Alarm bells should have been going off when I walked into Tia's Natural Hair Salon and realised that all the pictures on the wall were of people with locs and of the 6 or so stylists: 4 had locs, 1 had poorly maintained relaxed hair and the one doing my hair had relaxed hair that was under a scarf. She later revealed it was damaged. This should have been an indicator that knowledge on dealing with freely floating natural hair may be low low low.
I will rate by category as follows:
1. On copying they style I requested?
Why don't you vote, out of 10 (use the poll) ->
2. Customer respect: 6/10
I could tell she was trying to be polite but she was also patronising. She kept assuming I know less than her about hair not realising I have a mad crazy hair blog and I've been reading a lot of stuff to better understand my hair.
You shouldn't be condescending to someone you know little or nothing about IMHO.
The salon owner, Tia, was there and I would give her a 9 out of 10. She was very sweet and polite. She even offered me a peppermint tea when I said I hadn't slept well.
Above and beyond knowing that natural hair is unrelaxed hair I didn't feel my stylist knew anything about the science of black hair. Natural or not. Some of the silly things she said included:
- "Don't wash your hair too often." Only once every 2 weeks! Come on!! Even before Audrey Davis-Sivasothy came out with her Science of Black Hair it became commonly accepted that water is the ultimate source of moisture especially for natural hair.
- When I mentioned that my scalp gets itchy she said it's because I wash my hair too often (too often being weekly).
4. Product ingredients knowledge: inconclusive
I didn't test her specifically but many things in the salon had petrolatum, maybe locs are better with petrolatum, I don't know. She recommended QP Elasta Conditioner which has petrolatum but I'm still going to try it because AfricanExport gave it a positive review.
When I pulled up the video of AfricanExport reviewing the product I asked if she knew her and she said no, "I don't watch any of 'dem' American people they have nothing to tell me," at that point I felt like walking out because I love Americans.
So, I asked which British naturals she knows and she didn't know any. Fair enough. I won't mark her down for that.
She combed FAR too liberally. She just kept ripping her comb through my hair without a care. I asked her to use my specially-designed-to-be-gentle wide tooth comb and she did, but said she preferred hers because it combed the hair more finely. THAT'S THE REASON I WANTED HER TO USE MINE.
6. On pulling: 5/10
She pulled the edges too tightly but she spared the hairline upfront that's why this is a 5 rather than a 3.
I asked her to pull more gently when she started at the back. She did but not before retorting, "Every time I touch your hair you have something to say." For any Americans reading this, don't be shocked customer service in the UK is (on average) not what it is in the US!
My whole head hurts right now confirming that she pulled too tight.
5. On using heat with caution: 3/10
She was going to start blow drying without asking me! If there is one thing every seasoned natural knows it's that many naturals can be 'funny' about using heat and you should ask before using it. I am one such natural
I had conditioned myself to accept a blow dry, because the last time I had cornrows the tangles caused a real headache.
I asked her to put the heat on medium so she did.
She insisted I need to blow dry my hair regularly because my hair is too course and will tangle much less. This is something I might try because my hair does tangle A LOT and I saw today that it wasn't breaking from the blow dry.
That my hair survived is testament to a very good deep condition the night before!
Get your FREE ebook on How To Grow Long, Healthy Natural Kinky or Curly Hair.