In The Chair With: Nigella Miller


Photo: Courtesy of Auri Akerele.

“In The Chair” spotlights the incredible hairstylists in our community who are giving us major inspiration. Each week, they discuss their personal hair and career journeys, what they’ve learned from their clients, and their top hair care tips.” 

In her own words, barber and hair stylist Nigella Miller was that “go-to girl who did your freestyle braids in high school. I did everyones hair in my community. Little did I know I was a boss lady from a young age,” the 17-year beauty veteran tells ESSENCE. Now living out the manifestation of her youthful aspirations, Miller is Byrdie’s resident hair expert, running her hair salon, Nigella Miller Hair Studio, in Brooklyn, as well as her luxury hair jewelry brand, AFRA. All of this is happening, of course, when she’s not working with the likes of Lauryn Hill, Jhené Aiko, Estée Lauder, Burberry, and more. 

Her love of braiding hair began at 6 years old. “I picked up braiding techniques from my cousins who babysat me and my sisters,” she says. “I just kept practicing my craft until I knew I really wanted to make it my career.” After pursuing a career in pattern making, Miller decided to attend Aveda Institute to sharpen her hair styling skills. This led her to work in hair salons and barber shops before eventually opening her own at 26 years old. 

And as someone who juggles many hats, the through line that connects everything for Miller is her love of “seeing a full vision come to life,” she muses. “Taking an idea someone has been thinking about for months or years and collaborating with my clients to create the perfect hairstyle over great conversations and laughter makes me happy.”

In The Chair With: Nigella Miller
Photo: Courtesy of Auri Akerele.

Her favorite hair products

“My go to products right now are TGIN mousse, 4U leave-in, and OUAI anti dandruff shampoo.”                                                                                                                            

Her favorite styles to do

“I have a huge range of clients. At the moment all the girlies are having fun with different braid styles which are super cute! My male clients are embracing their curly patterns and locs at the moment– leaning into longer, natural hair looks. It’s giving ‘grow out my hair!’ for the gents.” 

Her top healthy hair tip

“My top tip for healthy hair is to get your trims on time and that hydrating masks and deep conditioners should replace your regular conditioner. They’re your best friends when it comes to keeping your coils hydrated.”

In The Chair With: Nigella Miller
Photo: Courtesy of Auri Akerele.

A hair myth she wants to de-bunk

“I’ll always want to debunk the hair myth that you can’t reverse heat damaged hair.” 

What she’s learned from her clients

“I’ve learned to be patient. They’ve also taught me grace because they’ve shown me so much of it. It was a struggle opening my own business. I wear many hats. But my clients were so understanding when things didn’t work out with scheduling or timing. I felt so blessed to have such an amazing clientele.”

How she uplifts her clients 

“I try to make sure every client walks out of my beauty space with confidence. It just comes naturally to me. I’m here to listen and make my clients feel comfortable in their own skin, as soon as you sit in my chair you can be yourself. I don’t judge anyone. I give my honest opinion. I think being comfortable talking about what’s going on in my life with my clients, as well, has been groundbreaking because I’m able to build great friendships. It goes both ways in my salon.”

In The Chair With: Nigella Miller
Photo: Courtesy of Auri Akerele.


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