Skip to main content

4 Signs It’s Time To Say Goodbye To Your Stylist

Avatar • Nov 4, 2011

By Audrey Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care

Going to your hair stylist should be an enjoyable experience—however, for transitioners and new naturals who are visiting with their stylists just after their decision to go natural or big chop, the trip can be daunting.

In order to get the most out of your healthy hair care journey, your stylist must absolutely be on board with your decision.  If you are already working with anatural hair specialist, then you are probably already in very good hands; however, there may be some changes needed if you are currently working with a stylist from your previous hair care days.  Your hair change may not always mean the end of a great client/stylist relationship— but sometimes a break up is in order.

What Should You Look For?

Ideally, you want a stylist who is happy to work with you no matter how you choose to wear your hair.  Ideally, this person should be knowledgeable about styling and care techniques for any hair type you present them.  Ideally, this person will hold your hand, guide and support you along the way.  Unfortunately, the real world may not work like this for you.  The stylist who was perfect for your sleek, asymmetrical bob look and flowing rollerset during your relaxer days may be a fish out of water on your baby locs or TWA (teeny weeny afro). Now! One mistake that is easy to make is to automatically assume that because your stylist has relaxed hair, she must not know how to handle or style natural hair … Or to assume that because a stylist has natural hair, she will take great care of yours.  False!  Don’t jump to conclusions and always do your due diligence.

When you start thinking about transitioning, discuss it with your stylist and gauge her reaction.  If you hear any of the following statements, it may be time to pack up and bid your stylist farewell:

1.) “I don’t do natural hair.”

This one is pretty easy.  He/she is letting you know right off the bat that you won’t be finding much support in their establishment.  This type of stylist makes no illusions about his/her skill sets, and you should take it in stride and respect their honesty.  Think of it like going to a pediatrician for your heart condition.  While the pediatrician is a bonafide doctor in every sense of the word and could very well save your life in a clutch situation, they are not specialists in that aspect of medicine.  You need a cardiologist!  In hair care, some cosmetologists, while experienced in hair in general, are better suited for particular aspects of hair care like coloring, weaving or working with natural hair.  You would much rather her tell you this now than to have her later mishandle your hair unintentionally.

2.)  “Um, but your texture is not _______ enough.”

You can fill in the blank with anything at this point—curly, strong, soft, thick, loose, etc. No matter what word they use here, it’s bogus. Whatever you have IS enough.  If this person cannot see it, they aren’t going to help you see it either when you are feeling doubt or fear on your journey.  Doubt and fear are normal emotions for transitioners and new naturals to experience— you don’t need anyone else feeding that emotion.  Any hair type or texture can be worn and styled the way it grows from the scalp.  The ugly cousin of this statement is “Your hair is too________.”  No matter how this discouragement is presented, avoid, avoid, avoid the messenger.  I have very low tolerance for people who say something “can’t” be done based on their limited worldview- whether it’s in hair care or anywhere else in life.  Instead of telling me how it can’t be done, use that same energy to help me figure out how it can be- or point me in the direction of someone who can actually help.

3.)  “Why? “  or “Are you sure?”

Now, “why” and “are you sure” are not always bad questions to ask (in fact, they can be quite helpful)— but they can be loaded questions depending on your stylist’s body language and tone.  He/she may be genuinely curious about your reasons for starting the transition (or chopping your hair) which still, in most circles, goes against the grain.  But you know when, “Why?” is being used as a weapon of discouragement.  If your stylist cannot understand why you would personally decide to eliminate chemicals from your hair care routine, this may not be the stylist for you.  Whether your stylist is relaxed or natural, a good stylist will recognize your freedom to wear your hair in any state that suits your fancy. ( Even if she personally doesn’t care much for the style.)

While it’s okay to question or offer up objections to some of your hair care whims, in the end, your stylist should work with you to further YOUR hair care goals.  Your stylist should carefully point out the potential problems and benefits of any hair care change— and if you still decide to move forward, he/she should help you preserve your hair as well as possible in the altered condition.  That’s what you pay for!

4.)  Over the Top Reactions

Occasionally, you’ll encounter “over the top” reactions to your decision to transition—even in a professional (or should I say, not so professional) hair care establishment. Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, wrong or small for making your own hair care decisions is unacceptable in a professional establishment.  I’ve even heard of some stylists calling on other nearby clients and stylists within earshot to discourage the would-be transitioner from their goal.

Girl, did you hear Pam say she wants to go natural! What? With this thick stuff? *picking through Pam’s hair in disgust*

If your stylist is not supportive of your hair care decisions—especially ones that you believe are better/healthier for you— drop her and find one who can offer you the support you need to stay the course.  While you cannot readily exchange parents, inlaws, siblings and other family who aren’t supportive of your decision— you can easily find a new stylist!

Awesome article, and so true! Ladies, when did you realize that you had to give your stylist the boot?

Audrey Sivasothy is a Houston-based freelance writer, health scientist and author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care (available on Amazon.com & Barnes&Noble.com).

For more insight from The Science of Black Hair— relaxed, natural or in between, visit us on the web atwww.blackhairscience.com and on facebook & twitter.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
31 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
LBell
LBell
9 years ago

This is an easy one: I knew I wanted to go natural, but I didn’t know how to go about it, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to chop off all my hair. I did know that I didn’t want to do what my friend did, which was transition under braids for two years. I told my stylist I wanted her to texturize my new growth instead of relax it. The first time, it worked…but the second time, my new growth went completely straight. When I asked her how long it would take me to go natural doing this, she… Read more »

cocobakerchica
cocobakerchica
9 years ago
Reply to  LBell

I can absolutely +1 this! I went natural in the 90’s myself, and while there were some hair magazines doing articles on natural hair care, the emphasis was mostly on braided styles and locs. Even floating the idea of going natural to a stylist in those days got the scrunchy face and a “Why?”(and not in the curious, non-judgmental way!). I ended up transitioning with braids, and never looked back.

denise
denise
9 years ago
Reply to  LBell

lmbo @ ‘before the “revolution” took off’. I love that line.

unfortunately most black hair stylists only know how to handle straight hair. in hair schools white hair is the standard. sadly, they dont even know how to handle their own peoples hair. she probably saw that texturizer as a way to make her job easier. Thank God for YouTube.

Katnap
Katnap
9 years ago

During my “creamy crack” days (long, long ago), I gave a stylist the boot when she told me that if I didn’t come in every six weeks on the dot for my touch-ups, she would have to charge me more because she would have to use more product on my hair!

complexlady
complexlady
9 years ago

I knew I couldn’t go back to my stylist when I wanted a flat iron just as a special occasion and she proceeded to discuss how I needed to come in every 2 weeks to KEEP doing it because my hair was too dry and natural hair was ugly and unkept looking. Bye boo!

Zyaran
Zyaran
9 years ago

But you have some good hairstylist out here as well that do good on natural hair like “Napngo” if only I lived in her state. Check out the clients that she has done in this video of her work
Titled:Natural Stylez by Chi-Chi #2

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej22A1xEFdU&feature=channel_video_title

Zyaran
Zyaran
9 years ago

I would say when it’s time to leave a hairstylist, is when their constantly late n then get an attitude with you if you happen to be late. Also, when you tell them you’re tenderheaded and to be gentle with your locs and washing your head at the shampoo sink. I have a sensitive head, and it’s kinda big 🙂 so I don’t like to have my head up while their scratching and washing. I’m like yep biatch got one more time, or I make sure to not tip as well.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

Just four?

Ugh! I’ve divorced so many.…here are some signs though

1. The only styling tool they use is a rat-tail comb. Does that ish look like it works on my hair?!
2. You’re sure they’re dissing your hair in their language. Mm-hmm…
3. They always MAKE you bring your own easily available haircare products. Shea moisture? Really? You CAN NOT buy that knowing damn well ALL your clients use it?
4. They dip their fingers in suspect vats or jars of anything.

intelligentblackbeautiful
intelligentblackbeautiful
9 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

+1 on the rat tail comb… My hair isn’t extremely long but it is thick and full of beautiful kinks! I barely use the tail of the comb in my hair to part it from fear that the tail will break off and never be seen again!!!

helloELO
helloELO
9 years ago

+1 for the 4th point, a stylist put a relaxer on my natural hair without my permission. I had to cut it by my mother , the only stylist that i can actually trust!

AJ
AJ
9 years ago

The stylists I’ve been going to seem to be so un-professional these days. There are a lot of one-way stylists. I just tried a new stylist where her website looked professional and I needed my daughters hair braided and I needed a trim. For my daughter, she did a wonderful job in the braiding and braid style I wanted. But for me, who is natural, she did the trim and that’s it. She did not offer to moisturize my hair with water or product so that it can get back its natural curls. Instead, she allowed me to leave her salon… Read more »

Bethany
Bethany
9 years ago

I’m so sad that people have had bad hairdressing experiences. I’ve had less than positive ones but only because of lack of knowledge. My stylist here is white and before I come in for an appointment she’ll go to a bunch of natural hair blogs to research the latest styles and trends. She even made her husband watch Good Hair with her on a date night! I’m her guinea pig and I know it and she has given me discounted services because of it. Not every haircut has been perfect, but I love her and she has such a supportive… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Bethany

That is very cool!

YRRUCS
YRRUCS
9 years ago

I recently told my hairstylist if she can transition me into going natural (I have a relaxer and don’t want to do the Big Chop) She said yes and was more excited than me! I noticed that a lot of her clients are natural and she does a press and curl on them. I’m nervous and excited at the same time to see where my natural hair journey will lead me.

Gaelle
Gaelle
9 years ago

I remember the initial reaction my stylist had when she found out I wanted to go natural. I went to the hair salon after the normal 2–3 week interval for flat ironing when my mom told her with an exasperated sigh “Look here, I have a problem. She wants to go natural.” To which my stylist responded “What!? She wants that nappy hair!?” Yeah.… indeed I do ma’am lol. This was followed by a session of reasons why I shouldn’t, what my hair could/could not do, and plenty of reassurances that it “wouldn’t look good” on me. I was pretty naive… Read more »

nelle
nelle
9 years ago

when you walk in the door and he/she takes a deep breath, sighs and/or rolls their eyes & sucks their teeth.

terrielou
terrielou
9 years ago

When my hairdresser got an attitude when I told her I was going natural,(Her hair is natural)because she could no longer charge me those outrageous prices she charges!! She commented that the USA is going down the tubes because Americans(like me)don’t buy or patronize Americans.I love my natural hair and I’m enjoying all of the products on the market for natural hair.My hair is healthy,thick and is growing out very long.I have been natural for 11 mos now.Best decision I ever made!

denise
denise
9 years ago

i swore off hair stylists (except braiders) for the most part in my relaxed days. i always left the shop disappointed. I can mess up my hair on my own. Like AJ said, there is an overall lack of professionalism and care. I always found that older stylists were much more respectful and knew how to handle natural hair much better than the younger ones. I swore off the african hair braiders after learning to do kinky twists on YouTube. $100 back in my pocket and my hair line is much happier. unless I feel like a weave, i dont go.… Read more »

skyblue
skyblue
9 years ago

I been thinking of going natural my hair meets in the center of my back right before the bra line ! I went to the beauty salon told the lady cut my hair off I was going natural. She refused straight out FLAT ” No ” I was outraged that I wanted a specific service and not getting it she stated that you have ” good hair “! what is ” good hair” ? Please explain . Basically , I got a free condition I refused to pay her. The next week I took the scissors and cut my own… Read more »

ReeRee
ReeRee
8 years ago
Reply to  skyblue

I went through the exact same thing, My stylist continually refuse to cut my hair, mines was passed my bra long, thick and healthy, but I was tired of the white crack (perm) I cut off my own hair too and left especially after she kept trying to perm my hair time after time after letting her know how serious I was for this transition.…. I knew it was time to shake when she went from 40$ within a week to 80$ for entire set without notifying any of her clients.….. She didn’t only loose me as a client but… Read more »

Jaeda Barbie
9 years ago

I had a good stylist, but although she was natural, she was a natural who always flat ironed her hair and I never saw her style curly hair. She was a sweetheart, but part of the joys of being natural is not needing to go to stylist. So, I became my own stylist and my hair is the best, it has ever been.

duval
duval
9 years ago

Does anyone have a problem with other customers in the salon? I’m good when I get my hair trimmed curly but when I get it blown out to trim I feel like a science project — everyone stares, some in amazement and some in judgement — ESPECIALLY when I don’t get it blow dried completely straight and leave without a “style” (currently at that awesome 6 inches length). One stylist says “I love your hair” while another grimaces with other stylists watching to see if she can handle the thickness. I feel like a stunt and the stylist is the… Read more »

Ce Ce
Ce Ce
9 years ago

About 2 years ago I found what I thought was an awesome natural hair salon. The salon owner did my hair in two strand twist a few times and I was so pleased. My hair did not even reach the top of my ears-it was short. What really pissed me off was that this great natural stylist passed me off to a young, unprofessional lacking any talent stylist. I showed up for my appointment and she called the other stylist saying your appointment is hair. I was like, whuh? The young stylist did my two strand twist and they unraveled… Read more »

Jasmine
Jasmine
9 years ago

There is this salon I used to go to when I was relaxed. I thought that maybe I could go the them, to get my hair done for prom. I asked a specific beautician, if she did natural hair She ased if I had “Natural natural hair or Nappy Natural hair?” I laughed, it off (mainly because I was caught off gaurd with that question.) So she told me first come first serve. So I detangled my hair before going up there. I waited 6 hrs for her to do my hair and she still didn’t do it. She had… Read more »

Ce Ce
Ce Ce
9 years ago
Reply to  Jasmine

Oh, my goodness! Seriously, some of these stylist think that they can just act rudely towards customers. I guess she had enough customers, so she could afford to lose you as a client. Acting like that I would predict that her business won’t survive. Here in the Washington DC area where I live more and more people are wearing their natural hair. We have a lot of hair salons and natural hair studios that serve both natural and relaxed clients. What an ignorant person! What is “natural natural” hair anyway? I tell you one thing I would let EVERYONE I… Read more »

eve
eve
9 years ago

my most ridiculous story is the hair stylist i went to to fix the lopsided man-fro i was given at the barbershop (where i had only asked for a trim around the ears). she kept adding product (but no water) and pulling on my hair telling me that was the only way to “loosen my curls”. she seemed utterly perplexed that tousling my TWA with gel didn’t make it fall into lovely loose curls. (now this is a Black woman, lol). Then she started applying product around my hairline and pressing hard — explaining i had “baby hairs” and this was… Read more »

trackback

[…] = ”; } hair school right here! hair styling schools Tips & Guide!4 Signs It’s Time To Say Goodbye To Your Stylist /* Begin Contact Form CSS */ .contactform { position: static; overflow: hidden; width: 95%; } […]

AVIA
AVIA
7 years ago

I have always had fine hair that produced loose curls so I’ve always been natural. 1‑because relaxers never took (they either didn’t do anything but dry out my hair or made all my hair fall out)2‑weaves wouldn’t stay in my hair (the braided/sewed in weaves ALWAYS started falling out within a few days and I refused glue). Other than twice a year for a trim and a little pampering I didn’t go to the stylist. While I was living in Atlanta(I thought it was the black hair capital of the world) I started going every couple of weeks and was… Read more »

Missy
Missy
6 years ago

Yesterday was the day I officially said good by to going to stylists and letting someone do my hair period. I only go once a year to get my hair straightened.This time I wanted my ENDS dyed. When I came back home, I was almost in tears. I wanted my ends dyed purple. I’ve had one bad experience with this stylist dying my hair (orangish pink instead of plum red, but was 2 years ago and I assumed she’d gotten better. Plus her boss told her how to mix it. It didn’t come out now where near purple. The results looked… Read more »

Britt
Britt
5 years ago

My stylist has been doing my hair since I was natural as a kid at 9 and was the one who relaxed it when I decided to at 12. Then when I started high school she suggested going natural but I waited until after I graduated. She has experience with natural hair and has dealt with both textures of my hair. I don’t think I’ll be able to find a better stylist. She has been doing my family’s hair for 10 years now.

Odel
Odel
5 years ago

I’ve had bad experiences with stylists on a whole. Almost every stylist that I have been to have slapped me with #2’s cousin. “Your hair is too thick!” Then they went on a rampage to ensure that I left their salon with substantially less hair.

I’ve been natural all my life and I thought I had no choice but to have my hair torn, burned and broken by bad stylists. But, thankfully, I saw the light. I have not let a stylist in my hair for 5 years and my hair is the healthiest it’s ever been.

31
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart