Photos courtesy of the Authentic Hair book  

Photos courtesy of the Authentic Hair book  


GudHair International is Harlem's preeminent natural hair care salon. Our expert stylists specialize in the treatment and care of natural hair; Interlocing, transition cuts & style, loc extensions, reattaching and rejuvenating of delicate locs. Our clients are stylish professionals and classy retirees who adore their hair and rock it natural. Founded byAdémola Mandella, a 30-year pioneer of the “Natural Hair Care Movement".

Signature Services

     Rejuvenating Locs - repair, reinforce, and re-attach
     Cosmic Locs - undetectable, unbelievable loc extensions
     Spa Locs - the new Interlocing Technique
     The amazing Coil Sponge - styling tool
       (for short/medium length hair)

     Regal Bantu Knot
     Funky Twist Set
     Master Precision Scissor Cuts and Classy Fades
       (for sisters and brothers)

     Naturthentic's Hot Oil and Steam Treatments  
     Natural Herbal Hair Color System
       (permanent) no ammonia or paraben

     Mandella's one-on-one Master Technique Classes
     Special Events and Pop-Up Art Shows

"Natural hair is a statement of style an affirmation of beauty and an expression of self love."    - Ademola Mandella

Photographers: Preston Phillips, James E. Alexander, Crystal Blake


    Ademola Mandella, CEO-GhD

    Ademola Mandella, CEO-GhD

Adémola Mandella has been a pioneer in the natural hair care industry for over 30 years. His vision produced two of the premier natural hair care salons in New York City: KINAPPS African Groomers and LOCKS N' CHOPS HAIR Inc.™.

Mandellais a native Floridian and a U.S. Air Force veteran. In 1971, he moved to New York City, after graduating from the Tracy Warner School of Fashion Design in Philadelphia, PA. After many exhausting years of designing made-to-order, modern African-fusion clothing for private clients including: Susan L. Taylor, Laurence Fishburne,  Stevie Wonder, B. Smith, and Dan Gasby. He also designed clothing for high-end  New York's stores such as Henri Bendel, Chiavari, and Fiorucci. His cloth was featured in The New York Times, The Amsterdam News, and The Daily New Record. Mandella eventully became disenchanted with the New York scene and decided to close his studio and travel the world.

Traveling throughout Europe, it was in Paris, France, in 1979, that Mandella discovered his true calling when he found it difficult to find a suitable hair shop to maintain his natural hair. When he returned to the United States, he discovered that none of the salons in the Black community was specializing in the care of natural hair, especially not locs. Barber cuts was the only service available for natural hair. This sparked his desire to create a natural hair care salon system to address the hair care needs of this unique population.

In order to develop his new natural haircare skills, Mandella enrolled in the only professional hair school in New York City that focused on natural hair, The Atlas Barber School. After graduating with honors, he accepted an apprenticeship at the largest black-owned barber organization in New York: Jerry's Den.

In 1985, upon receiving his certification as a master barber, Mandella opened his first shop in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, New York. KINAPPS African Groomers was the first “true” natural hair care shop in Brooklyn, NY, offering top-quality,healthy hair care, and trendsetting natural hair and lock styles, combined with world-class customer service. The success of KINAPPS grew rapidly. Over the next four years, KINAPPS expanded to three shops (Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill and Bedford Stuyvesant) and employed over thirty-five stylists. In 1990, Mandella opened his fourth KINAPPS salon in the trendy Flatiron district of Manhattan, NY.

In1991, Mandella, along with other trailblazers in the natural hair care industry, successfully lobbied for the enactment of the first natural hair legislation in New York State. This action secured the first licensing and educational curricula in the United States for practitioners specializing in natural hair care.

Mandella has mentored hundreds of salon owners and technicians in the business and care of natural hair, through his intensive Master Technique Classes. He is still convinced that, "Education is the key to the future of the natural hair care industry."

In 1995, he co-founded LOCKS N' CHOPS HAIR Inc™. By 1999, LOCKS N' CHOPS had expanded to three locations in mid-town Manhattan. Each salon included retail and gallery space that showcased emerging visual and spoken word artists of color. Mandella's contributions to the development of the natural hair care industry have been recognized by the art/culture and business communities, and in various publications including: Essence, Ebony, Crain's NY Business, Braids & Beauty, Modern Salon, and The New York Times.  Although Mandella has moved on with his AUTHENTIC HAIR book project, LOCKS N' CHOPS is still one of the most respected salon organizations in the natural hair care industry today!

In 2001, Mandella self-published his first book, AUTHENTIC HAIR™, a book of photos, poems, and prose celebrating the beauty and versatility of natural hair. The book, designed by Isaac Paris, is now considered an American classic. 

In 2012, Mandella introduced his Coil Sponge styling tool for coiling short to medium length hair in minutes.  It also stimulates the scalp and promotes hair growth. 

In 2013, Mandella opened GudHair International Salon in the Upper Lenox section of Harlem New York. The salon features Mandella’s signature services (by appointment only)and his one-on-one Master Technique Classes. Chair rentals are also available (day rate) for independent hair stylists with private clients.  Also, special events and Pop-Up Art Shows are held at the salon. 

In 2015, Mandella launched his natural hair care product line, Naturthentic Hair Care System with the introduction of the Joy of Coils Styling Collection.

"As founder and creative director of GUDHAIR INTERNATIONAL SALON, I’m committed to extraordinary, life-changing service. My passions include my faith, culture, art and the development of the Natural Hair Care Industry."   -- Ademola Mandella