It’s been a while since I’ve had a soap box moment, and what inspired this blog is an article I read posted by Curly Nikki on FaceBook titled “The Death of The Black Hair Salon.” It was a very hot topic that many naturals chimed in on, including myself. The majority of those who posted a response had the same experiences and complaints:
- Wasting an entire day at the salon because of over-booking, slow service, or both.
- Damage done to hair and scalp (too much heat, harsh relaxers, etc)
- Ridiculous prices
For me, I got fed up with my beautician of 8 years because she simply didn’t respect me or my time. Because she is a great stylist with a clientele that could circle the block many times over, she felt that she could come in late (and by late I mean be a half hour to an hour late to your appointment), take two and three customers ahead of you, take 45 minute breaks to talk and chit chat and laugh with her family and friends who basically lived in the shop, and take 45 minute breaks to eat.
I share the blame for this because I allowed this behavior to go on. I loved the way she styled my hair, she understood me and knew my style preference. At the same time, I absolutely DETEST looking for new beauticians, so I overlooked and endured this treatment. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I forewarned her before sitting in her chair that I had to be out by a certain time because I had things to do. Over time she became worse, and I became more and more pissed.
I would purposely make early morning appointments with the hopes of getting out of the shop before noon. Yes, I said noon. But low and behold, there would be three other ladies waiting with me who also had 8 o’clock appointments with my beautician. During all of this I was seriously considering going natural. I had been contemplating going natural for the past four or five years. As my beautician became worse with her tardiness, coming late to the shop with an attitude as if we, her faithful customers, did something wrong to her, my decision became easier to make.
My hair was very damaged by the heat and by the relaxers. I was curling or flat ironing my hair almost every day. For years I wore my hair in short jazzy hair styles, and with short hair (at least for me) your hair looks better curled, and that’s what I did every day. I curled it, basically fried it, to death. I had so much breakage it wasn’t even funny. Deep down I knew this wasn’t right. Deep down I knew my hair deserved better and it needed to be taken care of properly with lots of TLC. The only way I could do this was to start from scratch, and that’s what I did.
Big chopping wasn’t a big deal to me because my hair was already very short. I stopped going to the shop and I stopped getting relaxers. The only relaxer that remained in my hair was at the top, and I began to trim it out little by little myself. I went to my husband’s barber and had him finish the job and that freed me from the creamy crack. That began my natural hair journey. I’ll never forget the day that I went to my husband’s barber. When he was finished I smiled so much, and I couldn’t stop smiling if you paid me to. I. WAS. FREE.
There’s an unwillingness on the part of black beauticians and salons to educate themselves on caring for and styling natural hair. I’ve been turned away by many who turned their noses up at having natural hair customers, yet they complain about and wonder why they are losing business? They wrongly believe that the natural hair movement is just a fad, that it will run it’s course and black women will come tearing down their doors begging for the creamy crack again. I strongly disagree. While there are many who have gone back to the creamy crack, the number is very small compared to those who are joining the natural hair community.
Many blame YouTube vloggers and DIY videos for the black salon losing business. There wouldn’t be a need for YouTube DIY videos if beauticians would educate themselves and learn how to care for all hair types and not just slathering chemicals on our hair. We’re in an age where women are more informed, and the information is out there at your finger tips if you want to research your options. Women they want to live healthier lifestyles and they want to save a buck. We want to learn how to do things ourselves, and I think that’s a positive thing. Not all naturalista’s are into DIY. There are many who still go to salons and have found a natural hair salon or beautician to care for their hair. There is nothing wrong with that. Matter of fact, I’m still looking for a good natural hair beautician!
Most of all, our time is precious, and if black salons refuse to respect our time, then they will continue to lose customers period, and not to just the natural hair movement.