Ms. Tina Knowles Styled My Hair and I Will Never Be The Same

Beyoncé's mother and longtime hairstylist, Neal Farinah, styled my hair using Cécred products.

Deena Campbell's Cécred Salon Appointment with Tina Knowles
(Image credit: Cécred)

There are very few things in this world that can get me to leave my house at 7am. But when I'm invited to test Beyonce Knowles-Carter’s latest hair care line, you make exceptions. I promptly left my New Jersey home shortly after sunrise and trekked two hours to arrive in Brooklyn by 9am. It was at the peak of the morning rush hour, but I didn't care. I had one goal in mind: to test Knowles-Carter's long-anticipated hair care line, Cécred (pronounced like “sacred”) and to meet Neal Farinah, owner of Neal Farinah Salon, and the hairstylist responsible for crafting her killer Renaissance hairstyles and recent platinum color. With an open mind and smiles in tow, I was ready.

The Brand

You’d have to dwell under a rock to not know that Beyonce Knowles-Carter is a bona fide hustler. Over the past decade, she’s dabbled into fashion (remember House of Deréon and IVY PARK?) and fragrance (who can forget Heat, Rise, Pulse, and most recently, Cé Noir), but if I’m being honest, her latest venture feels different. Perhaps it's because the brand stems from Knowles-Carter’s love for hair, specifically the culture around Black hair, a topic her mother is also deeply passionate about. Back at the Brooklyn salon, Knowles tells the story of how her oldest daughter grew up sweeping hair off the floor of her Houston salon aptly named Headlines. As a result, Knowles-Carter saw firsthand how her mother mixed formulas with natural butters and oils to promote and maintain healthy hair. Naturally, the popstar brought her mother’s 40 years of experience as a hairstylist, salon owner, and entrepreneur, to Cécred as vice chairwoman. 

"My entire life and career, I’ve worn my hair in so many different ways: natural, flat-ironed, braids, colored, weaves, wigs," says Cécred founder and chairwoman Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. "I want everyone to have the freedom to express their hair in ways that make them feel good, so I began by creating the essentials for hair and scalp health. My vision is to be an inclusive force of excellence in the haircare industry while celebrating hair rituals across global cultures and helping dispel hair myths and misconceptions on all sides.”

Cécred hair care collection

The full Cécred collection.

(Image credit: Cécred)

The collection consists of eight products that cleanse, condition, and repair. In it you’ll find a clarifying shampoo comprised of willow bark and tea tree oil to remove buildup and residue; a hyaluronic acid-infused shampoo; a conditioner infused with African oils and shea butter; a reconstructing treatment mask made of the brand’s patent-pending Bioactive Keratin Ferment that reduces damage; a sealing lotion that smooths and styles all hair textures with a light hold; and a hail oil made of plant-based extracts. 

The entire line gives users a framework for healthy hair, but the hero product of the collection is the fermented rice and rose protein ritual that starts as a powder, but when you add water it quickly transforms into a fortifying hair rinse treatment. To create this, the brand gathered inspiration from regions in Asia where it's been customary to rinse hair in rice water to make their hair stronger and shinier for centuries.

To get details on the benefits of rice water for your hair, I spoke with cosmetic chemist Ginger King. She gave the rice treatment the green light for all hair types, so long as it's applied on the scalp. “Rice protein is full of amino acids to provide nutrients,” King claims. “The fermented version helps to break down the molecules for easier absorption. But, as far as efficacy—there is no scientific data for [for rice protein on hair] because hair is dead despite people claiming rice water effects for hair.” However, King notes if you apply rice protein on the scalp area, it can provide some nutrients but not as strong as hair-bonding ingredients that prevent breakage.

I was ready to test the collection in its entirety.

My First Impression

As I sat in Farinah’s chair, first receiving the hyaluronic acid-infused shampoo and then the conditioner, I didn’t expect significant results. I consistently try a ton of products, and for me, shampoo is never a game-changer. Most are so drying that it disrupts the microbiome of my scalp, leaving my 4C curls dry and brittle. Much to my surprise, that wasn’t the case with Cécred hydrating shampoo. For the ultimate test, I snuck my fingers along the nape of my neck to feel the difference—it didn't feel like sand paper.  So far so good. 

I want everyone to have the freedom to express their hair in ways that make them feel good, so I began by creating the essentials for hair and scalp health.

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

“What you feel and see took many years to create,” says Farinah, Lead Global Stylist for Cécred as he caught me examining my hair. “I would ask Beyoncé on set all the time, ‘When are you going to start a hair care line?’ and she would say ‘Not yet,’ or ‘Now isn’t the right time,’ and finally she came to me, and said, ‘Let’s do it!' and we got it right.”

Out of curiosity, I asked Ms. Knowles what she thought of the shampoo and if she had any takeaways. Knowles looks down on my hair as an assistant washes the conditioner out of my hair—“you have beautiful skin,” she says. We'd spent the past 15 minutes discussing hair health and the importance of maintaining weaves, but I was no longer interested. I couldn’t concentrate. Everything was blurry. Beyonce’s mother just proclaimed that my skin is beautiful. I was unwell. 

I quickly gathered my composure and sat patiently as Farinah’s assistant started the rice protein treatment. First, she filled a vessel with 24 ounces of warm water, followed by one rice and rose protein powder packet. Next, she shook the solution for 20 seconds until it was completely dissolved. Then she slowly poured the rinse over my scalp and hair. It didn’t sting, feel sticky, or smell pungent. It was incredibly relaxing, almost as if she cracked an egg over my head and the raw egg trickled down my scalp.

Deena Campbell in the chair at her Cécred Salon Appointment

Cécred staff gives Deena a scalp analysis.

(Image credit: Cécred)

After a quick rinse with water followed and a 40-min sit under the hair dryer, Farinah was finally ready to cut and style my hair. He started with a few drops of hair oil—which smelled spa-like but not in an uber-medicinal way—and then combed and trimmed my ends into a very on-trend bob

Just when I thought I was done, Ms. Knowles stepped back on the scene, but this time, in all her hairstylist glory, she touched my hair. As she ran my freshly washed strands through her manicured fingers snipping here and trimming there, she looked at me with pride. It was akin to the look mothers give their children when they’ve done something pleasing. Sure we vibed briefly over hair health, and shared a few laughs about my skin, but was Ms. Knowles proud of me? I instantly thought, Is this how Beyonce feels? I closed my eyes and imagined I was young Beyonce in Houston Texas getting my hair braided at Headlines. 

All was well in the world again. 

She slowly turned my chair around so I could see what she and Farinah created. It was exactly what I wanted. But, more importantly, my scalp and hair felt refreshed. I couldn't tell if the positive vibes I experienced were from the products or if it was because Ms. Knowles said I have beautiful skin and styled my hair. Either way, I can confirm my hair (and ego) will never be the same. 

They say you never forget your firsts: first real job, first crush, first kiss. Getting my hair styled by Ms. Knowles is a first I’d experience over and over again, even if it means leaving my home at 7am on a cold winter day. 

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Meet the Experts

Headshot of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter for Cecred
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is an American singer, songwriter and businesswoman.

Cécred Lead Global Stylist
Neal Farinah

After moving to the United States from Trinidad decades ago, Farinah quickly gained notice in the industry when he styled Kelly Rowland, Keri Hilson, Mya, Danity Kane, Solange, Michelle Williams, Mary J. Blidge, and Beyonce. His mastery has been featured worldwide including countless tours for Beyoncé such as the Mrs. Carter Show and the On The Run Tour, and Giorgio Armani.

Ginger King
Ginger King

Ginger King is a cosmetic chemist who has been passionately creating beauty products from concept to finish since 1995. She is well versed in innovative concepts, creative product formulation, advanced technology applications, ergonomic package development and impactful competitive analysis. Ginger has developed over hundreds of products from hair care to skin care, and sun care to color cosmetics. Her claim to fame products include the revolutionary first to market Joico ICE SPIKER, water resistant hair glue, Freeze 24.7 Ice Shield, SPF 15 face wash and Avon Advance Techniques Color Protection series.

Deena Campbell
Beauty Director

Deena Campbell is the Beauty Director of Marie Claire where she oversees beauty and health content on all platforms. Deena joined Marie Claire after a decade-long career as an editor in print and digital media. Before joining the brand, she managed editorial content for L’Oréal owned and In 2015, she launched’s hair channel where she received Time Inc.'s Henry R. Luce Award, shortly before joining’s staff as Senior Beauty Editor. Along with her editorial positions, she also consulted on content and marketing strategies for beauty companies including DevaCurl and Dove, and has appeared at various speaking events and live television segments.