Charlotte Mensah is the owner and artistic director of theHair Lounge on Portobello road in London and founder of Mensah Manketti oil hair products.
Charlotte trained in the late ’80s at the London College of Fashion under the guidance of The Godfather of British Afro Hairdressing the late Winston Isaacs.
Charlotte has been on the forefront of the Natural Haircare movement since the early 2000s and has been a columnist on the subject since 2005.
She is recognized as the “Go to” specialist regarding maintaining Natural Afro, mixed and curly textures by magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harpers Bazaar.
As education is close to her heart, she set up the Charlotte Mensah academy in her homeland Ghana to help pass on her skills to young individuals enabling them to build better lives for themselves and their families, she also set up a charity L.O.V.E ( ladies of visionary empowerment) aimed at furthering education for young women in Africa.
Charlotte is a 3-time winner of British Afro Hairdresser of the year and made History in 2018 as the first black woman to be inducted in the British Hairdressing Awards Hall of Fame.
How did you originally get into hairdressing?
I started on my hairdressing path doing my three-year-old sister’s hair after our mum passed away when I was 13. Like many teenagers, my sister and I were always interested in fashion and visuals, so I started looking at magazines for styles to practice. When a careers officer visited my school, I realized that I wanted to pursue hairdressing as a professional career and they recommended a work-based training course.
I was very fortunate to be offered an apprenticeship in one of London’s leading Afro salons in the late 1980s, under the tutelage of the legendary and late Winston Isaacs. I thank both my grandparents who were an important inspiration to me. When I was young growing up in Ghana, they taught me the importance of a strong work ethic, which has remained with me to this day. My grandmother was an amazing lady; she could do everything from sewing, cooking and she also did hair, but unfortunately, she never took any of her skills to a professional level. Now with over 30 years of experience under my belt, if I’m not in Africa, training young hairdressers in the art of hairdressing, then you’ll find me either working in my salon, Hair Lounge in London, Portobello Road, or working with some of the most famous names in the world of entertainment, high finance and business.
Can you tell me a bit more about your academy in Ghana?
I’m incredibly proud of The Charlotte Mensah Academy and the people that are involved We offer less fortunate young Ghanaians an opportunity to learn a vocational skill that will enhance their lives and the lives of their families. We have the CMA tour bus that basically means we are a mobile operation and can go to places off the beaten track offering our skills to the less fortunate.
Can you tell me a bit about your writings/guides about natural hair?
As natural hair and education have always been close to my heart in 2005 I began writing a step by step makeover series called Natural Fix in Blackbeauty and hair and Blackhair magazine which help many naturals to choose the right path for their natural hair journey. This included daily maintenance, massaging and moisturizing. Shampooing and conditioning treatments. Shaping and trimming on a regular basis . 14 years later I’m proud to see natural hair everywhere and it’s now mainstream
A few of her Beautiful creations