Thursday, 29 November 2012


NoScrunchie is live. (well phase 1 at least)
This means a few things. Firstly the blog is migrating to the community page of NoScrunchie.
Secondly that much as I expect everyone to start reviewing salons, I will also be rating and reviewing every salon I go into. A few weeks ago, I thought I would have a head start on this.
This meant critically looking at each salon on the aspects that we all think should be the bare minimum.
 I have been to 3 salons in the past couple of weeks and they were all what I normally consider okay salons. But were they really?

  • In the first salon, the hair dresser scrubbed my hair like it was a dirty wash cloth and was then shocked when it was tangled after the wash. She told me she was new to the job and I felt sorry for her so I did not complain. When I was leaving, I was asked to pay extra for blow drying my hair. I was shocked and asked if the option was to leave with wet hair. The lady explained that there was a difference between blow drying with and without a brush and I had been privileged with the brush option. I did not remember having a choice in this matter. Credit to her (I guess), she knocked that £25 off the bill.
  • The second salon that I ventured into had a massive sign saying Afro Caribbean hair. I was informed that the lady who usually does Afro hair was not in. It was a Saturday afternoon which in my assumption is the busiest time for a salon. The very 'helpful' lady suggested that I go to another salon. Thanks, I think.
  • The third salon is one that I have been to before and I knew that I could expect a clean environment at the very least.I had relaxer put in my hair and then when we got to the sink, the lady told me that it looked like the pipes were frozen as the water was ice cold. I asked what my options were, and she said, 'well the relaxer has to come out!' The minute the water hit my head, I got a headache. It was horrible and even she couldn't keep her hands in it for long, so we took a break every after a minute. I was really scared that today was the day I was about to discover chemical burn. Lucky for me it got washed out in time. The hairdresser did say she was sorry though so I guess that should make it okay.

But I am beginning to realise a pattern here and this affirms my belief about the need for NoScrunchie. I have rated all these salons. So whoever goes there after checking them out on the site can go with this knowledge.

I have read a number of  people's stories about bad salon experiences especially with chemical
burn and I am often amazed when people say either they will never relax their hair again, or they will never use that brand again. What amazes me is how rarely we blame the salons or even warn our friends about them. Almost like the salon cannot be culpable.

Why do we let salons get away with it? If I got treated like this in any other service industry, I would throw my toys out the pram. If a restaurant told me all their drinks were super duper ice cold, I would say no.If I finished having my dinner and they tried to charge me for a warm plate, I would say no. Let's not even get into getting the possibility of getting to a restaurant and finding that the chef did not come in....

I can do a bit of this, but I cannot do it without you. So let's all honestly review those salons. And hopefully, we will ALL eventually get better service.

AND Goodbye to this blog here and hallo to the new blog

for a better salon experience.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

African American vs African and European hair experiences

I must first of all state that these are my personal views and in no way am I belittling anyone's struggle.

A few months ago I became aware of the natural vs relaxed hair debate and I remember reading out to one of my friends (who happens to be white), the notion that people who relax their hair are trying to be white. And laughing about the absurdity of it all. I remember saying to her, ''no offence but I am not doing my hair to look like you. But if I was, it's not like there is anything wrong with white people.''

What I was yet to realise was how serious this all was for some black people. I have read a lot of blogs since and discovered that the way many African Americans treat this issue is way different to how we look at this in Europe. I have learned that for a good number of African American ladies, hair relaxer is linked to slavery and therefore letting go of relaxer is letting go of that part of their great grandparent's history. On the contrary, in Europe, most of the reasons for going natural stem from personal experiences with relaxer and/or health reasons.

I have followed this website and read the comments with increasing outrage at what is acceptable in some parts of society. The site must use the word 'black' in it's titles even more than the daily mail uses the word 'immigrant'. This week, this article had me first in stitches, then in outrage afros-and-white-privilege-why-one-womans-self-discovery-with-a-wig-is-pissing-people-off
The gist of it is a blonde girl goes to a theme party, the theme being fried chicken and wears an afro wig. And the black community is outraged because she should not be allowed to wear a wig as she has not faced the same struggles as 'our people' I do not think I can even use the words 'our people' in London and keep a straight face. I realise the stereotype with the fried chicken. A stereotype that has been encouraged by all black comedians the world over. But oh no, how dare she?
While reading the comments, I got this sinking feeling that I may not be black because everyone spoke of 'a struggle' that we should all know about. With relief I realised that I am still black, but just with a different background.

I realise that I have had it easy as I have never been faced with outright racism. I grew up in Uganda, where it was the norm to be black. When I moved to South Africa for university, I was probably sheltered by living in a university town although I remember that music was considered to be the race divider. So if you listened to pop and house, you may as well have been white, and if you listened to kwaito and RnB then have a pew in the black community. Apart from that, everything seemed hunky dory.
I then moved to London which has to got to be the most racially diverse place in the world, where the race card is almost always a joke in the societies that I hang in, and for this I am now realising I have to be grateful.

So regardless of having the same hair type, our hair story is different depending on what part of the world we are in. We may be facing the same hair journey but the next time you see that article saying that you are a sell out because you have a weave, take it with a pinch of salt.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Errol Douglas welcomes Afro hair, tempting offer here.

Hi all,

I got this link from Afroblush, one of my fave bloggers right now.
''New clients visiting the salon’s specialist Afro stylists until 30 November 2012, will receive a complimentary Moroccan oil gift set (RRP £35) at their appointment as well as a £100 Errol Douglas Salon gift voucher.''

This is a salon in Knightsbridge that caters for Afro hair as well as all other hair and that sets them apart from the crowd.

This sounds remarkably tempting and it's not just about the offer. I want to go this salon. I just need to get the weave out first. 

Has anybody been there yet? Let me know.
Is anybody else tempted?
I will let you know of my experience in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile I suggest you take them up on this offer.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Salon International or the Caucasian salon show

Last weekend I had the pleasure to attend 'Salon International', the exhibition at excel. I did not do much research into this before booking tickets as I was taken in by the word International.
Being in London, I expected the International salon show to showcase different hair types.
How wrong was I? Very!
There was not a single black/Afro/Afro-Caribbean hair salon exhibiting at this show. I did not want to believe this and therefore kept going round and round in circles for most of the day.
All was not lost though as mixed chicks were there. If you haven't heard of them, there is a link.
They were very friendly and gave me a few samples for my child. She is not mixed but 'hair will not know the race' That is a direct quote from the people at the stand. Waiting to use those and I will let you know.

The only other thing available for me was the black hair magazine. They were there offering reduced price subscriptions and I quite happily grabbed one of these so I could say that my day was not totally wasted.

When I told someone this story, they said to me, 'well it wasn't the black hair show so what did you expect?'
But actually, I expected more.
I did ask if they could have named it the Caucasian salon show, but I guess in the world we live in where you can call a show black but not Caucasian, some people would find that racist. (I call this reverse racism by the way and I do not agree with it)

I am not sure if anyone is to blame here as the show organisers can only exhibit the salons that want to be exhibited. And the 'black' salons will probably not exhibit because apart from silly me, their clientele were not expected there.
Are salons really that racially diverse? I am quite passionate about this due to memories of living in South Africa and walking past salons with a poster at the door saying, 'we don't do ethnic hair here!'
In my mind this is the same thing, just with no posters outside.

What do you think? Should salons do any type of hair? Should they exhibit side by side? Are the markets so different that it is a totally different ball game?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Age that we relax our hair,our daughters' hair?

Poll on the left!
Having read a lot of blogs from people who have decided to go natural, I realised that my experiences on relaxing hair are totally different.
I made the decision to grow and relax my hair when I was at university.I clearly remember the day I asked my dad to take me to the barbers when I was 6 as I was tired of having my (natural) hair combed. (And the ensuing drama with my mum, Ha!) I had short hair throughout my high school years as I could not be bothered with hair. Given my previous aversion to spending lots of time on my hair, the decision to relax it came naturally. (No pun intended) It just took less time to deal with.
Was it a decision that I agonised about and researched heavily? No.
Should it have been? Yes. 
Do I regret relaxing my hair? Not for a minute.
Will I ever go natural? If there are ever any conclusive findings that hair relaxer when used right is a danger to me, then yes I will think about it.
And yes, I have read Dr Wise's findings and also the fact that she has said there is a suggested link which is in no way the same as a discovered fact. And I am aware that this link supports going natural but it also quite honestly tells the story.
 What stood out for me in this were 3 things:

  • Age of first use
  • Frequency of use
  • How it is used. Length of time it is left on hair, instructions followed etc.

Of all these things, we really only have control over the last 2.
I decide when to relax my hair and that is usually 3 or 4 times a year.
I ensure that the hair stylist follows all the instructions on the pack, and have never had chemical burn.
What a lot of ladies/girls cannot control though is when they first relax their hair. I personally think it should be at an age when they can make a mature decision which includes reading the research and making an informed decision. What do you think?
Please answer our little poll, top left.