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Here’s What I’ve Learned About Natural Hair Care in the Black Community

This post is long, but it’s important for the Black community
A Black Natural Hair Stylist located in Long Beach, CA:
I have natural hair on my mind today. I posted a week or so ago about chopping my pandemic hair off to get a bob. After all, it was 2 years of no salons, so my hair had grown out a LOT. Which meant lots of shedding, lots of time spent detangling, and way more product used. It was a lot to deal with.
I moved back to LA over 10 years ago and I’d never had my hair cut or shaped. Pretty mush since I big chopped to get rid of my relaxed hair around 15 years ago, I’ve had a hard time finding Black natural hair stylists who know how to handle and style naturally curly hair. And I don’t mean blowouts, flat irons, braids, weaves, and all the other hairstyles that essentially hide natural curls.
And I’m going to interrupt here to say that there’s nothing wrong with those style. Everyone should do what what works for them and their lifestyle, their budget, and what makes them feel beautiful and confident.
But what I am saying is that for those of us who choose to wear our natural curls in all their glory, it shouldn’t be so hard to find some who knows how to handle curly hair. There are plenty of Black stylists in CA.
I said in my post a week (or so) ago that I went in intending to get a trim. I did. That’s what I always do because I don’t trust most Black stylists to be able to handle my curly hair. But in this particular woman’s hands, I realized very quickly that she knew what she was doing. She was constantly talking to me about my hair and what she could feel touching it. She had ideas about what my hair would do, but she also said she would wait until she’d done X to determine the next step.
She recommended a wash and go for me, and I told her that I was the queen of the wash and go. It’s the style I use 99.9% of the time. So if you’ve ever seen me in person, it was probably a wash and go. (Or wig, cuz I do that sometimes when I can’t be bothered with hair. But not very often.)
She never once straightened my hair. No blow dryer. No flat iron. I told her I wanted a bob, and she cut it curly.
She found my mullet. It’s this section of hair at the base of my neck that’s way looser than the rest of my hair. Like, noticeably a different texture. And of all the stylists in LA that I’ve visited in the past 10 years, none of them noticed. Except her.
She also found one of my straight strands. I’ve these strands of hair that are perfectly straight. When I’m taking my clothes out of the shared laundry facility, I always get grossed out because I think it’s one of my neighbor’s hairs. But then I have to remind myself that it might actually be mine. It’s dark and straight. Entirely possible that it’s mine.
One of the worst parts of finding a natural hair stylist is that the handful of natural hair salons that exist want you to commit on the first date (like spend $150+ up front). I’m more like, “We should test the waters a bit and see if we like each other.” But there aren’t any options like that on their sites. Their setup like, “Give it all up now, or swipe left.”
What is that about? Why can’t I get a shampoo, a deep condition, a trim, and a basic style (cornrows for example) for less than $100. Why do I have to sacrifice paying bill or making rent healthy hair?
All of this is to say that I’m happy with the job my stylist did. Took me 10 years to find her (And she’s in Long Beach!) but I’m glad I did.
Something else that’s important to note. There was a white stylist in the salon, and she was very eager to learn about styling Black curly hair. I don’t blame her. There is a whole in that market that I don’t think Black stylists know exists.
And someone who is team #supportblackbusinesses I have to say there is a glaring lack of Black stylists capable of handling and styling curly hair for folks who want to wear their hair naturally curly.
If Black folk are going to the white folk who learned under a true Black natural hair stylist because Black stylists aren’t trained properly for curly hair, then we’ve failed the Black community.
For anyone interested in a true Black natural hair stylist: here’s my stylist’s information: