fbpx

Published on Saturday November 26th, 2016 by Afrocks

Why I Hate Black Hairdressers

Sharing is caring!

Hairdressing is definitely an art form but it is also a science. While anyone can be talented and full of creativity, this can often go against what is healthy for the hair (cue rant about chemicals and tight braids).

Going through training, not a lot of focus is placed on afro hair, sure it can be picked up as an extra unit but by and large it is a topic that is not usually covered and most hairdressers can complete their studies without ever seeing a head of curls.

So where do we learn how to do our hair? My mum was a hairdresser and owned a salon back in Nigeria long before I was born. When she moved to the UK she kept this up and would freelance from home. I spent many evenings and weekends passing her rollers and pins while she curly permed my aunties hair. In fact she still has a dryer and steamer in the kitchen.

My mum hates braiding so I was always sent to one ‘aunty’ to do my hair. This consisted of spending hours sitting on the floor between a random woman’s legs as she tugged and pulled at my hair, using a wooden comb and slathering on ‘Blue Magic’ or ‘Suphur8’. A few years of this and my edges retreated. I now know this to be traction alopecia which I have mostly recovered from but my hairline is still very janky.

I was allowed to relax my hair when I got to secondary school and took control of my own hair care. This is where the nonsense really began. I had no idea what I was doing but I wanted to look nice but I also had no money so cue years of abuse via relaxers, braids, colour and products.

The onslaught did not stop there. I got a little older and could sit still which meant I was ready for the big league … yep you guessed it – The hot comb. Pre seasoned with more Blue Magic and then left to grill on an open flame in the kitchen, the hot comb is a source of fear and delight in equal measures. I was so scared of getting burned but I wanted to be able to shake my hair and have it super shiny and smooth. The louder the sizzle, the straighter the hair right, so when it hurt you knew you were about to look good. You had to get as close to the root as possible so you sit there with your shoulder hunched waiting for the pain. I only had this done for special occasions as by the time my Mum finished; my hair would be reverting back to the puff.

I was allowed to relax my hair when I got to secondary school and took control of my own hair care. This is where the nonsense really began. I had no idea what I was doing but I wanted to look nice but I also had no money so cue years of abuse via relaxers, braids, colour and products.

Anyways back to the real reason for this post – hairdressers. When I could go, my options were severely limited due to price. Choosing a hairdresser consisted of walking down Peckham highstreet and responding to cat call of “baby you want to do yo’r H’air?’ and haggling until I found a price I liked. These ladies do not lack in ability, I mean anyone who can braid individual hairs or pick hair with a length in mm is surely a master. However, style clearly came over science and while you would look fabulous you suffered greatly for it. The price does not include the facelift or the Paracetamol you will need after.

Have you ever tried to complain after spending the whole day sitting in a chair, it is now 11pm, her children are crying and you are on the inside too. I can recall more than one time I have had to go home in a hat or headscarf looking just the way I arrived.

Fast forward a few more years and I have upgraded my pockets so I can visit registered business but little did I know the game ain’t changed.
I have so many horror stories of times I have booked my appointment, arrived on time then been seen late (I mean arrive at 10, be seen at 2) had rude staff, been burnt, my hair damaged or put in a completely different style yet I still paid and went home super unhappy and broke! Have you ever tried to complain after spending the whole day sitting in a chair, it is now 11pm, her children are crying and you are on the inside too. I can recall more than one time I have had to go home in a hat or headscarf looking just the way I arrived.

I wanted to get my locs started and found a salon that had good reviews so I booked an appointment. I was not happy with the service but me being me, didn’t say anything at the time (I know, but old habits die hard and the place was busy and I had already been there much longer than I should have). I penned a polite email to the owner and she got back to me very promptly. She dismissed my points – waiting times, stylist leaving me to see others and the style not being what I wanted, by saying the salon is busy and these things happen but was apologetic. When it came to a redo she said she could give me a discount if I came back. I was highly offended. I have spent a whole day for a 2-3 hours service and you want me to come back and do it again AND STILL PAY. I did not respond further. I expected more. I gave up on wasting my money but I knew not all the hairdressers could be bad and the good ones were not all super expensive or bourgeois. I would question friends or randoms on the street and found that there were not only good black hairdressers but great ones, salons full of them.

While there is still a long way to go, I think we have to have more honest conversations about the services we are paying for. Companies and individuals need to take more of interest into where and how we spend. The black hair industry is booming and we need to take more ownership which is I why I support business like No Scrunchie, where you can leave on honest feedback. Afrocks, to book vetted independent stylist or Xsandys where we can buy from our own directly. Also as a consumer really educating yourself on your hair needs and not just trusting what you are told. There is a wealth of information out there if we look for it and we must support those who really care about the health of our hair not just the style.

Peace love and prompt appointments

 

ebuni-bw

 

Ebuni is a Freelance hairdresser from Londom
Blog: www.iamnotnappy
Instagram: ebuniajiduahhair

[wen_cta id=”1801″]

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

About Afrocks

Afrocks makes it easy to find and Book your Natural Hair Stylist. Get someone to do your hair just in a few clicks.

Subscribe to our mailing list