Tag Archives: natural hair salons

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?

Havana Twists … #Hairgasm!!

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Okay, I just found these pics and had to share. I’m salivating!! Yeah … this is gonna happen.

Afrigenix, the salon that did these, is just across the bridge in New York too?!?! Done! But, you know what? I have three more bags of Afro Puffy Twist hair and these are pretty big!!  I might try to do these jammies myself!!