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Are Black Hair Stylists Leaning Extra Towards Capitalism Than Tradition?

9 Min Read

Getting my hair performed was a outstanding childhood reminiscence. As somebody with thick coiled 4c hair, hair appointments and coverings have been as routine as physician visits. 

It’s secure to say that for many Black girls, getting their hair braided, pressed, washed, and straightened was not a luxurious however a life-style. Whether or not on the hair salon or sitting in somebody’s lounge on a folded chair, getting one’s hair performed by knowledgeable or somebody’s auntie is a part of Black tradition.

Nonetheless, this side of Black tradition has develop into controversial. Girls have just lately shared on social media about their dangerous experiences with hairdressers and magnificence influencers. With many ladies expressing their unhappiness, we should ask the query: Are Black hair salons and stylists shifting away from the sanctity of doing hair for the neighborhood? Has the main focus of hair care been taken over by the chance for revenue? Let’s speak about it.

The Cultural Significance of Black Hair Salons

Through the segregation period, Black girls weren’t allowed to go to white-owned hair salons; moreover, many white-owned hairdressers didn’t know tips on how to model Black-textured hair. Thus, Black girls began forming their very own salons.

But earlier than the time of hair salons and even as we speak, Black girls used much less formal methods to get their hair performed. The ladies who paved the best way for skilled stylists have been often called kitchen hairdressers. These have been the chums, aunties, cousins, hustlers, and artists who would do individuals’s hair from their properties or shoppers’ properties. 

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Faye Dant, the founder and government director of Jim’s Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Heart, despatched a message to BGN to share her reminiscences of rising up with a mom who would model girls’s hair within the neighborhood. “My mom was a kitchen hairdresser,” she shares. “I’ll never forget the smell of burning hair. The ladies would pour in and there was plenty of laughing, lots of gossip. Mom sent the ladies home, ready for Saturday night out or Sunday morning church.”

My childhood reminiscences are just like Dant’s. I bear in mind my mother dropping me off at a random residence to get my hair performed. When she returned to select me up within the afternoon, my hair could be braided, and we didn’t have to fret about managing my hair for not less than 4 weeks. 

As I bought older, I began going to salons and valued the expertise. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood and had pals whose hair didn’t seem like mine. Going to salons meant I may very well be round individuals who had hair like mine and knew tips on how to model it.

On the salons, individuals have been pleasant and talkative. Sometimes, somebody would randomly begin singing and dancing, and there was all the time gossip to share. Among the finest components was leaving the store and getting compliments from everybody on how good my hair seemed. It was a spot the place I didn’t really feel like an outsider, a four-walled place the place I felt related to my Blackness. 

However now, this fond expertise is altering. It might be due to the price of residing or the impression of social media. Nonetheless, going to the salon these days is not going to solely price you an arm and a leg, however your hairdresser might arrive two hours late.

How Issues Are Altering

Hair salon shoppers have spoken about their struggles when visiting the hairdresser. Their greatest complaints are about unprofessionalism and overcharging.

Unprofessionalism: Many ladies, together with myself, have had experiences going to the hair salon for a ten:00 a.m. appointment and ready till 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., or later for a stylist to work on our hair. Though stylists are infamous for beginning late, individuals on social media have shared that stylists should not simply beginning late but additionally exhibiting up on the salon late. It’s one factor for a stylist to begin late as a result of they have been engaged on a earlier consumer. It’s a distinct difficulty when a stylist arrives on the salon after the scheduled appointment.

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Reddit person pedagogue_kayth shared her opinion, writing, “In the age of Instagram, it is easier to book an appointment… but I am repeatedly floored at the BS that comes afterward. I booked an appointment weeks ago for 10:00 a.m. and did not get in the seat until 10:50 a.m…no apology…no discount off my service for the hour wait. Yet, when the customer is late, we are expected to pay a late fee or cancel the appointment.”

Overcharging: Again within the day, irrespective of which coiffure you had, it often got here with a wash and dry. In case you have been a frequent consumer, you may even get a hair trim added for no extra cost. Nonetheless, some salons are slipping in additional expenses akin to late charges, reserving charges, detangling expenses, and even hair size or hair sort expenses. 

The place’s the Center Floor?

A number of issues appear to be happening concurrently within the house of Black hair care and companies. One is that influencers have infiltrated the house. It’s very straightforward to discover a braider or stylist by social media. These stylists exhibit elaborate hairstyles, akin to micro braids that go all the way down to the ground and flawless weaves. All of the social media hype has influenced the costs of particular types. Nonetheless, simply because somebody posts that they do hair doesn’t imply they’re skilled. 

The opposite space is costs. Doing hair is an intensive course of. Nonetheless, for a lot of girls, having their hair a sure method isn’t merely for style or an evening out. Many ladies should preserve their hair straight or in a weave to suit expectations at work. Additionally, braids are a protecting model and will be thought-about mandatory for sure hair textures. In keeping with a survey, Black girls reported spending 25% or extra of their month-to-month finances on their hair.

So the place is the stability? For my part, the shoppers and the stylist want to offer a bit of to help each other. Stylists who’re severe about their work should proceed to uphold a stage of professionalism and cost charges which are truthful to themselves and their group of clientele. Moreover, shoppers should watch out who they select concerning their hair. Whereas somebody might look expert on Instagram, their professionalism might differ. 

Finally stylists have the suitable to cost what they need for his or her companies, and shoppers can select to pay the charges or discover somebody new. 

Kiersten Brown

Kiersten is a contract author and coach. As a author, she has written for Journey Noire, Ardour Passport, BAUCE magazine, and varied journey and way of life blogs. As a author, her purpose is to put in writing content material that conjures up others to take motion. As a coach, her purpose is to empower girls to be their most genuine selves. In her free time, you could find her dancing to any music any the place.

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