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