Before I was a hair stylist I was a DIY kitchen chemist just like many of the women who subscribe to the various online hair forums and blogs. I lived for mixing and trying new formulas and posting pictures to my Fotki account to chart my growth. My passion for researching, executing, and achieving amazing results quickly evolved from a hobby to a career. Once licensed it was off to the salon I went. I was looking to marry my years of hair forum mixology and kitchen styling with the professional beauty industry. I quickly found out that in SOME salons this combination would’t mix.
My first real job was as a shampoo and blowdry assistant at a well known hair salon that caters to African American women. Of course I tried to care for the clients as if they were my own. I talked to the ladies as I shampooed them about their scalp health, styling options, and what kind of pillowcases they slept on. Because of the factory style set up of this shop, these ladies were “everybody’s client” so I didn’t feel as if I was stepping on anyone’s toes. Unfortunately I was wrong. The manager pulled me to the side and let me know I was not allowed to fraternize with the clients and to stop using all the “good conditioner” on them. He offered me a watery alternative and said that, even for deep conditions, to only use the “good conditioner” on the people he instructed me to.
That was not the last encounter I had with this particular manager. I was rudely reprimanded for using a heat protectant on the clients prior to blowdrying. On another occasion I got the relaxer brush snatched out of my hand while trying to apply the chemical to the new growth only and was shown to part, slap, and pull. Gently detangling coily, curly natural hair was also frowned upon. And it hurt my feelings to watch improperly detangled natural hair end up on the floor and wrapped around brushes.
Whoa. This is crazy! Ladies, what are your thoughts?