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8 Questions You Might Want to Ask Your New Natural Hair Stylist

Avatar • Jan 24, 2014

by Wisaal of Wiscellaneous.com

 

It’s been a while since I checked in on my fro and that’s mostly because I’m trying to just let my hair be. My hair goals remain unchanged:

  1. health &
  2. length (and in that order)

So as my fro has been growing, it’s gone in all different directions and formed many shapes (depending on the day). I mean its BIG and most days I love it. But it began to feel more and more lopsided (for lack of a better word) and not‐so‐stylish. It was particularly evident when I wore my hair out (i.e. au naturel & free of clips, hair bands etc) which is how I prefer to wear it. Then I knew there was no hiding it.

All I really wanted was a bit of a “shaping” so that it had more of a style per se. Now, I have felt like this once before and I was dissuaded from letting scissors go near my hair, but this time it was time.

So I tried calling two hairdressers, one who did my big chop back in 2012 and another one I had been curious to try for a while. Both had left the salons where I had previously met them and moved to new ones. I called their respective new salons and they’d since left there too. My stalker tendencies led me to both of their cell numbers and they told me they were now freelancing and only did house calls.

*sigh*

Since it’d taken me so long to make a decision and reach this point, I didn’t want to wait any longer. I called a salon where I had a voucher for a treatment and asked if they had anyone who could do ethnic hair well. Two hours later, I was in the salon chair.  The hairdresser was actually really lovely and listened as I laid out my case.

I left her with one message: Even things out and give me some shape. Most importantly, I do not want to lose any more length than I need to.

From the title of this post you already know that things went south. And as a matter of public service I’ve decided to collate in this single blog post everything that went wrong. Feel free to send this to your hairdresser ahead of your next appointment:

  • I’ll allow the sulphate shampoo (I am not unreasonable) buy why oh why are you shampooing my hair twice?  It really isn’t dirty at all, promise.
  • Why is the water so hot – this is bad for anyone’s hair – you know that right?
  • You don’t plan to use conditioner on my hair? You need a new plan…
  • That fine toothed comb you have in your hand. Where do you think you’re putting that?
  • You don’t have a wide toothed comb? What *exactly* do you mean?
  • I don’t understand why you’re drying my hair off with that towel so. Damn. Hard. I’m not a wet labrador & I’m not trying to run away (yet) promise.
  • Blow dry? Blow dry who? Blow dry what? Who said anything about blow drying? You’re cutting my hair curly – did you miss that part at the beginning?
  • No thank you, I don’t want that 99% silicone product “to finish off” my hair. Yes I know its fancy & expensive – do you have any coconut oil maybe?
  •  
    unnamed

    My fro that night at dinner (I went there straight from the salon).

    I wasn’t really in the mood for a photo shoot but glad the hubby snapped this anyway. My hair was poofy. Every single one of my curls had been annihilated. I tried to hide behind the menu as much as I could. On the upside there wasn’t too much length taken off.

    Ok, I feel better now that I’ve gotten it all out. Truth be told the cut/shaping itself was ok. Just ok. I wasn’t blown away but I didn’t leave in tears because she got scissor‐happy (which was my worst fear). My shape looks better. She took off probably around 3–5cms, which is fine – I can have that back in 2–3 months easy! Also, I knew I could go home, do my thing and get my curls back in an instant which isn’t how I should be thinking as I’m sitting in the salon, but hey.

    I must say that there were some positives – a comfy, oversized massage chair at the basin working some knots out of my back (which really, they most likely put there). I also liked that they put me under a steamer (I’m a major fan of steaming) for about 15–20 minutes with the treatment on my hair. Coffee/tea/water would have been nice.

    I’m sure the hairdresser (did I mention she was lovely?) was as frustrated with me as I was with the situation except that I left the salon a couple of hundred bucks down. I really didn’t want to be that client telling her how to do her job but there was no other way. I was in damage control mode.

    Anyway there really was just one lesson for the day…

    Screenshot_2014-01-15-22-20-22-1

    Be kind to my hair!

     

    Wisaal Anderson is a newbie natural living in Johannesburg, South Africa (Africa’s NYC!) She wore her hair relaxed for 14 years before she big chopped (after much deliberation) 2 years ago.Wisaal shares that she wholly underestimated how much work natural hair would be & is still learning the tips & tricks of what works & what doesn’t. Her only regret? Not going natural sooner! Keep up with Wisaal on Twitter: @Wisaal and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wiscellaneous

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    Rocking Those Short Hairstyles For Over 50 With Glasses | Short Hairstyles and CutsMy fro's been featured on Black Girl with Long Hair! | WiscellaneousNikiDarlyn DysonAnonSince87 Recent comment authors
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    JENNID
    Guest
    JENNID

    The sad truth is that most salons just don’t know how to do our hair in its natural state. Plus many are very by the book hence the really warm water, lather rinse and repeat and the silicone serum ( which I’m assuming is for antifrizz). Problem is that book was not written with Afro textured hair in mind. I think salons need workshops deticated to our hair. We all should be able to walk into a salon and get a basic wash condition and hair cut without having to fight about improper tools, heat damage and the use of… Read more »

    Andie
    Guest
    Andie

    This was so entertaining! It was lighthearted, humorous, and oh‐so true–finding a natural hair salon where they actually use wide tooth combs, gentle products, and don’t want to give you a second big chop as a “trim” is like finding a needle in a haystack.

    lablooplah
    Guest
    lablooplah

    I thought you hair looked nice in that picture (?) Anyway I give my self my own hair cuts. It works for me.

    Boyhead
    Guest
    Boyhead

    I wash, detangle and put my own heat protectant leave in — BEFORE I let my stylist cut my hair… just easier and I don’t have to have anxiety. I get my ends trimmed, she blows it out, flat irons it 1x every 4 months and my hair is healthy. I use products my hair likes — and this goes against the “natural hair rules” — lol. Who cares…

    But, I’ve had my own crazy hair salon experiences — not just with my natural hair, but when I was relaxed — so, you live and learn.

    LBell
    Guest
    LBell

    My heart stopped when you said you spent a couple hundred DOLLARS on the visit. Then I saw you were living in Jo‐burg but STILL…I’m glad your hair turned out fine but I need a defibrillator over here… I’ve learned from experience (here in the States) that calling it “ethnic hair” over the phone isn’t enough. You have to say “natural Afro‐textured hair” so that they understand exactly what you’re talking about, and you have to be crystal clear about what service(s) you want. Then when you walk in you and your hair can look the stylist in the eye… Read more »

    stephanie
    Guest
    stephanie

    Aaaaaaand this article is why I have not been back to a salon since I chopped off my hair 2 years ago. Natural hair isn’t that huge yet in my city and I don’t trust the “natural” stylists here. When I’m ready I’ll do some heavy investigating and make a road trip to a larger city.

    teetee
    Guest
    teetee

    Why do people go to salons and just sit there and let the stylist do whatever they want to them? Not me I have brought my own shampoo conditioner check sometimes shown up with deep conditioner with a plastic cap and told them to just rinse it out no kidding. I have given instructions beforehand and let it be known I will not walk out of here until it’s how I want it to look I am paying you after all.

    Flynfab
    Guest
    Flynfab

    And this is why it’s easier to learn to trim your own hair. Seriously. I haven’t been back to the salon since my BC which was over a year ago. Saves money and the heartache…

    Robin
    Guest
    Robin

    Oh man, the towel assault. That’s one big reason I’ve stayed away from hair salons for 10 years. If a terrycloth towel even looks at my hair sideways, my coils panic and break. At home, those towels are reserved for below‐the‐neck use, with my hair clipped up for safety. The towel assault is especially bad after 2 rounds of shampoo (seriously, why do they shampoo everyone twice?) under hot water. Once, back in my relaxer days, a stylist did 3 rounds to remove ALL traces of sebum, because only a squeaky clean scalp would do for her. My head was… Read more »

    LuLu
    Guest

    Sooo funny ! But you speak truth. I am way too lazy to trim my hair. It’s a fault !

    Robin
    Guest
    Robin

    Truth be told, I’m lazy about trimming too. It takes too long (for me). If you’ve tried trimming your own hair, how’d you do it? Before trimming, I section all my hair (except the nape and front edges) into layers, and them put in small‐ to medium‐sized twists until I have layered twists everywhere. Then I dust the ends. Then I gotta take aaaaallllll the twists down, and the whole time I whine “why can’t I learn to trim without putting in all these dang twists omg this is taking forever” because I have no patience for twist (or braid)… Read more »

    Pat
    Guest

    The barber shop is the best for me when it comes to shaping up!!

    LuLu
    Guest

    How long is your hair ?

    nappy headed black girl
    Guest

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. A fine tooth comb? Really?

    To me your hair looks divine in that pic. I’m glad you didn’t suffer any lost inches or damage.

    LuLu
    Guest

    I can’t believe you had to search so hard for a natural hair salon, in SOUTH AFRICA !! That’s just insane. But i am in the same on here (UK), I need my hair trimming soooo bad, but i am scared to step into a salon for the same reasons ! It’s the 21st century. Something has to change

    AnonSince87
    Guest
    AnonSince87

    I’ve heard great things about Darren Scott (london)

    Wisaal Anderson
    Guest

    Thanks for all your feedback ladies. I know this isn’t just a South African problem but it really can’t go on! For perspective 89% of the women in SA are black/mixed race and this is where we are today in 2014. The best thing I have done for myself is learn to do my own hair. I can’t trim myself and envy those of you who can. Things are getting better, just not fast enough by my standards…

    KaySB
    Guest
    KaySB

    Sorry ladies, posted to the wrong thread and can’t delete.

    cacey
    Guest
    cacey

    WHAT?! A COUPLE OF HUNDRED bucks down?!?!?!? i don’t normally cuss but…
    who the HELL pays that much JUST to have someone cut their hair?! I don’t understand. please clear this up. maybe it’s because i’ve ALWAYS done my own cuts‐ not stylist has ever cut or trimmed my hair‐ so i don’t understand why anyone would pay money to lose hair. WHAT?! did i say “what” already? can’t say it enuff!!!
    if you’re gonna pay someone to cut your hair, it most def shouldn’t cost THAT much. that’s like…an electric bill. half my rent. no way, jose!

    Niki
    Guest
    Niki

    The author resides in South Africa. The conversion rate is quite high, so her couple hundred rand(let’s say 300ZAR) would be about $27. So it is not as astronomical as it sounds.

    Thetruthisoutthere
    Guest
    Thetruthisoutthere

    My pet peeve is the scalp scrubbing shampooing with artificial nails! Stop it already, that hurts!

    My last big money salon visit to a ‘natural hair stylist’ was two years ago, and I was so upset that my hair looked worse than I went in. I give up.

    I have dropped $$$ on many occasions, looking for “the perfect stylist” who could make my hair look good

    Once I understood why my fine, medium density kinky coils could not and would not look like the girl’s on the relaxer box, I stopped the madness.

    Robin
    Guest
    Robin

    The more I think about this, the more I’m floored that there apparently aren’t many stylists in Johannesburg (of all places) who can handle natural hair. I live in Chicago. As I commented earlier, I’m sure there are a few natural stylists here and I just haven’t found ’em yet. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t many here. I do think there’s more demand here (and elsewhere in the world) for natural stylists than there were 10 years ago. I wonder how many salons and beauty schools have actually heard the demand? Maybe we all need to drive… Read more »

    Darlyn Dyson
    Guest
    Darlyn Dyson

    I went to a “natural” hairstylist who used a non wide tooth comb on my hair. I thought that she knew what she was doing since she has locs but boy was I wrong.

    She obviously needed more training, which may not have been her fault since cosmetology schools don’t really teach about Afro textured HAIRCARE. (I put it in all caps because I live in a mostly Black city with lots of Black stylists who can style natural hair, but know nothing about natural hair healthiness).

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