Blow-Out Maintenance and Salon Review

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Yup, it’s still “straight.” *lol* The above pics are of my hair on Sunday afternoon after a morning of house cleaning.

Maintenance:
As I indicated the other day here, I’ve been wrapping the edges with a scarf, pin-curling the length and covering it all with a satin bonnet. I’ve been using a real silk scarf (instead of a satin hair scarf) as I think the real deal works better to keep my edges smooth and frizz-free.

The last two days, I applied a teeny tiny bit of Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter to the flyaways around my temples and edges and a little grapeseed oil to the length. I also lightly oiled my scalp with my EO mix on Sunday after taking down the pin-curls because my scalp was feeling a little dry. Even though I went light on the oil, I still think it weighed down my hair a little. So, I don’t think I’ll need to apply any more product for the next couple of days.

Jewels Studio Review:

Now for a recap of the salon experience. I haven’t had my hair pressed in about a year and three months. The last time I had it done was at a Dominican salon for a Dominican blow-out. The woman passed the flat-iron over my ends over and over again. I probably really needed a trim, but didn’t get one. Anyway, when they told me that I should get a trim at my next appointment, I told them that I won’t straighten my hair for a while again. The woman working on my hair said, “Why?” I said, because I wear my hair curly. Again, she asked, “Why?” I said, “Because I like it curly.” She said, “But I think it looks better this way, better straight.” Need I say more?

The Search
So, I hit the internet to search for salons catering to natural hair. I landed on Jewels Studio in South Orange, NJ after finding a few reviews on Yelp. I debated about whether I was going to get it pressed and trimmed. However, by Friday, I decided I would just get a blow-out and press so that I could trim it myself, if necessary. I just didn’t feel comfortable allowing someone who I’d never seen before go at my hair with a pair of scissors. My biggest concern? I anticipated that the stylist would want to “even” out my perimeter due to aesthetics and an assumption that my thinner, longest length was due to breakage. As this would be completely contrary to my goal of testing Chicoro’s Goal Point Method of trimming, I decided to not even go down that road.

The Pre-Service
I called on Friday to find that they had openings and booked my appointment for after work. I asked what products the stylist used and the receptionist advised Kenra and Paul Mitchell. I arrived for my 5:30 appointment at 5:40 (traffic and parking issue) to enter a small, but clean and cute salon. I was given a questionnaire to complete about my hair and visit. I quickly answered the questions and began to release my twists. The stylist, Jennifer, proceeded to touch and examine my hair. Her other stylist/assistant (?) walks to her with a comb … wait a minute, hold up… and Jennifer proceeds to tell her, “Wait, no, we’re not combing her hair dry. Comb it after you wash and condition it.” Okay, I was about to say …

The Shampoo Bowl
So all was going very well. But, then, here is where it started to get a little iffy. Both the stylist and the shampoo woman (umm, girl just doesn’t feel right ;)) had long nails and I swear they were snagging in my hair. Also, I didn’t feel like the combing was consistently performed from ends to roots, nor was much conditioner used. When they were combing my ends, it was nowhere near as gently as I would have liked and I felt like they were raking them like leaves :(. When you finger comb your hair almost exclusively, it can be really anxiety-inducing to have someone combing through your hair. My body was tense throughout the entire process. As to products used, I haven’t a clue, but I think they were Kenra.

The Issue of the Trim
I’m still in the shampoo sink and Jennifer asks about the last time I had a trim. Heh heh heh … I know where this is going. I tell her that I haven’t had a professional trim in a year. She says that she’ll need to trim it to even it. I tell her, I don’t want it even; I don’t wear my hair straight and I’m not worried about it being even. I tell her that I conduct search and destroys to eliminate knots and splits on a weekly basis. She says that I don’t need to trim my hair that often. I explain my reasons. She then explains that she thinks she may need to trim it. She explains that she doesn’t mean trim it even, but “balance” it so that it will look right. I tell her, “Ummm, no.” So, she then says, let’s see what happens when I flat-iron it. *Side eye* “Okay.” *lol*

The Blow-Out and Flat-Iron
Now to the blow-out and flat-iron. When I was getting shampooed, I asked the stylist whether she used a heat protectant and she assured me absolutely. She indicated that she used heat protectant twice, for the blow-out and prior to flat-ironing. About that, I made an appointment for a blow-out and press and curl. When I was getting shampooed, the stylist indicated that I just needed a “blow out” and not a “press and curl,” because I have soft hair. So, I asked her what she meant and she advised that she would just use a flat-iron to straighten and curl it at the same time. Okay, sounds good to me.

For the blow-out, she used a round brush and concentrator nozzle on the blow dryer. However, she essentially just dried my hair with these tools, she wasn’t trying to get it straight with them. Once my hair was dry, she proceeded to flat-iron using a Baby Bliss, spraying heat protectant on each section before pressing. But, she seemed to spray it more at the roots than the ends. I thought it should have been the other way around given that the ends are the oldest and most fragile. When pressing, there was some steam at times too, which was due to the heat protectant. However, I couldn’t help but think, “Is this cooking my hair?” And then there was the smell … it wasn’t burning hair and it may have been the heat protectant, but it was still the smell of heat and hair. I was not fond of the “scent” and it didn’t dissipate until the next day. Oh, but the matter of a trim was not raised again.

The Bill
Finally, as I paid the $55 and $10 tip about 1 1/2 hours later, I belatedly asked her what heat setting she used on the flat-iron. “About 450,” she said. O_o!!! “Natural hair can take more heat.” I thought, “Didn’t you say earlier that I had soft, fine hair that didn’t need that much heat?” I knew I should have asked that question before she even put the flat iron in my hair the first time, so that one was on me.

My Conclusions
Ultimately, my hair turned out great. It was flowy and soft, straight, but full of body. The service was quick in every way (from the availability of an appointment, to the service beginning, to the time it took to complete), the salon was clean, good products were used, the employees were professional and the price very reasonable.

That being said, although all turned out well, I have become so anal about my hair anymore that I think that the next time I go straight, I’ll do it myself. I wasn’t a fan of the way that my hair was combed and think the heat used was too high. If I just prepped my hair like I did for my blow-out in November, I think I could go straight to the flat-iron and do a decent job. Or, I might just do a roller set like so many seem to do successfully (yes, you Elise and Sham;). So, you know, in another year or so, I’ll give it a whirl;). Now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the 450º flat-iron didn’t cause any heat damage and my curls will return with no problem on my next wash day!!

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When was the last time you straightened your hair? How did/do you maintain it? Did/do your curls bounce back your next wash day?

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29 responses »

  1. It looks great. Id rather get a dominican blow out, because they roller set it first. then I get the roots blown to get the roller print out . I think I will get my hair straightened more than you. I dont think I can handle my natural hair. My straight hair has less maitinance . I think it looks great on you both ways. But after about 2 hot yoga sessions your do will be done.
    But nevertheless it looks great.

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    • Thanks Tiffany, as you see, my last DBO didn’t go down like that. So, I wasn’t going back for a “rematch.” As to hot yoga, one session would have KILLED it. “Fortunately” for me hair, I haven’t been in a very hot yoga-ish mood lately;).

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  2. Good morning milady,you sound just like me,i am very particular of who put their fingers in my hair,dang sound like they were hassling you just for a trim,and lets not talk about the wash lady,from washing to detangling,they start from the front of your hair with the comb and go straight back and just rip right through your hair. I do me hairsalon,thats where i go lol. But your hair is beautiful.

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  3. Shelli,

    I like your “Sunday” hair even better than your “Friday” hair. I would agree with you and others, no one knows your hair better than you do and no one handles your hair as gently as you do. Your ends and overall hair looks quite healthy and even. I certainly would not let anyone go hard with scissors, blowdryer and flat iron…….bring it back in house. You do a fabulous job with your hair and, as they say, your pictures “speak volumes”!

    With that said, thank you for sharing your regimen with us! 🙂

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  4. My mouth was open while reading this one and I have to say I am very surprised. You should consult with me. You have great insight and loads of hair knowledge for self care. Your hair should not have been ceramic pressed at 450. I have seen your natural. With the right moisturizer as a protectant your hair could have easily been straightened at 350-375 maybe less. Less the moisturizer should have been concentrated at the ends of your hair. My prices for blowout and ceramic press are higher for your hair texture, type, density and length and I use all natural and organic products that I buy myself and mix and make. Like 365, Giovanni, Andalou, Curl Prep, Kiss My Face – just to name a few. Would have to talk with you and think your blog is absolutely fantastic. Ahava (973) 619-2855 holistichairhealer@gmail.com

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    • Ahava, I should have checked what temperature setting she was using before she pressed it. Lesson learned. As to your salon, I did check out your blog after I talked to Jason. But, I wasn’t sure if you pressed hair … didn’t see that in the service list. Also, as I’m on a bit of a budget as of late. So, I suspected that your services might be more pricey as it seems you have a whole “experience” type of aesthetic. I doubt that I’ll be going to a salon anytime soon as I have never in my life really gone more than twice a year. And now, I find myself going even longer. But, I will definitely keep you in mind for the future! And thank you so much for the kind words!!

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      • Just reading this and definitely keep me in mind. I know you don’t press often anyway. I do offer it as a service. All the pricing is on the blog page and stayed tuned since I offer specials -usually post them to different sites. As things expand and I get more help, I can offer more by way of contest, sweepstakes and loyalty rewards. Looking forward to meeting you one day!

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  5. See that. That’s why I wrote that post on the LIES hairdressers tell you to keep coming back to their shop!

    At the end of the day if you don’t want your hair trimmed why in the heck are they pressing you! I hate that. That’s why I don’t bother. These people think they can tell you what to do with your hair and yours is probably longer than theirs.

    Funny things is she said about 450 umm what is about? either you know or you don’t. ok i’m getting mad now.

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  6. Wow your hair looks gorgeous, but while reading this section I almost choked on my food. When I saw the temp. range that the stylist used on your hair. My god that is to freaking high, with your texture I wouldn’t go no higher than 350 or 360 for the flatiron. I’ve never had mine done professionally, and I know that I would just do it myself. But the hair still looks good, and knock knock on wood that the stylist didn’t give you any heat damage, otherwise some a.. whipping is going to happen next to the stylist j.k.

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    • Ughh … I’m so mad that I didn’t ask …. I mean, the woman said that my hair was soft and that I didn’t need a press and curl …. so why the heck would she use sooo much heat?!?! Ughh.

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  7. They did a great job! It is true that natural hair can take more heat and I must say your hair does not look damaged. You hair looks healthy and remember every single head of hair is different. My hair is fine, stubbornly wavy, and can withstand high heat hair appliances. Way to go Shelli;)

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  8. Your hair came out beautifully!! Going to the salon is scary for me because every time they either hack such a crazy amount of hair off or they talk so crazy about how much hair and why not relax. Right before my wedding i went to get a trim, came in past BSL left shoulder, still looked nice for the wedding but it was definitely not what I wanted. Anway, your hair looks so full and lovely!!

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  9. Hey Shelli. Your hair looks fab, but I completely share your sentiments! I never want to step foot in a salon to get my hair flat ironed. It’s just not the same when you’re used to a certain level of care. I recently learned how to trim my ends and have been doing S & Ds. I guess the next natural step, if I ever decide to go straight again, is to do my own “presses.” Anyways, keep looking fab. And by the way, you’re near my current neighborhood! I’ve in Essex County until I finish school. 🙂

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    • Thank you MO!! Yeah, I do S&Ds too and I think I’m going to TRY to do a 1/2 – 1 inch trim all around this weekend before pre-pooing for wash day. As to being in Essex county, so I should be seeing you at our NJ meet-up, right;)?

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  10. That’s why I no longer go to the salon. I have decided that nobody cares about or is as gentle with my hair as me. Nobody cares more what products I put on my hair than me. Last time I went to the salon they were combing my hair with no conditioner, made it a tangled mess at the shampoo bowl and using a fine tooth comb to section out for roller set. They (Domican salon) basically steamed the mess out of my hair with the dryer so high and wanted to blow dry it after. After all that ( and 50 bucks later!) I walked out with having them styling it. I felt if I let them roundbrush/blowdry me I would have no hair left. That was just about a year ago! Now I straighten myself by roller setting, triple check the flatiron temp and using heat protectant. Your hair looks really nice though. Please post pictures of the take down when you wash it out! 🙂

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    • Thank you and I will M. Yeah, I think that the next time I feel like going straight, I will probably just dry it in twists and then flat iron it myself or do a roller set. I just was being lazy about the roller set and I donated my last flat iron because my hair would get caught in the cracks. So, I didn’t feel like spending money on a new one when I don’t plan on straightening it any more than once a year.

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  11. My most recent “blow out and flat iron” experience was on Dec 30, 2012. Prior to that, I hadn’t straightened my hair in about 13 months. Needless to say, I was very nervous. I went to a young lady who has been styling my hair for about a year. But, she has never straightened my hair – twists only. While flat ironing, she said “this part of your hair is not curling.” Huh??? But, why did she keep going over that same section of hair over and over and over again trying to make it curl? The long and short of the story is that I was not completely satisfied with the end result and I don’t plan to ask her to straighten my hair again. I’ve tried to roller set it myself but every time I would try to wrap/brush the hair around the roller, it would curl up and thus, not stay wrapped around the roller….sigh. Anyway, I did not appear to have heat damage. Whew!

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  12. Your hair looks fab, especially all the styles you’ve been playing around with, thanks for sharing. The only time I’ve straightened my hair was on my 1 year anniversary of the big chop, Nov 16, 2011. The experience was ok, although not as gentle as I would have liked and the stylist performed a major trim which to this day I’m not certain was necessary (bygones). Even when I was relaxed I felt that in general, stylists were very rough and how they handle hair and now I’m just very reluctant about anyone touching my curls. I do plan to straighten once or twice per year (as the humidity in S FL permits) but will be very selective about whom I allow to touch my hair as you are.

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    • Awww, thank you wathair! And yeah, you are absolutely right. No one is ever as gentle with our hair as we are. But, somewhat in their defense, guess no one can feel what their treatment of your hair/head feels like, except yourself. But, in regard to the techniques, there are some things that they should know, like combing from ends to roots. So, I have no forgiveness there.

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  13. I wear my hair straight in the colder months & usually just rock it natural in the summer when I’m a lot more active, my hair is wavy & I never have any problems transitioning back & forth. You take excellent care of your hair from what I can tell so you have nothing to worry about.

    I’m thinking that you should highlight us press & go girls next because we get a lot of side eyes from the 100% all natural all organic people lol

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    • Thanks Kara!! I typically only press my hair during the winter as well (generally for a trim). But, I only typically do it once in the season and, after that, it’s done.

      As to highlighting the press & go girls (LOL! Never heard that one), that’s an idea. Buuuuuttttt, I would definitely want to make certain to highlight those with the best heat practices that safeguard the health of one’s hair and her curls. Roller sets, stretching, low heat, heat protectant, no heat between washes for maintenance. If you’re that gal, send me something;)!!

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  14. Pingback: April GOC Update: Miss Leah (#7) « hairscapades

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