If you’re transitioning to natural hair, you may have noticed that trips to the salon don’t seem quite as fun as they used to. In fact, you might think you’re going crazy and that your stylist no longer likes you. Well let me be the first to let you know that you are in fact NOT going crazy.
If you don’t live in a particularly urban and happenin’ city, hair salons that specialize in natural hair care are few and far between. And the stylists employed there have a natural aversion to natural hair (pun intended). My latest encounters at hair salons have taught me a couple of things and have given me ample reason to learn how to do my hair myself:
1. You and your natural hair are an affront to their institution
When I moved to the current city in which I live, the first thing on my to-do list was to find a decent salon that could do my hair (okay–maybe not the first thing, but it was pretty high up on the list). I called about eight different salons to inquire about their services. As soon as I used the phrase “natural hair,” I received a lot of “oh we don’t do that here.”
As the week progressed, it was clear that I was not going to have much luck. The responses seemed to be getting harsher and one salon’s receptionist actually reprimanded me for trying to “trick” them into giving me a bad hairstyle by coming to their salon with natural hair. Whaa???? I actually felt like I personally insulted her.
2. They don’t like your hair
I finally found a Dominican hair salon that agreed to try a blowout on my hair. Before they began the process (which really is just a wash, deep condition, and–you guessed it!–blow dry, and flat iron), about 3 stylists just poked and prodded at my hair and scalp like they were trying to determine if it were alive. I mean–it’s hair. They’re stylists. This shouldn’t be an out-of-world experience for them.
3. They act like regular hair care is a chore
The stylist washing my hair complained that she was going to have to deep condition my hair :-/. Now, I should point out that even when my hair was relaxed, a trip to the salon generally meant getting a wash, deep condition and either a roller set or blow out–that was the regular process. So color me confused when this stylist seemed bemused by the fact that she was going to have to deep condition my hair…after shampooing it…??? I failed to see the dilemma.
4. Stylists try to convince you that you’re wrong
At the Dominican hair salon (and other general salons), each stylist that worked on my hair would try to convince me that my decision to go natural was the wrong choice and that I should seriously get a relaxer. Even after I told them that relaxers had been burning my scalp, leaving scars, and causing bleeding, they’d dismiss my statement like “oh there are mild relaxers for that.” Um…yeah…I know….those were the ones that stylists used on me because I have a sensitive scalp. Guess what? It still left burns! Again, even after I pointed out some of the lingering scars on my head, they would say “but wouldn’t you like beautiful hair?” 😡
5. They charge you double (sometimes more)
After defending my choice and eventually getting the service for which I came in, I was just glad I got to leave (save the snickers I received from other clients with relaxed hair at witnessing my inquisition). The receptionist takes my list of services, rings it up and…oh….wait….that can’t be right???? I was pretty sure I was told that a blow out on my natural hair would cost around $30, which I was fine with. So when I asked the receptionist why I was paying $70 for a wash, condition, blow dry, and flat iron, I was shocked when she responded with “Well…we had to use conditioner on your head…and the stylist had to work harder to straighten your hair.” Again, whaaa?????
Now, it would be one thing if I walked through the door, didn’t disclose that I have natural hair and they gave me a quote for relaxed hair. Fine. BUT I walked through the door, specifically asked how much it would cost for them to work with natural hair. They looked me over, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “for your hair…$30.” So why is it that the use of conditioner (which is part of the regular process) would up the ante to $70? I have no clue. Neither do they.
Sound off on your experience with salons and your natural hair below. Was your luck better than mine or is natural hair really a stylist’s kryptonite? Would love to hear your thoughts!