an office doing a 9-5 job forever so I decided that I would do something that I enjoyed. Deciding to go into the hair industry was a no-brainer from there on because I enjoyed dressing hair and creating amazing hairstyles.

Passion wins

My love for all things hair started because I liked dressing and making my own hair. When I was 17, my cousin took me to a well-known salon in London called Hype Coiffure. For about a year, I would travel from Birmingham to London every two weeks just to get my hair done at the latter. I fell in love with the way my hair was relaxed and styled and I decided from there onwards to ensure that my mane always looked fabulous. Unfortunately, whenever I went to any other salon, the results were just not the same. After a while, it became too pricey and tedious so I decided to learn how to achieve the results I wanted myself. I started out by learning the right products and techniques until I started to get it right. Most of my friends would wear braids for the whole semester but I usually wore my hair out and everyone was amazed at how long my hair had grown!


I love cutting, colouring, fashion styling, bridal styling, wig making, chemical processing, and generally just nurturing hair. I think the only aspect of hair I don’t particularly like is braiding. I like the results but it just takes too long and I find it boring.

natural hair
natural hair


After I graduated from University, I went back to college to gain the right qualifications. I embarked on a three-year course in Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy and Salon Management at University College Birmingham, UK. At the same time I started working in a salon in order to gain practical skills. I then moved to London and got a job with Avlon (makers of Affirm and Keracare products) as a Regional Trainer and also maintained a job in a salon called Identity UK to continue to develop my hairdressing skills in African Caribbean and Caucasian hair.

After about four years, I was tired of the constant travel that came with being a Regional Trainer and I got a job with a Training Academy called AlanD Hairdressing in the West End of London. During this time, I gained my Assessor Awards and my job also sponsored my Postgraduate Degree in Education Management from the Institute of Education. Four years later, I decided to move back to Nigeria.


I think one major factor is the fact that clients are becoming more knowledgeable about products and the techniques of managing their hair. There has been the introduction of lots of great product lines that helps to keep natural hair more manageable. We are more adventurous with styles and thankfully the stigmatization that comes with wearing natural hair in the workplace is diminishing. It is quite liberating for a lot of women to be able to wear their hair in its natural state.


The greatest misconception is the notion that natural hair is unmanageable. In my opinion and experience, no hair is unmanageable and all hair can be good hair. You just have to find the right products and techniques that work for your hair. What works for one person may not necessarily work for the next person so you need to learn how your hair responds.


I think the biggest mistake most women make with their hair is just giving up on maintaining their natural hair or wearing styles that cause more damage, because they have just not had the right stylist caring for their hair in a long time. I have a lot of women who come and sit in my chair and are embarrassed to take off their weaves or wigs because of the state of their hair. Some of them even start apologising to me. I always reassure them that that it isn’t usually not as bad as they think and there is a solution to most hair problems. Sometimes it may take a while to achieve the results they want; but with consistency, you will see results.

Decent hairstyle on a budget

The most affordable way really is to learn how to achieve some basic styling on your own. If you have a good stylist, they can give you tips on how to style your hair and maintain it in between your salon visits. If you wear extensions, you don’t always have to buy the most expensive hair out there. There are some decent human hair extensions out there that don’t break the bank. And now a lot of styles such as Crotchet braid which can also be achieved with synthetic hair, which are more affordable.