Caring for African American Hair

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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Good hairdresser for natural black hair

May 2008

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good hair person for natural African-American hair?

I used to wear my hair down and curly before the baby (with the help of Curly Pudding and about an hour a week spent applying and drying) and now wear it back all the time. My hair is somewhere between chin and shoulder length--depending on the product and the shrinkage and I haven't chemically processed it or even flat-ironed it in recent memory. My hair is straighter (now can see a pen-spring size curl) than it was pre-pregnancy, but I don't know what to do with it.

I went to a salon recommended for curly hair and was told point-blank that they don't do ''my kind of hair.'' Okily dokily, but who does do my kind of hair and can do it without a lot of heavy products?

Any recommendations appreciated! In Need of Hairapy

Not sure where you are located or if you are willing to travel, but I have a fantastic stylist who does (my) kinky African American hair. His name is Willie Goodwin, and he works at Mane Attraction in San Francisco. 103 Cole Street, 415.753.5500. He works weekday afternoon and evenings. Like you, I haven't straightened my hair in many years, and he's kept it looking good at lots of different lengths, in different styles. Good luck!! Love my nappy hair

If you're willing to come to El Sobrante, I'd recommend Ramona at Cross Cuts on Appian Way near San Pablo Dam Rd. She's African American, so I'm assuming she'd know what she's doing with black hair. I'm white and I love how she does my hair. My whole family goes to her. The phone number is 222-7725. Plus, she's totally reasonably priced. Happy Hair

I suggest you try a salon called Nappy or Not in Oakland near Lake Merrit. It's at 411 E. 18th St. and the phone number is 510/835-7838; you should ask for the proprietor -- Rhonda Glenn -- to do your hair. I have been going to Nappy or Not for about 6 years now. I don't wear my hair natural -- I have a light relaxer and get it flat ironed -- but many (perhaps most) folks who go to ''Nappy or Not'' have natural hair (thus the name). I'm confident that Rhonda will do a great job for you. That being said, please be prepared to wait about a half-hour for your appointment -- things do get backed up as with many ethnic salons where various processes and styles can take longer than expected.

On another note, I'm so sorry for your somewhat bad experience at a salon that didn't do your/our type of hair; you really do have to stick to ethnic salons (black, latina, Middle East) when it comes to getting good results because they really seem to be the only folks who recognize and can work with the huge variety of textures in ''black'' hair -- from almost bone straight to waves, spiral curls, bushy curls, curly 'fros, etc. Moreover, many non-ethnic salons *think* they can work with ''black'' hair -- and are anxious to capitalize on the money to be made in this area -- but have no idea what they are doing: You could leave one of these places with seriously damaged hair; let them try and hone their skills on someone else's head. Good luck. nette

9 year old hates her frizzy/thick african hair

Jan. 2003

My 9 year old daughter has very frizzy/thick african hair. She is also allergic to almost all hair products, and her neck gets red, raw and itchy when used. She hates her hair and worries constantly about it, but is also terrified of having it braided, twisted, etc. because it hurts her so much. Any ideas of how to overcome the pain fear factor to get her feeling better about her hair/self? She sometimes sees kids with tight dangling twists and likes that alot. Any recommendations of a sensitive hair braider? -A mom in need of advice/help

Is your daughter of African descent or African-American? I get the feeling that she may be and you may be of another racial background. If she is, I think it is very important that you take steps immediately to make her love her hair instead of hating it. There are many issues in the African-American community regarding women and their hair. It may be that many of the people around her have hair quite different from hers and that she has come to think this is more beautiful than hers because she is the only one different. There are books that you can find on this subject (just do a search online) that can help you understand the reasons behind it and also you can find books for children that can help them love their different but special and beautiful hair type. I am an African American woman and for YEARS I had my hair chemically straightened. For the past 2+ years I wear it in it's natural state (super curly/frizzy) and I love it. I think it's more versatile and natural. Usually with this type of hair you have to use some product that contains oil. I personally use Kemi Oil (located at beauty supply stores and possibly Sally's Beauty Supply) which is made of essential oils. I shampoo and condition my hair, comb it out then do not touch it once I'm out of the shower except to put the oil in my hands and pat it through my hair. This leaves the curls intact without frizz. There are also some other options but I don't know how allergic she is. Maybe you can use natural shea butter (Berkeley flea market at Bart Station). As far as braiding is concerned, if she's allergic those braids and twists involve adding either human or synthetic hair that can cause allergic reactions. If her hair is long enough you can find someone to twist her natural hair into many small twists all over her head which looks cute and is a natural style. Email me if I can be more help, but even if you don't please, please get help so she can love herself including her hair.

Color for African American Hair

January 2003

Can anyone out there recommend a good colorist that works on african american hair? Location is not an issue. Thank you. cd

For the last 5 or so years, I have been getting my hair cut, colored, texturized and occasionally highlighted by Stacy Curns at The Right Angle salon in Oakland. I think it's on Forest Ave., at the intersection with College. The number is (510) 420- 8447. There are two Stacys at the salon; follow the voicemail prompt to get Stacy Curns' voicemail. Stacy is excellent! She is on time, your appointment time is yours alone, and you don't have to spend the whole day in the salon. She's probably not the least expensive, but she's worth it! Tell her Noel sent you. Noel

Ron Pernell Hair Studios 415-543-5201 Ron is the best. He is a good person with a fun Studio. He may be a little pricey but, he is worth it. Good Luck Markel