One summer I revisited a past hairdresser who was still in business, but had all new stylists. There was one familiar beautician who remembered me, so she gave me the all familiar super hug and a warm, sincere air peck on my cheek. No shade, but I don’t let anyone kiss my face, but my mother.
It felt like I was back home on familiar grounds. It didn’t matter if my hair looked a hot mess under my baseball cap with stringy, lifeless and dull ends. This salon always took care of my locks like magic. I felt confident all would go well.
The beautician asked what was I getting done to my hair, listened briefly and ordered me with confidence to sit in her chair and she would be right with me. I felt so special even though I felt guilty for changing up salons.
My switch began when my stylist from another salon charged me $15 dollars more for every new inch of hair growth. It just didn’t seem fair that I had to dish out hundreds for a relaxer, wash and set, blow dry and hot iron with conditioner, rinse and occasional trim. I was like what am I, the bank?
It became apparent that I was being charged based on the shoes and handbags I wore.
Silly me, who would let me have a weekly $35 special with the most expensive LV bag on my shoulders. I felt like the length of my hair was a curse, and then those partnerships I made to sell my books with the salons left me feeling kind of under appreciated.
Here I was bringing in revenue for the salon and getting back minimal for my book sales and you would think someone would give the Literary Diva a break like a free wash and set.
Starting over with a new salon seemed like a gift to my own soul. And so– I waited for about 30 minutes before the new hairdresser was ready to work on my hair. Mind you, she was never my hairdresser before. Then I realized my old hairdresser was there and had appeared from a back room. Oh, darn it!
She immediately gravitated toward me as if to motion me to abruptly get up and sit in her chair, but the new hairdresser gave her this evil eye and she immediately said, “Stay there, it doesn’t matter.”
My guess was that they all got paid a set salary so taking someone’s client wouldn’t impact one another, I had hoped. I wasn’t there to play favorites, although my new hairdresser should have asked who was your hairdresser before.
Obviously, she recognized me. I know not to request any particular hairdresser when I arrive in a salon because some take the notion personally and if they have to do your hair things can get really messy and catty.
Speak of the devil, my new hairdresser decided to place gooey oil around my hairline before applying a relaxer. It seeped into my eyes so, I had to use the fancy smock put on my shoulders to remove the oil.
The hairdresser was angered and said,”Don’t use that mami,” and quickly got a towel which I should have had in the first place for accidents. She abruptly parted my hair to the point I could feel pain all over my head. Then she slathered on relaxer cream onto my scalp rather than the new growth.
She kept saying my hair was longer than it looked when stretched out , so I believe she applied the relaxer all the way to the roots even though I told her all I needed was a retouch to new growth. She insisted all of my hair was new growth. I held my breath because the fate of my hair from this point on was in this beauticians hands. I felt the F- word flying through my ears at the same time.
I thought she was going to stay close to me and ask if the relaxer tingled so she would be prompted to wash it out, but she disappeared for what seemed like a whole hour if I am not mistaken.
My head was numb. I couldn’t tell if it was burning or my scalp was just dead. The neutralizer bottle was nowhere in sight either.
Moments later, she returned with a plate full of Chinese chicken and rice complete with a canned ginger ale drink. She then asked, “Is it burning?” so I said yes so she could just get the relaxer creme out of my hair which took forever to wash out.
She had one of her helpers guide me to the back sink and then put some stuff on my hair that smelled like eggs and walked away for 10 minutes, but it could have been an hour.
I always thought the relaxer cream had to be washed out thoroughly. My neck became stiff and numb from resting the back of my neck on the sink. That was rather painful and I think I truly wasn’t breathing right.
When the washer returned she barely washed the relaxer out before walking away again. I must have sat with my head tilted for 1 hour. This time the creme was on my face. No one ever tried to wipe it off, so I used my bare hands.
By the time I sat up and the washer applied hair dye, 3 hours must have passed. My morning appointment turned to mid afternoon.
I watched dozens of customers arrive and leave that even came in after me. Finally, it was my turn to get my hair roller set. My hair dresser made me pass her the clips. She put the pins so close to my scalp that when under the dryer it felt like an inferno had whipped my head.
Not to mention she didn’t even place ear caps or a towel around my neck, so I felt that intense hot heat singe my ears and neck.
Just when I heard the dryer’s bell ring, my hairdresser who wanted to take another break turned the hairdryer on again. I was absolutely livid and wanted to scream, but I figured what worse could happen at this point. I would be out of there in 20 minutes and my nightmare would soon be over.
The hairdresser finally escorted me to her seat and began carefully taking the rollers out one by one. The curls on my head were pretty crisp, maybe fried.
My hair had somehow survived all of the abuse and it seemed like the hairdresser was shocked.
She mentioned,”Your hair is strong.” I had no idea what she meant by that statement, but I quickly found out upon trying to skip a touch up from that hairdresser from hell and do my hair myself.
I should have known something wasn’t right when the hair dresser looked sneakily at my former hairdresser. She acted like a bottle of spritz conditioner was almost gone. As she shook it she said do you want some on your hair. Then she said that it is free cause there is only a little bit left.
Who would resist free leave in conditioner.
Then, I recalled looking a the breakage of the clients of my former hairdresser who again, didn’t seem phased that a new hairdresser had stolen one of her old clients.
I was kind of relieved I didn’t get my old hairdresser because all of her clients had some breakage. I watched as I stayed under the dryer between a coloring treatment.
My new hairdresser was able to blow out all of my curls. No breakage was apparent yet. I felt relieved that my hair wasn’t in the condition of the other clients.
However, just 1 week from trying to wash and set my own hair it all broke off in clumps in my hands. Yes, just like that.
Flashbacks of the spritz conditioner my new hairdresser applied had me thinking of the worse case scenario.
Had she placed lye activator in my hair post styling to ruin my hair on purpose, and because she knew most clients of my old hairdresser would return to her? I asked myself a thousand times, why me as my hair fell out daily.
Within 3 months my hair was gone in the center of my head and I was so embarrassed that I wore it up in a fake ponytail. Even though the bald spot was a size of a quarter, there was still hair there, but the remaining stood on end like grass sprouts.
However, don’t feel sorry for me. Some people’s hair never grows back from these ordeals at the hairdresser. I was lucky and now appreciate my God given hair in its natural state.
Just 2 years later, I’m back to my very first hairdresser, my hair is restored, healthy and growing back to its old length.
Sometimes it is worth it to travel to a good hairdresser. You’re worth it.
If you think going back to that hairdresser who made your hair fall out is the right thing to do than by all means, but they have rights to and almost always countersue for negligence on your part. We all have to fight battles, but once hair is gone no need of going after a business. Patronize a different business and that will hurt them more. Life really does go on.