Hair stylist: *combs your hair violently like he/she is trying to make you bald by force*
Hair stylist: “Sister sorry, it’s painful ’cause your virgin hair is hard. When will you relax it?”
You: “I’m not going to relax it.”
Hair stylist: “Sister why now? Your own hair is too strong. Some people’s virgin hair is soft.”
You: *sigh in your mind*
Before I knew what I know now, this used to be a regular dialogue with my hair stylists. And if you have natural hair, you’ve probably had this dialogue before. Salon visits can be a dreadful experience for naturalistas.
While there are several salons in Lagos that deal with natural hair alone, they are not so accessible because they are fewer in number, usually more expensive than regular salons, and are not well spread out. (Most of them in Lagos are on the island or Ikeja).
However, regular salon visits do not have to be so frightful if you follow these tips:
- Stretch your hair before you go.
If you want to have an easy and painless salon visit, you need to stretch your hair before you leave, or let them do it at the salon before they start to braid your hair. If you need a quick fix you can blow dry it or stretch it with African thread, rubber bands (banding method) or wool. Stretching the hair makes the hair strands straighter, so it is easier to comb.
- Take your own combs with you.
Take at least your wide-toothed comb with you. Not only will you prevent yourself from contacting infections like dandruff and lice, you will also be saving yourself pain if they don’t have a wide-toothed comb at the salon. And please do not let them use tail-combs to comb your hair.
- Ask to comb your hair yourself.
Nigerian hairdressers can be quite impatient and so they comb your hair quite violently, causing you pain. Feel free to comb your own hair yourself, or show the stylist how to do it. Start by combing the ends and then work your way gently to the roots.
- Take your spray bottle with you.
Spraying your hair lightly with water makes it easier to comb, so don’t forget to take it with you.
- Take along your detangler/ leave in conditioner.
This is also to help you detangle your hair. Sometimes the hair stylist may complain that the water from the spray bottle makes the hair slippery, so take this along as an alternative.
- Be assertive.
Remember that you are entitled to a pleasurable experience, so politely inform the hair stylist if the braids are too tight, if he/she pulls too tightly on your edges, or of any other complaint.
Any other tips? Leave them in the comment box below.
Image via Jezebel.com