Cindy is absolutely amazing. She took her time with the frizzy mop I walked in with and by the time she was done I had a beautiful head of curls. She shared a ton of tips and information, and recommended the right product for my hair. I feel liberated by the gift Cindy gave me. Now I do not have to fight my hair anymore.
I started going to Cindy when my hair was an inch long. It's now over eight inches of wonderful, healthy curls. I can't wait for it to keep growing. It's fun when people ask me what permanent or curlers I use to get my hair to be curly. It's natural and with Cindy's help, guidance and the right products, my hair is phenomenal.
I had had the same African American "black hair care" stylist since the age of 19 (I am now 41) but once she stopped putting a relaxer on my hair 2 1/2 years ago, I became tired of the constant pressing, flat ironing and blow drying-- frankly, I just have TOO much hair and it was taking TOO long to do it, even in a short, cute bob. So I decided to go natural and explore the world of Curly Girl-ness. After 2 years of trial and error with the whole products "thing" (I'm not QUITE a junkie--YET), I finally realized that not only did I need to further educate myself on natural hair care but also styling techniques. I also realized that if I wanted this journey to end well, I was PROBABLY going to have to find a new salon AND stylist that could handle what I lovingly refer to as "my 3c-4a kinky-locks". I decided to go to "Yelp", a social networking, user review website for assistance and entered "natural hair salon" in the search box. When my results were returned and I saw where some of these salons were located, not only would it NOT require me to travel 30 miles in one direction, it seemed, but there appeared to be one right down the street from me. I could WALK if necessary. (Could it get ANY more perfect?!) Now mind you, if you know anything about the city of Long Beach, it is made up of MANY diverse and historical neighborhoods. Chill Salon & Gallery is located in the Belmont Shore area bordering the Naples part of Long Beach which immediately raised red flags for me as an African American woman. A) What is the likelihood that there will be an African American hair stylist employed there in one of the "whitest" neighborhoods in all of Long Beach? B) Since the likelihood of "A" was slim to (well, face it none), what could a Caucasian stylist POSSIBLY know about black hair. And finally C) What Caucasian stylist would be BRAVE enough to tackle African American hair in all it's "un-relaxed" glory? So I began cautiously reading the reviews of the salon which had gotten a rating of "5 stars" overall. The very first review going back to 2008 was from a young lady who looked black or perhaps bi-racial who had given it "5 stars" and talked about her "curly" hair and how "they know ALL hair types". She also mentioned her stylist by name and how she and the owner Cindy had created an "oasis". With the exception of one, review after review this salon received the highest rating possible and from other curly girls. (And guys!) That looked positive so I decided to check out their Facebook page and again with the positive comments. From there, I decided to post "the question" regarding black, African American hair lest it be confused with 2c, 3a or 3b. I needed to be as clear as possible that this wasn't your standard curly hair "walk-in-park" but rather, the "white-water rafting" or "crossing the Rubicon" of curly hair. One of the first people to respond was another African American client whose name I now recognize from my original search on Yelp. The information she provided was extremely helpful. The 2nd person I heard from was Cindy Latter--owner, aesthetician and stylist extraordinaire. She, the black client and I must have all chatted a handful of times via Facebook over a period of 3 months before I finally decided to make an appointment. I went in for my first consult/cut on 1/20/11 and I could not have been happier with my decision to step outside my comfort zone. Cindy is indeed one of THE friendliest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Not only did she make me feel at ease, but as someone who has over 20 years of customer service experience myself (10 of them spent working for an international, Fortune 100 hotel chain), to say that "I KNOW good service" is an understatement. Cindy also "knew her stuff" regarding curly hair in general and African American hair specifically. She makes it her business to educate herself utilizing a host of non-traditional resources from NaturallyCurly.com to Lorraine Massey's "Curly Girl: The Handbook" (2nd edition even!) and her Deva principles to Ouidad's curl fundamentals and Chris Rock's "Good Hair". Cindy also makes it a point to get to know her customers and their individual needs as well as empowering them by educating us on how best to care for our OWN hair and save money by avoiding unnecessary trips to the salon. (A bit counterproductive for a small business owner but I think that speaks to the ethics and character of an individual, don't you?) From the moment I walked into Chill Salon & Gallery, from the receptionist who greeted me and offered me a beverage to Cindy herself to the other stylist who simply joined in the conversation while Cindy styled my hair, to the soothing hot towel placed under my neck while my hair was washed, this experience felt far from the awkwardness of most "first visits" ANYwhere. To quote a long-time patron, Cindy HAS truly created an "oasis" where one can sit back, relax and feel pampered by creating the right ambiance and hiring the right people. And when it was time to leave, Cindy gave me a hug like we were old friends. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my former stylist. She's like a sister and no one knows me like her. But comparatively, I think her job is somewhat easier. So, believe me when I say, unlike my bygone days of "the relaxer" and 3-hour salon appointments (6 hours if you include travel time), my trip to Chill Salon & Gallery is an experience I will not soon forget. Thank you for taking the time to read my entry. Much curly love, Shauntay Larkins the LBC (Dig it!)
Recently went in to see Audrey as a new client for a clean up of my overgrown Deva cut. I am so glad I did. Everyone at the salon is super friendly, and the cut was great. Went back a few days later for help with a few pieces that were bugging me and left with a fantastic cut. As another reviewer mentioned, they carry different lines in addition to deva. Thanks to Audrey, I am now an even bigger fan of Mixed Chicks than ever! Check out the tons of reviews on Yelp!
Chrissa Morton is formerly of Chill. She is a curly hair specialist. Simply fabulous and a true artist! She has her own salon now in Huntington Beach: Daeya Salon 526 Main St HB 714-969-9713
Cindy is the owner and has been doing hair for 20 years and specializes in curly hair, not only cutting but Goldwell color and she will show you and help you style your curls so you know how to do it at home! Chill salon has 3 different curly lines so you can find the one that fits your curls...Mixed Chicks, Deva and Curls! Go check it out; they offer free consultations!