Anyone who's been in a salon chair knows that it can be difficult to find Black natural hair stylists and salons. It takes skill, dexterity and a deep understanding of how to best manipulate each texture to effectively work with textured hair. The problem is, there's a disproportionately low number of professional stylists who understand how to work across all hair types — and, more specifically, the intricacies of Black hair — which means people with natural textures are often left out of the conversation. Most stylists outside of the Black community have little to no education about Black hair.
The bigger issue is that many stylists are not taught to work with and appreciate curly hair, let alone coily, or kinky hair types. We’re often left to deal with the lack of education and salon service around natural hair, and on top of that, we might find ourselves in a situation where we’re left feeling demeaned and belittled at the hands of a stylist trying to put all textures into one box and method.
After being frustrated that hair school curriculums weren’t adequately training stylists on natural hair, Aisha Gatlin, who founded the Beautiful Luxe School of Cosmetology, said “Stylists are educated in pretty much one hair type because they don’t need to know more for their state exam—but when they get into the salon, it’s like they’re back in beauty school again.” Only 19 states require specific training for it.
The focus should not be on passing the state exam but truly leaving with the knowledge to manage all hair types, as, without the foundation of what constitutes healthy hair for a range of textures, stylists aren’t equipped with the full scope of knowledge they need to help their clients. There needs to be more educators who are well-versed in all hair textures.
With all that being said, in this article, I’m sharing Black natural hair stylists and salons to follow and support. In order to celebrate the work of the talented and underrepresented Black hair artists, you can start by supporting their work on social media.
The Daze Studio
Location: San Diego, CA
Daisy Henson aka Curly Daze is the owner of The Daze Studio curly hair salon in San Diego, CA. Curly Daze is known for her beautifully shaped, transformative, curly cuts. She is also a hair educator for Cosmo Prof and was named Modern Salon's Top 100 for 2020.
Follow them on Instagram: @curlyhairdaze
Huetiful Hair Salon
Locations: Arlington, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Chicago and Atlanta
Huetiful was founded by Ken Burkeen, the creator of the Huetiful Hair Steamer. Ken's mission is to introduce clients to what he calls "The 4 Healthy Hair Pillars" (cleansing, hydrating, conditioning, and strengthening).
They specialize particularly in helping women and men with hair transitions for chemically damaged hair.
Follow them on Instagram: @huetifulsalon
Location: Raleigh, NC
This salon specializes in natural hair styling and braiding. Taji has trained natural hair professionals that aim to help you reach your goals. While traveling and performing Taji discovered that natural hair is an art form. Understanding the creative potential of our natural hair has always been a driving force for Taji. Fifteen years ago in the Triangle when natural hair was not en-vogue, Taji continued to pursue her dream of starting a natural hair movement in the area. They not only style, cut, and color hair, but they also hold workshops for those looking to learn more about their natural hair.
Follow them on Instagram: @tajisalon
Location: Capitol Heights, MD
Fabulocs is one of the most sought-after natural hair salons on the East Coast, and they specialize in kinky and coily textures. All of their stylists are evaluated, tested, and trained to ensure their ability to meet Fabulocs professional standards. Also, Fabulocs takes the time to ensure that their customers are educated about their natural hair too.
Follow them on Instagram: @fabulocsnaturalhair
More Than Curly
Location: Aurora, CO
More Than Curly is a natural and chemical-free salon founded by Melissa and Jason Vaz. Not only are they stylists, but they have a strong focus on teaching about curly hair as well. They also live by this creed: "We DO NOT perform Brazilian blowouts, Dominican, Keratin straightening treatments, or all over relaxers. Why? Most of our clients live here in Colorado, where it is a semi-arid environment, and those costly services performed on natural hair will alter your curl pattern, dry out your hair, cause even more frizz, and require more product application to hydrate your hair." They've been featured as an ELLE Magazine Top 100 Salon.
Follow them on Instagram: @morethancurly
Location: Manhattan, NY with pop-ups in LA
Hair Rules was founded by the Texture Guru, Anthony Dickey. He carried with him a dream of celebrating all textures and the knowledge of how to do it for decades. In 2003, Dickey shares his knowledge and writes his first book: Hair Rules! The Ultimate Hair Care Guide for Women with Kinky, Curly, or Wavy Hair. This extensive guide of texture talk, tips, and tricks was the first step toward educating all textures on the beauty of their natural hair. He's been educating curlies ever since!
Follow them on Instagram: @hairrules
A Natural Affair
Location: Jackson, TN
Takeisha Berry-Brooks of A Natural Affair is a pioneering hair care specialist, stylist, and beauty expert with more than 15 years of experience caring for clients with chemically processed and natural hair. Takeisha has been recognized by Essence Magazine as one of the ‘25 Most Beautiful and Inspiring Black women in the World’ and, A Natural Affair Salon was named Essence Top 30 Salons in the US.
Follow them on Instagram: @anaturalaffair1
Location: Baltimore, MD
Diaspora Salon was founded by Yasmine Young, a Level 3 Master Deva Certified Stylist. Her mission for Diaspora Salon is to focus on "the preservation and continuance of various Diasporic cultures and heritages outside of Africa through hairdressing." They specialize in 100% naturally curly and coily hair, curl discovery, advanced curly hair cuts, DevaCuts, advanced color services, holistic hair care, protective styling, and professional and consumer education.
Follow them on Instagram: @diasporasalon
LunaBella Makeup & Hair Salon
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
LunaBella Makeup & Hair Salon in Santa Barbara, CA was co-founded by Christin Brown aka Curlfactor. She is a Level 3 Master Deva Certified Curl Specialist who specializes in transformative Deva Cuts and Pintura color. She has styled the natural hair of Yara Shahidi and Tamera Mawrey, and she loves educating her clients on making their curls pop.
Follow them on Instagram: @curlfactor