An update on this natural hair thing.
After 18 months of transitioning, my hair is finally 99.999 percent natural, and I can’t go back now. After scheduling conflicts and a friend putting a bug in my ear about Paul Mitchell: The School, I made an appointment to take advantage of their Cinco De Mayo promotion the very last day in May. Rather than going to SuperCuts, I would get a haircut there for just $5. Turns out, the cost included a wash, blow-dry and style. The school was beautiful, chic and multicultural and seemed to be a little well-kept secret. My stylist, a young Asian chick, did an excellent job to my surprise (Yes I was hesitant about someone of another race doing my hair, regardless of them being in school. Forgive me for my ignorance). The press lasted a little over two weeks. I returned after three weeks to see if this miracle could be performed again.
It was just my luck that my previous stylist had graduated last week. As I waited for someone to call me to a station, I honestly crossed my fingers for a black woman to appear, but that didn’t happen. My heart sunk and for good reason. After a wonderful wash and condition, I was ready to see this petite brunette with a hot pink skunk tail in action combing out my hair. She took the wide-tooth comb and grazed over it, trying to find spots where it seemed easy to comb through. She didn’t have any luck, so she did the unthinkable: She rolled a hood dryer behind my chair to “get the moisture out.” Wait, what? I told her that wouldn’t work. She’s going to have a hard time combing through it. (My hair soaks up water instantly.) She said, “Oh, I do it like this all the time.” Riiight. She disappeared, and I figured she was looking for help since she was learning on the job and all.
She returned after forever and attempted to comb out again only to find that my hair was almost completely dry. She did not pick up a blow dryer, but instead, grabbed a section of hair and placed the flat iron on it. GASP!!! I immediately stopped her and asked for her manager/instructor. In the end, the instructor shared that they don’t teach a technique that requires a hood dryer, with no comb and blow out. I demanded that she re-wet my hair and condition it, and I still had to tell her what to do next. Put me on the payroll or credit some cosmetology hours, please!
Thank God for *Rebecca, a black girl at the next station, who saw her struggling and took over. Both of them worked on my hair as Rebecca instructed her on what to do. Finally, my it was done, and I could log the experience under the Hair Files. In a weird way, though I was temporarily inconvenienced, I felt like I’d done the girl a favor. She no longer had to fake the funk when it came to doing black hair. Apparently, while they were teaching techniques, she zoned out thinking she’d never run into me. She had to have learned something because my hair is a beast.
Can people of other races and cultures style our hair? Absolutely, but it takes some getting used to. Take note.
**Things Non-Black Stylists-To-Be New to Our Hair Should Know
You can scratch our scalp. I promise it won’t hurt us. What is this rubbing my hair about? We might not wash our hair daily, so it probably really needs to be cleansed when it’s shampoo time. Get in there, and put in work!
You cannot (and shouldn’t) comb through dry hair. Depending on the person, her hair may soak up water quickly, drying it out. Don’t wait. Comb it out and don’t forget your spray bottle.
When combing out, start from the bottom up, not the top to bottom. If you don’t you’ll never get through it.
Section it off to make blow-drying and flat-ironing easier. Keep clips and clamps near to secure the hair.
Personal pet peeve: Miss me with that pomade and extra oil. I don’t need it.
If you don’t know how to style a certain type of hair, especially black hair, ask someone who does! Don’t make up techniques. Do it right or not at all.
The picture was taken from a story, “Stylists Learn to Shear All Hair Types in NEX Salons.” Great read!
*Names have been changed
**Disclaimer: I know the term “black hair” is not one size fits all. What I’ m referring to the texture of hair–my hair particularly.