Mercury Retrograde must be trolling the hell out of me right now.
When it comes to finding a new salon and stylist, I’m very thorough in my search. Very! I look through all the Yelp reviews, stalk social media profiles for that business, and just search the entire internet to no end. I like to know what I’m getting into when I’m new to a salon. This OCD approach to finding a new stylist has always granted me with great experiences and hairstyles. Not this time. I say, NOT this time, chile!
For the past couple of months, I had been playing with the idea of doing my own darn box braids. I just didn’t feel like going through the process of trial and error on my weekend. Meh, I guess I’m just too lazy. After giving into the idea of paying $100+ for some box braids, I figured it couldn’t be too bad since part of my hair is shaved down. But.. this is D.C. and I don’t know of a handful of shops that are good or what to expect. So I get to searching.
After spending the week browsing Yelp reviews, I settled onto two salons. I remembered that someone I knew had beautiful braids and I asked her about the location, price and etc. From my list of salons, only two were open on Sundays. I decided to go with the cheaper and closer in location salon.
Sidenote: It’s been years since I went to get my hair braided. And that was in a different state. I truly believe the “rules of the game” for hair shops are different based off region. Back to the story.
The shop I decided to go with had beautiful neat braiding pictures. Based off what my referral said, they are really fast with braiding. Perfect! Called the owner, she told me I can come in at 9am and if I can come at 8am someone will be here. Hmmmm, “someone” I thought to myself. I told her no I’ll come in at 9am because I assumed that’s when “she”, the owner, will arrive.
Time for my Summer Braids
Next morning, I get there a little earlier than my appointment time. I used the word “appointment” loosely. There is no such thing as appointment time which I learned that day. Got there and asked for April. No one knew who I was referring to. Realized I had the wrong name! After realizing my error, we discussed what I wanted. We also talked price and agreed that it could be cheaper because of the amount of hair I have. I settled on the original price because I wanted my braids long and slightly smaller than medium sized box braids. Cool.
The person they assigned to me had me… concerned. Not initially, but as we got ready to get the process started, I noticed the other stylists trying to explain to her what to give me and where to find the hair. Say what? Girl, you don’t even know where they keep the hair?? Ok fine, maybe she’s knew or don’t understand English well. Fine. Where is the owner, though? Not there apparently.
We have the hair (they supplied the hair 1b mixed with 30) and now she’s taking forever to comb through the braiding hair. Another warning sign. THEN, she combs through my hair after I have already done that on my blown out hair. THEN, she attempts to use the handheld hair dryer to blow dry my hair. I guess she wanted it more straight than what it already was at that time. It was pretty straight, by the way. She proceeds to run this hand dryer with a comb attachment through my hair and for some reason it keeps pulling out of the wall socket. She tries to get through several more times. *clears throat* SHE TRIES THIS SEVERAL TIMES. This should have been a glaring sign that this just may be a rough day. You’ll see why later on as to why this situation stood out like a sore thumb.
She starts braiding and I noticed that I hear a lot of tangles and ish. Do you know what I mean? Like if I braid my natural hair, I can tell by the sound that it’s not a clean neat braid. I hear that and about 1.5 hours into the style I have to use the restroom. I wasn’t trying to be tricky on purpose, but while in the restroom I figured I could take a peep at what’s happening. I look and see it looks…ok. I was praying she would clean up at the end because the weave hair was sticking out as if it was heat damaged or had severe hair breakage. Y’all know exactly what that looks like!
As other walk-ins get their hair done (and ask where’s the owner), I noticed the other stylists use that same darn hand dryer to blow dry hair with NO PROBLEM. I’m nervous at this point. Even one lady who was about to “turn up” for waiting so long, was finishing before me. Mind you, that same lady waited at least two or three hours after arriving at 11am. I got there at 9am.
Eight Hours Later
Eight hours later, I saw people come and go with their hair done. The only people left are folks who walked in at 10am for kinky twists or Senegalese twists. One of the stylists didn’t arrive until 11:30 or 12pm and she is finishing up at the same time as me. This lady with kinky twists also had a head full of hair. Eight hours later. EIGHT hours LATER. Did you hear me say EIGHT HOURS?!! Eight hours on some box braids with hair shaved in the back AND on the sides. *sighs*
The end is here and I’m happy I can leave. I’m starving and tired. Looking at the finished product, I was like ok it’s still long and looks pretty good. I noticed that she left a lot of loose ends which made me feel some kind of way but no big deal. I noticed no one else gave tips ($$) but I decided to tip her. The hair braider is pregnant and hardly took any breaks plus my hair looks decent.
I get home and look at the back of my head and see… FRIZZ CITY!! You got to be freaking kidding me. Wait, wait. “Is this supposed to look like this,” I asked myself. Searching Google for pictures and I ain’t never seen nothing like this. Never. Girl, you mean to tell me that all that time you ain’t even bother to do CLEAN box braids?!! And I know she CAN do clean braids because the braids that were visible weren’t frizzy!
Red Flags Ignored
I should have known something was up when one of the extra stylists came in looking at each stylist’s hairstyle and gave compliments EXCEPT for mine. I should have known something was up when another stylist came over and spoke something in French/Creole. I should have KNOWN something was up when another stylist looked and didn’t say much. Cause errybody else was giving kudos and compliments except for my stylist. I should have known something was going to go to hell when she couldn’t get her ish together with that hair dryer. I should have known something was up when she didn’t know where to get the hair they use at the shop. The fact that her chair was in the back should have said a mouthful. I should have known my day was going to be on some BULL when I saw all the above signs. But nawwwww, I just had to get my hair done at this shop on this day. I knew better to go on a weekend to fool around with this mess. I usually always have my first appointment during the week. But nawwwww, i just had to have these braids before the work week. And why? Somebody Please tell me why? And why during Mercury Retrograde when crap always fall apart and communication is skewed.
Rewind and Redo
Next day, Monday I call the shop and ask to speak to the owner. Now I don’t know if it was the actual owner or not since I have yet to meet her face to face. I only spoke on the phone. But I told her that I want to come back to get some braids done over because I’m not happy and they don’t look good. Whoever that was said they remembered me and to come by the shop… but not that day. Ok, I got something for that a$$. I see I need to come during the day on a weekday. And that’s what I’m going to do. Not only did I OVER pay the amount I should have been charged but I gave this woman a tip. See what I get for trying to crush the stereotype of African Americans. Screw that, she done messed it up for everybody! We’ll see how the owner fix this situation. I’ll be sure to update you with some pictures too. This is a rant post, like many of my rants I like to have solutions. My solutions will come this week or next week. Can you tell that I’m PISSED?!
Oh and the real tee hee hee, is that errybody at work thinks my hair looks nice. I’m thankful but it took being really creative to hide all the frizzy braids.
Do you have a hair braiding horror story or less than pleasant experience? PLEASE Share below.