February 4, 2015
Early last year, my natural hair care routine took a nasty hit due to relocating for work. I moved away from New York City where natural hair salons were in no short supply. However, I was finally resigning myself to the fact that I needed to dye my hair. My gray situation had gotten out of control. These hair strands were being left to their own devices and just staged a sneak attack on my head. I couldn’t believe it. I actually started to look my age.
Yelp….Not Always the Answer for Everything
So I went online to Yelp to investigate stylists specializing in natural hair care in the new neighborhood. Now, please note: I was just going for color, no styling or anything like that. However, the lesson I learned on my appointment day was a tough yet ancient one. Never leave your natural hair care in the hands of anyone else unless you educate yourself with the styling process beforehand.
The Olden Days
In the olden days, I would interview stylists, have a consultation and interrogate them about their natural hair care strategies. During the visit, if they veered off of the discussed plan, I would remind them of our discussion or just do whatever procedure myself while in the salon chair.
Before the visit, I would ask them if I needed to prep my hair beforehand so they wouldn’t need to. Any detangling, I would do ahead of time. This method worked well for me. However, this time I did no such thing. I actually didn’t even have a consultation. I trusted the flashy web site that specifically outlined the stylist as a natural hair care specialist who had the snazzy flat hair twist style. Little did I know that the only knowledge of natural hair care she really had was on how to rip it out of my head—and with a wide tooth comb no less.
On the day of my appointment, I sat down in the chair, made some chit chat. Then, in less than five minutes, I went from bra strap to practically collar bone length hair. I still can’t believe how little time it takes to destroy something that took so long to achieve. Anyway, it was my fault mostly, not totally, but mostly. I got lazy. “Natural hair stylist” does not mean the same thing to everyone. In my case, it just means that the stylist herself had a natural hair style….. That was it.
Who Is Responsible?
Her combing techniques didn’t indicate any knowledge of the state of kinky hair. She never applied a moisturizing agent to my hair to soften it, making it easy to detangle. And I, never got up out of the chair and said goodbye. So there is responsibility to be taken on both sides. After the comb was filled with enough hair to make a wig, I finally said to her I will take the comb and do it myself. By that time, it was too late. 5 years of hair growth was now smoothed off the comb and put into the trash. I was so angry. Yet, I survived. A year later; it’s getting back to where it was. I always have these natural hair care mishaps. Just pure laziness and senility probably settling in.
The point of my sob story, is always take responsibility for your hair. A Yelp review means nothing. Your hair requires precise care. It is okay to interview the stylist as I would do many years ago and find out what their approach would be. If they have a problem with that, go to another stylist. Not all stylists are the same; if you search long enough (long enough being the key), you could find someone who can help. For stylists, time is money. And the one to two hours it would take to detangle natural hair is not worth their time. However, it is worth ours.