Hairdresser Horrors. Who Hurt You?

 

I don’t know if you’ve been reading my blog for a long time or not so forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but back in 2006 I wrote a post titled Hairdresser Horrors. It was an Ask Afrobella response to a reader who was lamenting the state of hair salons, in terms of price and professionalism. In that post I went on to detail the history of my hairdressers past. You can click here to read the whole thing – IMHO it’s one of my best written posts and someday when I write a book, that post will make it in there. I thought about that post for the first time in years, as I read the comments on Camille Reed’s guest post, 5 Hair Blogger Falsehoods Debunked by a Professional Cosmetologist.

I’ll be honest, I was kinda surprised by the comments on that post. Some were appreciative. Some were angry. Some were eloquently expressed. Some came in, guns blazing with that CAPS LOCK key firmly clicked the whole time. Some were people who – according to their IP addresses – had never even visited my blog before, but despite that fact they felt the need to tell me, “don’t write these kinds of posts anymore.”

Because of the comments and the blog posts written in response to that post, I have come to see Camille’s post as necessary. It was like ripping off a plaster from a wound and realizing the wound didn’t need the plaster, what it needed was fresh air to help it heal. We’re airing out the wound. And in doing so, we have the power to heal the wound that’s scarred the relationship between DIY natural hair and the stylists who actually are trained and studied, professional experts in caring for our hair.

How many of us have had this experience?

How many of us have had this experience?

**image of hairstylist via Shutterstock

So many of the responses were full of outrage and offense, and that let me know that some readers took that post really personally. I’d like to extend an olive branch because it was not Camille nor my intent to offend, and the response made me wonder why people seemed to be so put off by this particular post.  I’ve had people tell me it was about the tone of the article, as if it were intended to talk down to the reader. But when I read it and edited it, I didn’t see it that way at all. I saw it as Camille Reed speaking to what she’s seen in her chair from clients who have shown signs of hair damage based on what they’ve read online. She is definitely not the only professional stylist I’ve interviewed who’s spoken to me about their concerns and experiences here. She’s just the first to share it in written form on this blog.

If you’ve developed and learned methods that work for you, that’s great! I’ve got my methods I’ve learned online too! So why take offense at professional information? It’ll either work for you, or not.  You might learn something, or you might not. Why then assume that a licensed professional with so many years in the business has “no idea what they’re talking about”, or is just “worried about losing money”? I see that as projecting. That’s making an assumption based on your own interactions and experience. And it comes from having been hurt and angered by hairdressers in your past.

I get it. I’ve also been hurt by hairdressers in my past. I look back on my history of hairdressers from Trinidad to America and realized that I’ve had no shortage of bad experiences that made me want to run away from the salon.

Let me tell you who hurt ME and who kept me from wanting to go back to the stylist’s chair.

– The stylists who relaxed my hair without any kind of protective base. For years I thought it was supposed to burn like fire and my scalp was supposed to be all scabbed up after relaxers. Seriously. I could never stand the sting and the scabs. In my heart I knew there had to be a better way but I was young enough not to know how to speak out about it.

– The stylists for whom time wasn’t an issue. How many hours of my life have I spent sitting and waiting at salons in my life? TOO MANY. I especially remember a stylist in my teens who smoked and gossiped and you could easily spend 5 hours there – 3.5 of those hours spent waiting, 1.5 spent on actually doing your hair. It was so extra and so unnecessary.

– The stylist who made an offhand and under-breath, offensive remark about my natural hair, suggesting I use chicken grease to style my hair. Oh yes. That happened.

– The stylists who have changed their prices from what was listed, based on my texture of hair. That’s happened too.

– As I disclosed in Hairdresser Horrors, I came to realize one of my longest and most beloved hairstylists was – sad to admit — essentially a functional cocaine addict, and despite his talent as a stylist and his bubbly and loving personality, he did make terrible decisions that put himself and all of his clients in danger. It was sad and it was tough to witness and experience.

– The stylist who relaxed and colored and relaxed and colored and relaxed and colored my hair to the point where it was so damaged I had to essentially do a big chop for my fried, damaged beyond repair hair (see above).

– The many, many stylists through the years who quite simply gave me That Look as I walked in the salon door. You know the look. The look that lets you know they’ve judged your hair and they know it’s gonna be a lot of work for them and they probably are hoping you don’t wind up sitting in their chair. That look.

I’ve been offended, I’ve been hurt, and I’ve LITERALLY been burned before. But did those experiences scare me out of the stylist chair forever? No. Because I recognize that there are unprofessionals and hacks in every industry, and there are also true professionals out there who know what they’re doing better than I do.

Clearly I’m not a licensed and experienced cosmetologist or trichologist who can say that I’ve touched many heads of hair besides my own and can speak with knowledge about what works for everyone. I can’t say that I’ve truly studied and practiced hair science in any kind of meaningful way. I’ve figured out what works for me based on what I’ve read and what I’ve tried. That is awesome and I’m proud and happy to be part of the natural hair community. I’m proud of the fact that we share so much with each other, through forums, through blogs, through YouTube and Pinterest and Instagram and social media in general. I have learned so, so much from the online natural hair movement and I’m grateful for all of it. But does that knowledge mean that I would dismiss tidbits of knowledge from a professional? No. Although I have learned what my hair likes and what works for me, I know I can always learn something new about styling or caring for my hair.

So I told you who hurt me. I’ll also tell you who HELPED me. Because I’ve learned a lot while sitting in the stylist’s chair, too.

- I’ve learned not to scratch my scalp and to use the pads of my fingers when I shampoo. I used to be a scalp-scratcher, and I loved that feeling. But I realized I was injuring my scalp in tender places, and visiting a professional stylist showed me that gently using the pads of my fingers is way better.

– I’ve learned how to give my natural hair lift when it gets flat on top – using a rat tail comb (see last week’s Umberto experience post)

– I’ve learned that I still love hair color but it is better for me to let a professional handle that for me

– I’ve learned that I do need a shape and to regularly trim my hair so that it has the look I desire. I like my natural hair with volume at the top. I keep it more or less the same length because that is how I think my hair looks best. I’ve had some incredible haircuts that have shown me the look I want for my hair.

– I’ve learned the value of listening and communicating. There’s something beautiful about sitting with a professional and discussing your hair concerns, and having those questions answered. There’s something so awesome about coming to a stylist with a photo or an idea of a style you’re unable to execute yourself, and watching it come to life. I love those moments.

I’m gonna keep watching YouTube videos, and reading forums, and trying new products based on reviews I’ve met online. I’m also gonna keep going to stylists when I feel the need to, and I’m always gonna keep my mind and my ears and my eyes open for new products, tips, and advice for taking care of my crowning glory, where ever it comes from.

I shared my hairdresser horrors. Now please feel free to share yours! Have you ever had an experience that made you not want to go back to a salon ever again? Tell me about it! And tell me the good stories, too!

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Comments

  1. I read the previous post with the professional stylist and I WAS a bit perturbed.

    MY issue was the general sense of I AM a professional and these folks who aren’t can’t help you. This may be my own “hurts” coloring my view. There are simply too many professionals who have damaged so many of us in the name of “I know better than you” many folks simply can’t take yet another professional no matter how well intentioned telling us to listen to THEM, because they know best.

    How may ladies has she had in her chair that were damaged and left scarred by professionals?

    I think the backlash comes from years of abuse (time ,$$$, and hair) we as black women have silently suffered at the hands of “professionals”.

    While some folks on the interwebs may be dispensing misinformation or misguided advice they are still light years behind the professionals in overall damage that is being done. I believe the post would have been better received if they stylist has spoken to BOTH sides of the coin. Professionals and their misconduct and misguided folks on the interwebs.

    Now my hurt story…the stylists who for years over processed my hair and blamed ME when it repeatedly broke off in the same spot. I’ve been relaxer free for over 10yrs and I see a professional only when I feel like it.

  2. I only saw that story in relation to this one (I’m behind on my blogs). Although the post didn’t come off to me as condescending (and trust me I’m sensitive to condescension), I can see why people with a deep love for particular bloggers/vloggers or with unhealed hair wounds would have been sensitive. That being said…it’s unfortunate that people didn’t step back and breathe a bit before replying. Attacking her and making her the whipping boy for all professionals who’ve hurt you is behaving the same way professionals who hurt you did. In spaces that are specifically safe havens for us (i.e. women of color and texture marginalized my mainstream society) we should dialogue in a way that enriches ourselves and our knowledge even when we disagree. Otherwise, we just taint it with the same us vs. them malice that degrades us in the mainstream culture and media. It’s obviously an important convo that needs to continue and an arena where growth and unification could make our natural hair community even stronger.

    As for my own hair hurts…I’ve had hot combs dropped on my neck, stylists who complained the whole time about my hair being too thick and too long, relaxer burns that covered at least 1/4th of my scalp, hours upon hours upon hours of waiting, and products used on my hair that have broken it beyond repair. (That does not include the damage I’ve done to my own hair from time to time doing God-knows-what LOL).

    But I’ve also had stylists love on my hair and scalp, teach me better hair care techniques, and give me some of the best styles of my life for special occasions. I only had a relaxer for 5 years and the stylist who big chopped me gave me some of the best natural hair/life advice “It’s a journey, not a race”. So…I hope other people’s continued journey will bring them peace about the experiences that still sting and we’ll all remember there’s no competition to be right and no need to trip each other up trying to win…just enjoy the scenery and the company.

    • I took offense to the article and my issue was not based on my past hurts and there are many. My issue was the tone of the article when it came to her opinion on best natural hair practices. For example how she viewed -co washing, or the greenhouse effect, all terms that were not ‘professionally coined’ originally but have allowed for a better understanding of how to deal with our hair. I love the fact that Bella extended the olive branch because it is absolutely necessary.!

      To say that vloggers and bloggers are providing misinformation is not entirely true and that was the premise of her argument. How can you discount the work of bloggers and vloggers who are sharing their own personal experiences with a reading audience that have enough sense to make their own choices. There was even mention of a client who sat in her chair with dry hair and the blame was placed on ‘mis information from blogs and vlogs’. Her hair could have been dry for many many reasons, there is no way to tell what caused it, if it was something she read on a blog, or mis read, heard on youtube, or didnt hear, her own personal hair care issues, her hair products and how she uses them, her diet,the list goes on and on… there are a ton of reasons why her clients hair could have been dry. Yet that example was used to justify why there is mis information from blogs and vlogs. I think there needs to be a bridge (and it has already started)instead of blaming the blogger,invite the blogger to the salon and teach, teach the readers and educate with a tone that is neutral.

      My hurt story – my last relaxer the stylist left the perm in way too long and the entire middle of my hair fell out. I was going home (Jamaica) the following morning and didn’t even realize how bad it was until I made it there.

  3. Pay the money to go to high quality salons, and personally get to know the general manager or owner first thing, is all I can say. Stay away from ‘hood’ salons with stylists who might be ‘fierce’, but only put emphasis on hairstyles and not hair care and have no professional and social graces. Usually the neighborhood is a telltale sign. II learned that from my early teen years of going to stylists that operated out of their houses. I thought I was getting a good deal, but soon I’d had enough of them using my time to take care of their household business whilst doing my hair, their using OTC products from Walgreens, and their filthy roach-infested houses and using multicolored sewing thread to sew in a weave I was wearing at the time! Once I got older, I stayed away from salons that had that sort of ‘home salon ethic’ that is all to prevalent.

  4. I think the article rubbed people the wrong way because, for the first time, a lot of people found a way to care for their hair that lead to growth, fits with their schedule, doesn’t cost them an arm, leg and first born and just works. But now a professional, many whom have been against this natural hair ~thing~ because it takes women out of their chairs is telling you that everything that has worked for you is WRONG and actually hurting you and you should listen to her. There is a big disconnect and brain drain between how we care for our hair at home and the proven results from that vs. what stylists/cosmetologists tell us and until someone figures out how to bridge that gap, I don’t think anyone is going to going to be happy.

    On to the horror stories: I’ve got my own collection of burn stories, but what really rubs me the wrong way was a stylist refusing to cut my hair. Flat out refused to do it even though I scheduled my appoint with the intention of chopping my hair off AND knew from experience that he did black hair. Why? Because it was long. No “Are you sure?” questions. No “You’ve got gorgeous hair let me just shape it up so you can keep the length.” Nope. Just a flat out no. Excuse you, I dragged myself over here on a gorgeous Saturday morning for a hair cut. We already went over everything over the phone and now you WON’T cut my hair?!

  5. Although I didn’t comment on the article, this sentence is what really rubbed me the wrong way: “However, what most stylist and pros know cannot be Googled or passed down as second-hand information, without a great deal of both practical wisdom and a keen understanding of cosmetic chemistry.” If most stylists and pros really had greater wisdom and skills, we wouldn’t be sharing tons of horror stories and avoiding stylists like the plague.

    Camille seems to have good intentions, but her view of the hairstyling industry is drastically different from what most black women experience, judging from numerous conversations I’ve had and countless blog posts and message boards I’ve read. I think she would have reached more people if she had acknowledged that most stylists do not live up to her standards and that many of us have legitimate reasons for distrusting stylists, because many of them also have tons of bad practices and give out misinformation on a regular basis. A “reconciliation” between stylists and diyers requires both sides to acknowledge that neither is always right or always wrong, that both have strengths and weaknesses and that neither is a monolith (there are many diyers who do extensive research, etc).

    My hair horror stories both have to do with haircuts. One stylist barely cut my hair when I went in for a trim. The other cut a good 6 inches off when I went in for a trim. Both are unacceptable! I also have issues with MOST stylists detangling my hair. I went to a natural stylist who tried to detangle with a fine tooth comb and blow dry my hair with a comb attachment. Not happening!

    • totally agree,Im sorry but my hair isnt past my bra strap after sooooo many years of trying with a professional stylist because of ‘google’. Additionally to imply that only stylists have a keen knowledge of cosmetic chemistry felt a little insulting on both sides of the coin. If you have that knowledge then why is there so much ‘hurt’ out there? and we are all able to arm ourselves with the necessary knowledge without the use of search engines, even though they do come in very handy at times. :)

  6. Karine76 says:

    I don’t have a knee jerk negativity towards stylists but I will give a side eye to those who give out advice that can be harmful without adding some caveats. In my case, it was the bit about not washing one’s hair more then once a week that had dismiss what she had to say. Thankfully, a dermatologist told me I had to wash my hair more often as a way to clear up the inflammation that caused the bald patches I had. That info helped me to ignore the advice of a loctician who told me not to wash my hair more then once every couple of months. So even so called experts get it wrong sometimes.

    IMHO, hair care is not internal medicine. There is good advice to be found out there, whether from professional and online gurus, your friends and acquaintance or simply trial and error. Ms Reed’s words probably have gone over better had she acknowledged, as some commenters suggested and as you yourself write Afrobella, that the role stylists have themselves played that have lead to the lack of trust towards them. To me it feels that sometimes even the experts peddle the same kind of myths that the lay people spread around, only I find them more harmful because they come with their expertise badge that gives their words more weight.

    As for my own hurt, I don’t really have any standouts other then the stylist who showed up 5 hours late to our appointment, it was the final straw that got me to go natural.

    PS: I read your blog via an aggregator so I would not be surprised if my IP address shows as me visiting your blog once in a blue moon.

  7. I’m not sure why people are taking this so personally. Someone was asked to give her professional opinion on a particular topic and she did so. She wasn’t doing a pro & con type of Q&A, that was clear. And the funny thing is that when persons lash out because of negative experience with professionals, I have to wonder was that person really a professional? Did they check to see if said person recieved training, was certified? You’d be surprised how easy it is to call yourself a loctician with little training beyond personal experience and a few seminars. It’s your job to check out the person whose hands you choose to put your hands into. As CandieW said, make sure you’re recieving quality service.

  8. I wrote a long response yesterday, but it went to electronic hell which is probably for the best. I too read your blog through an aggregator which is probably why my IP doesn’t show up, but I was reading your blog before you even had a logo, so I’ve been around for a while. So called professionals have jumped on the natural hair band wagon for one simple reason; profit. Even Andre Walker, he of the texturist hair typing system has now come out with a line of natural hair products. I’d sooner put cat pee on my hair than use anything that man creates.

    Hair stylists have spent decades bullying and mistreating black women and our hair. Black women did what we’ve always done; we made a way out of no way. We created a community to support and nurture one another. Little wonder that when one of those so-called professionals had the temerity to disparage that community many of us reacted in anger.

    Of course they have to malign bloggers and “kitchen beauticians.” They’re cutting into their bottom line. Too many of us have escaped the plantation and they’re desperately trying to lure us back with the same scare tactics that made us run in the first place. I thank God in Heaven above that so many women responded as I did. Sorry, but we know too much now. We’re empowered. We’ve taken control. And no way in hell are we ever going to put our hair in the hands of those who despise and maltreat it again.

    If I have problems with my hair I know to go to nappturality, or YouTube or dozens of other places where I’m greeted with dignity and respect. Where no one sighs in anger and deliberately damage my hair because it’s length and thickness is taking too much time for them to do. The horror stories are legion and could fill a book. I’ve only shared a few of mine, but after decades of having so called professionals over-process my hair despite my protestations to the contrary, I would be a damned fool to darken their door again. Despite me telling them over and over again that I didn’t want bone straight hair, they would do it anyway. Despite me telling them that my hair doesn’t like heat, they’d come at me with that damned flat iron anyway. I don’t care what your so-called professional says, my hair LOVES water and grows like a weed when I do a wash and go in the summer time. I know my hair after fifteen years of styling it myself, and far as I’m concerned they can all go kick rocks. No one on a message board or blog has ever called my hair “too African” or said “niggers like you can’t wear natural hair,” or called me “Kizzy,” that type of debasement has only come from so called professionals. So if anyone ever needs to be debunked it is they.

  9. paintgurl40 says:

    I read that post Bella, and it rubbed me the wrong way. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and let’s just say I’ll stick to what’s been working for me.

    Thank the good Lord I didn’t get a LOT of permanent hair damage. I’ve had stylists who would cut my hair the way THEY wanted (or maybe only knew one way) instead of what I wanted. Get charged for a full cut when all I got was a trim. One was perming my hair and moving too slow. I’m telling him that I’m starting to itch and he’s not speeding up, been told by stylists that my GENES is what’s keeping my hair from growing (even though I had a nice length of hair as a child). I even made some of them nervous because I was too quiet. (Seriously?) Let’s not even start talking about all the TIME I wasted.

    When I decided to go natural, which was about maybe seven years ago, I didn’t know WHERE to start. If it wasn’t for nappturality, flikr, and youtube, I would’ve been back to relaxing my hair and dealing with the b.s all over again. Anyway, now I’ve discovered what’s been working for my hair and what doesn’t, what products work for my hair that is inexpensive and easily accessible in my neighborhood. Plus those sites made me feel welcomed.

    So…to read the article and sense the disdain I felt she had for the d.i.y.ers and y.ters- which is the MAJORITY of the natural community, I took offense to it. Here are NUMEROUS women who are starting to grow out beautiful, healthy curls, trying to help the rest of us out and here Camilla comes telling us we’re doing everything wrong and we don’t know what we’re doing. By the way Camilla I tried shampooing my hair to get the gunk out and now my hair is pissed off at me and I’m STILL apologizing to “her” by conditioning her. I’ve got to gain her trust again.

  10. Key2rat says:

    Oh how I wish I’d read this before I got my hair trimmed this weekend. Perhaps I wouldn’t be walking around looking like my first big chop instead of what took two years to grow. If a stylist claims to have experience with natural hair, ask for proof. When they tell you it would look better if you had good hair, run not walk out of their establishment. What is good hair by the way?

  11. I think it is honorable of you to ask the question that many have not asked: Who hurt you? Perhaps stylists will begin to acknowledge that many have been hurt. When you leave a salon with a missing plug of hair and burns that cannot heal, that can override some of the good times.

    When you’ve lost your hair with irreparable hair and scalp damage that can hurt as well. But obviously it was not your guest’s fault.

    Of course people would love to be “positive” all of the time. But your post gave me a chance to see the amount of damage that has been done in the hair industry. I can remember having positive experiences until the natural hair movement began. I think it was threatening to many stylists and I’m sure many felt hurt as their incomes decreased.

    Your post raises a good issue: when it comes to regaining your self esteem about hair, who does one go to? a therapist? or, search for maybe a few family members to be a listening ear( and for many that doesn’t come easy), or seek out forums?

    I remember the days when the hairdresser’s chair was one of the places that therapy took place. Your hair dresser was someone you could trust. It was much more than just their “training” it was their “compassion”, their ability to “listen” and share in your stories; you left a salon and felt better.

    I noticed in that thread that there was a catharsis of feelings and emotions. And you’re right: your guest shouldn’t have been attacked.

    Yet, I think it wasn’t just about your guest; I don’t think it was personal(sorry she feels that way) It just so happens that Bella that your forum was a place that people felt they could express their feelings and pain. It seems that it has been bottled up for a long time. And I commend you for having such a forum.

    I hope you and your guest can work together and turn lemon into lemonade. An example: one popular blogger works with a hairdresser and goes out to educate. Perhaps your guest can use this or another platform to discuss what people can expect from their beauty experience. And even have you and others chime in on the personal aspect of beauty.

    I too wish life and our identity issues weren’t tangled up with “hair” and “skin color”. But it is what it is.

    Yet I saw the expression on your board as a positive indication that people felt free to talk on your board.That’s kudos to you.

    However, I understand and hope that your guest will post again and understand the personal pain of others created by a “few” in her industry. I sincerely feel she has a lot to offer. I’d like to hear more about her, client experiences, and how and why she got into this industry. I’m sure she has some feelings too that could be helpful to us all.

    I hope that this can lead to a collaboration rather than “attack”. I think that we all need to find a place and work together collectively on our personal pain.(at least once a month or so) I understand that positivity is needed; but there are a lot of people hurting as well.

    We are all human and have feelings and make mistakes. It’s often from personal pain and real communication that we grow into better human beings.

    Thanks to you and your guest.

  12. Thank you for this informative article. I appreciate that you are publicly sharing your experiences. Yes I would agree that we are all humans and make mistakes. I totally agree with sandy.

  13. I agree with Sandy and we readers need to realize that our common goal on this blog is enlightenment and not discord.

  14. drymartini says:

    My aunt once used a relaxer on my head and I got serious chemical burns. Notice I said once. I would only consent to a hot comb after that because I didn’t know what else to do with my hair. This is my worse horror story, but here is one of sweet revenge: my mother sent my cousin (I was attending a magnet school in another city) to “do” my hair so that it would look “nice” for the prom. I let my cousin straighten and curl with a hot comb and curling iron. When she left I promptly washed my hair and used a hair pick to get the biggest bushiest afro known to Durham, NC in 1992. And I have the pictures to prove it. Mother was not pleased.

  15. I’ve had some bad salon experiences but I’ve been fortunate to have more good than bad. I’ve also had bad reactions to some of the advice I’ve received from bloggers and You tubers – some of whom are sponsored by companies. I just think that the stylist was suggesting that we be a bit more cautious about the advice we receive online because everyone isn’t who they represent themselves as and frankly some of the advice I read simply defies science. I’m guessing some of the backlash was a result of the unprofessionalism many have experienced at salons but some of these stylists are young and weren’t taught the importance of coming to work on time and pleasing your customers, etc. If your having success doing your own hair, by all means continue down that path! My hair is extremely thick. I do it myself at times but it can be tiring so I also frequent a natural hair salon that I’m pretty happy with. I quit going to my old stylist when I started going natural because I got the impression he didn’t want to blowout all my hair when he really wasn’t making much of a profit. More money to be made in weaves so he suggests that naturals go that route. He’s not hurting for business and I wish him every success. The good stylists don’t hurt for business and hopefully the bad ones will evolve.

  16. Very eye-opening and interesting series of posts and comments from your readers. I can’t believe some of the horror stories I’ve read! I’m so sorry to hear that anyone had to experience these things ever, much less on a habitual basis. Bella, I think your hair is stunning! Much love!

  17. Bella, I’m sorry some of your commenters got out of line on the article your guest wrote. Clearly the topic if hair is something sensitive, as it always has been.
    I think many we’re upset or felt condescended simply because of audience. Ms. Reed was giving some basic information based on her experience. I think a beginner in the natural hair world who has had questions or issues might find her advice helpful. Others have moved way beyond that, and felt talked down to because of it. Perhaps it just came as a surprise to be reading a favorite hair blog, and find an article debunking natural hair blogs. But if there is anything I have learned about hair, and life in general, it’s that absolutes don’t work. Things are not black and white, and I’ve grown accustomed to the grain of salt idea, whether it be product reviews, or hairdressing tips. While I don’t plan on following Ms. Reed’s advice over what I’ve come to find works for me personally, perhaps it was just what someone else needed. So I appreciate her time and thank her, even if her professional title carries little weight over what many find valuable in blogs and vlogs.

  18. This is MY take on why people got their panties in a bunch: They were worried that the author’s scrutiny was pointing a finger at them and they felt defensive, despite Camille never saying anything derogatory or off-putting. I’ve found that many natural ladies have simply swung the “I’m better than you” pendulum to the far left. For maybe the first time in their lives, they feel validated about their choice to be natural, but instead of basking in feeling good about themselves, they have to define that value by comparing themselves to the “other.” Frankly, I’m displeased by the number of anti-perm and “i’m good because i’m natural” sentiments that float out there. How about you ARE good simply because you’re God’s creation? How about WE are all worthy and beautiful NOT because of our personal choices?

    Though I’ve been natural for 17 years (I’m only adding that to show how I’ve been part of the “in” crowd before it was popular), I choose not to identify with my hair or many hair communities any more. Instead I choose to be in concert with all of my sisters and not declare myself more X than Y or more beautiful or more natural or more whatever.

    I look forward to the day when we all embrace each other instead of drawing lines in the sand, and then getting our panties in a bunch when someone offers information than what might be different than your particular bandwagon.

  19. I must say I am supriced over the reaction. I believe that you get what you pay for. If you have experienced a bad hair stylist, they were probably poorly trained. Stylist is a profession, made up of long training AND experience. Only one of those two components are not enough. I must say that in salongs for ethnic hair, black or mixed or asian I ve more often found staff lacking one of those. People are hired cos they are good braiders or at locking hair, but they havent gone to any longer training and many of them havent studied any chemistry at all. Often there are only one of two with long education. That is why the salong is affordable.

    I dont go to hair dressers that allows me to bring my own shampoo, I go to hair dressers that sell products of such quality that I would buy them myself. I ve been to great hairdressers, handling my hair like it was silk. I respect trained professional hair dressers very much and I listen to their advice. If it doesnt work for my hair, then I do something else, but to go so far as to bash a stylist that give advice is very agressive to me. You also have to remember that a stylist with years of training, internship and then working experience, has seen many many heads, and though their advice might not work on you, they might work on many people.

  20. My hurt story:

    When visiting London, DO NOT visit Bobby’s Hair Salon on Waverly Road in Camberwell, London! You will wait for at least 12 hours before your hair is done! And if your hair is natural, you will be treated like a spoiled child!

    I have several stories but I will share the most recent one. I come into this cheap looking salon asking for a sew-in. My hair has been natural for 10 years and I realized that it’s very fine texture makes it a hair type that requires loads of protective hairstyles. After waiting for 3 HOURS, a “stylist” did cornrows on my head. But that didn’t happen without a heated discussion. She wanted to blow dry my carefully detangled and moisturized hair (or plasticized as some call it), because she could not plait “that kind of hair”. It was too “hard” and would “hurt her fingers”. I know I should’ve left at that moment (even though I had already paid 20 pounds), but I was there to attend a wedding and only had one day left for shopping and I chose comfort over wisdom and stayed. Eventually she put the blow dryer away, grabbed an afro comb, placed it on my scalp and pulled. She called that COMBING! I stopped her immediately and told her that that is NOT how you comb black people-hair (I said it in that way so she would understand me). I explained how she should comb it and she found it again too “hard” and told me to comb it myself. Again this was a great moment for me to run away screaming, but I stayed. I combed my hair myself, frustrated as hell, she waited and gossiped with other stylist in her native Nigerian language until I was done (I wouldn’t be surprised if she was talking about me). When I was done she finally actually touched my hair (mind you she hadn’it done that so far) and remarked that my hair was “incredibly soft” and she didn’t know coarse hair could be THAT soft (I have very fine 4a/4b hair that holds on to moisture very well). That was my 3rd chance to run away and I didn’t. After my hair was plaited. I had to go back to the waiting area to wait for Bobby (the owner, a Nigerian lady) to do the sew-in. I ended up waiting there for 8 hours!

    Then Bobby came to do my hair (yelling about God knows what to her stylists in her own language) and when she saw the weave ( it was a weave that looked like natural 4c hair that had been blow dried and when you make it wet the zigzag curls came back) she started making snarky comments about it being “bad hair”. The quality is great and I have enjoyed it for a long time so she was wrong about that. Anyway, she weaved the hair (I had to instruct her to not pull the thread like her life depended on it, because that would damage my own hair. Lord that was a problem as well. When I instructed her how to cut it she gave me a pile of magazines and told me to pick a style from there. Because what I wanted was again “too hard/complicated” (I wanted a Michelle Obama-cut!). I left that salon at 3 am in the morning ladies.

    And my edges are very fragile and barely holding on after all that stress.

    I repeat what I said before:

    When visiting London, DO NOT visit Bobby’s Hair Salon on Waverly Road in Camberwell, London! You will wait for at least 12 hours before your hair is done! And if your hair is natural, you will be treated like a spoiled child!

  21. Thank you for this informative article. I appreciate that you are publicly sharing your experiences. Yes I would agree that we are all humans and make mistakes. I totally agree with sandy.

  22. I’m not sure why people are taking this so personally. Someone was asked to give her professional opinion on a particular topic and she did so. She wasn’t doing a pro & con type of Q&A, that was clear. And the funny thing is that when persons lash out because of negative experience with professionals, I have to wonder was that person really a professional? Did they check to see if said person recieved training, was certified? You’d be surprised how easy it is to call yourself a loctician with little training beyond personal experience and a few seminars. It’s your job to check out the person whose hands you choose to put your hands into. As CandieW said, make sure you’re recieving quality service.

  23. This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am in fact pleassant to read all at one place.

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  1. [...] of us have gotten from stylists in our past experiences. That led me to write a follow up of sorts, Hairdresser Horrors, Who Hurt You – about my own hair salon experiences, the very experiences that led me to go natural and avoid [...]

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