I got to New York City yesterday afternoon and already got swept up into fashion week fabulousness! Last night’s first stop – a hair, makeup and pampering session at the Aveda Advanced Academy.

First – the BEFORE picture.

So many of my favorite beauty bloggers were in the house – it was like a fabulous class reunion! Kristin Booker and Reese of FashionStyleBeauty, Andrea Arterbery of The Glamazons (and Glamour, heyyyyy!), Amber AKA Glambr, Krasey Beauty, Eileen of Miss Whoever You Are, Felicia Sullivan, Dina of Eye 4 Style and Felicia of This That Beauty were all getting their dose of pampering. Mojitos and rojitos (made with pureed strawberries and agave!) were flowing freely, and organic hors d’oeuvres were there for the taking.

After a few moments of mingling, we were ushered over to the stylists where – we were informed – they’d be doing our hair. I felt a twinge of panic. My past Aveda experiences (which were before I even started blogging!) were not the best. But the Aveda stylists all smiled welcomingly and many of them complimented my hair. None of that feeling of oh-no-what-will-we-do-with-THIS. Everyone was down with the kinky coily naturalness of me. I had no idea that TWO award winning stylists were about to work their magic on me!

Aveda lead stylist – the award winning Allen Ruiz – sat me down in his chair and ran his fingers through my hair. “Well we can do a blow out, some smoothing…” he started out saying.

“Well, my blog is called Afrobella. So I don’t…”

“Gotcha! We’ll give you a scalp massage, shampoo, twist, and fluff it out.”

Allan got me right away!

A lovely gentleman at Aveda (whose name I unfortunately do not have, but we had a great conversation!) let me choose my favorite scented oil – that’d be the peppermint and camomile blue oil. Then he gave me a scalp, neck and shoulder massage to DIE for, before leading me to the shampoo sink.

Please note – before this all I’d tried was Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo. I learned that is WAY too drying of a formulation for my hair type. Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo and Damage Remedy Restructuring Conditioner are the way to go for naturalistas wanting moist, lush coils.

After that I was led back to Allan, and BOTH guys got to work on me. As it should be! Hayyyyyy **snaps in a z**

Allan’s technique can only be described as deft. He twisted my hair neatly and perfectly. At first I was like – I could do this at home! Then I noticed the precision and neatness of his technique and was like….some things are better left to the professionals!

Allan is FOCUSED!

Completed twists! And a concerned expression.

After my hair was twisted, they put me to dry under the craziest hair dryer I’d ever seen. It orbited around my head like the rings around a planet, emitting heat and drying my coils without overwhelming them with blasts of air. After my hair was completely dry… Aveda’s Creative Director, Antoinette Beenders, British Hairdresser of the Year 2004, styled my hair herself. YES.

The mastermind behind the hairstyles for shows such as Christian Siriano, who has worked with the likes of Alexander McQueen (and was wearing his signature skull scarf) – styled my hair and LOVED my hair. She made me feel like a princess, honestly.

Antoinette lovingly unfurled and unspiralled every twist, leaving me with a perfectly tousled head of ringlets.

From left to right – that’s Antoinette, me, the lovely man who gave me a massage to remember forever, and Allan. My new Aveda friends!

AND my AFTER pic!

(These pics were taken by so many different cameras! My camera, my phone, Felicia’s phone, Reese’s phone…thanks everyone!!)

I definitely let my new friends at Aveda know, I don’t think natural haired women of color realize that Aveda can work for US. And they wanted me to let my readers know it can! My Aveda experience last night was utterly amazing and changed my thoughts completely – they turned it OUT and I’m gonna do my best to keep this style flawless for the rest of New York Fashion Week! Thanks to Antoinette, Allan and the whole team for being so wonderful!

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COMMENTS

nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
September 9, 2010, 9:49 am
WOW! You look bellissima. I use the Rosemary Mint shampoo. It's not drying for me but I should try the shampoos you mentioned and see if there's a difference.
Tina says:
September 9, 2010, 9:50 am
Look great!
felicia yvette says:
September 9, 2010, 9:51 am
Pretty! I've had AWFUL experiences w/ Aveda too... but maybe it wouldn't hurt to try again. :)
Moni says:
September 9, 2010, 9:51 am
Bella! It's great to have you here in NYC! I have to say, the Aveda team did a fantastic job on your hair! I wonder if they work wonders on thick coarse hair as well? Well only one way to find out...going online to find the academy! Thanks for the heads up! Kudos to the team! : ) Enjoy NYC while you are here!
Alisha says:
September 9, 2010, 9:52 am
Love it! Very pretty! Enjoy NYFW!
Karel - Outlish Magazine says:
September 9, 2010, 9:53 am
Patrice you look so, so, so pretty. Loves it. They did a great job. When your hair is natural you always feel a bit of fear when putting yourseld in a hairdresser's hands. That's why I always did mine myself when I wore mine natural. They did an awesome job. Looks like the fun has already begun in NYC :D
V.E.G. says:
September 9, 2010, 9:53 am
I'm tempted to hop on a plane tonight so that I can get that same exact team to do my hair tomorrow!
Jay says:
September 9, 2010, 9:54 am
Who would have known!!!!? I am convinced now, thanks Bella! Your hair came out wonderful.I may have to look into an appointment with Aveda. How were their prices?
SanTara says:
September 9, 2010, 9:56 am
Oh I love it!! I have been dating Aveda off and on for years but I tend to cheat with other brands. I Must try the products you suggested but i will have to pass on trying to set it myself. My arms just won't up up lol. You look amazing as always, the plum lips are GORG!! How did it keep overnight?
NikStar says:
September 9, 2010, 9:59 am
Absolutely LOVE the hair! I'm so glad that they were able to keep your curls. It's really beautiful!
Olivia says:
September 9, 2010, 10:00 am
Love love love the look! This is awesome & thank so much for sharing & taking the photos! Your hair is beautiful & its growing growing growing! New lengths means a new beautiful journey! Enjoy yourself in NYC :-)
KindredSmile says:
September 9, 2010, 10:04 am
This was a major eye-opener! Thanks so much for sharing.
Tasha says:
September 9, 2010, 10:05 am
I've decided that I want to marry Allen. Your hair looks gorgeous and if he's willing to be my husband....he will have every right to twist my hair as much as he wants. Mmm mmmm.
TWS The Unagency says:
September 9, 2010, 10:08 am
Love it. The hair and makeup looks great! Looks like you're having fun.
Julia says:
September 9, 2010, 10:08 am
I love Aveda. There Damage Remedy products are amazing.
Roxanne says:
September 9, 2010, 10:12 am
Love your hair! What a fabulous day of pampering. I agree. Some things are better left to professionals. I am amazed at how quickly my stylist can twist or coil my entire head. It is so worth the money. LOL @ Tasha's marriage proposition for Allen. Smart woman!
Chai says:
September 9, 2010, 10:19 am
Aveda brings back good memories from the first time I went natural....LOVE their products! They're always changing, and improving their line of goodies...whenever i'm feeling my hair needs an extra dose of fancy, I pull out my Aveda stash! Your hair looks fabulous!!
Reina says:
September 9, 2010, 10:30 am
Simply GORGEOUS!
Shones says:
September 9, 2010, 10:32 am
@Tasha - LOL! Bella, you look mah-velous. Seriously, that is a bangin twist out. Googling Aveda in NC...
Andy says:
September 9, 2010, 10:33 am
All I can say is WOW! just wow! Great to know that the AVEDA folks were able to treat your hair as it should be treated.
Dasheen Magazine says:
September 9, 2010, 10:35 am
Bella! You look beautiful! I pass my local Aveda Academy/Salon every day like an exam. Might need to stop and consider. :) I'm happy you're off to such a great start! Keep the posts coming.
Neems says:
September 9, 2010, 11:03 am
Your hair looks amazing. I would have never guess Aveda could do that. Maybe it's time to treat myself to an appointment in the salon. I wish I had tickets to just one NYFW, event! Lincoln Center is the place to be this weekend.
Heather Jones says:
September 9, 2010, 11:03 am
Just breathtaking, I'll be heading to NYC in October I'll have to make an appointment.
@laura_luna says:
September 9, 2010, 11:06 am
you look wonderful! Kudos to the AVEDA team! Hope you have a blast this week! xoxo
pets says:
September 9, 2010, 11:08 am
You look AMAZING! Can I get an autograph you celeb you! :) What a wonderful way to start NYFW 2010.
Living Fly on a Dime says:
September 9, 2010, 11:10 am
I L-O-V-E it. Too fab!
Orange Star Happy Hunting says:
September 9, 2010, 11:38 am
They did a great job, who knew right, and I hope you are having SOOOOO much fun @ fashion week and collecting some glam goodies along the way!
Raycal says:
September 9, 2010, 11:50 am
Love it! Your hair looks amazing!
BeautyXchange says:
September 9, 2010, 11:54 am
They did an awesome job! What styling product was used on your twists?
gina says:
September 9, 2010, 1:02 pm
OMG! Not that you weren't lovely before, but I am *loving* those ringlets! I'm tempted to cut this out, take it to my stylist tomorrow and say, "Make my hair do THIS."
Luna says:
September 9, 2010, 1:07 pm
I love Aveda! I'm also happy to see you had such a great time & that they did what you wanted with your hair. It's hard to feel comfortable when you just know they don't get it. What you shared here is a positive experience for us curlies who live naturally & love it! Thanks so much!
Hayley Wigham says:
September 9, 2010, 1:41 pm
So ist es, oder wie man so sagt: good read
Queen of Sheba says:
September 9, 2010, 1:49 pm
LOVE your hair--but love even MORE their attitude and skill.
Stacy says:
September 9, 2010, 2:07 pm
I love Aveda! I use their Be Curly Enhancer and Curl Control. Haven't tried the Dry Remedy shampoo/conditioner, but will now put it on my list. Love your hair!
BlackBetty says:
September 9, 2010, 3:28 pm
Wow what a fabulous complete look. Can you tell us more about your makeup and outfit as well. Cute dress! Other than the Aveda Remedy products, did they use anything to hold the twists or give it shine?
Kweenie says:
September 9, 2010, 5:37 pm
It looks lovely. I've been curious about the local Aveda salon in my town in Florida. Will have to go by one day and see if they have anyone that can and has worked with natural hair. :)
Ria says:
September 9, 2010, 5:56 pm
OMG- Your hair is fabulous!
alicia e. says:
September 9, 2010, 5:57 pm
You look lovely. Thanks for sharing your Aveda experience. I am glad it was such a good one!!
Dine says:
September 9, 2010, 5:57 pm
Your hair looks amazing. Was it expensive? I live in NY I might have to make an appointment.
CurlyKye says:
September 9, 2010, 6:15 pm
Simply GORGEOUS! I really love it!
Sweetdrk1 says:
September 9, 2010, 6:19 pm
Absolutely beautiful! I love it!
warrior11209 says:
September 9, 2010, 6:39 pm
You look marvelous !! May give Aveda a try
Dad and Mom says:
September 9, 2010, 7:46 pm
Your mom says that your hair reminds her of your toddler years. You look simply marvelous. Enjoy the experience. D&M
Amber (Brown Bombshell Beauty) says:
September 9, 2010, 8:41 pm
OMG! Patrice your hair looks AMAZING!! I, too, have had some less than desirable Aveda experiences, but have heard that their Damage Remedy Conditioner is great for natural hair. After seeing this, I may have to give it a try, and stop by the Academy when I get to NY! And kudos to the staff at Aveda for knowing how to style and care for hair of all types and textures!
Nia says:
September 9, 2010, 10:38 pm
WOW! Your hair is BEAUTIFUL!!! Im going dwtn Seattle and find the products tomorrow. Thanks for posting your experience. Enjoy your time in NY. Please post your fav fashions trends. Oneday, I will make it to fashion week.
bella says:
September 10, 2010, 12:43 am
I promise to do makeup and outfit posts. And to find out about additional products too!
flygyrl72 says:
September 10, 2010, 1:41 am
Very nice Bella! They did a great job!
Tamara says:
September 10, 2010, 8:07 am
Just browsing your website and saw this post. Your hair looks so pretty! It has inspired me to see if I can find a (Aveda) salon in the metro Detroit area that can do this with my hair. It looks like my hair is not as thick as yours but I'm willing to search it out. My question is this: how can I know FOR SURE that the salon can work with African American hair? I've called such salons before and asked if they do "my" kind of hair (with descriptive details, of course!) but when I get there, they look quite clueless. I'd appreciate any guidance.
Niki says:
September 10, 2010, 9:35 am
Yur hair looks fab! Even your little twists look cute enough to wear out!
Tamm says:
September 10, 2010, 10:17 am
Woman, you have wonderful hair style and attitude to boot! I have tried Aveda products and I don't really like the way my hair or scalp feels afterward!
Stephanie B says:
September 10, 2010, 2:20 pm
You look beautiful, they really did a great job on your hair. I love the texture of your hair, I have locs so I will not be running over to the Aveda salon near me any time soon, although I do use their Brilliant Humectant Pomade (moisturizes, defines coarse hair)and I love it! I also use their Aveda LoveTM Pure-Fume Absolute (perfume oil), it's light and spicy.
Mishara says:
September 10, 2010, 5:58 pm
@ Tasha- I cracked up! I too have flirted with Aveda products. I tried the dry remedy shampoo but the salon was out of the conditioner that works with it. I liked it. But was not wowed. I bet my hair would be breathtaking if I could use the full line or get it styled by them. But using one product out of the bunch, left me feeling ho-hum :) Btw Afrobella you look great!
Mzmillion says:
September 10, 2010, 6:32 pm
OMG, the fact that they knew EXACTLY what to do has me wanting to run up and make an appt. Very impressive... how did you snag the pampering....
@MsSiaNyorkor says:
September 10, 2010, 8:55 pm
this is all kinds of awesomeness! i <3 what they did with your hair but even better, i <3 that they weren't afraid. kudos to Aveda!
Martina says:
September 11, 2010, 9:52 am
Love it. I use Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer and I love it. I never thought to enter an Aveda salon though for fear that they wouldn't take the time to twist my entire head (thick and dense hair). Love the look.
Carmen Cardoza says:
September 11, 2010, 4:13 pm
The 'after' results were fantastic, but I do have to say that I think the 'before' do was pretty fab too. I live in Orlando, FL and had my hair cut by a student at the Aveda Institute. It was pretty unnerving, but I was pleased with the results.
GLAMOUR says:
September 11, 2010, 10:26 pm
WOW! WOW! WOW! I'm impressed that a) they weren't scared of your hair and b) it turned out beautifully! So awesome!
M.C. says:
September 12, 2010, 3:03 am
And note how gorgeous your hair looked in the twists, too! You had nothing to be concerned about there. Your hair is lovely. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing AVeda exerience. Good for them for making their stylist education so complete. This is the way it could be everywhere.
Chanel says:
September 12, 2010, 6:48 am
Oh wow! I didn't even know they did natural hair at their salons. They really did do an excellent job. I'd love to have them work their magic on me sometime! Which location was it?
Lateefah says:
September 12, 2010, 9:11 am
What product did they use to twist your hair?
Debbie says:
September 12, 2010, 1:17 pm
Beautiful!! Loved your hair before, and really loved it after!! I have my hair coloured at a UK aveda salon (Leicester) but usually don't get it it styled there. It's so disappointing because the stylists don't seem to understand or care to learn how to style my natural hair without blow dry/flat iron, which I avoid. The fact that Allan and Antoinette embraced and loved your natural hair is refreshing and inspiring.
agnes says:
September 12, 2010, 5:05 pm
looking great! glad you had a good experience. when you return from your travels, be sure to check out free your mane products -just launched this week. the best of nature and science. check out on facebook for more info. ps: they're doing special launch promotions..check it out...i love the line. has anyone else out there tried it yet?
Roshanne says:
September 12, 2010, 5:15 pm
Beautiful!!!!! Ive been wanting to go to the Aveda Salons for A While now.. I wonder if the ones in Oak Brook can produce the same results!!! But its Simply Beautiful...
Karla says:
September 12, 2010, 7:35 pm
Gorgeous! I think we have a similar hair type. Maybe I'll check out my local Aveda...
TanG says:
September 12, 2010, 8:57 pm
OMG! Love the after look...it's gorgeous!
E-fresh says:
September 12, 2010, 10:56 pm
Looks great B, and it looks like you had a lot of fun too.
Sasha-Shae says:
September 12, 2010, 11:31 pm
That came out really nice!! I should pay an Aveda store a visit sometime and see how it works out.
b. says:
September 13, 2010, 8:19 am
Awesome! I must say that I kinda wish you had worn the twists for a few days...you look so cute in them and your eyes just shine in that photo. Lovely results and I hope someone in charge of the Aveda Institutes sees this post and trains more of their staff in natural hair.
ProfessHer says:
September 13, 2010, 9:33 am
No need at ALL to look "concerned" at your coils/twists; they look AMAZING! I think this might be a look you could consider when doing a version of a "kept"/pinup/lower key/high fashion style. To these eyes? You look sweet, demure, pretty, and VERY "Harlem Nights" and Flapper-like, that is, old school glamorous!
Fabby says:
September 13, 2010, 9:51 am
I have never considered the Aveeda salon as a place to get my natural hair done. You look fabulous!
Blackbird821 says:
September 13, 2010, 12:17 pm
You look great! Can you please tell them to send some folks who can do that to the Aveda in Bethesda, MD? :-)
sugar plum says:
September 13, 2010, 8:54 pm
I'm a natural belle and currently a student at an AVEDA institute. We embrace all types of hair. Many of my classmates are so intigued by natural hair. If you get a chance check out the ddamage remedy daily hair repair (its a leave in I use about once a week). You'll love it!
Tempost says:
September 14, 2010, 12:21 pm
I've had my hair colored with Aveda products and it was the best color I'd ever had. They used 3-4 different shades and over the next year it just grew out like it was naturally lightened. I loved it. I've not used too many of the products, I remember the Black Malva shampoo being okay. Maybe I will go and try some new products now that I see how well they worked for you!
b. says:
September 14, 2010, 5:49 pm
Ditto that for the one in Rockville!!!
kurlybella says:
September 15, 2010, 7:44 pm
omg! i love your hair. i had my hair colored at aveda in 2009 and again this year. their color has never broken my hair off and i love it.
Miss Journey says:
September 15, 2010, 8:11 pm
Those twists were sooo neat, and your hair came out so cute. I often think the same thing "I can do this myself." But it somehow comes out a little extra special when the professionals do it (as long as they know what they're doing). It's soo comforting to find someone who gets it.
EbonyLolita says:
September 17, 2010, 9:07 am
During FNO I was able to go to the Aveda store in Columbus Square. I'm transitioning w/braids underneath a HH wig. I leave out less then an inch of hair to blend in the wig & flat iron it 2x a week. They gave me a FREE full size of the Smooth Infusion, which aids in Heat protection. I've been LOVING it and will look to other Aveda products after I complete my transition & BC in August 2011 :)
Miss Moon says:
September 18, 2010, 7:07 pm
Wow! That looked like an amazingly, pampering experience! They did a terrific job, though I must point out that the before picture was just as lovely!! OT - But I'm curious what lipstick you are wearing in the before pic? It's fabulous!
cherrylocs says:
September 19, 2010, 2:55 pm
Very good job!! I loved it before they put you under the dryer. And I would love to know the name of that dryer and possibily get one for myself!!
loatoday says:
September 20, 2010, 12:57 am
They did a great job! Thx for sharing!
A says:
September 20, 2010, 4:29 pm
Double ditto for the one at Rockville Town Center
Red says:
September 26, 2010, 6:29 pm
Hey, I love the style. It makes me supper excited because I will be starting school at Aveda in November. I was kind of concerned about their curriculum on African American hair. But I'm glad that I chose this school! Again your hair looks great!
LaLasha says:
November 24, 2010, 3:48 pm
Wow that looks really great! I hope I can grow out my hair and do that. It is really fantastic.
Melissa says:
March 17, 2011, 8:45 am
Your hair looks great. I can not wait for my Aveda experience this weekend. I am going to get a color and let them style my natural hair. Hopefully I will learn a few tips to caring and styling my hair.
nadiap says:
March 4, 2014, 6:56 pm
My hair was looking pretty dried out due to highlighting. I have used Aveda products for years. I need something different!! I'm glad I took the chance on Shielo products after reading the reviews! I also purchased the Shielo Restoration Oil, and it too, is fantastic. And, the big bonus... it costs less than Aveda & they have certified organic ingredients.

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