My Experiences with Hair Salons

Keeping Up Mess by Tracey Andrews

Before I went natural 2 years ago, I was a regular at the hair salon.  I would go on Saturdays to get my press n’ curl or relaxer.  I would plan whole days around my hair appointment.  It was a major ordeal.  Today, I have not been to a salon in over 5 years and I must say, I do not miss it at all!

Lately, I’ve been reading and learning about the experiences of other women who spent many Saturdays at the shop just like I did.  They talk about the hair salon as a bonding place where women not only get a fresh style, they get a fresh perspective on life from their sisters who are their stylist and therapist all wrapped up into one.  They relate how they learned about womanhood, relationships, sex, and money.  They describe it like a safe haven for women.

Hair styling can be seen as a personal ritual that is as necessary as it is sacred.  The hair stylist in African cultures was seen as a highly valued and respected person with talents that could not be matched by just anyone.  The person who cared for your hair was seen as special.  Some of us give a similar status to hair stylist today.

As much as other women have truly valued being with their sister-friends at the salon, this has not been my experience.  Most of my experiences have been the complete opposite.  I’m not just being selective either, I’m talking about each and every salon I’ve ever been to.

When I went to the salon regularly, much of my frustrations started the second I entered the door.  I would always be on time for my appointment.  Yet, I would arrive and my stylist would always be in the middle of another client’s style and needed me to wait 5 minutes, which turned into 15 minutes, which turned into 30 minutes before I could get in the chair!  As far as I’m concerned, I should not have to wait 1 second when I’m there for my appointment on time.

Already my time was not being valued, but neither were my opinions about my hair.  I would have ideas for styles and I never felt like I was being heard.  I was even talked into cutting most of my hair off, like the time I got a short bob even though I didn’t really want to.  I never asked for a style my hair could not do because it wasn’t long enough or wasn’t shaped the right way.  I didn’t understand why my stylist could not be creative and come up with a style that worked for me.  I hated paying money for a style that never really turned out the way I wanted it to.

There was a ton of gossip taking place in the salon too.  I heard about other clients all the time.  I knew whose hair wasn’t growing, whose hair was thinning, who asked for a crazy hairstyle, who came in looking a mess and walked out thinking they were Beyonce.  I also heard gossip about other stylists when they were not in the shop.  I knew which stylists came in late all the time, who still owed their booth fees, and whose clients left them for another stylist.  I was not interested in putting down other women and it just made me wonder what they said about me when I wasn’t around.  I stayed out of those conversations all together.

All That Glitter by Annie Lee

Sadly, whenever I did open my mouth to speak, someone inevitably would make fun of the way I talked.  The last straw for one salon was when another client called me “white girl” because according to her, I “said words completely.”  Really, I said the whole word so I sound white?  Okay…I never came back to that salon.

Around the time I decided to go natural, I stopped getting relaxers, but would go to the salon for a press n’ curl.  With more and more new growth, my roots were getting thicker, and my stylist was getting more on my nerves about it!  She would constantly make comments about it while pressing my hair.  Being told 50 times how thick my natural hair has gotten made me want to scream, “I know it’s thick, you don’t need to remind me every 5 minutes!  Do your job and work with it!”

With all of that, it just made it even more aggravating that every 20 minutes, someone would came in the shop and try to sell me something.  Everything from purses, to body oils, to clothes and appliances have been offered to me.  Some people at the salon encouraged this by bargaining prices down and asking for more inventory to select from.  My opinion is this, I’m at the shop to get my hair done, not to buy your stolen items (Okay, I don’t know if they are stolen or not, but seriously though…).

All of those experiences have amounted to me developing a growing hatred of the hair salon.  It is sad but true.  I am not trying to bash hair salons, I’m simply sharing my experiences.  Maybe I’m missing the point of all of it, or not appreciating the space.  Maybe I took the gossip and personal insults too seriously and needed to take it easy.  Maybe I should have brought extra cash and purchased that stolen set of earrings.

What I do know is that I feel better now that I do not have to dread my trip to the salon.  I am my own stylist and I never give myself a style I didn’t want, I never get angry with my thick hair, and I never call myself names.

What were your experiences with hair salons like?  Did you hate them like I did or love them?

Don’t forget to Subscribe to never miss a post!  

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Feel free to Like, Comment, or Share below!!

15 thoughts on “My Experiences with Hair Salons

  1. i can so relate! i used to go once a week, then once every two. but I stopped relaxers maybe 15 years ago and so, and press n’curls shortly thereafter. although i still flat iron my hair myself, I Do Not miss the salon at all!!!! my hair was more damaged, he kept “trimming” my hair unnecessarily, and I was always there way too long because of over-booking. and the gossiping was outrageous!! my hair’s healthier and longer than it’s ever been and i haven’t been to the salon in many, many years. and thank God!


    • Malaika, isn’t it weird how your hair (and mine as well) is so much healthier after leaving the salon?! Isn’t the salon supposed to keep your hair cared for, but for me it did the complete opposite.


      • totally weird! but it’s also a business so i guess they have to make money. i just wish it was a better experience for women with ethnic hair. because getting my hair done was such a pampering treat.


  2. Wow. I posted a picture on my personal instagram the other day which was stating the way my hairdresser trips usually went. I once spent 2 hours waiting for my hair stylist to turn up and that was the end of the road for me.

    I stopped visiting the hairdressers and I decided to do my hair myself. I could do my hair already, but I thought I was saving time by going to a hair salon. On many occasions I have stated the hair styles I’ve wanted and left feeling so unhappy.

    I dread going to the hairdressers and I haven’t stepped foot in one in 2 1/2 years. I feel your pain!


  3. Agreed. I guess I missed out on the salon-camaraderie boat as well. I couldn’t stand the lack of respect for time, the gossip (I too was called white for speaking proper English, but whatever), and the attempts to convince me to do what THEY wanted to do with my hair. It only got worse when I started to transition to natural hair (even wrote a blog post about it). So now, like you, I am my own stylist.


  4. Oh the memories. I would go ever 2 months or so and experienced much of the same. Stylist late or having to wait for her to finish someone else’s hair. I’ve waited over an hour before while she talked on her phone, at lunch, etc. I would literally be there like I was on the clock at a job. But at the time I felt like I had no choice because I’ve never been able to style my own hair well. Each time I left I would get home and have to attempt to restyle it into something I liked. My husband would ask me why I paid someone to do something to my hair when I always had to redo it or fix it. I’d asked myself the same question many times. Why was I wasting my money? I haven’t been to a salon in over 3 years now. I still don’t know how to do many styles on my hair but what I can do is better than paying someone for these types of experiences.


    • Thanks for sharing! We are not alone in our experiences. I’m glad you are able to do your own hair and you will definitely learn more as time goes by. YouTube has been the main reason why I know how to do other styles beside the twist-out! Check it out but be warned…it’s addictive!:-)


  5. Jane this post was right on point. I hated going to the salon. I’d get so stress out when my appoinyment arrived. How long would I have to wait this time? How many kids would I have to step over today? Would she get my color right? I hope my style last for more than 3 days. Not to mention the music or TV shows they subjected us to. Oh…and the gossip? Seriously? Can they please talk about something positive for a change? And the list went on and on…until I said enough is enough. It’s been four years since I stepped foot into a salon and I could not be happier!


  6. My goal is to go natural, I have a short relaxed hair cut. In the past beauticians and relatives told me that a relaxer was needed because my hair is to thick. However, I’m hoping to grow this relaxer out but im afraid of my natural hair texture. Most beautucians talk bad about my hair because they say its to much hair. Apparently, to them curly hair is bad. They often say curly haired people are cursed. I went to a natural hair beautician in the past, while trying to transition and she prayed to Jesus to get “through this thick as hair “. She proceeded to tell me that a texturizer was needed and my hair is hard work. My organic hair stylist from Brazil with curly hair suggest I go natural because she claims the relaxer is not needed for my hair texture. However, my African American beauticians suggest it is a bad idea to go natural because curly hair/ coily textures make women look masculine !!!My experiences with beauticians have been hortible. Could you offer advice ?


    • Hi K! I’m so glad you came by my blog and shared your story! Bad experiences with beauticians when you are thinking about going natural is something I hear a lot from friends and family – but don’t let that discourage you. Many times, people who don’t know how to care for natural hair will have nothing but negative things to say about it. They will tell you that it is too difficult or that you would be better off with a relaxer. That is not true. Natural hair is manageable, you just have to manage it the right way. Going natural is a process but it is SO worth it! There is a ton of information on YouTube and here on my blog – feel free to look at my Jane’s Hair section for all my advice from my experiences. Mostly, you should go natural for YOU and no one else. Do what you know is best for your health. I hope this is a good start for you. You can also email me anytime!


  7. Pingback: How NOT to recruit new naturalistas!! | Honoring Our HAIRitage

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s