Sunday, 2 February 2014

Can everyone rock natural hair?

I have been following with great interest a post on a Facebook group about a lady who went to a reknowned Kenyan hairdresser's salon. The lady in question had her hair washed using his own range of products, twisted and dried under a hood drier. When the twists were undone, this was the result: 


Needless to say the lady in question was displeased and complained. 

The hairdresser's response was as follows: 

'As a hairstylist i always take mytime to advise what will work and what wont work this lady (name removed) come to my salon and i spoke to her for 20mins and told her that her hair could not look Nice yani HAIWEZI MAKE and even told her i cnt do it so i didn't do her hair even kushika she insinted that its has to be done since its her daughter birthday i  told her we wil do what she want and if she wont like it i will charge her for it i asked my work mate to work on her  my advice is not every one rocks natural hair its a fact,dont be miss know it All . I Love my job its what pays me am am in business and got bills to pay how many times do u go to the DR. And u pay for consoltation and still buy medicine and it does not work am human i Just do my best Sry if my best is not best for u'.


The astonishing thing about this reply is not only the complete lack of customer service but also the justification for such a shoddy job via the statement 'not everyone rocks natural hair'. This is not only complete nonsense but also shows a disregard that borders on laziness of the fact that all naturals have different hair and should be treated accordingly. 

Look, I'm not going to knock the attempt. Most, if not all, of us naturals have attempted new things on our hair that were epic fails. Maybe this was just one of those times. #shithappens. BUT. If something you have tried backfires, you need to examine why.

1. Hair type:
Some hair styles are very dependent on hair type. You don't need to know what exact hair typing category you fall under, but you do need to know how thick your strands are (fine, medium or thick/coarse), how dense your hair is i.e how much hair you have on your head and your curl pattern (wavy, curly, coily, kinky - referring to a zig-zag pattern). Basically, know your hair.

My motto is: manage your expectations. For example, curly hair is something many newbies hanker after but if you don't have any curls in the first place, no amount of curl defining gels or puddings, no techniques or methods (shingling, praying, curly girl, tightly curly) will give you curly hair. Trust me. I learned the expensive hard way. 

When a hairdresser is doing a client's hair, not only should they take hair type into consideration, but they should also advise the client accordingly so the client knows what exactly their hair can and cannot do and discuss alternatives that better enhance the clients natural texture. 

2. Hair products:
Not all products work the same way for all naturals, if at all. 

The hairdresser in question has a range of products which I have never used. I have, however, examined the ingredients in some of the products and probably wouldn't use them myself because they contain ingredients such as formaldehyde. This isn't to say the products wouldn't work for me, or haven't worked for others.

The trouble with putting a heavy emphasis on one range of products is that you're not guaranteed it will work. Many salons stock a wide range of products for this reason, and many naturals own a number of products from different ranges for the same reason. 

For example, Shea Moisture's Curl and Style Milk works fantastically on me but their mousse and curling soufflĂ©, not so much. I love Carol's daughter Healthy Hair Butter but not their clarifying conditioner. It's a matter of trial and error and any hairdresser would need to figure this out. A client consult can help greatly if the client already knows what products work or don't work eg some naturals are adverse to shea butter or coconut oil. Carrying your own products is a foolproof alternative but if a salon insists on using their own products, you need to consider whether you choose to remain and chance it...or leave. 

3. Technique:
The success of some styles really comes down to technique. My daughter has curly hair but if I want her curls to be ringlets, it needs to be defined by shingling with conditioner for hold. Left to its own devices or to an inexperienced hand, it turns into a frizzy, matted mess. 

Similarly, not all twist outs are created equal or give the same results. Consider whether your hair prefers flat twists, two or three strand twists, rope twist etc. The result you want should determine how hair is styled in the first place. 

two-strand twist-out with shea moisture curling souffle

two-strand twist out with IC Fantasia Gel 

flat twist-out done on wet hair

flat twist-out done on dry hair

A hair portfolio would be really useful for a hairdresser to have to showcase all the different styles and their outcomes to prevent any misunderstanding. 

4. The state the hair is in:
For best results, you want to work with clean, damp, well detangled, well moisturised hair. Dry hair will give you less definition, as will hair that isn't moisturised or hasn't been detangled. Some styles such as roller sets require hair to be completely smooth while hair length plays a huge role in other styles. 

The fact remains that EVERYONE can rock natural hair, but not everyone's hair can be worn a certain way. Famously, many 4c hair types struggle with wash and gos. Naturals and hairdressers alike need to understand this and hold every single hair type and style with equal regard. 

Kenyan salonists' attitudes towards natural hair are slowly changing but, if this incident is anything to go by, they still have a long way to go. I will probably never visit this particular salon, not because of how this client's hair turned out but because of how the salon owner handled the incident. A little courtesy and a lot of accountability goes a long way. In the near future, however, I hope to visit a number of other salons and hairdressers who do natural hair and submit a review on my blog. If I'm brave enough to let someone other than MeMyselfAndI touch my hair that is. 


  1. Nina, I love that 2strand twist using IC Fantasia Gel...cute

  2. Nina,how do u do the twist outs?i have natural hair and would like some help with it..

    1. Hi Margaret, there are lots of YouTube videos showing how to do a two strand twist out but next time I do one I'll make a step by step post.

  3. Hi Nina, for the twist outs using jel, what is the DIY procedure? looks very nice...
    Also how do i use shea butter on my hair?

    1. You can use shea butter straight over damp hair to nourish hair and help with sealing. Because it is actually a penetrative butter, it would work better as a sealant if you whipped it with a sealing oil like castor, almond or jojoba. It can also be used as a deep conditioner. Apply it to hair, wrap your head in cling film and sit under a warm towel or heat cap if you have one. Whipped butters also make great stylers.

  4. I'm not entirely sure what was happening with the client and how much of a "know it all" she seemed to be to the said "renown hairdresser" but one thing that's deteriorating faster than rotting garbage in this country is our Customer Service; and our "renown hairdresser" needs to get some edumacation in that. His response is cras, uncalled for and very unprofessional. #EnoughSaid.

  5. Btw totally love your hair... about Tony being rude we need to hear his story too.Their are customers who are rude and think they know what they want.He was kind enough to let her know it wont work on her,and honestly speaking her hair does not look like its in good condition...we should also consider how she approached the matter.....

    1. Thanks Mukami. I would absolutely love to hear his side of the story. There are always two sides to the same coin aterall.

  6. I do not see what Tony did wrong. The lady was told that her hair would not be able to rock that particular hairstyle. Did she listen? NO. So why should Tony take responsibility over a decision a client made even after being advised against it? I believe this client is an adult, she can make her own decisions, which she did so let her now take responsibility for her decisions. No one forced her? There are like 4 or more salons in the same building as Tonys she should have left and gone to look for another hair dresser who was confident that s/he could do it. It is also advisable to know to listen to your hairdresser eg I wanted henna the other day my hair dresser said it will break my hair, i listened he is the xpert im not. It is also VERY advisable to know your hair, like You have said and also your face eg I rock a long bob, my face is round I would love a fantasia cut but i would look ridiculous in it and if i went to a hair dresser and requested that cut and he says no but i insist it would be my fault if i look like a catoon. So let this lady take responsibility. No gun was held to her head after tony said NO

    1. I agree with you! I have realized that most of us do not like being told the truth. I would love a saloonist who tells me the truth instead of just taking my money and when the results do not come out as one expected then they start blaming the same saloonist who told them the truth!

  7. oooh I love all your twists. your hair looks great

  8. What facebook group? Let me know because the Kenyan natural community is small on the net, could you also list other natural kenyan blogs?

    1. Tricia's Naturals and The Kurlly Diaries on Facebook. Blogs: Kurly Kichana, Bella Nubian, Kinky curly coily me.. I'm sure there are others but I can't remember them right now.

  9. As a professional he should not have toched it, FULL STOP!!!!!