The term ‘multiracial salon’ sounds alien to me.
Coming from South London, I live in a very multicultural city but my part of London, the home of (Brixton, Lewisham, Streatham”> can be deemed as urban and black/Asian. While driving through these areas, you will see rows of markets, black hair salons, black hair product stores, Asian beauty salons, and black barber shops on the high streets. It’s almost like we are forced to be separate from white people when it comes to hair and beauty.
Recently, Racked contributor Nadra Nittle published an article titled Hair is Hair: Making the Case For Multiracial Salons article. It brings me back to past memories of being a child and needing my hair done.
My mother, who is white, would visit any hair salon when I was younger. For a treat, she went to a high-end salon like Toni & Guy or RUSH. When I wanted my hair straightened like hers, she would ask them if they would be able to do mine so that we could have our hair done together–mother and daughter bonding time. However, we were always met with a “hold on let me ask my manager” or “No, we don’t deal with that type of hair”. Sometimes, they would admit, “I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
These responses left me feeling insecure. We then had to find salons that specialized in ‘Black hair’.
As a person of mixed origin, this is something that bothered me. The fact that I found it so hard to find products in mainstream stores and even hair stylists in high street salons–it was always an effort when it came to my hair compared to my mother’s. This is partly the reason why I now blog about my hair type as for years I have struggled with dealing with it.
“But these hairdressers didn’t always provide a full range of services, such as relaxers, to black patrons, so I opted for black salons,” Nadra Nittle states. Let’s be completely honest with ourselves. Most of our experiences growing up visiting black hair salons were interesting to say the least. But we’ve had to learn to accept the way it worked back then.
I’m sure we have all been through the frustration of having a booked time but still having to wait as stylists are in the middle of styling someone else’s hair or being judged and stared at as soon as you walk in–along with secretly not liking your hair when it’s done and not daring to voice it (lol”>. In my opinion, it all comes back to us wishing we could just be catered too in all hair salons so we don’t have to feel marginalised to just one kind.
In my opinion, it all comes back to us wishing we could just be catered to in all hair salons so we don’t have to feel marginalised to just one kind.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things I enjoy about Black salons!
From the music, to the great conversations, to becoming more more educated about my hair, I love it. But it would be great if this were an experience we could enjoy everywhere! The problem lies with the industry standards too, as mentioned in the Racked article. Recently, I spoke to a white curly hair specialist who styled my hair. She shared with me that she was also appalled after working in mainstream salons that they did not know how to deal with curly hair or afro hair and were not required to. This is what fueled her to start her own business that caters specifically to curlies to help get rid of the ‘discrimination’ of different hair types which in this day and age is ridiculous.
A black stylist shouldn’t be the only stylist who can deal with Black hair. A stylist of any background should also be taught the science and versatility of black hair, as it would expand their skillset and clientele!
To sum it up, I would have to agree that multiracial salons should exist–especially with the rise in mixed race couples and families. Call me unrealistic, but it would be nice for us all to be served together and be one big happy hair family. As long as stylists are taught to appreciate every hair type and do not underplay the true roots of black hair then I would see this as a very positive change.