Briana of The Mane Source writes:
Over the weekend I received a message from a dope Chicago stylist. In her message she shared her experience with a natural client that didn’t want to continue to receive services from her because she also styles relaxed hair. I have the go ahead from this stylist to share the message, so, read on…
I have had lots of
clients call me and ask me am I a natural hair stylist and I tell them
yes, because I consider myself to but that. I recently had a client that
took offense to me doing other styles, as if I lied to her. Needless to
say I was shocked that she was so angry. My client went on the tell me
she wanted to see a stylist that ONLY did natural hair. So I kindly
informed her that that would be her choice and I had no problem if
didn’t want to return. But while she was sitting in my chair I took the time to inform her that I was a cosmetologist first, and a naturalist second.Any one can call
themselves a naturalist. No formal training is needed, they learn to
braid, twist and lock and start getting money. They start telling
everybody to grow their relaxer out and go natural! Natural is good, I
believe that over 75% of women wearing relaxers don’t need them. 1/2 of
that percentage of women with relaxers would be doing much better
without it. The other half are not using it properly creating more
damage.However, being a
cosmetologist is paramount. Being able to first give you a proper
consultation to analyze your hair and giving you the best professional
advice possible. So I don’t have any hang-ups about natural hair, or
relaxers, or extensions. I want you to have the most healthy hair
possible. If that means you need a relaxer, I’m able to give you that.
If that means you need to grow your relaxer out, I able to help you with
your transition with a proper hair-shaping and possibly some extensions
to help you along. As soon as we get your hair healthy and strong. I’m
able to give you a possible new hair color (done properly with
professional products) that will set you out from any crowd of people.On a personal level, I
prefer natural hair on everyone. I love the versatility of natural hair.
I love the variation of textures and curl patterns. I pay big $$$$ for
flatirons to straighten the tightest of curl patterns. I LOVE NAPPY
HAIR!! But I love healthy hair more. So if I had to pick, I’m a
cosmetologist for life! I have one hang-up and that’s happy/healthy
So, what say you?
How do you feel about her response?
Do you prefer that your stylist only cater to natural hair? And, for my formally-trained natural stylists out there, do you agree with her thoughts on relaxers?
i can see why her client didnt want to see her…she might have assumed that the majority of your clients are relaxed and that is where your expertise lies. i know for me if a stylist does both natural and relaxed hair WELL, then I am game to try them out. I belive that the Chicago stylist response was valid and fair…healthy hair relaxed or natural is the most important thing.
She is a woman with a job to do. I think it's wonderful that she cares enough to get the education and training needed to provide services to natural and relaxed clients without judging either group. I think it sucks that she lost a client because she doesn't choose to exclude relaxed women from receiving her services. I wonder if that client stops being friends with all of her relaxed friends, if she disowns all of her relaxed family members, if she refuses to sit next to a relaxed woman on a bus, plane, etc..Well, y'all get what I'm saying. Let's stop being so judgemental. Peace.
I didn't say anything was wrong with it, I'm just saying that of course she's going to do what she has to do (and say what she has to say) to continue to earn a living. She said that certain people "need" relaxers probably because she does relaxers. If she lost all her relaxed clients, she'd make less money.
I just moved to the Chicago area and I am dying to find a stylist for my natural hair who believes in maintaining healthy hair. Please share the name and info for this stylist. She sounds phenomenal to me.
I think that her response was good, professional and honest. Personally, I prefer that my stylist knows how to do my natural…period. She doesn't have to specialize in natural hair but she must be well versed in natural hair care and hair care period. To each his own but I really don't understand the client's reaction. Also, I've heard of some stories where a person claimed to be a natural hair specialist and in reality they were no where near it.
It makes me sad how rocking naturally curly hair is still often seen as "pushing the envelope". It's still kind of bizarre to me, especially as a non-black woman who didn't even know what relaxers were until a few years ago when I started researching natural hair care, that chemically altering your hair texture can be considered less radical than wearing your hair in its natural state. That being said, I get how corporate/professional norms can be difficult to navigate for naturally curly women, and I sincerely hope that in the future people of all races and genders will stop viewing naturally curly/kinky hair styles as unprofessional.
(for the record, this is just an observation about things I've noticed in general, hopefully it doesn't come across as an attack on your opinion!)
I think the cosmetologist who wrote that letter makes some very valid points. I personally prefer to reach out to a cosmetologist is I want to cut my hair or do anything to it that requires the skills and expertise of a professional. Why was that client knocking her for trying to feed her family. It was not as if she was pressuring her to get a relaxer or texturizer. I don't get it! What was her deal? I think she was pissed off at the salon prices or something else. But, instead of stating the real reason she was unhappy, she had to come across as a natural hair snob. SMH! I'm sure she will not be missed as a customer!
I havent been in a salon that offered or smelled like relaxer chemical in over 10 years; I don't know how my body would react to it. The smell would be my only problem, but if the stylist is equally good at handling natural hair I can dig it.
I have no problem with stylist who provide service of all kinds. As long as he/she is good at cutting/styling MY natural hair all is well. Folks, these people have to make a living and I applaud them for being diverse in their trade.
I don't necessarily agree with her comment on certain women who do not 'need' a relaxer based on her texture because I think it's a personal choice based on individual preference, convenience, and/or desired look a woman is trying to achieve.
Hey, be a jackie-of all-trades 😉 as long as you're good at each one…….
Honestly to me its not that deep, although the stylist left me with a cliff hanger with the whole 25% thing needing relaxers.I do understand from both views.
I understand the stylist's point of view. I feel that if she has been educated and trained in all areas of hair care such as coloring, relaxing, cutting, etc. she should not have to limit herself in her craft. I would not turn down a stylist who does not only do natural clients because I feel that as long as the person is thoroughly knowledgeable about natural hair and can consult, guide, and provide information for me to properly care for my hair and keep it healthy, I would trust them to do as good a job as with someone with relaxed hair. I don't particularly understand the statement where she states that some "need relaxer", but other than that, I feel that she should be able to do relaxed and natural clients.
I know having a relaxer is a choice. But to be real, we have to realize it is an acid you are putting on your scalp. We cannot forget the health risk. Your skin is the most sensitive organ on the human body and absorbs up to 60% of what is put on it. There is a reason we burn when we do relaxers. I am scared to put a relaxer next to some of the most sensitive portions of my body: my brain, nerves, eyes, ear organs, etc. The last relaxer I had before I big chopped never lasted as my hair fell out in clumps over a summer I was very ill and it woke me up to the dangers of putting a chemical on my hair.
I have absolutely no problem with the straight look. I personally prefer it on my face, and for work, due to a lot of repetitive strain injury pain in my hands and arm, managing my natural hair in twists every night and braidouts, etc., is not an option for me anymore until I heal completely. Just twisting my hair for 10 minutes gives my excruciating pain in my hands, elbow and arm. So I do wigs now and keep my hair twisted up underneath. Since the health of my hair is important, I still co-wash weekly to biweekly and deep condition once a week, all in the twists. But I have to detangle my hair only a few twists a week during my wash sessions and not the whole head because I can't deal with the pain. I would love to rock my natural hair out, it is as long as my wigs anyway at armpit length but the risk is major pain that hinders me at work and right now doing my work on the job well is my highest priority, not standing up for a cause. I still advocate and wish stylists would promote an alternative to relaxers such as just flat ironing and pressing hair instead of relaxing the hair. There are risks with that as well and a good cosmotogists must have a true understanding of direct heat usage and the importance of conditioning and spacing out the presses to preserve the hair strands.
Ultimately, we can't control what choice people make, but I feel a genuine cosmotologist should share the health risks with clients to make sure they understand what a relaxer really does to the hair strand and scalp. Then the final decision rests with the client.
When she says some women 'need' a relaxer, she means its best for their lifestyle. These women want straight hair but dont want to deal with the time it takes to straighten and maintain the style. I think the client's reaction was a little extreme. If the stylist can do your hair well, what difference does it make. If I were the client, I'd be impressed that the stylist had the skill to do so many different styles. If I wanted a straight style one day, I know I could go to her to help me out.
I think that that the lady was out of line because if she can do both that is excellent. In Las Vegas, NV we need stylists that can do both or natural and relaxed seperate. Majority of the shops here do relaxed hair if you are natural they can press your hair which is a disaster. My mother took me to this stylist when I was eight that she trusted because my father got a Jerry curl and she did until her hair started to break off, this lady pressed my hair did not I repeat did not use a leave in after my deep conditioning treatment and burned my hair she took some scissors and cut my hair telling my mother that I needed a trim no! The devil is a lie lol! I never went back so my mother took care of her hair and mines natural hair we rocked. My advisor at my college Unlv went natural and several girls I know because they said their stylists just were not cutting it relaxed or natural so they are doing their own hair. It was so nice to see that and she asked me about products I told her some and she was so thankful. Now I see a lot of naturals on campus. The client should of been greatful that her stylist knew how to do both types of hair.
My body can no longer tolerate the fragrance and chemicals used in straightening kits so I avoid salons that do them, but it's the same for bleaching kits and some other conventional highly fragrant and aerosol products.
If the client didn't have any of these issues and liked the services up until that point, I don't understand their feeling betrayed. Though it's possible the client views 'natural' as a lifestyle choice and only wants a professional who does the same, there are those out there and I respect that. But like the stylist said it's tough to cut off a sizable share of your business, and unless for health concerns, why should they if their professional ethic involves catering to everyone? In the end I'm glad the stylist handled the situation gracefully and I liked her positive and intelligent defense of her practices.
1. A TWA works for ANY texture in ANY work environment. That was the case when I went natural almost 17 years ago (as a highly-visible manager in corporate America) and it's still the case today. I stand with the other commenters: Relaxers are a choice, not a requirement. And unless the woman is willing to do a rebuttal, we have no choice but to take her words at face value.
2. If anybody's exhibiting so-called "Nazi" behavior, it's the many insecure relaxed/weaved/wigged women who keep throwing their insecurities about their hair choices in naturals' faces. The majority of my black female friends, as well as all of my immediate female family members, are natural, and most of us are in the type 4 range, heavily favoring 4b/4c. We don't care what others do to their hair…but others certainly seem to care what we do with ours! Spend enough time on these sites and it's easy to believe that everybody's gung-ho for natural hair…but in the real world that's not the case.
While I don't think anyone needs a relaxer, I agree with the stylist. The client was waaay too serious about having an exclusively natural stylist. When I get my hair done (and I usually only go to the salon to have it straightened) I'm looking for someone who's knowledgeable, who knows how to be delicate with my hair, and who's the most affordable. As for what she (or he, I guess) does to other people's hair, well that's between the stylist and the client and unless I see that she's seriously jacked someone else's hair up, I don't particularly care about the preferences of their other clients.
I understand her points- but the 75% comment bothered me. If you are in the 25% category, is she going to push to towards a relaxer? Does she make make that decision randomly???? I don't want anyone judging my hair. I agree with her client-now that I'm natural, I want someone who is going that way too, not one that says that your hair would be easier with the creamy crack!!!!
I have to agree with the cosmetologists. I have natural hair and my mother is a cosmetologist and has been for over 32 years and I grew up in the salon. My mother has natural hair as well but she can do all types of hair be it natural or relaxed. I feel if you are a real cosmetologist you should be flexible in the type of hair that you do. Caucasian hair, Natural, Relaxed, Weaved etc. I will not get upset at a cosmetologist if she did not cater only to natural hair because I understand that they have to be open about all hair types and styles. I can appreciate the fact that they are not one dimensional when it comes to hair styling. I feel that some naturals just go to far!
I'm not saying that a cosmetologist shouldn't make money. I'm saying that I don't believe someone who is natural NEEDS a cosmetologist, and for her to say that we do is because she wants to make money. In other words, I think she's being dishonest. Most cosmetologists have not not been trained to take care of natural hair. Now, if one has taken the time to study it, and can honestly be a help to natural haired women? MORE POWER TO THEM. But I know that most of the advice I've heard from cosmetologists about natural hair has been flat out WRONG. As far as "needing a perm", she said 75% of those who get them don't "need" them….meaning that she believes the other 25% do. If that's not what she meant, she needs to clarify.
agreed whats wrong with trying to earn a decent living.
I agree with half of your statement and disagree with the latter. A well-versed cosmetologist has been trained in the best practices of taking care of hair and can be an asset to someone who is not a hair person (in that I mean not good at doing their own hair or that they can give good advice about haircare). They have studied, practiced, and hopefully mastered the art of taking care of people's hair and scalp (in its natural state and otherwise). It's great that people are taking their haircare into their own hands, but only if they practice healthy haircare, everyone doesn't. Why shouldn't cosmetologist make money? That's their livelihood and have every right to honestly support themselves. I choose to do my own hair now because frankly I've learned how to with the help of cosmetologists (those who focus on natural hair care and otherwise), trial and error, and the little bit of natural hair care information out there when I went natural in 2001. I don't know what she meant by needs a perm, but I think she was talking about people who THINK they need a perm.
everyone is entitled to feel how they want & comment accordingly. that being said, i was also a bit thrown off by the "need" for relaxer comment. sue me.
Seriously, I could care less what someone else does with her hair, and I didn't find her comment about who needs a relaxer to be offensive.
If I wanted to have straight or straightish hair all of the time, I'd "need" a relaxer too b/c I couldn't maintain it otherwise. I work out almost daily and my hair so thick that it is soaked by the time I am done.
I also can't even imagine caring what other skllls a cosmetologist has as long as she can do what I need and is worth what she charges me.
I agree with her that a relaxer applied for the right amount of time for your hair can yield beautiful and healthy hair. I also agree with her that there are people whose hair NEVER looks good with a relaxer. I had gorgeous relaxed hair for years. Years. People never thought I had a relaxer b/c I think they associated them with overprocessed, thin, lifeless hair. But I would correct anyone who said otherwise that my relaxed hair was as much the business as my natural hair is. People always complimented both.
But I'm tired of the supposed rules and they way people act like we all need to use the same products or can't use combs and brushes, and I kind of hate the slang and won't use it either.
But while I had a relaxer for a while, I didn't get it until I was a young adult so it's funny to hear people who have had natural hair for 15 minutes makeup all of these new "rules and telling people that if they don't follow them, their natural hair will fall out.
Everybody's out to get money. At least those of us with jobs.
Really people? ………… Let people live,say and do what they want to do! Jesus Christ Mary Martha and Moses…..Ijs.
I went natural almost 15 years ago. Being natural wasn't as popular back then and there was a very limited selection of products that worked well to care for and style kinky, curly hair. Now I see gorgeous naturals of all ages 24/7. I appreciate and enjoy the current wealth of information and products available to us. BUT I could really do without the "natural nazis" who insist on perpetuating a ridiculous "us vs. them" beef against women who choose to relax or wear weaves. I also can't believe how many of these comments focus on the question of "needing" a relaxer! I'm not sure what she meant, but I would agree with others who point out that some natural textures can be tough to pull off in certain professions. The same applies to Black men which is why you don't see many Black Wall St.-types sporting locs. (You also don't see Caucasian Wall St.-types with long hair and/or shaggy beards.) Like it or not, there are corporate cultural norms that we must figure out how to navigate. Some of us will choose to push the envelope and rock our natural texture and some won't. That's cool. Maybe that's what she was referring to. Or not. My point is that some of us need to stop tripping and stop judging.
I think that she gave a response that explained how she's still a professional of any hair type & she can help to nourish any of them back to a healthy state. I don't think she was out of line explaining it the way she did to the customer. It didn't come across as rude, she simply explained her way of thinking of the whole situation.
While I appreciate the honesty and integrity of the stylist, I do have to disagree that having a relaxer isnt a need, as no one has a physical " need" to use such harsh chemicals to straighten the hair. Also, being a natural stylist is more that just getting money for braiding, twisting and the sort, because understanding natural hair is a science, as we all have different natural hair needs. I came from AZ and there is a natural stylist there who had to challenge the cosmetology board to not have the same license as other salons, because she didnt use harsh chemicals for hair care, and she won, shout out to Essence and her staff at Rare Braids in Glendale,AZ. I can understand the change in stylist from the young lady's perspective though, as she may feel that there is not a true appreciation for natural hair and its special needs.
I don't think anyone really NEEDS a relaxer…
I was just in the salon that I've gone to for over 10 years for a cute summer cut for my afro. I think some of the stares and comments might just be the atmosphere of that salon. Salons are like churches, in the fact that, all don't suit your needs or give you the welcoming atmosphere that you are desiring. When I do go for a cut or a color (relaxer-free since Jan. 2011) I get questions, comments and stares accompanied by smiles by women who are relaxed or getting relaxed at that moment. I use or see that opportunity as a teachable moment by giving the respect and dignity, that I want to receive, to anyone I encounter whether they be natural or relaxed. It saddens me that hair continues to separate us when it is such a personal choice of each and every individual.
She has her preference and thats fine. She can't tell her stylist and go in on her for doing relaxed hair. Stylists are in the market to make money and have to be well versed in all hair styles, types,etc… You are limiting yourself as a stylist and limiting your potential of making money if you ONLY do a certain style, or type of hair.
Iapplaud her honesty; anyone working on my hair should be honest with me. As a natural, it doesn't matter to me if you do relaxers also, as long as you take care of MY hair properly. After all it was my stylist who was versed on all styles who recommended that i go natural (to her detriment, i might add). It does give me added piece of mind to see a certificate hanging up or to know that you are a cosmetologist. Perhaps her client did not know how to express her needs properly.
Regarding relaxers – in my experience, she may be correct. We tend to start relaxing as if it is something as natural as breathing, when the reality is many of us don't need it. I have 2 daughters that didn't need it and again once we went natural, my stylist commented as to why my daughter was relaxing in the first place.
I don't see anything wrong with her statements. She does hair. Period. Any kind of hair. That's great that she is so versatile. I personally don't frequent salons often. I think it's generally difficult to find a good hairstylist that suits your needs (including styles, hair care, scheduling, prices etc). I personally think it's even more difficult when you have natural hair because a lot of stylists don't know how to care for it. Sure, many of them can STYLE it, but hair CARE and hair STYLES are two different things. Anyway, it's funny, a few years back i went to a natural salon that specializes in locs. I asked for a roller set on my loose natural hair and was in some ways attacked by one of the clients for my decision to get a "regular style" and that I "should really consider getting locs". All the while with her face scrunched up talking to me. Really??? I could understand if she was some loc enthusiast and I showed interest of some sort and asked for her opinion about my hair, but I didn't. Just goes to show that scrutiny can come from both sides.
Why is it that people seem to look down on Cosmetologist, Like the comment were out to just make money, are were just trying to get our hustle on,there are hours of schooling and a state board test that has to be taken in order to work in this field,I mean don't get me wrong we do want to make money just like everyone else, but we deserve it. I know for myself I really love what I do. I been in this line of work for awhile and I have learned that people come and go that's just the nature of the business, so if the client wants to leave so be it, wish her well and thank her for her business thus for and keep it moving, because I feel that people are not my source God is and just like he blessed me with her he will bless me with someone else…
my opinion: I took no offense to her saying that some women need relaxers. I believe that some do NEED them but that's not because the person has "bad" hair. Like others who commented before me have said, depending on a person's style preference, the hair may need to be relaxed. Some hairstyles just look better on straight hair than kinky natural hair.
And I think that the women who flipped out just because she does relaxed hair is a bit dramatic. It is soooo not that serious. If she really wanted an "au naturel (sp?)" stylist she should have specified what her criteria were before booking the appointment.
As an instructor of cosmetology who started off as natural over 10 yrs ago, I understand mostly where she's coming from. In this day and age many cosmetologist aren't just doing relaxers. We have to be able to handle anything that comes into our door: waxing, color, correction, cuts, children, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Indian, etc. We may not personally agree with someone's choice when it comes to what they want to do with their hair, but it's not our job to judge. Our job is to keep your hair healthy and to make you look and feel great when you leave. Please don't down cosmetologists. Although some aren't the best, there are many good ones and many are parents trying to have a career. Not many cosmetologists (including myself) can make a good living just doing natural hair b/c as we all know, many can do it themselves. I can make an analogy of this in comparing cosmetology to plastic surgery: many people may not "need" these services but it is the professionals' job to provide, educate, and give the best service they can to make the client happy-not to judge or give their personal opinion. God bless and let's focus on lifting and building each other up!
Definitely agree with you; I think its mainly a preference. I go to salons to treat myself occasionally, so I prefer the vibe/atmosphere in the natural hair salon in my area. In the natural hair salon, I don't get stares or annoying comments about my hair from the other clients that I would get at my old salon. And I dont have to smell burning hair/ relaxers either. To me, it's just a lot more fun, welcoming and calm in the natural salon. As for the lady demanding that her stylist should only do natural hair – thats a bit extreme. She should just go to another salon.
seriously all this quibbling over semantics is ridiculous. Instead of getting the gist of what she was saying here we are trying to go in on this woman for word choice. When she said 'need' I understood it to be for woman who don't want to embrace their natural hair or prefer straight styles then they do need a relaxer as how else would they get the same look without constant flat ironing. We have to be careful as a group about our sensitivity because if we are always complaining about the little things who will take us seriously when the big injustices roll around.
This was an interesting read but I'm curious as to why she thinks the other 25% of women wearing relaxers need them.
I agree with her response. Technically, she doesn't owe anybody ANY response because that's what she wants to do. People need to get off of their soap box with telling grown people what they should say and shouldn't say, and what they should do/shouldn't do. GET A LIFE. I am SO over this hair thing it is ridiculous. So she said 75% of her clients don't need relaxers. That didn't hit me the wrong way because it is her OPINION and she is very much ENTITLED to it. To the supposed naturalista that got upset because she didn't specialize in just natural hair. GET A LIFE AND A GRIP.
Personally she lost me with her writing and especially at the thought that someone 'needs a perm'. After reading this I felt as if she was trying to convince herself of the rationale and not the reader.
I don't think it should matter, but you need to go where you feel most confortable. I chose to do my BC at an exclusive natural salon instead of having my stylist of 9 years do it. It was a personal decision. I felt that because 99 percent of the clients were relaxed and very opinionated….I didn't want to hear any negativity during the process. I actually went back to my salon one week later to get my TWA colored….and people were shocked. Clients were asking me why did I cut my hair and I felt some negative vibes….I haven't been back in two years. I actually haven't been to any salon in the last two years. In my situation I was more concerned with what everyone else thought…..but its more important to find a good stylist that can take care of your hair.
Cosmetologists are out to get money, and so are all of these companies popping up with "natural" hair products. She's gotta get her money somehow and if all her relaxed clients stopped getting relaxers she'd be broke!
Yea, I agreed with everything she wrote, but that "need a relaxer" also hit me the wrong way. How you explain it, Briana, I can understand…I guess…if that's what she truly meant.
Nevertheless, I don't think whether a person does natural, relaxed, permed, or bald-heads should matter as long as they take care of your hair.
I can understand where some people might "need" relaxers depending on their lifestyle, preference in hair styling, etc. In order to achieve certain looks, styles, their hair texture might require a more somewhat "permanent" method to straighten out their coils. The client and the stylist are both entitled to their opinion and preference for a stylist/client. My stylist does everything and I am ok with it because she does it all well. She has seen me through relaxers, transition and now fully natural. She has gone through the whole spectrum as well with her own hair.
I think that her concept of "needing" a relaxer is when someone doesn't have the patience or skill to work with natural hair, or someone who wants their hair to be straight all the time (in which case, getting your hair continuously flat ironed seems borderline ridiculous), as opposed to someone getting a relaxer because it is the norm in African-American hairstyling. I don't think her point was that some women have "bad hair" and therefore need a relaxer to tame it, just that some women dont feel like wearing their natural hair texture, in which case a professionally done relaxer is not a bad thing.
I agree. Nobody NEEDS a relaxer. Having a cosmetology degree may help when dealing with chemicals and haircuts, but all one needs to know about natural hair can be found for FREE. Cosmetologists just need people to keep coming to them and spending their hard-earned money.
She lost me when she said 75% of women using relaxers don't need them…nobody needs a relaxer…if they want it so be it but to convey that anybody needs a relaxer is pretty stupid to me…and if a person wants only a natural hair cosmetologist that's their perogative but I'm all about skills and knowledged b/c just because a person only deals with natural hair doesn't mean they know more than a person who deals with all hair types