This One Tool Will Make Your Next Braiding Session Way Less Stressful
All thanks to NYC salon owner Stasha Harris.
Stasha Harris knew something missing from the protective styling process when she saw models straining their necks in her braiding class. And most Black woman — model or not — can relate.
Traditionally, when clients head to the braider, they're ready to shift in their seats for hours as their outstretched arms clutch feed-in hair for their stylists. They yank themselves into different positions for hours in the name of heavenly goddess braids, seamless Sengalese twists, and flawless faux locs.
But as an instructor, Harris was able to observe the process from another angle — and she knew something had to change.
"For years, I had my clients holding the hair and giving classes, I saw how much of a struggle it was and how much extra time it takes." she tells Instyle. "Of course, it was taking away from the client's experience because they were the one holding the hair. So that's when it really hit me, [like], 'You need to create something that would enhance the client's experience and something that would also save space.'"
That's how the Magic Helper was born.
The multi-pronged silicone tool mimics the functions of a hand, allowing clients to spend their chair time bingeing Girlfriends instead of stressing out their biceps. The tiny shelf in the center offers helps to eliminate stylists' need to retrieve styling product from another area of the salon, or place globs of gel on the backs of their hands.
"There is a space scooped out in the middle. So the product is not going to go anywhere,"she says. "They can just have the product on the hand."
Magic Helpers are also easily sterilized, something the stylist feels is important, especially now.
To shop: $60; magicfingersstudio.com
The clamp at the bottom of the tool is a unique asset for "kitchen beauticians" who pick up extra cash by working outside of a traditional salon, or those looking to DIY their own styles. It can be attached to folding tables, kitchen islands, bathroom sinks, and more.
"You can put it on the surface, your stoop, your stairs outside, it literally fits on any flat surface," says Harris.
And she knows the importance of this type of versatility first-hand.
"My mom, she always said that she wanted to be a cosmetologist in her adult life, but it didn't happen," Harris shares of her time growing up in Trinidad. "However, she braided friends' hair, here, and there when she was younger."
The stylist, of course, fulfilled and then exceeded her mother's ambitions by becoming a respected cosmetologist, a salon owner, and a beauty entrepreneur. But despite her decades of beauty experience, becoming an inventor was intimidating. So she sought counsel from a friend outside the industry when getting started on a prototype.
"He's into construction," she says. "He came over and we literally drew it on a piece of cardboard and cut it out and we actually tested it out, on the cardboard."
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When it was time to create the real thing, moving forward took more than a phone call and some discarded packaging.
"I knew what I wanted. However, when I tried to create it, I had to invest a lot more," says Harris. However, she was willing to self-finance to bring her vision to life. "I've done a lot of things just by faith, not by sight," she continues. "Once I believe in something I'm going to invest.
And it's a good thing she did.
Shortly after the product launched, stylists began contacting Harris to let her know how it impacted their work.
"I just had someone send me a video," she shares. "She had like the tread rack prepped and she knocked it over. So all the hair came up, all those little pieces. That was a turning point for her when she went ahead and purchased the Magic Helper."
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