HOW TO SURVIVE NIGERIAN HAIR SALONS

By Hadassah Agbaps - July 20, 2012


I don't EVER go to salons if I can help it and if I ever do, it is to put in braid extensions, twists or fix a weave and even then I resign myself to the fact that my well pampered , split free strands would be damaged in one way or the other...sad but true.
Most salons in Nigeria are used to handling relaxed hair and each time I step into one, I always brace myself up for the

"you want to retouch your hair ?"
"No."
"Why not?"

At this point, there is an interested open mouthed silence as every head turn to stare at me like I'm retarded.

"Because I don't want to."
"Why
?"

I'm always asked this question. On some days, I would love to don my natural hat and teach...on others, this question irritates me to no end.
On those days I simply retort,
"Why do you relax your hair?"*plastering on an identical shocked face*

Most times I don't get an answer and everyone then minds their business. Sometimes, I get a
"Because it makes my hair easier to manage." To which I reply not unkindly that mine is easier to manage just the way it is.

After this introduction, I am ushered to a seat when after casting lots , the "unfortunate" stylist approaches me (with the others casting furtive glances.)

"Madame , what do you want to do? " ...and salon care officially begins....

Now don't get me wrong, the purpose of this post is not to scare you away from Nigerian hair salons but to equip you with enough info to get the best out of them and leave with a right side up smile and happy naps.
Here's what you should know...

- Please approach hair salons where the attendants are polite, flexible and willing to try something new. In short approach salons with employees willing to listen to you.

- Always go with your own shampoo , conditioner , comb and so on.
It will be a good idea to make your own salon kit including sample sizes of all the stuff you'll like to use on your hair.
I say sample sizes because some salon employees would be frugal with their own products but overly generous with yours.
So, pack just enough.

- Take time out to summarise how you want your hair washed , combed and detangled.
I know we have different ways of detangling. Some detangle dry with loads of oil or conditioner while others detangle wet with conditioner.
Insist your hair be detangled from tips to root with a seamless wide tooth comb.

- Make sure the attendant uses a clean towel and blot not rub dry.
Better still , take your own towel.

- I personally don't like going under a dryer to dry my hair unless I'm deep conditioning.
I prefer my hair to airdry naturally or be blown out.
But if you do, make sure your hair is properly conditioned and twisted or braided before going under to avoid the bird's nest look.

- Speaking of blowouts, always insist on a thermal protector.
Some salons I've gone to do not even know what that means so it's wise to take your own.
Normal procedure for blow out or flat ironing in some salons, is to load up your hair with grease after which they straighten your hair under the highest heat setting!!!!
Also, being public salons , their round brushes and combs would have ragged ends....so again take your own.

- Speak up politely.
If the attendant is doing anything to your hair you don't like, with gentle pressure and patience and honeyed tones and words, explain and demonstrate what you want done.
He or she really don't know what to do with your hair so patiently show them.
I've used this method and made "my very own natural hair stylist" that I always look out for when I decide to return to the salon.
Being aggressive doesn't help and no valuable work is done.

- If you are in a salon to braid , twist or put in a weave it's advisable to prepare your hair at home first unless your "very own specially trained stylist" is in.

- This is not a rule but it helps to generously tip the stylist that listened to you and made you happy.
When I do that, I always have eager attendants on my next appointment.

I think I've gotten the basics of a happy positive salon experience and if I left anything out, please do share...and if you have any questions please ask.
These tips are not just for new or seasoned naturalistas but also helpful for relaxed sisters too.
My sister is relaxed and she agrees that some salons have no idea how to properly care for hair in general!

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