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How Not to Leave the Salon in Tears

Everyone has had that nightmare trip to the hairdresser. 

I recently tested out a new salon for you guys. Unfortunately, I was reminded why I rarely try out new salons... 

Though I turned up five minutes early, the appointment started 30 minutes late. That wouldn't have been so awful if I hadn't had to wake up my one year old from her nap to bring her along. As it was, I found myself playing with my daughter whilst the hairdresser began combing my hair. After about 10 minutes they asked me what was wrong. I'd been so engrossed in the game with my daughter that I wasn't aware I was grimacing. So I said nothing and it continued.

Then I realised - the unmistakable sound of my hair being shredded to pieces was what had subconsciously led to my previous frown. I politely asked the hairdresser to use a different comb, and to start at the bottom and work their way up.

The response? "Your scalp is just sensitive."

I decided to overlook this comment and try to make conversation. We chatted a little then I asked what treatment was being used and I'm told "a deep cleansing one."

Thinking I must have been misheard I said, "a deep cleansing treatment to condition my hair?" The hairdresser said, "yeah, with some argan oil." So somehow this person believed that conditioners were cleansing and that cleansing is a property you'd want in a conditioner. That or they didn't know what they were talking about and were making it up on the spot.

Now, I wanted to leave but my hair was full of product. The hairdresser had set me up under the steamer... and then proceeded to forget about me for the next 45 minutes.

When I went to find the hairdresser they were doing someone else's hair. I waited another 10 minutes until a chair was available. 

At this stage nothing surprised me. When the hairdresser began to comb my hair again I put my hand into a section that had just been shredded. Tiny bits of hair broke off into my hand. When I commented on this, I was told, "those are just the ends, they're weak."

After explaining the difference between shedding and breakage, I asked the hairdresser to just put my hair back into the style I came with - two flat twists. The stylist couldn't flat twist. The stylist couldn't cornrow.

I ended up having to do my hair myself. 

When I got home I took the twists out and saw my hair was more damaged than the last time I straightened it with GHDs at 220 degrees (this was before I'd studied Trichology)!

In the end, I had to cut off around 4-5 inches of the worst damage (about a year's worth of hair growth for me). The hair I didn't cut off is significantly more dull, dry and brittle than it ever has been. What I didn't know, when I made that fateful salon trip, was that one bad hairdressing session could and would cause so much harm. 

Here's what I should have done to avoid the awful experience, and what you can do to make sure your salon trips are positive. 

  1. Ask questions in advance - booking a treatment? Ask what products they will use. Having a hair cut? Discuss whether you'll have it cut wet or dry. The more you know in advance, the more you can make an informed decision and the better the whole thing will go.
  2. Make expectations clear - allergic to parfum? Let the salon know and ask that they show you products before using them on you to avoid awkwardness during the appointment.
  3. Speak up and keep dialogue going - don't be shy in saying what you like and dislike when it comes to your hair. For instance, if you asked for only wide-toothed combs to be used and you see a smaller one, ask about it. It could just be for a parting so ask questions to understand. It's your hair so be confident in controlling how it is treated.
  4. Compliment the positives - had the best head massage ever when the stylist shampooed your hair? Let them know and let others know. That way you'll get more of the good when you book your next appointment. Also telling others will help keep your favourite stylist in business so you won't have to start the search again! 
  5. Support the star stylists - in London we recommend award-winning salons Natural Gloe and Zuizo who's addresses you can find on our stockist page. They specialise in natural hair and use Afrocenchix products too, so of course you always get your yeah hair!

What was your last salon trip like? Let us know your top recommendations!


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