Healthy Hair Practices Not Accepted at Salon

One of my twitter followers, who just so happened to be a hair stylists, shares her story of how hard she had it when she tried to implement the healthy hair practices that she learned on LHCF , hair blogs, and other hair boards. Here Alecia’s story:

“Before I was a hair stylist I was a DIY kitchen chemist just like many of the women who subscribe to the various online hair forums and blogs.  I lived for mixing and trying new formulas and posting pictures to my Fotki account to chart my growth.  My passion for researching, executing, and achieving amazing results quickly evolved from a hobby to a career.  Once licensed it was off to the salon I went.  I was looking to marry my years of hair forum mixology and kitchen styling with the professional beauty industry.  I quickly found out that in SOME salons this combination would’t mix.

My first real job was as a shampoo and  blow dry assistant at a well-known type of hair salon that caters to African American women, It was a great salon,they were using jaguar scissors and lot of branded equipment of grooming, they used to furnish the salon with the best salon furniture.  Of course I tried to care for the clients as if they were my own.  I talked to the ladies as I shampooed them about their scalp health, styling options, and what kind of pillowcases they slept on.  Because of the factory style set up of this shop, these ladies were “everybody’s client” so I didn’t feel as if I was stepping on anyone’s toes.  Unfortunately I was wrong.

The manager pulled me to the side and let me know I was not allowed to fraternize with the clients and to stop using all the “good conditioner” on them. He offered me a watery alternative and said that even with a deep conditioner only use the “good conditioner” on the people he instructs me to. That was not the last encounter I had with this particular manager.  I was rudely reprimanded for using a heat protectant on the clients prior to blowdrying.

Another occasion I got the relaxer brush snatched out of my hand while trying to apply the chemical to the new growth only and was shown to part, slap, and pull.  Gently detangling coily, curly natural hair was also frowned upon.  And it hurt my feelings to watch improperly detangled natural hair end up on the floor and wrapped around brushes. The “retraining” I received was horrendous and went against everything I stood for with regard to hair care.

Even after I made the transition over to full time stylist I was watched like a hawk and was laughed at as I used pre shampoo conditioning treatments, deep conditioned EVERY client I serviced, opted for the steamer over the dryer, religiously based my relaxed clients and made sure to reconstruct their hair after chemical services.  All of which I attribute to my time spent on forums and YouTube.  Not even my cosmetology program went as in-depth as the invaluable information I collected from the online hair communities.

The cold stares and under breath laughs of my co-workers and manager lead to me leaving that salon and travelling to another salon in the same “network”.  But the same uncomfortable vibe lingered.  I did self-examination thinking it might have been just me.  However I realized over time and after moving from place to place that the knowledge we acquire from online interaction about the care of African American hair is knowledge not shared by many. The reactions I got were out of ignorance.  And many people are not only ignorant but unwilling to learn.

This explains the lack of trust many of us have for stylists.  It seems like many salons are unwilling to embrace the practices we do in the privacy of our own homes.  My question is, why?  And I know I can’t be the only one fusing these two worlds together so who else is with me?

I am currently at an African American owned salon here in Chicago. I am an independent contractor at a salon that gives stylists complete and total control over the services they provide.So I am now able to do my own thing comfortably.  A far cry from the experiences I had at other salons as a Black Hair Media and Long Hair Care Forum trained hair stylist!”

If you live in the Chicago Area, Alecia Tucker can be found out:

***** Update *******

Alecia Tucker can now be contacted via her Style Seat Page

 9222 1/2 S Stony Island Ave

Chicago, IL, 60617  


Her Twitter Page:


If you stop by or send her a message, let her know Strawberricurls sent you!!

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  1. MissHippieGirl says:

    I love this article, and your commitment to offering the best to your customers. Having been natural for over twenty years, I have encountered many stylist that either refuse to work with natural hair, or who seem to think that my kinks and coils are to be wrestled into submission. Even in the braid salons, my hair has been combed roughly and pulled tight enough to make me get up in the middle of a “do” and leave. I haven’t been in a salon in years. Now that natural hair has regained popularity, more salons are advertising that they offer services for naturals. Any place that I decide to spend my money and trust my hair to, will have to come highly recommended. Keep doing what you do. Its about more than our hair, its about being treated with respect, and care.

  2. Unfortunately, this is common place in our industry. I too am a licensed stylist and I learned my bad habits in the salon. (before I learned about the hair boards) It is passed down from stylist to stylist. The problem is that some stylist aren’t willing to learn new things. I got tired of my hair being damaged by co-workers and it thinning out, so I started to search for myself. I’m glad that you found your own space so you can treat your clients the way they need to be treated. Good for you. I wish you much success.

  3. bb deveraux (née hollingsworth says:

    I think we’ve all experienced some form of hair ignorance. My Aunt took me to her stylist one day because she wanted to see “Something done” to my hair. I told her I had some concerns because my hair is natural and most stylists don’t know how to do natural hair. She assured me that this woman was natural herself and it would be fine. When we got there, the stylist was working in a remodeled shed in the backyard. It was nice, but this woman had no idea about how to do natural hair. Her own hair was in a buzzcut. She then proceeded to brush conditioner into my hair, use a fine tooth comb to comb through it, and all the while I could hear snapping hair. I never went back or talked to my aunt about hair ever again.

  4. MsCurlyKat says:

    I was a hair care specialist for 10 years; I never encountered the insane resistance to actual hair care that you did, and I am shocked and saddened that salon chain, or network, or whatever they are treated their customers like a bunch of cattle being led to slaughter. I applaud you for doing what you knew was right. I remember in cosmetology school we used diluted shampoo and although the conditioner was good quality we were only allowed to use what amounted to a tablespoon no matter how much hair a client had. We were taught the basics very well but not how to deal with the different issues of different textures. All of my training was pre-internet, so I had a lot of reading to do to understand. The first salon I worked at, they were similar to your experience; crank’em out the door, don’t educate them, don’t use the top products or don’t use enough of them to make a difference. I solved that problem quick by becoming self employed-I rented a station from a privately owned salon so I could do what I wanted and needed to do. From that time until I left cosmetology as a career, my clientele grew exponentially each year, almost all of them clients who were tired of their hair looking like straw, and of not knowing what was really being done to their own hair. I left because of the chemicals and vapors compromising my health, but I hope you are still practicing the craft, as the salon industry, most importantly the ethnic salon industry, needs stylists like you to actually care for their customers’ hair.

  5. Sadly, being the niece of a hairdresser, I have experienced tons of ‘hair pain’ from visiting hair salons and having my hair “cared” for by countless hairdressers. Each time I’ve gone home, I’ve almost cried endlessly at how badly my hair was treated (comb raked through my thick hair with no consideration at all – in most instances the hairdresser wouldn’t even bother removing shed hair from the comb before raking through several times more – claws gnawing on my scalp from having my hair “washed”, tons of heat used on my hair from a blow-dryer to make it “soft and managable”). I later on learned that perhaps my hair was being so ill-treated because I was getting it done for free.

    I honestly can’t be bothered to visit another hair salon again, until one actually comes highly recommended – at least for natural hair. I prefer having my hair braided by my younger sister, who actually considers my hair.

  6. R LongPig says:

    Good for you boo! I’m proud of you for standing up for not only what is your passion but your deep seated beliefs! Never be less than you can be because of everyone else’s standards of mediocrity.

  7. Lawuan Goldsborough Paige says:

    This is awful and needs to be address. Awful how salons are still doing this especially now of all times were women are embracing their natural hair. So much money going down the drain. That is why I’m willing to travel out of state to the best place for my hair because sadly so many salons in NC are the some way with natural hair do not know how to properly style it.

  8. I wish I could find someone in the MD area that is committed to the health of my hair. Sadly I have not found that person yet. Keep up the great work to the ladies and gentlemen who are committed to the health of the hair, whether or not it’s natural or chemically treated.

  9. Donnette Lowd says:

    I was looking at Dr. Jamal Bryant (, and he had a message called “I’m Going Natural”, he referenced a few very derogatory statements from the CEO of Revlon. This CEO stated that he thinks that Black People are the dirtiest of all the inhabitants of the US. If you listen to his inflammatory statements, I think we as a people should stop supporting the products his company makes, and let him really see and feel the effects that we can have on his bottom line! Stop supporting Carol’s Daughter’s products, they are not Black Owned anymore either!. Keep up your great work, the beauty industry didn’t see it coming!

  10. Can I be a little brutal but I think its about time we took charge.
    That means walking when you are not given the service you requested and/or not paying the full price. And then not going back!
    For too long we have put up with shabby service and we all have thee stories. Spending half your life there and chopping off all the gtrowth you obtained in the last six months, been there, done it.
    Back in the day with the “colly pom” and the ” creamy crack”, we had to go to a hairdresser because of the chemicals involved and both of those hair techniques required professional care. However with natural hair there is no need to go the hairdressers unless for a special occasion or a good trim etc . You would have thought that the hair dressers would learn and keep up. Please note, I’m not saying all hairdressers are like this but this is a service industry and some peoples customer service skills have alot to be desired. I live in the UK and its no different here.

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