Jun 27, 2013

It's Only Natural..."The Fear of Handling Natural Hair"

photo: various sources
I'm literally venting right now, but a couple of days ago...I received a call from one of my friends that struck a chord with me. She was waiting to get her transitioning/natural hair styled at a Dominican salon and when she asked for a roller set, they refused to touch her hair. No real reasoning behind it, just a simple no and that they can't roller set her type of hair and mentioned that a blow dry would be much better. My friend was beyond puzzled since she has had a roller set done before and mostly because they didn't even assess her hair type.
 To her dismay, next to her was a woman with natural hair that they were tending to. She pointed out the fact that they were handling someone else with natural hair, but the hairdresser just shrugged it off by saying that the client didn't have her type of hair. My friend was completely insulted that they just looked at her, a dark skinned female and assumed her hair was unmanageable (the woman getting tended to was of a fairer complexion). 
She quickly told the salon that she would no longer set foot in their establishment and paid for the washing of her hair, that they had no problem handling prior and walked out. I felt so hurt by the have to leave a salon, run by women of color, just because they refused to handle her "type" of hair. My friend, who happens to be a lawyer, basically said this kind of discriminatory behavior will run them out of business.

photo: various sources
More and more women of color are going natural, yet there is still such a hesitation at handling natural hair. It bothers me when having natural hair is seen as a problem in salons. Yes it may take some more care and time to handle, but if you take that time, the results will be well worth it for you and your client. Natural hair shouldn't be looked upon as a burden. It's as natural as the variation in our skin tones. I'm not saying for everyone to jump on the natural hair bandwagon, but just to be tolerant and welcoming to all women with natural hair. It shouldn't be about picking and choosing who's hair you would prefer to handle.  
If you have natural/curly hair...have you ever had a salon not want to handle your hair?

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