I use the term, Nigerian, here knowing it is the only country I have visited salons, not that I am particularly picking on Nigerian salons.
I remember when I started making my hair properly in the year 2001 (yeah, it wasn’t that long ago), I knew I had no choice but to go to salons, cos I knew next to nothing about hair. I did not really have anything against salons then, the only thing I hated was my relaxer days. I relaxed my hair every two months, and I did not look forward to the torture when the hair was ‘relaxing’. The worst part was when I had to go under the dryer. It would get so bad sometimes that tears would start coming out of my eyes. The scalp burns, the heat, everything. The funny thing was that my hair was healthy, according to relaxed hair standards.
When I finally gained the courage to cut my hair, and eventually lock it, it was a freedom I had not experienced in a long time. I only had to go to the salons once in a while to lock my roots. The only sad fact was that I knew I wouldn’t be on dreadlocks forever, thus having to eventually relinquish my new-found freedom from salon torture.
When I eventually cut my dreads and went natural, the hairstylists were very reluctant to put weaves my hair cos it wasn’t relaxed. Once my hair became long enough to let out as an afro or put in protective twist, I started educating myself, and eventually said bye to salon visits.
Now that I know what I know, I visit the salon about twice a year, when I have to braid my hair with extensions because I need to travel, or because of the harsh harmattan weather. And trust me, I have come to dread salon visits in Nigeria. These are some reasons why
1. The hairstylists know next to nothing about hair care. The only thing they know about hair is how to make it look nice, and that’s with the use of weaves and extensions.
2. They think you are nuts to carry natural hair, and complain about it. I have since turned the tide around. Once I visit them, I show them pictures of my natural twists, twistouts, etc. Then I start educating them about natural hair, etc. I do this till they shut up, and eventually face their business of making my hair.
3. You constantly have to keep telling them not to pick the hair too tiny and tight. This is because they are more interested in having the braids look beautiful, than they are about having your edges fall off.
4. Many hairstylists can tell enough lies to wake a corpse. Don’t even get me started on this. They would lie that you were the one who told them to cut the extensions into four parts, instead of three, or that they were not the ones who sectioned your hair as big as a yam slice the last time you visited. They just tell annoying lies, and are very deceptive.
5. Many hairstylists are rude. I am sure I don’t need to tell you too much about this. As they feel they are doing you a favour by making your hair. And if your hair is natural, then it is double wahala.
6. I don’t always leave the salon satisfied. After all their paparazzi about how they would make your hair look nice, I don’t end up liking what they have done to my hair cos they don’t give me the effect I want. I end up leaving disgruntled after parting with money.
7. And many more than I care to mention now.
The only reason I go to salons is to braid my hair with extensions. The day I learn to do that myself is the day I would gain 100% freedom from salons in Nigeria.