Kendall Miles Designs, a shoe brand created by Chicago-born, Los Angeles–based designer Kendall Reynolds, has been seen on the likes of Rihanna, Ebonee Davis, and Karrueche Tran. But Reynolds—whose inclusive designs go up to a size 14—doesn’t dwell on pride in her accomplishments. “I prefer gratitude,” she tells Vogue. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and for the support I receive from the ever-growing Kendall Miles family.” The commitment to gratitude extends into her daily self-care practices as well.
“Self-care is a bridge to self-love,” Reynolds says. Especially now, during a pandemic and a monumental human rights movement, “self-care is a means of sanity. Claiming and living in love for self is extremely important right now,” she adds. She admits her wise outlook took time to achieve, and that her hair journey was particularly difficult. “Growing up, I was taught that my natural hair was unruly and unmanageable,” Reynolds says, adding that she wore weaves for years that felt like they were “literally killing my hair.”
Thanks to the support of a close friend and her father, she began to appreciate her natural beauty. “It was so hard! I hated it! But I was so relieved to not need relaxer, heat, and extensions. I finally felt free. I fell in love with the freedom.” The process taught Reynolds patience when it came to her entrepreneurial ventures: “[it] built my appreciation for my being and my talent simultaneously.”
When she faces hair doubt these days, Reynolds reaches for her TGIN Honey Miracle Mask and her hair steamer. “Moisture is everything for my hair, so it goes without saying that my favorite products are those that thoroughly hydrate my curls.” Her morning routine usually includes taking her twist out and fluffing it. “I start by stretching my twists with a blow-dryer, then I coat my fingertips with an anti-frizz oil and untwist.” Keeping in mind not to touch her hair too much after this process is done, “I blow my hair around with the blow-dryer until my hair is separated and fluffy. Then I use my Afro pick to make it even and I’m good to go.” When it comes to protective styles, like her favorite knotless braids, “I’ll just spray my hair with water, coat my hair with a cream moisturizer, and oil my scalp.” At night, if she’s not doing a twist out, a simple pineapple and silk bonnet will do.
In quarantine, Reynolds has been taking time to explore new hairstyles, like the invisible ponytail—“I finally taught myself how to do it.” Her next goal is trying to find “a natural hairstylist who can really help me get serious about growing my ’fro! Someone knowledgeable, who makes her own products and can keep me on track with protein treatments, moisturizing treatments, and trims.”
Until then, Reynolds is learning how to listen to her own hair. “Don’t trust what someone says works for them to work for you. Try and test as many methods as you can to figure out which make your hair the most happy.” The biggest beauty inspiration should come from within. “Every time I choose a ‘hair goals’ inspiration, I end up frustrated that my hair doesn’t look like theirs, grow as fast as theirs, et cetera. Now, my biggest hair inspiration is my future self.”