Join Date: Sep 2009
Traumatic experience at G's salon, Brooklyn! (Also posted in 4a section)
This is a complete rant and I don't mean to offend anyone who loves this place, but I had one of the worst salon experiences of my life.
I'll preface this by saying I've been natural for about 12 years but only started this healthy hair journey about 2 years ago and have noticed a huge difference. I've had my hair done by Carlos Flores and at Devachan, and have had good experiences with both of them (especially Carlos). I have also had my hair flat ironed at salons who didn't know as much about natural hair as they thought but they still followed directions and did a good job.
Anyway, I live in London now and I haven't yet been able to find anyone there that I fully trust, so I tend to save things like trims for when I'm in the US for work. I'd been really bad with my ends over the past few months. It had been in braids for 5 weeks, and I hadn't been very good with moisturising and sealing so they were a bit of a mess. I was coming to NY but after reading a recent thread decided to take a couple of days out to go to Salon Revive in DC. I figured as I hadn't straightened in ages, I would use this opportunity to get it flat ironed and do a length check. Unfortunately I had to cancel the trip as some work stuff came up and I couldn't leave NY. Which meant I needed to desperately try and find a salon here as neither Carlos nor Devachan could fit me on at such short notice. I was even willing to pay Christo prices, but they couldn't fit me in either.
I came on here and saw that a lot of people had recommended G's salon in Brooklyn, especially that they were an Aveda concept salon and cared about the health of hair, and were careful with heat styles. After reading good review after good review I called and was told they could fit me in.
I was a bit put off by the smell of burning grease that hit me as I entered the salon. There was a girl getting her hair flat ironed, and it smelt like old school hotcombs. Then I was told they had no hot water. After waiting about 10 mins for the owner to come 'light the boiler', the stylist (Called Jamie) suggested we go around the corner to their other salon. We get there, and this was clearly a much nicer salon- more modern, cleaner, better equipment (like massaging shampoo chairs). I asked Jamie why they had 2 salons so close to each other, and his response was 'Well, this one has a spa. And also, the geographics...' when I looked at him quizzically, he whispered 'White!' I should have known then to be totally wary of a salon that segregates black and white hair. I believe hair is hair, and when you know how to do it, you know. Carlos Flores has much looser hair than I have, and was excellent at handling my kinks. The lady who did my hair at Devachan was caucasian, and while you could tell she wasn't THAT experienced with very tight coils, she still did a decent job, was careful about handling my hair, etc. And in both places, I saw people of all textures.
Anyway, so Jamie tells me he needs to comb my hair before he shampoo'd. I explained I never comb dry, and would prefer for him to detangle with conditioner in. He tried to tell me that my hair would 'loc up' once water hit and I had to argue before he would agree to do it my way. He rinsed the conditioner out and started ripping the comb through my hair. I could actually hear it snapping and when I mentioned this, he told me it was just my 'static hair'. Telling this story makes me realise how much of this is my fault because I REALLY should have left at each point I felt uncomfortable, but I think I was just so desperate to get a trim before leaving for London today that I just kinda hoped for the best.
He started blowdrying and again was rushing through. It seemed he felt uncomfortable in the 'white' salon and wanted to head back to their other place to flat iron, so was really ripping through my hair and I could see short pieces flying off my head. I asked him to stop and that I could see the breakage. He said 'no, you just shed a lot'. I saw all the hair caught in the comb and from one little section, it was much more than I ever lose off my entire head. I checked a couple of the strands, some were long and some were short, but they were all broken. So he starts getting sensitive that I had called his hairdressing practices into question, when really, all I cared about was leaving there with about the same amount of hair as I came in with. He got really snarky, saying 'I don't know how much more gentle you want me to be, lady! I'm being gentle! I'm not breaking your hair, these are just weak shed hairs coming out!' (despite the fact I showed him that NONE of the ones I picked up had a white bulb on the end) 'You obviously don't comb your hair properly' Then for good measure he added 'In any case, I can tell you're not used to getting your hair done, because you're walking around with this uneven hair. I really don't need to do your hair, missy!', so I was like 'you know what, don't bother' and got up to leave. At this point, I was half blowdried and looking like a crazy woman but I just wasn't going to sit there and take his insults while he damaged my hair. The receptionist was mortified and wouldn't let me leave, and then called the owner who told her to get someone else to come and finish it off. At this point, I was really ready to go back to the hotel, slap on some DC and call it a day, but like I said, I was heading back to London and REALLY needed a trim so I allowed them to convince me.
The next stylist, Joel, came along, and by now I was pretty upset, so I explained how I have to be gentle with my hair, and it breaks pretty easily if I am not. I explained my concern about my coils not reverting and needing to ensure he used proper heat protectants etc. He started by saying he would have to shampoo my hair and start all over again. I don't know why I didn't put my foot down, but I ended up being shampoo'd a total of 4 times yesterday with inadequate conditioning. He then started ripping through my hair again in all directions without product and tangling it further (and when I winced, he told me "I KNOW you can't be tender headed with all this hair" Well I am, so what's your point??). At first he didn't put in ANY moisturiser or leave-in, so my hair felt like wire wool and then he tried to put me under the dryer with NOTHING on my hair- no moisturiser, no heat protectant, nothing. I had to ask about 5 times before he put any heat protectant in (still no leave-in or moisturiser, and when I asked he said 'this IS leave-in'. It was serum). He was actually going to put a comb attachment through my naked hair, and then every time he went to the next section, I had to remind him to put some serum in before blowdrying, and he just looked really irritated. I have probably mentioned on here a few times that I have extremely dry, porous, coarse, wiry hair, but I have learned to manage my moisture levels and have NEVER felt like a gust of wind is going to make my hair crumble to nothing, until yesterday. When I told him I needed some sort of moisturiser because my hair had never felt this dry, he said "that's just your texture, honey". I stuck my hands in my hair just to feel again and was told really snarkily "Listen honey, if there's one thing I am going to ask you, do not touch your hair until I finish". At this point, I was so frustrated about being told off and not being listened to, and 2 years of careful detangling going down the drain, literally, that I started crying in the chair. Mortifying!
I decided to let it end there. I let him finish blowdrying and refused to press or trim there, and left (after they made me pay for the ineffective deep treatment).
The moral of the story is 1/ not all Aveda-concept salons are the same, and if everyone in that salon is as awful at doing natural hair as the 2 people I encountered (Jamie and Joel), Aveda really should consider revoking their name. Their attitudes and practices stank! 2/ if someone recommends a stylist don't assume everyone who works at the salon is on the same level 3/ Trust your instincts!!! If something doesn't seem right, LEAVE!!
I'm not as much of a wreck now as on the day. Partly because I realise a lot of what happened was my fault as I really should have left when I was uncomfortable, half done hair or not. Also at the end of the day, it is just hair. I realise it could have been worse. At least I didn't have them secretly pouring relaxer into my 'static hair', as I've read about, or burning half my scalp. Next time I'll stick to curly cuts- if I want to swish some straight BSL hair (not going to happen for a looooooong time after this trauma) I'll just straighten it myself.
Sorry for this essay! I just needed to get it off my chest, and also put the warning out there for people who might be in similar situation.
Products in current rotation:
Terressentials Pure Earth Mud Wash; Elucence MBC (now really just for cowashing, leg shaving or emergencies); Curl Junkie: Repair Me, Deep Fix, Curl Rehab; AOHSR (retiring); Oyin Handmade: Honey Hemp, Hair Dew, J&B; Qhemet Biologics: BRBC (retiring- prefer Oyin HD), AOHC, OHHB; Jojoba Oil for scalp; Castor Oil or Shea butter to seal; Henna & Ayurvedic pastes when I can be bothered.
Still searching for the perfect stylers, but loving CJ CIAB over everything so far