It can prove to be a challenge to find the RIGHT stylist for the hair care needs of ethnic women, especially African American women. Because of the varying textures and required essentials of ethnic hair, it has been my experience that African American women prefer to patronize salons that openly specialize in caring and styling ethnic hair. At times, women of color may choose (consciously or subconsciously) to shy away from the franchise salons such as SuperCuts, Hair Cuttery, and Fantastic Sam’s that maintain a rumored reputation for not staffing those who are knowledgeable about ethnic haircare needs.
At one point in time, in the not so distant past, I fit into this category of African American women that shunned salons that didn’t specifically advertise to my “hair type”. However, when I moved to this area, I became equally frustrated with my salon search and the uneven, split, and dry ends of my shoulder length tresses. I was in dire need of a simple hair trim. As a natural hair gal who has moved between 3 states in 6 years, I have learned to style and maintain my hair at home (more on my DIY tips will be shared in a future article). I typically visit salons only to get my ends trimmed. So when the time came for my quarterly trim, I decided to step out on faith and patronize my local Hair Cuttery (3507 South Jefferson Street, Falls Church, VA 22041-3106)
After walking into the simply appointed salon, I was introduced to Tran, a petite middle-aged Vietnamese hairstylist who would be doing my dry cut service. After some dialogue about the condition of my hair and the suggested length of hair that would be trimmed, Tran went to work, parting my hair in so many different directions that I hoped she didn’t catch a glimpse of the varied expressions on my face – ranging from apprehension to curiosity.
After holding my breath for what felt like an eternity (actually, it was only about 10 minutes), Tran completed the cut and spun me around in her chair to display the results in the mirror. As I took my first look, my anxiety was quickly replaced with delight! I ran my fingers through my hair and vowed from that moment on, that I would not be so quick to judge the skills of a hair stylist stationed in a franchised salon. Since my first trip to Tran last year, my hair has grown healthier and thicker with each month. I make my quarterly visits to Tran and each time, she never disappoints.
Maybe I lucked up with finding a great stylist on a whim. Maybe it was an opportunity for me to advise readers about thinking outside of the box when searching for a good stylist. Either way, I no longer don’t doubt the abilities of stylists based in salons that I normally wouldn’t consider. I have expanded my horizons in my salon search.
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