Friday, August 9, 2013

Grey Friendly Salons

Few things are more important to a woman than a great set of friends, downtime, and a good stylist. Remember the last time you (FINALLY) found a great salon, a stylist that understood your hair, gave you great cuts, AND was friendly? Remember when she had an off-day and butchered your hair? I seem to be one of those people that attracts the off-day into my life.

Unfortunately, I am a very unforgiving person when it comes to my hair. The short cut I got in May was from a stylist that I really like- she doesn’t try to dye my hair, she’s friendly, she marks goals for me in growing my hair out, and she gives neck massages. And although I was happy to get so much hair cut off, there were a few things I didn’t like: one, I felt she was trying to blend the grey away whereas I want to celebrate it; two she looked at my specific pictures as not literal but “inspiration” leaving me with the back too long; and three she had to keep asking more expert stylists what to do.

I will probably go back to her in the future but when I started sporting a mullet from my three month grow out, I was a little apprehensive. After all, there seemed to be a hole in my top layers which cowlicked away and made my head look cubicle- never a look someone strives for. The bottom had grown out and formed silly little ringlets and at best, one side would flip under and the other side would flip out. I couldn’t take any chances so I looked at yelp and got an appointment with the owner of a great salon I’ve been to before.

One would assume when going to said salon that the owner would be friendly and really make this an experience (especially since you’re paying for it). One would assume wrong. She barely spoke two words and it was like pulling teeth to have a conversation with her. Okay, so I’ll sit quietly and listen in on the other conversations going on around me.

I don’t know about you but I have hairstylist intimidation. I have too often been talked into things (or they did them without my consent) only to be unhappy. So I have learned a few things to speak up on. I showed her the cowlick and how I wanted that blended, I don’t like short layers, and I’m allergic to hairspray. To her credit she gave me an EXCELLENT haircut. That didn’t stop her from trying to shellac my hair with hairspray before I stopped her. Then she flat-ironed my hair. I saw the steam and asked her what heat setting it was on and what should I use for my grey hair? She openly sighed and replied it was on medium. Hmmm…

Well I get out and feel my hair looks great- the cowlick is gone, my in-between cut looks fab, and I can go another couple of months with it looking great. Then I take pictures and my hair seems… darker. Some of this is because I still have a lot of brown and red hair, some of this is because I still have dye on my layers and it darkens the overall look of my hair, and some of this is because she burned some of my hair.

*insert low grumbling growl here* I was both livid and panicked; after all I have been growing this out for 11 months and starting over?? Are you freaking kidding me?? I called the salon and they said it wasn’t possible to burn and darken but could only lighten hair. So then I explained the dynamics of grey hair and the lack of pigmentation, etc. The receptionist recommended a good purple shampoo to take the yellow out and suggested I come in for the stylist to look at it. To be honest I didn’t want to go back there many days later, on MY time, to not get an apology from her when she would do nothing more than what I could. I looked online and found that hydrogen peroxide and purple shampoo would take it out. Thankfully it almost did and after a couple more washes it will be brilliant again. Whew!

So my suggestion is when you see a silver sister with FANTASTIC hair, ask about their stylist. A good haircut is just as important as having a grey-friendly (and grey-knowledgeable) stylist. Natural hair may not be salon’s forte or moneymaker, but they should have an education in how it should be cared for. Now I have been lucky to not be intimidated into color like so many others (although there are the polite “you’re here for a cut… umm also a color too?” replies), but I am intimidated all the same. I need to remember this is a service I pay dearly for and so what if I have demands, it’s better than a one-star Yelp review. 

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