All Articles Tagged "black hair salons"
I don’t know about you but I’ve never been fond of the salon, probably because no one in my family has ever been a slave to it. Even though my grandmother was a beautician before my mother was born, we just weren’t the type to have to hit the salon every week to maintain our hair and so I never experienced the whole beauty shop culture phenomenon black women speak of on a regular basis, and the times that I did, I could take it or leave it. With the natural hair movement rapidly growing legs, many other black women may not experience it either, and New Jersey college professor Cassandra Jackson wonders if they’ll be missing out on something if they don’t.
In an article for The Huffington Post asking, Is Natural Hair the End of Black Beauty Culture?, she wrote:
“While many, including me, celebrate the natural hair movement’s emphasis on self-discovery, I cannot help but wonder if something has also been lost with this cultural shift. For all the horrible things about hair straightening, the experiences associated with it have created a powerful thread that connects the vast majority of black women. Even if you have kinky hair now, you probably have memories of time spent with family and friends in kitchens getting your hair done by someone who loved you and who you trusted enough to wield a sizzling hot straightening comb next to your ear. You probably remember that first trip to the beauty shop where black women talked about grown folks’ business, and nearly every sentence began with the endearment, “girl.” It does not matter if your mother was a teacher or housekeeper, or if you were in New York or Alabama because these experiences crossed class and region. Hair straightening was a rite of passage, an entry into the world of black women.”
It’s interesting the author would use the very negative stories most natural women use as proof for why girls shouldn’t have their hair straightened as an example of a dying part of our culture we might want to save for the bonding effect. In a lot of ways I feel like the whole gather around the salon pastime is more rooted in mystique than reality. The shop was certainly the place to be for neighborhood gossip at one point in time but I’ve yet to hear a women talk about the salon with the same fondness as say our generation’s grandmothers may have in a long time. Anyone woman I know going to a black salon dreads it because they know their evening or day is pretty much shot, and whatever stories they get coming out aren’t worth the time and money spent getting them. From my perspective, and I’m sure a lot of others, black women who aren’t passing the time getting their hair fried, dyed, and laid to the side in someone’s kitchen or shop aren’t missing anything, but the truth is the social dynamic of the beauty shop hasn’t gone away with natural hair, it just changed.
For black women, hair has now gone the way of everything else in our culture: digital. You can’t tell me the shared experience of hair successes and trajedies doesn’t still exist just because less women are getting relaxers. The conversation has simply moved from a face-to-face interaction to Youtube videos, blog posts, and discussion boards. I’m not natural, but I’ve written, read, and engaged in the movement enough to know that the e-bonding that goes on over transitioning is real, perhaps realer than any salon experience could ever provide. For one, there’s no judgment—anything pretty much goes when it comes to creative natural styles—and there’s no misguided frustration. Everyone is on the board, blog or vlog, for the same purpose, to get knowledge and give encouragement, and it’s truthfully the most positive space I’ve ever seen for black women and their hair ever. It also helps there’s no tardy salon owner who didn’t style your hair the way you wanted but still charged you full price to get mad at.
Though natural hair has sparked a self-service industry of hair care with women learning how to maintain and grow their own locks, the communal aspect of sharing stories and advice and product knowledge as it relates to our tresses is hardly dying. It’s growing. You also can’t forget the natural hair mixers and grassroots meet-ups that women have begun organizing in various cities so that naturals and transitioners can match faces to usernames and share experiences and their journeys of self-discovery. I’ve never seen a weave support group or a relaxer party in my life, but big chop events are increasingly growing in popularity and signify the incomparable support black women have for one another and the way we’re choosing to not battle good hair versus bad hair any longer but celebrate all of the textures we were born with.
The natural movement has also sparked the same type of e-communities for women with relaxed hair and who wear weaves which is also pretty monumental. The advice is different but the end-goal of having healthy hair you can take care of yourself is the same. So yes, we may be rallying around laptops now instead of barber chairs and kitchens, but we’re more united than we’ve ever been when it comes to celebrating our hair and if anything this signifies what the natural hair movement is all about: transition and progression.
How do you think salon culture compares with online hair communities?
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About a month ago, I stopped by my co-worker’s office for our daily morning chat, when she dropped some salacious news! She found a new hair stylist in Brooklyn, not too far from where we lived (we’re in close proximity of each other)who charged damn near nothing for a full weave and style; didn’t talk too much, kept her appointments and didn’t do the price switcheroo! The cost of the do’ was the cost of the do’. I couldn’t believe it!
This was a black salon in Brooklyn, a black salon in America? No way! I immediately asked my girlfriend for her info but before I got the chance to pay the place a visit, she came bearing bad news. Two visits later it turns out the gem salon was indeed a dud. After two uneventful but very professional-like visits, things started to go south. My girlfriend being very much like myself, never went back and is once again on the search for a new salon and once again my dream of finding a salon that fit my sensibility was gone.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always dreaded going to the salon. I’m not a fan of salon gossip; I’m not into the culture of the salon. In the perfect world I would go into the salon, get my hair done, pay and get out within an hour or two. I don’t consider the salon a haven to luxuriate in for hours but unfortunately the culture of black salons -in my experience- makes me feel like I’m the only one who has a problem with the way things operate.
Why does it have to be like this when it comes to hair, especially black hair? I get my nails done every two weeks and every two weeks I call Lily, make an appointment, and get things done. Lily takes about forty-five minutes in total to thread my eyebrows, gel my nails and give me a pedicure. The price is always the same, I tip her the same and I go home happy but hair day, never, ever, goes this way.
Getting my hair done has really taken a whole day. My hair day begins a few days prior to the actual appointment. Currently I’m in my third phase of transitioning from processed hair to natural hair mainly due to my “salon issues.” Before I arrange to get my hair done, I have to figure out what I want to do with it. And you would think that what I decide is dictated by my wants. In honesty, I want but low and behold it’s dictated by how much of a day, I think, it’s going to take and what kind of salon atmosphere, I can stand.
Do I want to walk into the type of place run by mean girls, filled with women serving up side eyes, instead of a customer friendly space? The kind of place where being kept waiting for half an hour doesn’t get an explanation? Maybe I want to go natural, have a few women tug at my hair at once, while hollering into their cellphones straight into my ears. Or maybe I go somewhere, where none of that is an issue and pay more than my mortgage to bypass the bad customer service.
By Yassira Diggs
One doesn’t have to look far for evidence that wearing natural hair is still unacceptable to many in the mainstream. Only four short years ago, a Glamour magazine editor presented a slide show on proper corporate fashion during which she declared the afro “a real no-no” and dreadlocks “truly dreadful.” Despite such negative feedback, more and more African-Americans are falling in love with their natural hair and seeking salons that cater to this interest. Leaders of natural hair care salons nationwide have shared some of their insights into this growing market with us — and their favorite products — highlighting the exciting expansion of this beauty revolution. As more black women (and men) explore their natural hair options in droves, this new aesthetic will become more common in the workplace. Corporate America might have to adjust to our new standard of beauty, as the growth described by these natural hair care salon owners is certain to continue.
400 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Despite the market crash in 2008 “the natural hair industry has grown as many women are awakening to the beauty, power and liberation of natural hair,” Anu Prestonia owner of Khamit Kinks in Brooklyn, NY told The Atlanta Post. She has run a renowned natural hair care mecca for three decades, boasting celebrity clients like Solange, who had her hair styled there recently for a Carol’s Daughter shoot. While Prestonia is a natural hair care veteran, “In the last five years I would say that the business has increased 10%.” And the natural hair care industry is still growing, even as traditional black hair care faces a decline. “I think the large, corporate, black hair care industry has dwindled considerably,” Anu explains, “while the cottage hair care product industry is growing exponentially. Almost everyone is bringing to market their own products even if they are only selling them to their clients in the beginning.” Prestonia sees this growth in response to a new kind of client, which is younger and eager to experience their own hair texture without braids or other extensions. These are looks that younger clients are taking into the workplace.
(Philadelphia Inquirer) — The Weave Bar in West Philly doesn’t open until 9 a.m., but many women – and some men – start lining up at 7 against a backdrop of fried fish restaurants and African braid shops to snag the precious first walk-in appointment of the day. Most come with their tresses already washed and blown out; some have bags of hair stashed in pocketbooks. Why are they so excited? Because once they hop in the chair, they’ll be out in 90 minutes. And – get this – prices start at $50 for a whole head full of long, luxurious, silken hair. For women who have spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours waiting for extensions, the Weave Bar is akin to, well, haute heaven. ”I used to drive up to New York on the regular to get my hair done,” said Jonesy, WUSL Power 99′s popular morning-show host. “But ever since I started going [to the Weave Bar], I haven’t gone back up. They do such a good job and most importantly, they really value my time. And as a working woman, my time is valuable.”