Spots at Saskatchewan beauty salons have been difficult to come by at points during the pandemic. But for Black people in some parts of the Prairies, hairstyling has been an issue for much longer.
Regina couple Lucky and Ediri Okurame, who soft-launched their business Lucky Hair and Beauty Studio on Quance Street in December, are trying to change that.
“The kind of community we have right now in Canada, a lot of people from different parts of the world, especially people with curly hair…. those guys deserve to look good and have the right professionals take care of their hair,” Lucky Okurame told Global News.
A trained hairdresser and barber in Nigeria, he moved to Regina five years ago. Recertifying after he moved here was eye-opening for him.
While noting a greater demand for curly hair techniques in his home country, “the institutions that are being set up here don’t actually teach them how to do our type of hair,” he said.
As a result, he and many of the people he now calls clients haven’t had many options.
Michael Ifebuzo has trusted Lucky Okurame to do his hair for almost as long as Okurame has been in the city.
“Lucky’s very skilled in his craft and I can always count on him to do a good job,” said Ifebuzo, who got a cut from Okurame Friday morning.
“Having Lucky open his own shop now is very good for the community.”
Ediri Okurame, who specializes in braids, cornrows and installations, also does makeup.
“It’s the same thing for makeup,” she said, noting that the techniques are different for darker skin.
“Places that are supposed to be dark would switch sides and be lighter,” she explained, adding that there are few experts who do Black makeup locally.
So she joined her husband in business to further fill the beauty industry void.
“I know people are excited to have more salons like this in Saskatchewan,” she said. “I’m glad that we’re doing this and I’m very sure that people are glad, too, that we’re doing this.”
While the Okurames have experience and expertise in styling curly hair for Black clients, Lucky Okurame is trained and happy to do all types of hair.
“We focus on all types of hair, but Black hair is what has been lacking in Saskatchewan,” he said.