If you’re reading this it’s likely that you’ve been to an afro-carribean salon to get your hair done at least once. I was last in one on Friday, appointment was booked and price confirmed. Turned up and was told to wait an hour and the price had speedily inflated, grrrrr! Sounds familiar perhaps?
Whether it’s for braids, to relax your hair, for weave, to get a fresh trim or just to buy some hair products, you’ve been in one.
I’ve been to different hair salons countless times, at the moment I’m fairly fortunate to have one local salon that I go to fairly regularly and have a good experience at…. most of the time. I’ve committed to this place because the service is usually good and I’m tiyaddd of salon hopping.
Over the years (I probably first stepped into a salon when I was 5), I’ve never really looked forward to salon day. Salon day typically took out a whole day of my time, especially whilst I was growing up and only micro-braiding my hair. As I got older weave felt like an unbelievable luxury as I’d be in and out of the salon in circa 2 hours. Things also started looking up unexpectedly when I found a lady who was willing to do my hair at home. For a year or two I didn’t step foot in a salon, but then my luck ended when she moved to Manchester. So it was back to salon hopping for me.
But what is so bad about salons you ask? Or maybe you’re nodding along because you know all too well about the common issues – to really explore this I’ve got a few testimonials from individuals that have experienced the Salon Day Nightmare.
“I was really excited to try faux locks for the first time – I’d arranged an appointment but to my horror when I arrived the lady wasn’t there and I waited two hours. Aside from the lateness the quality of the finished product was poor, the locks were unravelling within just two days”. Paula, 25
I’d wanted to try passion twists for some time and had been communicating with a hairdresser. I’d sent pictures of the style itself and confirmed what type of hair I’d need. To my utter shock when I arrived, the lady told me the hair I’d bought was wrong (even though I’d confirmed and sent pictures) and told me the hair could only be styled into crochet not twists. I even tried asking her to twist the crochet but she claimed it wasn’t possible. I ended up twisting the crochet myself once I got home. Chi Chi, 26
I had an appointment to relax my hair, unfortunately I got more than I bargained for when my scalp was burnt. The hairdresser took full payment despite burning my head and didn’t seem concerned about the damage. My grandma called her to express how unhappy she was, safe to say I never went there again. Tolani, 21
I’d booked an appointment for a Sunday which I wouldn’t usually do, but that was the only day I was available before my overseas trip. I turned up for my appointment and the lady was nowhere to be found. My messages and calls weren’t going through, the barber in the store said calmly she’d gone to Watford for the day. I was baffled as we’d agreed on the appointment, I went home and never heard from her. No apology, no explanation. Nothing. Feyi, 50
So what is the big takeaway from all this? Well I believe every issue has a solution! Now, nothing is perfect, black salons are run by humans and humans make mistakes. So we have to allow room for error and be patient with our hairdressers. But there is a fine line and from a business perspective, customers are always right. I personally always express my feelings if a service isn’t up to scratch and when the service is good I let them know. So in a nutshell, rather than complaining amongst ourselves, I suggest let your hairdresser know in a frank and respectful way what their service is like, constructive feedback should result in improvements.
I love supporting black run busineses but the businesses should also respect, value and love serving their customers.