Maphoto tells us where he started and how he became one of South Africa’s hair stylists to the stars.
Did you always want to be a hair stylist and how did you get into the industry?
I would say hairstyling found me. I started off as a sweeper and cleaner at a hair salon and quickly moved up to shampooing, where my real love for hair was born. Years later, with the help of my mentors and sheer determination to succeed, I started my own salon brand.
What challenges, if any, did you encounter in the industry and opening your own salon?
Like most entrepreneurs, starting a business is always the most difficult part, but my vision was stronger than my fear. I still experience challenges that are common to most entrepreneurs, for example, maintaining cash flow, implementing proper business-management processes and constantly staying ahead of what the market needs. I rely heavily on my team, and also learn daily from the brands I work with.
Are there any stylists locally or internationally you look up to and are inspired by?
Locally, I have been blessed, thanks to a great friendship with local stylist Saadique Ryklief, a hair god in the industry who is respected by stylists and celebrities alike. Internationally, I love what celebrity Kim Kimble, whose clients include Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Mary J Blige, has done with her brand and how she has evolved her many offerings to the hair industry.
What boosted your career to celebrity status?
I’m known for two things: my method for cutting hair and colouring, which has won me numerous awards in the past, including 2016 African Hair Award for Salon of the Year and the Most Striking Magazine Cover.
I am expanding into scalp health, which is rare in the industry today, and I have partnered with brands like Head & Shoulders African Scalp Care to help me do that. I think it’s this hunger for knowledge and great brand collaborations that has created the demand for my services, especially with well-known people who often demand better than the best.
When styling celebs, what do you take into consideration?
Celebrities change their looks more often than the average person, so there is a greater need for me to take care of the fundamentals like scalp health to drive beautiful hair.
Is there a particular celeb you’ve enjoyed working with?
Their individual personalities make every interaction different and unique. What I will say is that I enjoy working with clients who are adventurous with their looks; this really tests my skills and keeps me on my toes.
How would you describe the style of South African women?
I’m excited about where SA women’s style is as related to their hair. While we are trying new things, there is a strong focus on care and health of the scalp and hair over and above the end look which wasn’t there before. This presents a great opportunity for brands and stylists like me who are passionate about hair and scalp health.
What are the most popular styles requested at your salon at the moment?
Weaves are still quite popular, but what is encouraging is the increased requests for treatments which help women who wear a lot of weaves and other extensions with their dandruff and itch concerns.
Maphoto's hair care tips:
“First do no harm.” Whatever you want to do, make sure you choose a style that is going to give your scalp the best experience. No hairstyle is worth losing hair over!
To care for natural hair, use a moisture balance shampoo and conditioner twice a week. Apply a non-drip oil moisturising spray daily to enhance your hair’s natural shine and softness while maintaining its proper moisture and growth.
To look after your weave, shampoo and condition it at least once every two weeks. Apply hair food to your scalp to nourish it and promote hair growth. A hair serum will help to avoid tangling. Straighten or blow-dry your weave for a natural shine.
When relaxing fragile hair, use a moisture treatment two weeks beforehand followed by a protein treatment two weeks afterwards. Also use a good oil moisturiser on a daily basis.
Braided hair will benefit from a braid spray, or a light scalp treatment, to maintain your hair’s health and moisture.
Treat dry and brittle hair with a leave-in conditioner. Apply an oil-sheen spray, as it will form a barrier between the hair follicles and the moisture in the atmosphere, protecting the hair against frizz.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone in 2017. Try new looks, colours and trends. You may just be pleasantly surprised.
Maphoto is Shoprite’s first hair ambassador. He had this to say on being chosen: “I’m beyond thrilled! I was recently announced as the stylist ambassador for the new Head and Shoulders African scalp care brand, and being Shoprite’s first hair ambassador is an extension of that partnership.
"Shoprite really is the perfect destination for consumers who wish to look good and feel great with everyday low prices on a range of hair extensions and accessories, hair care as well as styling products.”