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Curly Nikki

On the Couch w/ Marie Simone- Syl’s Stylist

By January 27th, 202113 Comments

Hola Chicas!

Whenever I share pics of my mother and sister – both natural- I gets tons of inquiries about their stylist. Questions about the amazing person that flat irons their hair monthly and yet it continues to revert, grow long and strong (quite fast actually), and look so full. Well, my curly loves, let me introduce you to stylist extraordinaire, Marie Simone.

On the Couch w/ Marie Simone- Syl's Stylist
Marie Simone knew from an early age that she wanted to be one of the leading hair stylists in the industry. After graduating from Beauty School, Marie worked in the industry for 4 years before opening her own salon – Shi Salon – in 2001. From day one, Shi Salon has focused on giving clients great hair styles, superior customer experience, and the products and knowledge they need to maintain healthy hair. This approach has garnered Shi Salon local and national recognition. In addition to being ranked by customers as one of the top salons in St. Louis, Shi Salon was featured on the Style Network’s reality show, Split Ends, in 2009. Away from the salon, Marie is establishing a growing reputation as one of the industry’s leading freelance hairstylists. Her work has been featured in some of the nation’s top hair, fashion, and lifestyle magazines, including Modern Salon, Essence, Behind the Chair, Sophisticate’s Black Hair, and InStyle. She also recently appeared on a hair styling segment for What’s Hot in My Salon and traveled to Prague to serve as an onset hairstylist for a Dark and Lovely commercial. Marie’s creativity, vision, and passion for hair are stronger than ever. “It’s not just about the hair,” she says, “but it’s also about the creativity and constant change that comes with this industry. There’s always a new trend or a new approach to learn. I love the challenge of staying relevant and fresh and being a trendsetter.

CN: Tell us about your salon and your specialty?
Shi Salon caters to all types of hair textures for all ethnic groups. We take pride in the fact that we offer all hair services; we don’t specialize in just one area or target just one ethnic group. Precision haircuts, creative hair coloring, silkening, eyebrow waxing and extension are just a few of the services we offer. No matter what service a client receives, we’re going to focus on giving them a great overall experience that will keep them coming back. Our goal is to create an “urban refuge,” a place where people can wind down, relax and walk out with a style or other service that they’re truly happy with. From our decorations to our music choices, we do everything at Shi Salon with our customers in mind.

CN: Top tips for natural clients?
Always keep your hair well-conditioned and moisturized. It’s essential to maintaining a healthy, natural style. For deep conditioning, you should wash your hair, apply conditioner to the hair and scalp, cover your hair with a plastic cap and then sit under a dryer for 15-20 minutes. If you don’t have a dryer at home, you can apply the conditioner and then wrap your hair in a towel for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse your hair with cool water to close your pores.

Other tips:
• It’s best to apply oil to your hair when it’s wet. This will help your hair hold in the moisture that’s already on the hair shaft.
• Don’t use petroleum-based products too often. When you do use them, apply them only to the hair, not to your scalp. Petroleum-based products have ingredients that clog your pores and attract dust.
• Have a skilled professional hairstylist clip your ends every 6 to 8 weeks.

CN: You singlehandedly helped my mother transition from thinning relaxed hair to healthy, full natural hair. Can you share what the process what like, what things you kept in mind, and what tips you have for current transitioners?
When helping anyone transition to natural hair, my process includes trimming their ends every 6-8 weeks and applying a deep, penetrating moisturizing conditioner once a month. I always make sure I’m using the right shampoos and conditioners based on the current condition of the client’s hair and I keep in mind the type of natural style we want to achieve. I also advise clients to sleep on a satin pillowcase instead of cotton or to wear a satin cap/wrap. Cotton absorbs moisture and natural hair tends to be dry, so it’s important to preserve as much moisture as possible. Also, I tell people to apply as little heat as possible to their hair during the transition to natural hair. It’s also important to drink plenty of water, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Good nutrition and hydration has a big effect on the health of the hair.

For those who are thinking about going natural or are in the early stages, remember that transitioning to natural hair is a process. Once your hair has gotten used to so many products and chemicals, it has to be trained to transition to natural and this can take time. Make a decision upfront that once you’ve decided to go natural, you’re going to stick with it. The process may take a little while and might seem scary at times, but don’t get discouraged. Your hair will eventually become trained and you’ll notice that natural hair is a healthier state because using fewer chemicals puts less stress on your hair.

June 2010, fully natural
On the Couch w/ Marie Simone- Syl's StylistOn the Couch w/ Marie Simone- Syl's Stylist

Dec 2010

On the Couch w/ Marie Simone- Syl's Stylist

CN: My sister Syl has a head-full of long, healthy natural hair. You flat iron it bi-weekly to monthly. How do you keep it so healthy? How do you prevent curl loss and heat damage?

The key is applying the right type of heat. I make sure I’m using the right temperature. Temperatures for flat irons can go as high as 400 or 450 degrees, but you shouldn’t set the temperature this high. I set the temperature closer to 200 or 250 to prevent heat damage. I also use heat protector products, such as Davines De Stress spray. Heat protectors are used when the hair is wet so that when you blow dry and flat iron the hair, the hair is protected and the proper pH levels are maintained.

On the Couch w/ Marie Simone- Syl's StylistOn the Couch w/ Marie Simone- Syl's StylistOn the Couch w/ Marie Simone- Syl's Stylist
click here to see Syl’s curly style

CN: What are your favorite products for curly styles?
My favorites for curly styles are Davines Love Lovely Curl Enhancing shampoo and conditioner. I also like Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner for use on curly weaves. We sell several of these products in the salon as an added convenience to our customers.

CN: Favorite products to achieve straight (flat ironed) hair?
My favorite product to achieve straight/flat ironed hair is Davines Well-Being De Stress Be-Phase Shelter, pH 5.5. It’s actually good for all hair types. This spray hydrates and moisturizes the hair and leaves hair soft and silky.

CN: What else would you like to add?
When you’re natural, you have to own your style. It’s your hair, so wear it proud and wear it well. No matter what your texture is – straight, kinky, curly – own it and embrace it.

Finally, a person’s hair plays a big part in how they feel about themselves and on the personal story they want to tell. It’s a privilege to be a part of that process.

Wanna make and appointment?

Shi Salon
1900 Olive St Saint Louis,MO 63103
(314) 588-9948


  • Jae says:

    I love Marie.

  • Margaret says:

    Nikki, all of the ladies in your family are beautiful and have gorgeous hair. Your Mother's gray locks are breathtaking!!! :) Great interview with Ms. Marie Simone.

  • Unknown says:

    I can't wait to go grey have hair like that!! GAW-JUS!!

  • BenniiBlast says:

    Your mummy's(I'm british lol) hair is amazing! You, your mother and your sister all look so much a like!

  • DiJah says:

    I still flat iron my hair and I use Tresemme heat protector, gonna look up this Davines and see what its all about.
    Nikki, this is why I love your site, I learn so much and I am much more confident with my natural hair. Thank you! (And your lovely readers as well..) For all the tips and suggestions. A blessings I must tell you.

    Your mom here is da!! I hope my hair is that healthy when i'm all grey :)

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post and healthy family hair! I'll check out the Davines product the next time I decide to flat iron. I've never been to Missouri, so perhaps I should plan a visit.

  • MB430 says:

    Thanks so much for this post Nikki!

  • foxyr says:

    Nikki, you have a very beautiful family! Everyone has beautiful hair! :D

  • Jade says:

    Nikki, do your mom or sister workout with their hair straight and if so, how do they keep it from frizzing/ reverting? I am getting my hair straightened in a few weeks for a trim (1st one completely natural) and I was wondering how I could make it last for at least a few days? (I workout almost every day)

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    thanks ladies! I love Marie! Great spirit and she's funny as hell!

  • Kimberly says:

    Nikki! Thanks for the wealth of information!!! This makes me want to go St. Louis to get my hair done! Your mother's hair is gorgeous!!! You and Syl too :-)

  • Anonymous says:

    yay for the shi salon! marie is a great stylist.

    your mom and syl have beautiful hair too!

  • Mylah says:

    WOW! All three of you have gorgeous hair!!! If I can't find someone who will safely (and very occasionally) straighten my hair as this stylist does, then I'll probably never get it straightened. Most stylists around here seem to be less concerned with protecting your hair, and more concerned with how straight they can get it. Great post!

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