The only route to gorgeous hair: DIY
Unless you have an in-house hair specialist the only way you can grow and maintain beautiful hair is to do-it-yourself. This doesn't mean not visiting hair salons but you can't go to a salon daily and what happens in between visits contributes massively to the quality of hair you have.
You need to do lots of personal research, listen to your hair constantly and adjust your regimen quickly when something isn't working for YOU!
In terms of handling hair, I err on the side of extreme caution. I’ll explain why briefly.
My hair fell out; an involuntary big chop – when I undid the braids I had at the time, roughly 80% of the relaxed hair was simply gone.
Before March 2011 I had effortlessly gorgeous hair. I couldn’t have cared less for hair communities because I relaxed my hair to my heart’s content and it continued to grow healthily.
I was sat at home debating what to do with my hair when my sister told me I could just ‘go natural’ and nurse my hair back to health. I hadn’t even considered that. I thought relaxing my hair was a bit like drinking water, you have to do it. Since then I have been an enemy of hair salons.
I now treat my hair with reverence and I don’t feel any salon I visit has the same respect for my hair. Salons do things the way they do them and they don’t want customers walking in and telling them how to essentially do their job.
I experienced a hair trauma and on the back of it, I have developed some rules:
I’m quite gutsy so when I go to a salon I do politely tell them these rules before they start and I am yet to receive a positive response. The last time I let a hairdresser do my hair she complained incessantly about how much faster she could be going if she didn’t have to follow my rules. I allowed her to comb but that was it.
Maybe it’s just London and my American sisters have access to a pool of hairdressers who are more receptive to doing things a little differently and are familiar with handling natural hair.
Looking back, yes, there were many days when I looked like an absolute idiot. For instance, when my hair was short I went out and bought a sewing machine so I could sew myself a little head cap to protect my ends (see picture). I went to work looking pretty silly on many days but I guess that’s just part of the learning curve.
I was quite useless at handling my hair when I started out but I am getting better thanks to forums and YouTube videos on black hair. Doing my own hair has forced me to learn how.
For some things, e.g. braids and corn rows I would rather go to a hairdresser but the problem is I don’t know one that will love my hair as much as I do. Is that even possible?
Ultimately, I think anyone new to natural hair should expect a fair amount of DIY. You can’t go to the hairdresser’s every day and there are things like twisting your hair before bed that you have to do when you’re natural which aren’t necessary when you have relaxed hair.
Ultimately, however, doing your own hair is something you will grow to love.
3/12/2012 02:51:19 pm
the feeling is mutual abut salons and DIY. Since going natural, i loathe salons, they do not treat natural hair well! especially the combing. after much salon salon misery, i took matters into my own hands: i learnt how to braid and make twists on my own. they may not be so neat but i believe practice makes perfect and i have peace of mind that i am caring for my hair.
Heather @ Neno Natural
4/12/2012 04:27:30 am
Practice does make perfect!
11/1/2013 06:09:53 pm
loool. I've had some hair no-nos too! Am getting better at it but it'd be nice to find a salon you can trust with ur hair. In the meantime, it's practise, practise, practise (thanks to YouTube).
26/7/2015 05:51:58 am
I get it too...it's better to do your hair yourself. Plus you save money and you feel a sense of pride knowing you can take care of your hair.
This is very true. I learned I just don't want people to do whatever thay want with my hair. It's mines. Yes you are a professional but it's my money paying for your service and if there are ways I prefer my hair to be done then that is what I expect. I'm in NYC and there isn't any difference, the "professionals" do not like taking your instructions and feel offended by it. I live doing my own hair myself.
26/7/2015 09:13:19 am
Yes, it is true, I have found a wonderful lady now, who listens to me, but she definitely says to me Girl, Girl, Girl, when I go on about how many little c's I find on the floor after taking my braids down. How much I consider my braid style now, (protect edges, nothing that pulls my scalp). She is wonderful! I did go through a few bad before I got her, and I know she loves my hair :) I do think she thinks I overdo it, but ladies, now you know we have to listen to our hair and hair breakage is saying "You better Do something Now before I get worse)!. I don't freak out like I use too, but I pay attention to my girl. I'm like what do you want girl, conditioner, protein, TALK TO ME! Hahahaa, So be patient ladies and don't be afraid to ask for what you want , and if you get attitude, Move On! You are paying and have every right to ask for what you want, it's your head. (whoop whoop)
26/7/2015 09:16:24 am
Hi, I have been natural for 20 years now and a professional natural hair stylist for 15 years. I am so sad to hear of your experiences with other stylists. During my consultation with a new client, I ask them about their regimens, what products they use and if they comb their hair. Depending upon the style they request, some combing may be necessary to obtain a neat and clean style. I avoid heat, I rarely blowdry my clients. For styles that need to be set, I use a hood dryer..all that being said, I'm sure that I am not alone in being the only stylist willing to accommodate the wishes of my clients. I hope that you have better experiences in the future.
29/7/2015 10:17:36 am
Danita, I would also like to know where you are located.
26/7/2015 11:57:02 pm
I have been natural for over a decade. In the beginning I still treated my hair as I did when it was relaxed, using the same types of products. My hair would grow to a certain point and then break off badly. Within the last few years I've changed how and what I do to my hair. I make a lot of my own products and have a much better regimen. Just recently I went to a braiding shop to get box braids. Although I specifically asked for larger parts than they normally do the lady ignored my request. When I took my hair down I had a bald spot on the side of my head! So now I'm nursing my hair back to health and leaving braids alone for awhile.
27/7/2015 04:57:31 am
I'm sorry to hear that Kara, I understand and at the end of the day I have to humble myself and say It really is just hair, and with a good hair care routine, it will grow back, and even stronger!. Good Luck :)
28/7/2015 02:51:56 am
I thought I was the only one who doesn't do much visits to salons because of the way they handle my hair. most I have been to are so rough it angers me so to avoid being a diva or being on the verge of strangling anyone I have even learned to do my own braids because most stylist like to do them too tightly especially on the hairline
28/7/2015 03:46:59 am
I really only do salons when I want something elegant or a trim. I currently have my hair in a protective style. I am going to let my brother trim my hair in mid September, but I want a perm rod set. I was thinking about going to a salon to do it, but I want to try it out myself to save some money. What would you suggest I use in terms of a light leave-in conditioner that won't make my curls frizzy? My products are Shea Moisture and Cantu Shea. I have 4c hair. Thank you.
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I now blog about wealth creation - so if you have any money questions meet me there, you can do all sorts of cool things like leave me a voicemail.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx