Acclaimed beauty-industry innovator Anu Prestonia specializes in Black hair care and helped to popularize artistic natural styling in the United States and abroad. She founded the internationally known Khamit Kinks natural hair-care salon, has mentored many in the industry and has two popular blogs. Anu has a titular line of natural products, was the co-founder of an annual natural hair celebration and is co-producer of an upcoming documentary on the subject. She has served as an expert consultant for several books, been featured many times in magazines and newspapers, on TV and on radio, and is a sought-after stylist for film, print and broadcast media. Read More
An authority in the trade, Anu taught natural hairstyling techniques at the university level and has instructed and mentored hundreds of young women since entering the trade in 1977. Her braiding expertise soon earned her an invaluable reputation and in 1989 she opened the famous Khamit Kinks natural hair-care salon in a Brooklyn brownstone. It quickly became one of the most popular and most-referenced Black beauty destinations on the east coast. The salon relocated to TriBeCa in 1996, where it remained for a decade.
A dedicated licensed cosmetologist, Anu was among those who took a stand for the developing of professional standards for the braiding craft. She perfected several braiding techniques and created the names of several styles now worn proudly around the world, including, “Single Braids,” “Swing Braids,” and “Goddess Braids,” “Senegalese Twists,” “Baby Curl Twists,” and textured weaves.
Khamit Kinks has been featured numerous times on the cover and in the pages of Essence magazine. The June 1992 issue, showcasing Anu’s groundbreaking styling, prompted the highest number of information requests ever received by the publication’s Fashion and Beauty department. Anu’s work was also the subject of a New York Times front-page article and Khamit Kinks has been reported on in many national and industry publications. The salon was featured on “The View,” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and on ABC, NY1, CNN, FOX 5 and TV Japan.
Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Bassett, Q-Tip, Terry McMillan, and many others in the public eye have trusted Anu to provide them with picture-perfect hair and she’s helped women and men from all walks of life to look and feel fabulous. She dispenses beauty advice and shares her thoughts on the industry through her “Ask Anu” and “Anu Essentials” blogs and through the eight short instructional videos filmed for About.com. She also writes the monthly Khamit Kinks electronic newsletter which won Constant Contacts’ 2008 and 2009 All Star Award for excellence.
Anu has enjoyed working as a stylist for print media and for feature-length films, including Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn.” She and her work have been featured in several books including The International Hairstyle Index, Harriet Cole’s Jumping the Broom. Mikki Taylor’s Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Path to Inner and Outer Beauty, Amy Fine Collins’ Hairstyles, Dianne Da Costa’s Textured Tresses, Sam Fine’s Fine Beauty: Beauty Basics and Beyond for African-American Women and Daring Dos: A History of Extraordinary Hair.
After ten years in Manhattan, Khamit Kinks returned to Brooklyn. It proudly opened the doors to a beautiful new home at 327 Gold Street in the downtown Metrotech area and celebrated with a lively and joyous grand opening in December of 2006. Since that time the salon has hosted several successful events such as “Natural Curls and Caipirinhas,” which treated customers to massages and refreshments along with their shampoos and styling. Recently Anu also celebrated the repackaging of her natural hair and body product line under the name of Anu Essentials. It includes hair oils, body butters, soaps and essential oils.
One of the most gratifying areas of Anu’s work has been the opportunity to impact the lives of women. She has helped many women in the beauty, fashion and accessories industries to gain exposure through shows at Khamit Kinks.
Self-esteem and domestic-violence awareness workshops have also been hosted at the salon. Anu inspires women to discover beauty and wholeness within and to look to their heritage for their beauty aesthetic. She’s also taught free community-based classes in Brooklyn as a certified Hatha Yoga Instructor.
Her social entrepreneurial instincts have led Anu to take part in several initiatives aimed at uplifting self-esteem. She was a founder of Heads Up! A Soulful Celebration of Our HAIRitage, a popular and impactful annual gathering in Brooklyn. Anu also conceived and is co-producer of the eagerly anticipated documentary, “In Our Heads about Our Hair.” The film’s trailer received rave reviews at the 2009 Reel Sisters Film Festival. As of date the film was screen in the Reel Sisters Film Festival September 2011 and will be screening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Film Festival in February 2012.
This past summer 2012, Anu launched her line of natural and organic hair and body care products under the name of Anu Essentials. In addition, Anu has also launched her line of natural perfumes made strictly from botanicals and high-grade alcohol. Anu’s love of nature and respect for the beauty and power of botanicals continues to fuel her passion of enhancing the beauty and well being of her clients and women in general.
Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, Anu lives in Brooklyn, NY.