Some months ago, while I was speaking to my friend, Mon, I recalled something that happened to me at the hands of a stylist at a hair salon in Lagos. This was while my hair was still relaxed.
I had stretched my relaxer for 6 months and although I planned to stretch it out a bit longer, I suddenly found myself itching to get my new growth relaxed. I was in the UNILAG Area, so I went to one of the many hair salons on University road. The salon was crowded but I got a stylist really fast. He was quick to apply the relaxer – I waited 10-15minutes and then asked for him to wash it off. He wasn’t happy about that but didn’t complain.
As he led me to their ‘wash-area”, I had no idea what I was in for.
It was only then I noticed that they had no running water. No biggie…some salons in Nigeria are like that – they use buckets to fetch water from taps. I looked around for buckets of water and saw none. I started getting worried. Imagine my shock when this guy produced and proceeded to open a sachet of pure water which he poured on my hair. For the uninitiated, it is a 50 -60cl (that is about half a litre) sachet of “purified” drinking water sold in Nigeria and other African countries. Its purity is very much in contention.
So this “stylist” used 1.5 bags (under a liter) to wash my hair and asked to me to move to the styling chair so that my hair could be prepped for the dryer. I was amazed to say the least – he had half “gently” scrapped the relaxer off my head and then washed off what he could. He had even somehow applied a normal shampoo and washed that off too. All with less than a liter of water.
Naturally he did not bother to use a neutralizing shampoo so he couldn’t see what he was leaving behind. Well, I knew what he was leaving behind so I insisted that he use a whole lot more water to wash off the relaxer on my hair. That was when the arguing started. He told me that he had been a stylist for 10 years and so he knew what he was doing. I replied that I had had my hair for about 30 years so I knew what it needed. We went back and forth for a minute then I just told him that if he was not washing off the relaxer with more water, I wasn’t paying. That was when he reluctantly proceeded to use more water.
I wasn’t used to that sort of treatment for my hair at all. I went home and washed it again.
What would have happened was that my hair would have suffered severe breakage…it did suffer some but it was not as severe as it would have been because I went back and washed it myself.
Moral: Don’t assume that your stylist is more knowledgeable than you when it comes to your hair. For a lot of them, the profession is not learned at a beauty school. It is handed down apprenticeship style with no real knowledge of hair science.
Do you have any scary stylist stories (sss) to share?