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Dianne Austin
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Dianne Austin

Dianne is the co-founder of Natural Haircare News and Coils To Locs.com. She's been blogging about natural hair ever since she made the decision to break free of the creamy crack in 2012.
Dianne Austin
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The Real Deal:  4 Critical Features to Look For in a Natural Hair Salon

Finding a salon that actually understands natural hair has eluded me; especially where I live (Massachusetts). There are plenty of great salons that special in braiding or locs but it is not easy to find a salon that specializes in wash and go’s, twist outs or braid outs for the Naturalista who chooses to wear her natural  hair “loose”.

Are you also in search of a hair salon haven just for us wild and free naturals?  Please let me know when you find one! Send me a detailed email so that we can create a list of resources for women on the Natural Haircare News website.

To be fair, these types of specialized salons are becoming more prevalent but I look forward to the day when there are as many natural hair salons as there are hair salons that specialize in relaxers and weaves.

My vision of a full service natural hair salon:

1. The salon specializes in and has direct experience with handling all types of natural hair.

I can only speak from my experience but there are salons that advertise that they specialize in natural hair but in reality what these salons have experience in is braid extensions or locs only. That is fine if that is the type of service that you are looking for. It is harder to find a salon that can wash, cut and style loose natural hair. Be sure before sitting in the chair that the salon has a track record with providing these services.

2. The natural hair salon has experience with working with clients who are transitioning from relaxers.

Not all stylists know how to help you to get the most out of your transitioning period if doing the big chop is not on your agenda.  My vision of a multiservice natural hair salon is one that not only has experience servicing women who are managing the process of going natural by working with different hair textures, but who also understand that this can be a difficult period for many women who are just learning about their natural textured hair and  how to maintain it.  The solution for women in transition is not always going to be to straighten the new growth or to do the big chop if their goal is to transition gradually.  A natural hair salon should not only educate women who are transitioning on how to best care for their hair but also have the ability to style hair that is in transition through techniques such as bantu knots, perm rods sets, protective styling and the myriad of other ways that help women transitioning from relaxer look good while they are growing their hair out.

3. The salon provides services that you could very well do yourself, but you really don’t want to.

If you have spent any time on the Internet reading about natural hair or watching DIY videos, you know that naturals are big on creating DIY products that combat frizz and dryness, add color, provide hair elongation and the list goes on. A good salon should capitalize on what naturals want and give it to them.  Interested in applying henna but you don’t want to bother with the process at home?  Go to a salon.  Want a coconut milk deep condition or a pure aloe vera gel hair bath?  Why not get these services at a salon?  The natural hair salons that do exist are missing a huge opportunity to capitalize on the DIY market during periods when we really don’t have the time or interest in doing it ourselves.

4. Provide in-house educational workshops on how to care for your hair at home.

This might seem to go against the grain for some salon owners regardless of hair type.  The likely perception is that salon owners will not make money unless a client is paying for a service. But education is a service.  You Tube supports the notion that women want and need tips and strategies that will help them to manage their natural hair.  Many salon owners are missing yet another opportunity to build relationships with customers through educational workshops related to natural hair maintenance and styling.

Women who wear their hair in its natural state are very self-sufficient but we have had to be because more often than not, we cannot walk into a salon and walk out with our kinky coily hair looking the way that we want it.  There is a whole market  of women out there who want the opportunity to just let someone else take care of their hair for them yet there seems to be relatively few places that recognize that this is a virtually untapped market.

Salon owners:  Are you listening?

Author: Dianne

Comment on this articleChanging attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural. Not sure of which products are right for your hair type? Visit our solution oriented natural hair products store.

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