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.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Survey results

A week ago, we asked our lovely readers to complete a survey for us. If you did not see it, it was on this post.

If you still have not voted, go over and vote as the survey is still open but here are the preliminary results.
If you are not a graph nerd like I am then here is the breakdown:

Most important things about salons to our readers:
  1. Skill of hairdressers.
  2. Time taken to do hair. 
  3. Honesty of hairdressers.
  4. Same hairdressers each time. 
  5. Price
  6. Ease of getting an appointment
  7. Hairdressers give too much advice. 
  8. Salon looks cool and modern. 
So the shop front is running 8th compared to skill, time and honesty of the hairdressers.
This is what we need the salons to know. Before you paint up your shop in the best colors, hire skilled people please!
And I am pleasantly surprised that Price is at 5 and not any higher because it shows that most of us are willing to pay for good quality service. All you need to do is provide it. 

If anything changes with more votes, I will let you know.
But for now, we are looking at those top 5 as the measure of our ratings.


No Scrunchie
for a better salon experience.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

An open letter to afro/black/ethnic salons final.

Dear afro carribean salons,

This will be the last letter we at NoScrunchie write you in a while. And then we might start taking it personally if you refuse to change. By taking it personal, I mean we will find a way of warning all our friends if you are doing any of the previously mentioned things as well as the ones to be mentioned here.
So I will list here the rest from people's comments from Facebook, twitter and some on this blog.

  • The inability to book appointments. All salons should offer a chance for clients to book appointments. 
  • Quality of entertainment in salons. I have personally been to a salon where they were showing an x rated club night video and wanted all the kids to face the wall. (Scarred and have not been there since)
  • Stylists who eat while doing hair. Can't they wait an extra 10 minutes before they open that KFC box? When we say we want oil in our hair, we do not mean that! 
  • Hair stylists who gossip about everyone who leaves. This breeds paranoia as I am either scared to leave or ever come back. 
  • Dirty/smelly hairstylists. You have to lift your arm to wash my hair, deodorant would go a long way in making this a comfortable experience.
  • Salon discrimination. Why do salons not cater for all hair. Best described here:
  • Rude staff. This is a service industry. There is never any need to be rude to your customers if you want repeat business. 
When I started this, I had a few things that irritated me, but thanks to all the responses we have recieved, we know that a lot of this is not due to one time incidents. This is all down to the way salons treat clients and in return what we as clients have accepted for far too long.
We are done with the accepting though, so watch your backs dear salons. 



Have I left any rants out? Let us know please.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Vote! Please let us know what you think.


We at NoScrunchie would like your opinion before we go ahead and make decisions. What would you like to know about a salon before you went in?
Quick survey, 5 minutes or less.


for a better salon experience.

Monday, 1 October 2012

An open letter to afro/black hair salons 4

Honesty, is it so hard? 

Dear salons,
When a customer walks in and asks if you can do Rihanna's latest hairstyle, and you have no idea what Rihanna looks like, this is a good time to be honest. 
When a customer walks in and says she wants to do the hairstyle she has ripped out of a magazine, and you have no idea what the grainy picture represents, please be honest. 
When a customer with natural hair comes in and you have only ever worked with natural hair to relax it, please just be honest. 
You get the idea. It is so simple to say, 'I have never tried that before' as then the customer can choose to take an informed risk.
Saying that you can do the hair, and then halfway through making excuses such as, 'but Rihanna is a celebrity and she has 5 stylists' is not going to wash. 
Other known excuses include, 
-it's the wrong hair type for this weave. (You should have seen that at the start)
-her hair is natural, that is not a weave. (same as above)
-her head is smaller than yours/she is prettier than you etc (insert expletives here or not)

This is particularly annoying as this is usually halfway through the day and the customer has wasted their day. (as mentioned in a previous post)
So dear salons, once again. This does not make you look clever, it simply makes you annoying.


Any other excuses or annoying experiences related to this? Let us know. 

for a better salon experience

Friday, 28 September 2012

Natural hair, Relaxed hair, Is it even a debate?

I view this whole debate though as another divisive thing that women have to have. From high school, girls split into groups and are always loyal to them for whatever cause.

The various debates as I have seen them through my life:

  • The marriage debate. Those who want to and those who don’t.
  • The child debate: Those who want children and those who don’t.
  • The breastfeeding debate: Breastfeeding mums vs those who can’t or prefer not to.
  • Closely followed by the stay at home mums vs working mums. 
  • And now the relaxed vs Natural hair debate.

All of these  are valid groups of people with valid views and I think everybody has a choice in the matter which is great.
If you are a member of any social networking group, you have seen how these debates can and do get heated. And that is not because 'everybody' believes with the greatest of conviction, but because somewhere along the way a lot of us  have learned to get on the defensive, and jump to protect our views. 
The Internet also helps by providing a screen behind which people can get away with saying just about anything. 
And this always goes for both camps. From the person comparing people who use relaxers to smokers, to the one who calls people who have natural hair Nazis. Both of them are not having a useful debate. Both are doing the equivalent of hair pulling in school.
But, I am glad that this is being talked about. I am glad that hair product manufacturers are taking this seriously and beginning to provide ample information on their packaging.
I think that that is a start. I am also glad that it has gotten people out there writing and blogging and providing information on our hair care.If we have enough knowledge, (more facts, less name calling and hair pulling), we will eventually make the right decisions for us. 
In my opinion some good has come out of this and more good will come out of it.

But meanwhile, my opinion may be different from yours and as long as I am not oppressing anybody's human rights,can’t we all just be friends? 


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

New Hair, New Hair

Taking a break from the salon complaints, I thought I would write about a good hair experience.
I have new hair! (In case the title had not given it away)
I have not tried the wavy look before and when I did the kinky twist a few months ago, I decided I quite liked big curly hair.
This was done by my lovely hairstylist Lola who came to my home last night to do it. She had to buy the weave on my behalf as she was worried I would buy something too curly. It should be wavy and not curly for it to work. She knows that I am clueless about hair so she is always good at advising. This here is a jazzy wavy weave.
What I asked for was a curly bouncy weave with 'pick and drop' braids at the front. Something big but pretty.
I think I got exactly that!
The only thing I would fault her on is timekeeping as she is always running a couple of hours late. But otherwise, result!

Side view(the one pictures favor)
Big and wavy at the back!
And you can tie it back!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

An Open letter to afro/black/ethnic hair salons 3


3: The lack of set prices. 

I love it when I walk look at the price board in the salon window and all the prices are 'from £20'. LOL. Jokes indeed! This means that the 'from' is the set price if you come in bald and simply need a wash. When you get into the salon and ask, they claim that depends on your type of hair.
What I really see though is the salon 'boss lady' looking at my bag and shoes and setting her prices based on that. I am unsure what that has to do with the price of fish or hair in this instance.
I understand that afro hair may be hard to judge and therefore setting prices before seeing/touching (or even ruffling) said hair may be difficult, but wouldn't it be nice if these prices had upper limits?
And on the same note, when they quote a price, why do they then change it midway and offer excuses like, 'your hair is too long.' Knowing how long it takes for my hair to grow, I am always shocked when they say this as it suggests that my hair grew while I was in the salon. While I may wish, I think we all know it didn't.
So, dear salons;
-Please set some kind of price range.
-Don't tell me prices are subject to change without prior notice and at manager's discretion.This in no way endears the salon or it's management to your customers.

Sincerely again,


There are 2 more of these coming, and I am hoping to put together all the comments and responses that we have received, both here and on twitter #whatihateaboutsalons.
Thanks for all the support.

NoScrunchie, for a better salon experience

Friday, 21 September 2012

An Open letter to black/afro/ethnic salons 2

continued from part 1:

2: Hairstyling should not take all day!

Many of us have been in this situation. 
You go to a salon at the weekend. You find there are a number of people there.
You think, that’s fine, I will go somewhere else.
The lady catches your eye before you leave and says, ‘come in darling, I can fit you in.’
She points at the sink, and although you know what’s coming you excitedly sit down.
Then, after your hair is washed or un-plaited or un-weaved/de -weaved?( basically anything that ensures that you cannot step out in the street looking like that), they go back to the person whose hair they were doing to begin with. Your heart sinks...
They continue this cycle for hours and you leave as they close. In fact all the customers end up leaving as they close.
Now dear salons, wouldn’t it be easier all round to serve people either by appointment (chance would be a fine thing) or by first come basis?
You are not being clever by doing this, you are just annoying your customers.



Thanks for all your responses to part 1 on fb, twitter and the blog itself. Please keep letting us know the things that you want changed.
No Scrunchie, for a better salon experience.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

An Open letter to black/afro/ethnic salons 1

This is a very long list for me so this blog post will have number one of a possible 100.

           1: Hair Salons seem to have a hairdresser revolving door.

I am not sure if salon owners realise what makes a good salon. Contrary to popular belief,  it is not the fancy shop front and swiveling chairs.  (I am not disputing the fact that looks matter or how would we explain explain the cute but dumb guys always getting dates.)
So dearest salon owners, I will spell it out for you THE HAIRDRESSERS make the salon. I would like to go to a salon and find the same good hairdressers. If I go in and someone does my hair really well, I would love to find them there next time. I hate to go back and have somebody else attempt to recreate what they never even saw  as they worked somewhere else at the time.
The only staff members salons seem to retain are the salon owners’ cousins and friends who are asked to wash your hair, like hair care is a  genetic thing. Hair care is a skill and should be considered as such.
So salons, please try and keep your staff happy in order to retain them because if they are good (which we presume is why you hired them), they will end up at another salon.(Probably the grubby looking one down the road) 
So if you want loyal customers, we want you to have loyal staff.



Let us know what you hate about salons. Add your comments, or add your tweets to #thingsihateaboutsalons

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Does the boy know it's not your hair?

  So long long time ago, even before Facebook (If you are below 20, this might not be a thing at all), stages of relationships were determined differently. Telling a boy that your hair was indeed not your hair was akin to becoming Facebook Official.

So I have collected stories from days gone by with reactions to that all important moment:
My responses in italics, some of these things I said, some I couldnt, but I surely thought.

 I prefer girls with long hair. ( Don't worry love, he has NEVER been with a girl with long hair, he just doesn't know it.)

He freaked out because it was someone else's hair he had been touching. (Ofcourse it was your hair, you paid for it. )

He dumped me a few days later. I was not the girl he fell in love with apparently. (Me thinks he found an easy way out)

He thought I had cut my hair. (Well, he ain't no Einstein, but I guess he gets to stay)

He didn't notice. (Umm, right, if I ask how long it took him to notice, I may have to become an agony aunt, so let's move on.)

He screamed. (Damn, girl hook me up with your weavologist's number if she made you look that different)

He said he loved the new look. (Nice one player, you live to see another weave)

I am sure some of you have heard different responses to this? Please share. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Hallo, hallo, you dropped your hair...

So walking through the car park at work today, I saw this and thought, hair fail. One that I know a lot about...

A few years ago at work, someone said to me, 'Leillah, Leillah, look you just dropped your hair!'
He looked shocked and awed all at the same time at the sight of one of my braids on the floor.
Umm umm, I stuttered as I tried to explain that I did not need it, I could just chuck it in the bin.
This nice guy then proceeded to tell me about vitamins that I could take to strengthen my hair. I was dumbfounded as I wondered whether it was worth it to explain the difference between extensions and my hair.
I didn't! I picked up the 'traitor braid' and stuffed it in my bag. He looked at me with great sympathy and I wanted to scream, 'I am not going bald, HONEST!' Instead I shuffled away and avoided him for a week.
It has happened to me since in a supermarket and this time I owned it and said, 'Oh yeah, must remember to take those hair vitamins huh!'
Cue lady whispering to her friend, 'does she think we do not realise it is a weave?'
I could not win this one either so I laughed and laughed until they all shuffled away thinking I was mad.
Not sure what to do next time....

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Hair collages

A friend of mine has done her own collage and I am hoping it inspires a few more of these.
If you can do one, it's quite easy if you get the photo collage app on facebook. Please send it if you do it.
Photo collage here:
You can then use pictures that you already have on Facebook. This app will pick out some pictures for you as well!

Here is Samantha's.

 Here is another of mine, not that different from the other:
Hoping to add a few more to this collection.
Get 'collaging people.'

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Changing hair; different strands for different days

I decided this week to do a collage wih different hairstyles that I have had in the past couple of years, and thanks to facebook and photo collage, I managed to do this today.
When I talk about afro hair to people, they are often surprised by how versatile this hair is, but look at that collage above. That is atleast 16 different hair styles, some make me look totally different and I hear you, some were uncalled for.
But I love to experiment with my hair, I love the ability to do all sorts. I also love that some Mondays I get to work and they have no idea who I am. I love that when I go to the salon, my friends and family say, 'what are you doing this time?'
I have sat in a meeting where they were waiting for Leillah (that's me) to turn up. I have had conversations with people about myself (aka the other black girl in your office.) I find this all very exciting. (Some say I need to go out more, but hey...)
Thing is most of these hairstyles are done in different salons. But how do you choose a salon or even a hairstyle? It is always a mystery to me and to be honest I am tired of this being a guessing game. 
And this is one of the reasons why we are setting up NoScrunchie. Find a salon by hairstyle by area by peer review. Watch this space people...

Friday, 31 August 2012

Why we are here, no not on earth, on this page...


You may be wondering why we are here. What is the point of NoScrunchie? Is it so I can lecture you all on the perils on wearing a scrunchie? Is it so I can remind you that Carrie in SATC thought that no self respecting woman should wear a scrunchie?
Well No. I have no particular problem with scrunchies, but we all know that they are not for our best hair days. We are here to deal with what happens on those days when we need to go to the salon and get our hair done.
So this blog will be about my journey and hopefully yours when it is all up and running. The journey to make salons a place that we want to be.
I will start with the first thing that I think needs to be dealt with and that is accountability.
This may be because of the mockumentary 'good hair' (which I must confess I am yet to watch through to the end.), or it may be because we have all started to worry more about what we eat, drink, what we put into and onto our bodies. This is probably in a big way down to the internet which provides us with as much information as we may ever need (if we search for it right) and using this we may as well make informed choices.
We all want to be accountable but we all cannot do that until the salons are accountable and the companies that make hair products become accountable too.
I am not a fan of jumping on bandwagons and boycotting everything as a way to get them to listen. But this site will in  a small way be my contribution to accountability. 
The site that will be NoScrunchie will give everyone the power to review and comment and from reading other people's reviews make an informed choice.
Hair dressers and hair product manufacturers alike need to know that the consumer has the power to let the world know and if they are not treating the customer right already, they should start or lose out.
 And I leave you with this clip from SATC in case you were wondering what the fuss is about scrunchies.