DIY Is It Going Too Far In Natural Hair?

Last week I was amazed not only by the number of clients who came in for consultations that needed a trim/cut, but also by how many of them mentioned to me that they cut their own hair.  Come again???  You do what?  Cut your own hair, come on now!

The DIY movement in natural hair has just gone too far.  For those of you who may not know, DIY means ‘Do It Yourself’.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see so many sisters taking the plunge, going natural and making the necessary investment in time and ahh products, as they journey down the road of getting to know their natural hair.

But some of you are really buying into every YouTube video-nistas story out there.  While many on YouTube may have something of value to share, I suggest you check in with a professional at least once a season, 4 times a year.  We had a ‘Curls’ event here at the salon last week and when I asked a group of sisters how they manage to cut the back of their hair with this DIY technique, one of them gleefully told me of how she holds a hand mirror in one hand while looking in another mirror and cutting with the other hand.  Cirque du’ Soleil anyone?

Natural hair can have split ends too and if you trim them on a regular basis, this will prevent you from having to have inches or your hair cut off.  Why inches? because you’ve waited so long that your split ends have traveled up the hair shaft.  And or you’ve unevenly cut your own hair in that trick mirror move mentioned above.

Pardon me, but  I see a trend of extremism here, which can be typical of ‘newbies’ in any endeavor.  I mean I see sisters going from having their hair chemically relaxed with regular conditioning treatments and trims at least once a month with a professional to ‘my hair is now natural I don’t need a professional, I can do it all by myself’.  Not!!!  Well that is not if you want to have your hair thrive and look like you still care about the overall health of your  hair.  All these split ends and product drenched hair does not qualify for ‘beautifully coiffed natural hair’.

For those of you who are tripping, may I offer  you a reality check.  Natural hair is not a toy.  Kudos to you for wanting to get to know your natural texture and work with it.  I applaud you for that and I say keep doing that, but you still need treatments and regular (at least 4 times a year) hair cuts.

It’s almost as if natural hair isn’t receiving the same kind of respect and care as chemically processed hair.  Yes, processed hair does requires in a sense, more care because of the harshness of the chemicals, but that doesn’t mean that natural hair deserves no professional maintenance at all.

So sisters and brothers for that matter, please consider that natural hair is just as precious as chemically processes, actually more precious and should be treated by a professional at least a few times a year for best results and a bit of a treat to you, Ms. DIM – Do It Myself.   You deserve some pampering too, even though your hair is natural.  Fill out our Consultation Questionnaire and let us help you keep your hair healthy and thriving.

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65 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Fifi Countonme Byrd on April 4, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I agree with you, but can you please explain why beauticians want to charge just as much if not more for natural hair? Maybe that’s why sister’s are DIT..

    Reply

    • Dear Fifi,
      As I mentioned before, I don’t know what others charge so it’s difficult for me to give you an informed answer. I do know that it’s more work and usually takes long to blow out and trim natural hair especially if it’s significantly thick or course. Can you tell me what is the usual price for trimming permed hair?

      Reply

      • Posted by KP on April 10, 2011 at 12:16 am

        Salon prices for naturals are highway robbery…I can afford to pay but I simply refuse. My hair is very healthy and I do my cuts myself. My mother trims the back for me and I handle the rest. While I think some naturals don’t know how to style their hair let along cut it, many of us are very adept at DIO (ourselves, lol). I would love to pamper myself by going to a salon, but I refuse to pay more than double the price simply because my hair is kinky.

        Reply

        • Twice the cost KP? Where do you live? I’m interested to know what you used to pay for a trim with a relaxed hair and what you seen for pricing in natural hair?

          Reply

          • Posted by Lox on April 14, 2011 at 5:59 am

            She makes a great point. How in the world should it cost $85-$125 to retwist and style (if you’re lucky to find a salon that will include some sort of style with the cost of lock maintenance)? Moreover, I found a salon that charged $125 to set locks on pipe cleaners – something I do myself for free at my whim. It doesn’t require a great degree of talent or skill to tighten locks or set them in braids or pipe cleaners, so I am so on board with what KP said!

            The only justification for three-figure pricing, in my opinion, is for twisted or braided styles done with extensions. Those tend to be labor intensive and intricate enough to justify the cost.

            Reply

  2. Posted by TK on April 4, 2011 at 8:34 am

    When I was relaxed I didn’t use a professional and now that I’m natural I don’t use one. My hair has always flourished under my care. As with anything there are some who do just fine on their own and some who OMG need a professional!

    Since I’ve been natural (2.5 years) I have given more thought to going to a professional because of the time that my natural coils require. It would be so awesome to feel someone else’s hands on my scalp! But in my research I have found that reasonably priced (not cheap) salons tend to scoff at the thought of touching my hair (I have a ton) and natural salons are excessive with their pricing. Plus I am so, so, so extremely gentle with my hair – even though it takes hours sometimes to detangle or style – the second someone started ripping though my hair or trying to rush up to squeeze in another client it would be ON!!! Its safer for me to DIMy!

    Reply

    • TK,
      I hear you loud and clear. Someone has a ton of hair as you say you do, will need a caring professional who is wise enough to know you can’t rush and rake your way through a thick head of hair such as yours. And I don’t blame you for being gentle with your hair and demanding that professionals take the same care. After all, you are paying them. And if doing your own hair is working for you and your hair is thriving, I say keep up the great work!

      Reply

  3. Posted by Wanona Satcher on April 4, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I so agree Anu! I’m trying to find good hair spray and/or moisturizer for my scalp while I’m wearing braids. My hair get so dry so easily. Also, what’s the best method to clean hair/braids? Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Monique on April 4, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I think calling DIY extremist is way off the chart. The only reason hairstylists feel this way is because the salons are now losing money because we don’t have to come to you any more. We don’t have to depend on someone else to take care of our hair. By the way I am a hair stylist, it is possible to trim your own hair, give yourself hair treatments, etc…A stylists is not NEEDED to maintain the health of natural hair. There are a small amount of women who may NEED a stylist to take care of their hair if they aren’t DIY but to say that it is a necessity is just a down right lie!

    Reply

    • Dear Monique,
      Whatever I write about here pertaining to hair is for the health and care of natural hair. Surfers are from all over the country and the world who read these posts, so I’m not expecting a direct return financially for my posts and that is not why I write them. There are some people who are gifted enough to cut their own hair. I’m not one of them and I think I know how to do hair pretty well.

      I am truly sorry that as a professional hairstylist this is your perspective, but to each her own. And pleasenrealize that money is not the motivator here.

      Reply

  5. Anu I can agree with both sides coming from the professional side when I was a stylist and now just a customer. I see how the Ms DIM now that I have a natural you feel that you can handle it. But even as a stylist I had limitations and I did it professionally. You can not cut your hair properly. I’m guilty I do cut my hair but I keep it simple just clipper short style. I think one need to know there limitations and realize you can’t take care of your hair all by yourself you do need help professionally. But also sometimes a girl has got to what a girl has to do. In my dream world I would see you guys at least 4 times a year because taking care of natural hair is more work than chemical treated hair. Nobody has done my hair professional while natural but you guys.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Lisa on April 4, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I am guilty as charged. I visited your salon just last week. I explained to my stylist (Doc is the truth) that my hair just would not cooperate as i had in the past. He and a sister(the manager I believe, who I also adore)both schooled me on the importance of trimming my hair. Needless to say, I’ll be back next month for that much needed trim.

    Your staff is amazing.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Kisha on April 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I think that the DIY movement in natural hair care sort of started because of the lack of qualified ” natural hair care” establishments. Sad to say, I’ve seen even in some of my favorite mags the wrong advice given for black hair in partic…ularly. I personally think that a partnership is needed. Natural hair is by far not the easiest to care for and not everyone has the same hair. So a qualified professional that not only treats your hair but helps you to maintain your hair in between treatments is ideal. From a business perspective, more people have decided to stick to their natural locks and in some areas that has drive the price up, particularly if its a natural hair care salon because many times its associated with a particular style. I dont see a problem with it because many times the effort it takes to style natural hair and really make it fierce takes a good stylist and the time involved is alot more than getting a perm and cut…it just is. Cudos to you Annu for giving us natural sisters the advice we need to take care of our hair, and as you said that just may mean for some of us natural kinky curlies to just go to a reputable salon and get a wash, condition and trim. I’ve done it many times with my short natural and I’ve often left the stylist a little speechless because that all I wanted but ultimately I accomplished what I needed to.

    Reply

  8. I have been on the search for a professional that actually knows what they’re doing when it comes to natural hair… But sometimes they charge outlandish prices. One lady I found (who was recommended by a friend) was wanting 75 dollars only for a trim–no washing or styling included!! Hopefully the market in Tx opens up more to natural hair, and I can find a stylist that I can trust. If you have any networking or stylist buddies in the DFW area that won’t try and compete with my mortgage company for payment, I would love to visit their shops! But until then…I will remain a DIY kinkette! LOL!

    Reply

    • I hear you Dovie, but like I said before, try branching out to see if other types of salons can also serve you. They should have the professionalism you seek plus a willingness to please you. In the meantime, I hear you DIY kinkette!

      Reply

  9. Posted by Liz on April 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Ok, I’m guilty of the DIM haircuts and trying things I see ok YouTube. I’ve been natural for over 13 years and I’ve only had my hair done twice in a salon. The first time was to get it pressed and trimmed, which was a big mistake! The stylist made a big deal of needing several breaks to finish blow drying my hair. The second time, was for a peek a boo color, which turned out nice, but no styling. Anu, I’m heading your way, I need a new do! Thanks for the newsletters and all that you do.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Naturalhairdontcare on April 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I have to agree with your comment about treating our natural hair as exquistely as we did our processed and straightened hair.

    However, I know many women who chose nappturality to liberate themselves from the culture and customs of the beauty shop experience. So many of us has had our hair fried, died, and blow dried at salons, and though we were rocking “cute” styles very seldom our stylists took the long term health of our hair into consideration when perming, dying, blow drying, straightening, etc.

    I also chose natural hair b/c of economic advantages, and b/c I feel the DIY is better for the finances of my fmaily. This post assumes that the women choosing to DIY are of a socioeconomic status where they can afford to go to salons, for some even once a year is a stretch, why, because we have other priorities.

    Also, I find it empowering and beautiful to find a woman who is getting to know herself and love herself through getting to know her hair. I have a 16 yro cousin who is extremely dedicated to researching hairstyles and products and trying them on herself. She is a newbie to natural hair and has had a host of self esteem, body image issues. Through her hair journey she has learned to love herself and that has come from having to learn to nurture and care for her hair.

    Also professional maintenance does not mean quality maintenance. Initially I tried the professional thing, but every shop was trying to get to to pay for a consultation and then the styling costs was something I was not able to agree to, even though I could afford it. I threw that out the window with the perm. I started and maintained my own locs by myself for 3 years, and they are beautiful and healthy as those who paid 200 to start them and 60 for every maintenance appt.

    I am a DIY gal, I grow my own veggies, use cloth diapers for my child, make my own laundry detergent and other household cleaning supplies, breastfeed, etc etc etc… This is a lifestyle I chose and I don’t think its extremist. Its just me… I find it offensive for you to speak of DIYers as extremist, when our reasons may be deeper and more intentional than what you can understand.

    Reply

    • No offense meant or taken. If it works for you and your hair and your lifestyle then keep up the great work. Not everyone is as fortunate as you and I’ve seen a lot of messed up hair. I’m just offering an alternative to those who think that the best option is DIY once you go natural. It isn’t the only option and from what I’ve seen it’s definitely not always the best option. But to each, her own.

      Blessings.

      Reply

    • I understand quite a bit Sister and think it’s great that you have it all together. Keep up the great work!

      Reply

  11. Posted by Nan on April 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I am 100% sure that there is a stylish somewhere in the DC area that would be able to trim and shape my hair. I simply need to find that person. If you have any suggestions, please provide the information to me. I simply love my natural hair, but i have ran into a problem with getting it trim or shape. The stylish usually end up cutting way to much or having me coming out looking like a man! Thank the Lord i have earrings on! OMGoodness! by the way, i look your blog – the styles are amazing. God bless.

    Reply

    • Thank you Nan,
      I am glad you like our blog and website, it is meant to be a resource for all. In terms of a salon in your area, the only one I know is Cornrows and Company. But if I were you I would check around and if need be consider going to a quality salon that doesn’t necessarily specialize in natural hair. Oh, I know one other salon in Maryland, but I can’t recall the owners name. I will post it when I can be on line for free. I’m away now. Give me till the weekend and I will send it to you. Check google for Black salon directories.

      Reply

      • Posted by Nan on April 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm

        Thanks Anu for the information. I am familiar with Cornrows and Company. I have a friend that goes there once in a while. I have a negative experience there a couple of years ago and simply never went back. I have google as suggested and found several. I am sure i will find something. Thanks so much. God bless.

        Reply

  12. I totally agree. I have been natural a decade now and recently after wearing my hair in braids have discovered a lot of damaged hair. Sadly I am in Maine and there is a shortage of Black salons so I may have to result to cutting my own hair. 😦

    Reply

    • Dear Black Girl in Maine,
      If I were you I would consider going to a quality salon via a trusted recommendation or from research on the salon regardless of the color of the people. I’m sure if you’re in Maine you have co-workers, friends, and associates who are not black and you go to these people for other goods and services, so consider that they may know how or be willing to learn how to blow dry your hair for a professional hair cut.

      Reply

  13. Posted by Ms. M on April 7, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Greetings,

    I have also tried the DIY technique as I was too ashamed to let any hairdresser see the damage on my scalp. In December 2010 I took the plunge to shave my head bald, because there was no other alternative as my hair was in a mess of epic proportions. What I need now is some advice on how to mantain my hair. Any suggestions? I would like to send a pic and visit the slaon one day if at all possible :).

    Best,
    Ms M

    Reply

    • Dear Ms M,
      Your story is heartbreaking to me. Even if your hair and scalp is really messed up, seeing a professional should not be something to be ashamed of. It’s like being ashamed of seeing a doctor when you’re sick. Please do send me pics and I will give you a call when I return to the salon on Tuesday. Send them to anu@khamitkinks.com I am looking forward to seeing how we can make it so you’re never ashamed again about your hair or scalp.

      We also who have a client that has alopecia and decided to cut all her hair off and wear her head bald. Actually we’ve had several clients to do this and they are loving their new look and freedom. Two of our clients who did this wore weaves for years trying to cover up their hair loss. Now they come to see our barber every week and they are so happy and proud and rocking their new look and fancy earrings. You too can have this feeling!

      So send those pictures and let’s move past this stage!

      Reply

  14. Posted by Lox on April 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I am DIYer, and having been natural for most of my life (WAY before being natural was an acceptable choice), I had no choice but to resort to my own wherewithal to style and care for my hair. These many years later, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve let anyone else – a licensed cosmetologist – in my hair. On one occasion, I had my natural hair beautifully cornrowed, but it was so tight that I broke out in bumps along my hairline and quickly removed them. Last year, I had my locks professionally colored. I arrived before my 6 p.m. appointment time, and by 8:30, I still was not in the chair. By 9, I was finally being serviced, and two hours later, I walked out with wet hair set on some Conair-style spirals. LOL. She had the nerve to tell me to drop them back off the next day and never, ever apologized for the inconvenience I endured! Needless to say, I have not returned, and I even think that many cosmetologists who do natural hair weren’t TRAINED to care for it and even if they sport it themselves, the odds are they haven’t been natural for as long as I have.

    I can twist, braid, lock, color, cut, cornrow, deep condition and everything. I maintain my own hair and that of my two little girls’, whose hair is thick, lush and abundant!

    Until natural hair stylists can run a salon in a manner uncharacteristic of the abyssmal, typical black beauty shop, they won’t be seeing none of my dollars!

    Reply

    • Dear DIYer,
      I hear you loud and clear and I certainly understand your position. You have been resourceful and creative regarding your hair and the hair of your daughters. It’s working for you so keep up the good work!

      I can only apologize for the unfortunate situation you encountered at the salon that you visited. I cannot make excuses for un-professionalism, but I do offer my apologies. It would do us all a world of good if every salon and every Stylist did their best to offer clients their highest form of service. It would uplift us all in the industry and make for wonderful experiences for clients. That is our goal at Khamit Kinks.

      In the meantime, Thank you for sharing and again keeping up the great work.

      Reply

  15. Dear Anu i have has eveything possible done to my hair; styles, from natural to perms,dyes and the rest; now at 72 one side of my head is thick and,natural,the other is thin and straight.I had it braided in jan; I had to take it out after two days it hurt so bad that i couldn’t sleep, not only did it injure my head,but my neck as well. It was done by a student in the local high school cosmetology class. I will never try this again it was only because I couldn’t get to Khamitkinks from VA. love mommie

    Reply

    • I regret your choice to go to a school to have your hair done. You definitely have better options. Which reminds me, when are you booking your next appointment with us? Oh yeah, you said once the weather was warmer. I’ll be to see you in May for Mother’s Day so if you don’t get to NY before then, I’ll have to come out of retirement and hook you up.

      Hugs and kisses,
      ~Anu

      Reply

  16. Posted by Afrinet on April 10, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I read the article and comments and think some took it out of context, focused on the word ‘extremism’ and probably missed the value of what was being stated. There was nothing wrong with what you said nor did I find the article to be self-serving. With that said, our coifs/crowns are sensitive subject matter.

    I take into consideration that many of your readers hail from all over the U.S. and the world and do not have the blessed hands of you and your talented staff to work with their natural hair and have been victimized by so-called natural hairstylists who are either not fully educated about maintaining our natural kinks and curls or motivated by other forces such as money. There is a saying “once bitten, twice shy.” When we have these bad experiences, we may label most stylists as being incapable of doing our hair or we may not invest the time to find the right stylist. And, it’s especially difficult when we live in markets where there are not a variety of stylists who know how to care for our hair.

    Further, what is so wrong with suggesting that a person go see a professional stylist mininally 4 times a year. If we cut back on some of the un-necessities of life, I don’t think that infrequency will break the bank for some. It’s a small investment in maintaining our glorious crown. And, sometimes, we need to put the world on pause and get a little TLC. The article did not once suggest that DIYers not do their own hair, it simply stated to go have a professional look at it once a season. There was nothing extreme or unreasonable with that advice. If one stylist doesn’t work out or out of the budget range, try another. I do give props to those DIYers who take excellent care of their hair though. Some people are naturally talented and know how to do hair.

    I grew up in a family of licensed cosmetologists who have been doing natural and processed hair since the 1960s and learned how to take care of my own hair properly, but I have my share of hair horror stories too. I’ve worn my hair processed and have been natural for many years now. But, I get a better result when a professional does my hair.

    I live in the NYC area and there are probably more DIYers here per capita than other regions of the country so I get to see on a daily basis the difference between well-maintained and not-so-well-maintained natural coifs. I, too, am happy to see so many sisters going on the natural hair journey for whatever reasons; however, natural does not mean that we forgo professional maintenance a few times a year. Professional natural hairstylists encounter most types of natural hair and can help us keep our hair healthy and beautiful which is all we want…at the end of the day.

    Sometimes, a dose of truth serum is what we need to keep us on our toes. Anu, keep doing what you do. You are a trailblazer and visionary who will continue to thrive in an industry that many have not.

    Reply

  17. i agree the diy movement has really taken affect especially in those areas where there arent many stylists cultivating and teaching and now that i have learned i have began to post a healthy professional regimen for natural hair and locs instead of helping promote the home made rememdies.. i can agree that some people have come up with some outstanding ideas when it comes to hair and transitioning but the understanding and the knowledge of the hair and the abilities are keen to creating a proper style without harming the hair.. i stand with you kinks in putting ot great things for the natural hair of 2011 and so on… please keep in touch with me as i travel to many of the southern states offering assistant training and a host of marketing classes and other.. if possible and you guys have a team i definetly interested in joining to make this movement really something helpful to others.. thank you damian from houston

    Reply

  18. Posted by Ms. P on April 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    As one woman above mentioned, it starts with the lack of qualified natural hair care professionals. I live in Chicago and have had my hair done at the most well known natural salon last year. I had a horrible experience that left me in tears with damaged hair. This after a stylist from a another natural salon recommended a style that, as I suspected, couldn’t be duplicated with my fine/thin hair. 2 weeks ago I visited a different natural stylist for a protective style with extensions. The results were okay but it didn’t hold up very well after 1 gentle washing. I kept pictures of each style to remind myself not to return to these stylists. So to sum it up…I’ve resigned to doing my hair myself even though I’m not good at it. I’ve searched youtube for others with fine/thin hair and although many are amateurs, a few have helped me tremendously and it doesn’t cost a thing. I will, however, have a stylist trim my ends 2x a year since it doesn’t grow as quickly nor as long as others.

    Lastly, if you’ve noticed, many of the videos on youtube are from people with less than perfect hair looking for answers. There lies the void…a lack of professional stylists who can make those with fine/thin hair, or thinning/damaged hair, look great too.

    Reply

    • Dear Ms. P,
      My heart aches when hearing stories like yours. It’s so unfortunate. Many clients who come to us inform us up front that they have done their research. I believe it is important to visit a salon before making an appointment and even meet with the Stylist who will be doing your hair and ask to see his or her work.

      I do understand your frustration though. I am glad that you are natural and are now learning about caring for and styling your own hair. You will get better at it. In the meantime, please don’t give up on finding a qualified Stylists who cares about your concerns and who can please you. They are out there. You just have to seek them out.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ms. P on April 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm

        Hi Anu,

        Thanks for your reply to my message above. I want to add that I’ve been natural by choice for nearly 2 decades, mostly alternating between TWAs and extension braids. I didn’t know what to do during the “in between stage” (between a TWA and ponytail length), with my short, thin, tightly coiled hair. It was natural hair websites like Khamit Kinks (and Youtube’s naturals) that challenged me want to experiment more with my hair. I like roller sets, but they don’t last. The micro flat twist style from your website is my fav, but when the stylist attempted it on my hair there was way too much scalp showing. So I just want to offer this suggestion to your salon and other stylists — since we don’t all have the perfect head of hair, why not highlight styles for those with thin, short, coily hair in your portfolio/gallery, from corporate looks to everyday styles. I can only speak for myself, but if I saw more styling options for those with my hair type, I wouldn’t hesitate to frequent the salon to get a more polished look.

        Reply

        • Dear Ms. P,
          Point well taken. I would suggest styles with you hair loose that can be enhanced by setting it such as twists out styles. Or using the right moisturizing products that would enhance your natural curl pattern and add sheen to your hair. Have you tried either of these options? If not, I recommend you try it out. Because believe it or not, my hair is thin. I’ve never had thick hair, but because my hair is healthy and I allow the roots to do their thing, it appears that my hair is thick. When I have my hair done in the A-Nu ‘Fro everyone thinks my hair is thick, but it isn’t. Please consider coming in for a consultation so we can show you options that you would be pleased with.

          Reply

  19. Posted by db on April 14, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I love the natural hair movement for the fact that it’s changing black women’s dependancy on the hair salon. I don’t like the fact that there is a tendancy to bash hair salons/stylists and the I know how to do hair better than a pro attitude among some.

    I think more stylists need to be aware and visible online as far as the natural hair movement is concerned and what’s being said about their skills. I think that is part of what will change their perspective. One blog bashed salons so bad it was like a feature at least weekly, they feautured a guest blogger once who went on about how bad her salon experience was, how she’ll never go to the salon again and how she knows her hair better than any stylist…..but she went to the same salon that did her relaxers!!!! I’m reading like I’ll take a guess and say they don’t specialize in natural hair and therefore don’t know how to care for your hair in the way you want it cared for.

    There were some other tale tell signs that let me know just from reading that she had no business going to that salon, coupled with just some unrealistic expectations but then the entire industry gets based for her bad choice. I don’t even work as a stylist anymore and it drives me crazy I can only imagine how it is impacting salons. And just gives me flash backs to the days when I did do hair and anybody that knew just a little something about hair thought themselves an expert not knowing more times than not it’s the experts that have to come to us for the most repair work.

    And not for nothing, there are some bad bad stylists out there LOL but that just gives more reason for people to research, we wouldn’t walk off the street at random to any ole doctor’s office so we shouldn’t do so with our hair. And if I’m selective as a stylist (when I was one) of what salon I’ll work at based on the skills of the stylists there etc. how much more selective should the client be?

    Ok sorry I’m ranting but this is a topic I’ve been wanting to speak on in a minute! It’s good to see Anu that you are aware as well as speaking on such topics.

    Reply

    • Dear Donna,
      I too think it’s exciting that so many women are going natural. I can’t believe how many women have no idea what their natural texture looks like, feels like, how to manipulate or care for it. And I sincerely believe it something they should know how to work with and what it is and what works for their hair and what doesn’t. To coin a phrase ‘An educated consumer is our best customer’. But that doesn’t mean that professional services aren’t ever needed. But to each her own. I am not here to try and convince anyone to do anything that they don’t feel they need to do. What I do know is that too often when sisters walk through our door, they’ve waited too long and the damage is really far gone.

      You are so right, clients should do their research. There’s no reason not to these days.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights.

      Reply

  20. Posted by ms jay on April 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Hi, Anu
    I understand and agree with most of your post regarding natural hair care. Here’s my dillema: I am currently underemployed and used to go to a stylist about every 2-3 weeks for maintenance. I have pretty average hair–a little softer in the back than the front, tight curl pattern, pretty dry but I apply product and wear it natural. It’s pretty long so it curls up into a tight little fro which I love and products keep it soft. The problem is I can no longer afford the stylist every 2-3 weeks so I must color at home. My family grays early (around late 20’s) and I have graying around my temples and mixed in throughout. My hair feels soft and healthy and I don’t want to jeopardize that but I simply can’t afford the stylist regularly. I do go for regular trims and assessment. Can u recommend a decent at home semi-permanent color? Especially to touch up the grays. The color right now is a rich brown/auburn.
    BTW, why/how important is it to tip the stylist, shampoo girl, etc? I understand the service industry rules etc. but most stylists charge a lot to begin with. Also, I’m a teacher by trade, currently a substitute (in a service industry) & at the end of the day I don’t really expect a tip from parents. Why is the tipping thing such an issue? Just asking…

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Dear Ms. Jay,

      I recommend that you use a natural hair color for your touch ups. There are any number of natural lines that can found in the health food stores. They cost a little more but in the long run will be safer for your health and your hair.

      If you aren’t able to get your hair done with a professional on a regular basis due to economics, that’s totally understandable. Go when you can for professional services. I love to have facials but I don’t go on a regular, but I do go for special occasions to treat myself like for my birthday. Do what you can.

      In terms of tipping, I didn’t set up that system, it’s been in place for a while and is somewhat cultural. Doctors too offer a service and don’t expect to be tipped, but some people do tip their doctors by buying their doctors art work, tickets to plays or ball games, giving them vacation packages etc. Those people have money and want to show their appreciation. Some parents tip parents in a way that may not be hard cold cash too, baking them a cake giving them gift certificates or gift cards. Tipping is a personal thing and no one can tell someone else what they should tip. For me if I can’t tip, then I feel I can’t afford the service and I’d rather not get it at all. But in some cases I have given up something that I already own like a piece of jewelry. Or I’ve given flowers or chocolates. That’s something you will have to decide for yourself.

      Reply

  21. I have a couple of different views on this topic, that conflict and compliment each other at the same time. Firstly, we forget that in just about all African diasporic cultures, hair care is a communal activity done on porches, in kitchens, living rooms, etc. While I enjoy going to a salon every now and then (like every couple of years) so long as a person knows how to properly care for their own hair, I don’t see any pressing need to go. I dust (trim) my own ends while they are in medium sized two strand twists. Since I keep my hair curly most of the time, I don’t need a precise cut. But my hair is pretty even and my ends are rarely ragged.
    What’s important is doing what works for you and your lifestyle. I understand as a professional you have to make a claim for the necessity of your services, but I find the growing popularity of natural hair is a marketing field day for hair stylists and most exploit that fact. The DIY idea is nothing new, in fact before specialization of labor in EVERYTHING people always did what they had to do for themselves or with the assistance of neighbors, friends and family. I think the natural hair “movement” is permeating all aspects of life and encouraging people to realize how much they can accomplish on their own.

    Reply

    • Dear Pia,

      I hear you! And you’re so right! Do what works for you. What doesn’t work for me is people assuming because I have a business that my advice is strictly about encouraging clients to come spend money with me. This is the world wide web and most of the surfers reading my blog posts live no where near New York and will never have their hair done with us. My interest is about healthy hair first. If my advice works for you then take it and use it. If it doesn’t, then of course you have other options.

      I love the communal aspect, but if I had to wait around for my community of friends and family to do my hair, I’d be waiting quite a while, as they are all busy with their busy lives.

      Another fact of life is that many a Hairstylist has had the opportunity through her or his work to affect positively the lives of their clients, their children, extended family and community. The black hair salon is an institution in our community. I know that my business has afforded me not only my humble but satisfying lifestyle, but also life lessons, great relationships and more than I could ever list here. So while I understand your choice to ‘dust’ your ends at home, thankfully there are others who support and appreciate professional services.

      For those in this business strictly for the money, they will never be fulfilled. This work is also an art form and you must love doing hair and giving to your clients in a way that only a person in personal services knows how to give. It’s also a sacred art as we are placing our hands on the part of the body that houses the spirit. Our work is not only to do your hair but to leave your mind uplifted. So while many may be having a ‘marketing field day’ as you say, that is not our objective here. And perhaps that is why the ancestors have seen it fit for this business to be here decade after decade, through one challenge after the next.

      I am humbled by the fact that we were blessed with grace and an art form that transforms. There are those who love and appreciate what we do and we love and appreciate how they support us.

      Give Thanks!!!

      Reply

  22. Thank you for your thoughtful response Anu, and yes as you pointed out, your longevity is evidence of your success. You raise excellent points and I appreciate that you approach your role as a hair stylist from so many conscientious perspectives. By the way, coincidentally I not only live in New York but work just a few blocks from your salon. I’ve even been in your salon, though I haven’t had my hair done there. All that to say… small world.

    Peace.

    Reply

  23. Posted by Chantal on May 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Hi Anu,

    I’ve been to your salon before…in fact my picture is posted on the blog from a style I got last August. In any event. I would love to get my hair trimmed/styled, but I have reservations. Mainly because I don’t wear my hair straight. I wear it curly using Kinky-Curly products. I have very small pen sized coils. Is there a way to cut the hair in a way that would look good in its curly state and set in two-strand twists or flat-twists. My reservation is that a style that looks good blown out may look different once the hair shrinks up. Is that a misconception?

    Reply

    • Dear Chantal,
      If your hair is kinky, coily, or curly, there is sure to be some shrinkage, that’s just the nature of this type of hair. Hair definitely looks different when it is cut straight compared to when it’s wet. But it’s not a bad look, it’s a different look from being straight. Our barber used the blow dryer to stretch my hair out to cut it and I wasn’t too thrilled about how it looked until he wet my hair down and conditioned it and it curled up and looked fuller and shiny, I was all smiles and I’ve been loving it ever since.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ms P on May 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm

        Bcuz of this forum i decided to get a professional trim. But is one method better than the other? Im scheduled to have mine cut tomorrow…using the straight method I.e. Blow-dried bone straight. I figured it would be more accurate. I have fine 4b hair. Is that the best method.

        Reply

        • Dear Ms. P,
          While it’s great to stretch the hair to cut it, getting it blow dried bone straight is going to the extreme. It doesn’t need to be bone straight. It can just be blow dried enough to stretch out the curl even to 85%.

          Reply

          • Posted by Ms. P on May 15, 2011 at 11:18 am

            Thanks, this was another unpleasant experience albeit this time because of the salon’s assistant. The heat from the blow dryer and hardness of the paddle brush were too much for my scalp…it’s still tender. I’ve had no luck in this big city (Chicago, lol), but i’ll keep looking for someone who can either trim it while wet or gently blowdried.

            Reply

            • Dear Ms. P,
              This is why it is so difficult for me to give recommendations to others because unless I’ve been to the salon myself, I’m not sure what you will experience, but that salon has been around for a while and I believed that you would be pleased. This is also why I don’t have a directory to other salons. My apologies. Please let me know if you find some place that you like and that you would recommend.

  24. Posted by Ms. P on May 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Actually all of the salons I’ve been to were thru reputation/word of mouth…with the exception of the last sister who i found on the natural hair directory. My hair is trimmed now but I’ll keep styling it myself.

    Thanks for your help. You gave great advice.

    Reply

  25. Posted by Stacey Mccauley on June 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Any skill can be learned with time and effort. I think you would sound less condescending if you would encourage people to educate themselves by reading, taking a class or two, or even consulting with a professional. This “leave it to the professionals” attitude is so “yesterday.” Obtaining healthy hair is not all that complicated. It just takes time and effort. If you’re lazy or impatient, forget about it! Go to a professional.

    Reply

    • Dear Stacy,
      Today everyone is educating themselves and I believe that’s a good thing. Even with major health concerns people know that the attitude of ‘leave it to the professional’ is not the way to go and that is not what I said. It is never my intention to be condescending. I love my sisters and it’s my intention to lift them up, to shed light when and where I can. Some can hear my intentions and others do not.

      Reply

  26. Posted by C. Hamilton on June 11, 2011 at 10:09 am

    This is part of why DYI is so popular: from this NY Times article

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/09/fashion/hair-care-for-african-americans.html?_r=4

    some women are extremely popular on You Tube..showing others how to DYI. I’ve watched some of (not all) of these talented women’s videos..they don’t talk about visiting a stylist regularly.

    However- I agree with you..natural hair is NOT a reason to never visit the salon again. Its wonderful to have someone else observe and care for your hair. A good stylist is a partner on your hair journey..its not a ball and chain relaxer relationship like having to get your new growth touched up. (IMO..I say ball n chain b/c missing a touch up may= hair breakage Thus you are chained to keeping it touched up) Whereas if you miss a trim..not good, but not the same kind of breakage.

    Reply

  27. I have worn my Locs for 20 yrs. To go to the salon was $65 (my first 5 yrs) and that was to wash and dry no curl etc. Everything else was added cost. It was not until I spent 3 hours doing my own Locs that I discovered the time etc that go into it. For a good stlylist it is WELL worth it. I can’t afford that type of money so learned to take care of my Locs and happy I did. I cut them 3 times. After 20 yrs I am now going to the twisted Afro (yes cutting my Locs) and cutting them myself.

    Peace.

    Reply

  28. Posted by ms love on June 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Alot of women DIY because of the prices. Me personally am on a budget and I can’t afford to go to a beautician all of the time. Plus I am very particular with my hair. Even when relaxed I was the same way. I got my hair twisted and I spent 65 dollars. To me that is money that can be spent on something else. My hair did not come out as cute as it does when I do it. I can do a deep condition at home, I know how to trim my own hair. It doesn’t take brain science to take care of your hair. I just think that the beautician is amazed that alot of people refuse to spend major money on going to the salon and do their own hair. I go to the professional for styles that I can’t do myself. IJS.

    Reply

  29. I respectfully and completely disagree. I don’t have that sort of money as a student to pay someone to do what I can do for myself. I’ve trimmed and dusted my hair without any problems. Also I live in Birmingham UK and most black owned hair salons deal with straight relaxed hair or extensions so they 1) would probably charge more and 2) they probably wouldn’t know how to take care of my hair.

    I know my hair and any mistakes that I make I will know who is responsible.

    I am so sorry to say but I think you’re upset about this because Khamit Kinks is a salon, right? And you’re upset that you’re probably losing potential customers because they chose to DIY?

    We have the power to take care of our hair and own it, we don’t need to go to a salon to get ends dusted or to get deep conditioning treatments. A lot of naturals have done well doing it themselves. The whole point of people going natural too is to save money and to be comfortable within their own skin.

    There are so many different ways of cutting and trimming your hair, just because that one girl uses a scissor and holds a mirror as well doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way or that everyone else does it either.

    I think you should let people make their own decisions and just let them be. I find it sad to know that you own a salon, because now I know your post is most likely motivated by money, especially since you just chose to slip in that advertisement of your salon either.

    Reply

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