How Black Hair Salons Should Service Black Women

How Black Hair Salons Should Service Black Women

Black hair salons. They’ve long been pillars of our community for women just as barbershops are for men. Back in the day, salons were a place to commune. Jim Crow stopped Black patrons from entering many businesses and furthered violence and discrimination against the community. In response to centuries of oppression, when given the means Black people began to open up their own businesses. They created spaces that were safe.

Salons were one of them. Women updated each other on their lives, gossiped, and shared news about their community. A salon could be a haven for its patrons. As years went on, salon culture began to change. In the past couple of decades, it’s become commonplace to double-book, have appointments run late, and have an unprofessional stylist. As a result, salons are no longer regarded as a safe haven for many Black women. Instead, it’s something most of us dread or have to mentally prepare for. How many times have you left the salon feeling exhausted and drained?

Let me tell you a story.

I scheduled a hair appointment on my birthday because I wanted the braided style to be as fresh as possible. I had the day all planned out. I’d spend my entire morning in the salon, get dressed and put makeup on in the salon restroom, and then head out to enjoy birthday festivities. WRONG. I left close to 8 PM. I was fighting mad, watching the time creep up to and past my plans — one minute the hairstylist would pause for a cigarette break. The next, she worked on someone else. I watched as more women would walk in. The whole time I wondered where they fit in the “scheduled” lineup. A ridiculous show was blaring from the TV, driving the salon gossip that I wished would end. I was miserable and mad on my birthday. 

I sat in that chair harboring anger but never once said a word.

That was over ten years ago. Sadly, many Black hair salons service Black women with the same reduced standard. There’s a general lack of respect for the client’s time. And worse, Black women are allowing it. 

Times are changing.

Many women work full-time, have children, and have other responsibilities. We don’t have much time to spare with our busy schedules. Going to a salon should not involve clearing your schedule for 8 hours (and bracing yourself if it takes 10.) We have become accustomed to paying high prices for a service that often mistreats us. We’ve previously discussed the pain and discomfort Black women are subjected to. A part of taking control of your hair care is advocating for yourself. 

You can take back your time. 

The only thing that is going to change this is to speak up and let your stylist know how you feel. And if that fails to conclude with an ideal scenario (them no longer double-booking, running late, and being unprofessional), leave. Actions speak louder than words. They will either modernize the way they operate or lose business.  We deserve to enjoy the service that we paid money for and carved out time in our busy schedules to experience. Oftentimes, Black women are subjected to pain, negligence, and hair damage by the very people who are meant to take care of them. We normalize these experiences and quietly suffer through them. It doesn’t have to be this way. 

It is possible to provide stellar service that is done with integrity.

This has been my mission since day one. I want my clients to enjoy more than the end results of their hair appointment. They should feel comfortable with their stylist and be treated with the respect and understanding that they deserve. They also deserve an educated, science-based approach to hair. Brown Skin Women Salon is dedicated to creating a space where Black women feel safe, accepted, celebrated, and appreciated. We do this through luxury, therapeutic, and educational services. We should not be one of the few Black hair salons that want to cater to Black women truly. Salons need to start dedicating their services to reflect the respect and care that they have for their clients. Unfortunately, many will not begin to change unless their clientele demands it. Change starts with you, even if that means leaving your stylist and finding a better one.

Timeliness, professionalism, and respect are two-way streets.

We have a refund policy, cancellation policy, service policy, online booking platform, and follow-up protocol in place. This wasn’t done by mistake. Excellent service begins when you decide to partner with a stylist who has pledged to protect and serve tight curls. If you’re unable to visit Brown Skin Women Salon, find a local stylist and vet them thoroughly. The best way to ensure good service is to clearly express expectations on both sides. We want all of our Curlfriends to get a style they love that is pain-free and makes them feel like royalty. Expecting appointments to run late, being left under the dryer while a walk-in takes your place, and feeling frustrated with the entire experience should no longer be acceptable. Reclaim your time in Black hair salons. You deserve to have your time (and money) respected and cherished.

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