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Black Hair Salons Failing Black Women

Let me paint you a picture. For many of you, it is a picture that will look familiar; a picture that describes the humiliation and fury millions of black women feel on a regular basis all across America.

Your hair is in need of professional attention, so you head to your favorite salon. You get there and you take a seat in the waiting area. And you wait. And you wait. And…

Finally, you’re taken to the shampoo bowl, where you wait some more. Eventually, your hair gets washed and conditioned. And you wait—with a wet head. All the while, you listen to inane conversation not fit for public consumption.

And the music? You might as well be at the local night club.

So much time passes that you become anxious.

You finally are ushered to the dryer, where you sit until the timer goes off. Then you sit and watch client after client go to your stylist’s chair to be serviced. You wonder where you fit in, whether you’ve been bypassed for someone with an appointment after yours.

Now you’re more than just anxious; now you’re angry. Angry and hungry. Just when you’re about to lose it, you get called over to the stylist’s chair. But it’s almost too late. You’re infuriated, disgusted and, above all, disappointed.

By the time you have been styled and stop at the front desk to pay, you’ve been there for six hours.

This is where black hair salons have, for decades, failed black women.

Visiting the salon should be a pleasant, peaceful experience, not an hours-on-end drudgery that leaves you fighting mad—and wondering why you put up with such disrespect of your time.

And yet, this is what millions of black women endure to get our hair professionally done.

It is a failure of gigantic proportions. It is a failure that is sad because black women are failing black women. This has nothing to do with relaxers vs. natural hair. But it has everything to do with respect.

New Hair Resolution: The Mental Challenge of Going Natural

If there is anyone who should be operating with the best interest of black women in mind, it should be other black women. There is not another industry in the world where black women dominate and can set its rules and regulations.

But what we get is blatant disrespect of our time, without any trace of remorse. These places go about business in this ridiculous way, as if that is the way it should be, as if it is all right, acceptable.

Well, it isn’t. But it will not end until we, as women, as clients, demand that our time be respected. We certainly don’t send the right message when we go back the next week and endure it again—only because we like the way that particular person styles our hair. How silly is that?

I know because I did the same silly thing for years. Before I became owner of Like The River The Salon in Atlanta, I was a client, and my stylist would not be there for my scheduled time or she would take a break before styling my hair or gossip on the phone when she finally did service me. And I was foolish enough to take it.

It took a man to snap me out of the madness. He said one day, “You spent how long in the salon? Six hours? Why do you tolerate that?” And that was all it took. I knew there had to be a better way.

After a 16-year corporate career, I followed my passion and pursued a career in hair. In 2008, when I opened Like The River, I opened it with two core principles: community service and customer service.

This is not a self-serving position. I simply did not want to fail other black women. We deserve better, especially from each other. In the hair business, we have the power. We can establish professional standards that make the salon an oasis and not a place of discomfort and frustration.

To break it down, we’ve got to do better. But how, when most stylists never worked in a “real” job where they were required to be on time, dress professionally, conduct business in a respectful manner? They get into hair as a youngster and fall right into the disrespectful habits of those before them—and stay there. Those habits include showing up late or not showing up at all, double and sometimes triple-booking appointments to “get the money” and having an attitude that they are doing the paying customer a favor.

In order to change the culture, the clients have to demand it. Do not put up with the madness. Accepting it only enables the bad behavior. Express your concerns to ownership, threaten to take your business elsewhere. And if there is no change, then find another salon.

I had to issue fines to my stylists for lateness . . . until it became a part of their makeup that they be there waiting for their clients, not the other way around. We do not allow double-booking—that compounds the problem. And we operate on the idea that coming to our salon is a break from work, family, kids, men, and so we create an environment of peace.

The failure of black women by black women has to stop. And, really, it is up to you, the clients, to make it happen.

Najah Aziz is the owner of Like The River The Salon in Atlanta, which has been ranked the No. 1 salon in Atlanta for two straight years—and one of the top 100 salons in America by www.liketheriver.

What people are saying

150 thoughts on “Black Hair Salons Failing Black Women

  1. I AGREE with this article 10,000%, This article needs to be seen by all Owners, Stylists and Customers….Stylists demand that a customer show up on time, they too need not overbooked, be understaffed nor take too many breaks;to top it off, the price is STILL the same for those painstaking, all-day event!

  2. This is also why there are a lot of women that continue do process their har at home;to avoid the long hours and not to pay for a hairstyle that maynot turn out beautiful because the stylist may be too tired from the overbookings(trying to make the $$).

  3. Angelica Turner says:

    This is so true. I would get home and be so tired from just sitting for hours. I decided to just go natural, so I wouldn't continue to waist so much of my time at the hair salon.

  4. Faith Coleman says:

    Omg you hit the nail right on the head!!! Love it…going to the hair salon is like going to a job and instead of being paid I'm the one paying to wait, wait and wait…just to be rushed out of the chair oncet I finally get in it…youre absolutely correct the black stylist have to do better

  5. NaTasha Brown says:

    I am Stylist as well. I totally agree. I have seen it done. I can honestly say thank God, I respect other people's time. The difference is done do hair and others run a business. You have to have a servant's heart, in order to deliver effectively. Community and customer service is caring and consideration.

  6. I agree with this article completely…I had a wonderful stylists when I moved to Atlanta in 2002 and my hair would look wonderful when I stepped out of the salon…The only problem was I would spend an entire work day in the salon…I have since left her and do miss her but don't miss her extreme hours…I have visited Like the River and was very impressed with your professionalism and that my time wasn't wasted while I was there…

  7. LaNekia Pruitt says:

    Great Read DeV…. I had to share it!

  8. Finally, someone said out loud what many of us have fumed over for years – the abuse inflicted upon Black women at Black hair salons! But I had a trick for them after my mom purchased me a hard hat hair dryer one Christmas. The stylist wet my hair and thought because my hair was wet I could be held hostage. Nada. I walked right out of the salon with the towel wrapped around my head and positioned myself at my dining room table under my hard hat dryer with my feet propped up – at home. Now that I am battling gray hair, wigs are a beautiful thing. I haven't stepped inside a hair salon in years and my hair is flourishing.

  9. Bless up to the sister. Wish she would open a school and bring her business to BooYorkCity. Once black women keep
    NEEDING that "We have to wear our hair like other races to look beautiful, Wendy Will, fix up drug, they will keep getting disrespected. When you put that kind of responsibility in the hands of children they behave badly towards each other. On the other side of the coin tho, many a hair dressers are disappointed by appointments that never showed up. Doctors, especially those in public places, do the same thing. Everyone gets a 10 pm appointment. The blasted room. Must be a, YOU NEED MY SERVICES MORE THAN I NEED YOUR MONEY IDIOT, message playing in their heads thing .

  10. Monica West says:

    This is one of the reasons why I went natural. I go to a salon 2-3 times a year.

  11. Stacey Pearson-Wharton says:

    Well I haven't sat like this in a salon in well over 7-8 years because i just wont. Don't get me wrong i get my hair done faithfully bi-weekly however, my stylist is very respectful of my time and she has a life too. Sometimes I am in and out in an hour..there is not even a TV in the salon to lull you. My favorite part next to the person and quality of her work is her website lets me make or break appointments online. If you need a good stylist for either natural or relaxed hair visit

  12. This is so true! I hate waiting 6-8 hours to get an hour and 1/2 worth of service! Glad to know that someone out there is making it happen and doing the right thing. No wonder your schedule is booked 3 months out! 🙂 Your work is amazing!

  13. Shameeka Shy Ayers says:

    Great post, Najah! I might be slightly biased as a Like The River client but I landed there because my time was previously taken advantage of by other salons that I patronized. What I do love about LTR is that you all practice what your preach! If I've ever been in LTR more than 2 hours, it's because I was running MY mouth. Ha! I look forward to your regular column; it's necessary.

  14. Kisha Clements says:

    Wonderful article! I Have not been in a salon other than yes.. "great clips" to get my trim in YEARS because of that craziness!!! I will. Def try this salon I pass by it nearly everyday!

  15. LA Rucker says:

    Although an interesting point…and valid you get what you pay for. A salon career is one that yields fast money …short time. Most who get into it do not do so to be governed by te salon or the owner. It is an entrepreneurship. As a stylist…my clients never waited longer than 3 hours to be in and out depending on their service….if u have to fine or force ur stylist to do better…let em go. I will say i stopped bby the salon and the reception i got from a womaan who claimed ownership was not pleasant. So top salon billing is….but good points.

  16. Well I must say that this may be the first time (that I've witnessed) that a salon owner/stylist has told it like it IS! Najah Aziz I concur…..I will speak for myself and not include other women (but I'm sure that I'm not alone) when I say that I actually put up with the "Wait" game for years and literally hated to go get my hair done due to that I would have to spend my entire Saturday or Friday night in a salon. Then I guess I got "use" to it…..Thinking that it was the "norm". Going to the salon should be exactly what you expressed. There should be no double/triple/over booking, unnecessary interruptions (i.e. cell phones, gossiping, etc.), club music, profanity…..I can go on but I'm sure that the point came across…lol! Even though I know you are blogging because I know how passionate you but I can't help but inform everyone that is reading this blog that at Like The River The Salon in Atlanta, GA, there is NO waiting. Everyone is very professional in every aspect and strive to continue to be that way if not better. The salon is very peaceful and relaxing. The overall experience is well-founded. To sum it up, WE as black women DO need to do better and step it up! Challenge yourself and your staff to change that "SHOP" attitude to a "SALON attitude. Ok….I will end this very long comment……..But I am very glad that you started this blog Najah! I will definitely be reading…..GREAT JOB, as always!

  17. Kisha, you will not be disappointed…..Trust me!

  18. Divaa Lyri says:

    I'm wondering how a company like Like The River deals with it's clients that do not show up or are late. This has been one of the things I have experienced dealing with the general public (I'm not a hair dresser). But when one client does not show for their appointment, that's lost time for the hair dresser. My questions is does the company deal with that client and charge more perhaps for missed or late oppointments? Or do they just eat the cost of time where had they double booked they still would have had a client to fill the spot. Just curious about that. I don't have this problem with my hair dresser, though.

  19. Uneeka Jay says:

    I am fortunate in Philly to go to Bold and Beautiful Salon where Tarren Flowers styles my hair. Never a wait. Always in and out (1 hour or less) Great music and no drama. Everyone is always nice and they provide excellent service. These sisters are doing a great job! I decided a long time ago that I refuse to wait to PAY someone for a service. Great post! Glad some one finally said it! LOL!

  20. I rarely get my hair done but nothing makes me more.mad than people jabbering and wasting time while you are waiting.

  21. Ernestine Naturallyme Marshall Jennings says:

    So true I have delt with this for years @ one time I stop going to my stylist for 2years, I went back little had change so going natural was one of the best things ever…. Now that I'am natural like the young lady said just I go into a barba shop just to get a trim less time and less foolishness. Well I live in Md hopefully one day I could find a salon as great as yours.. Thank You Najah the Truth Is..

  22. I totally agree with all of what Najah said. On the flip side, the whole truth was not told. Aside from stylist issues with time, the main concern of time depends on what service you are getting done to your head. A full sew-in of extensions can not be done in one hour and a half! Many, if not all braid styles can not be completed in an hour and a half! I have Senegalese twists at the moment and it took a whopping 10 hours (due to size and length)! Maybe what Najah was speaking of may have been a shampoo and a wrap style or a trim. Anything past that is going to take some time. Even when I do my hair at home it takes a couple of hours. Maybe we should invest in "mobile stylists" that make home visits in order to get that personalized time and attention. I'm all for it. So if we are going to tell the truth, then let's tel the whole truth.

  23. Temberly James says:

    When I was in VA, I would get my hair done in Hampton @ Agape (off Mercury Blvd-see Ronnie -quick plug for my big sis). Would leave Fort Eustis on lunch and be back by 1:15-1:30. I'm tlking silk wrap. Rekaxer. She got me in and out. She was quick, efficient and great. She didn't double/triple book. My hair was healthy. Now around these parts, stylist book 3 ppl for 5:30- um why? And you are held hostage waiting to be seen OR you salon hop. It's discouraging and makes you want to shave all your hair off or visit WakeTech and have one of the cosmetology students hook you up. A wash/wrap/style shouldn't take 3-4 hours. Neither should a relaxer (Braids are a different story). And if you get a 'tude you do feel the heat from the stylist.

  24. Najah Aziz says:

    LaKesha, service timing is everthing. That's where a lot of the problems come in as we (stylists) do not properly schedule services. Poor time managment and "money hungry." A lot of times stylist will get a call and they will just tell the client to come in without knowing what services are needed. Sometimes it doesn't matter to them. It's more about $$$. The focus is not always about money. I think that's where etiquette falls short.

  25. Najah Aziz says:

    Divaa, Like The River Salon deals with late or missed appointments by taking deposits from clients. If you miss an appoinment that was not cancelled within 24hrs then we charge 50% of the services booked for. Late clients are asked to reschedule after 15 minutes. This cuts all of that nonsense completely out.

  26. Great bussiness woman.

  27. Great article!! Very truthful!

  28. Brian-Michelle Edwards says:

    Gave your name to someone today

  29. #Agreed. no matter what the stylist can do nuthn is as good as customer service , its sad truly sad bcuz every black grl has that "my hair been thru it" and that is why only going to the shop occasionally to avoid the wait and having everyone else in our heads…. sad story. us black grls don't rock if we cant rock together!

  30. Simone Harvey says:

    so true! I got fed up of waiting and start to do my hair at home.

  31. Doris Gwynn says:

    Ain't that the truth? I can remember several occasions where I would be sitting on my butt waiting at least 2 hours just for my hair to even be touched for the first time. There have been plenty of instances where I would arrive at the salon at around 4 or 5 in the afternoon and not get home until well after 10 at night. What the hell? If my hair is pretty much done in 1 1/2 to 2 hours start to finish with no interruptions, why the hell am I waiting around an asinine 4+ hours? I don't get anything complicated or overly flashy, so I don't want to be waiting around all night just to get looked at.

  32. Gwen Gotthatfresh'doforyou KyleBrown says:

    So proud to say clients at The Cure Beauty Salon, O'Fallon, Il, receive professional, quality, fun, oh, and stylish service while in our presence.

  33. Valencia Glam'ma Cox says:

    Never heard of it. Where is the shop located? I'm in Belleville.

  34. Valencia Glam'ma Cox says:

    ???? I didn't get your reply, just this link to my fb page and some more gibberish.

  35. Marge Ann says:

    So glad this is not my salon! I have an awesome cosmetologist! She is amazing and has been specializing in healthy and beautiful hair for almost 4 decades!!!

  36. This is exactly why I stopped going to hair salons year ago and I do my own hair. I was tired of the long waits, expensive prices, and stylists that never listened to how you want your hair.

  37. Darlyne Bratton says:

    Solved the problem you speak of by going to a Dominican Salon.

  38. That is why I stopped going.

  39. Jodi Snowden-Jackson says:

    This is also a reason I cut my hair off! Not knowing there was a natural hair community, and what I did was a BC! I haven't been to a salon in over 5 yrs. I would like to find a natural hair salon…..But I don't want to go through the BS, and my time being wasted, along with not getting what I was expecting.

  40. Shardae InNyc says:

    They're not all good either…had one change the price on me!

  41. Monique Reed says:

    When I did relax my hair I went to a department store salon. I never waited I was able to get a cut and color in an hour and a half! She was professional and I could enjoy the experience and my day!

  42. Valencia Glam'ma Cox says:

    Thank you!!!

  43. Robbie Gaines says:

    This is why I can appreciate the salon i go to here in Philadelphia great service an very professional staff there all credit goes to the owner Rhonda @Rhondagodsgivinggift one of the best shop in Philadelphia

  44. I really enjoyed the perspective in this article, and I totally concur. I cut my own hair because of the same nonsense on the male side. Some of the conversation is filthy and the music can be appalling. It's been so long since I went to a barber that I can't remember how long the wait is. Once when I was about to enter a barber shop to get a haircut by my regular barber, there was a barber standing out front with his friend. He asked if I wanted a haircut & i replied "No thanks." This fellow then verbally insulted me…because I didn't want him to cut my hair. That was the last draw for me. I went to the store and bought a set of clippers/liners (in 1997), taught myself how to cut, and I have been doing it since. My gain, their lost. Najah Aziz, I'm happy to hear of your success in treating human beings…like human beings! Steve

  45. Stephanie Taylor says:

    It's about time someone starts speaking about this.

  46. Inglewood Bev says:

    The number one reason I don't go to the hair dresser!!

  47. Rachelle Natacha says:

    I guess I'm fortunate… I barely wait during my hair appointment and if I do, it's because of 1 of 2 reasons I'm early for my appointment hoping she doesn't have a client before me or the appointment before me is taking longer than its allotted time and that's most likely due to the client's lateness. But you see, I'm not paying for a 15 dollar wash and set, I'm paying for a 30 dollar wash and set, premium prices for premium service. When prices are cheap profits are made based of quantity so they double book appointments trying to do two heads at once. If prices are not cheap and you are still unhappy with service, switch salons cuz that's some bullshit. A 6 hour hair appointment is unacceptable. Should take no more than 2 hours. I love my trips to the salon and I love my stylist/client relationship it should be like that for all people.

  48. Cheryl Kearney says:

    Amen and hallelujah. I have mixed race hair so I can got to Black or White salons, but I always try to spend my money at minority establishments. Shampoo, blow and flat iron-Black salon as much as 7 hours. Blonde highlights, cut, and flat iron-White salon-ONE HOUR AND 40 MINUTES. I now wear my natural hair and Bantu knot-outs because my time is too valuable and I'm not going to be forced to patronize white establishments because Black ones don't appreciate me as a customer.

  49. Cheryl Kearney says:

    Not true, cost of service is not proportionately reversed of time spent. I don't know where you get yours done for $30, I paid $80 every other week plus tip. It is not at all unusual for clients tospend $100+ in "neighborhood" salons.

  50. The only frown I had about this article was the term "real job". Our story and view points are very simular but I would have preferred the words "corporate job". After all, being a licensed hairstylist is a "real" job but those that have never worked in Corporate America may need to be groomed in structure.

  51. I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

  52. Rachelle Natacha says:

    Cheryl Kearney In NYC (Harlem) getting hair done is usually cheaper than other places… The cost is usually 45+ for a basic wash and set depending on hair length but I pay 30 since I'm a reg client, where as most people go to get 15-20 dollars wash and sets in a cheaper spot. I'm saying if you are paying good money to do your hair and you are not receiving good service like waiting for so long to go from station to station, I suggest you find a different salon that take pride in keeping their customers happy. If you don't agree with that, that's okay but I personally would move on to the next because I value my time. If there aren't any other options, someone should take the opportunity to make that an option and start their own hair salon. If so many people are unhappy, that just sounds like a great entrepreneurial opportunity.

  53. Cheryl Kearney says:

    I hate to be mean, but sista in the chair could have used some of that wasted time getting a manicure.

  54. Margaret Singer Vaughn says:

    I don't have that problem anymore but for years and years I did. In our community if your hair stylist was very good (I MEAN THE BOMB!!!!!) everyone wanted her to do them and of course she was only one person and few hair dresses or stylist as they call them now had shampoo girls. There was a stylist on Crenshaw close to 43rd in the 90's that was soooooooo goooooood that me and 100 other woman would wait on all day!!!!! (and she had a shampoo girl !) Even my daughter Kenya who was 13 and impatient only wanted her and would wait…. AND WE WON'T EVEN TALK ABOUT NEW YEARS EVE —–LMBO—-

  55. Telisa Bee says:

    But let's no single out hair salons, let's demand consideration and customer service skills of everyone doing business with us and in our community

  56. Cee Michelle says:

    I don't believe this is every stylist. I believe this is the generalization. My clients come in and out in a timely fashion be it any race. However, my ethnic ladies do stay a bit longer because they get washed, deep conditioned or stream treated, put under the dryer and then finished. If thier appointment is at 1 pm depending on what they are getting done they should be expecting to be in at 12:50pm and be leaving by 3ish. I never double book.

    I was taught differently. I think it goes hand in hand with general educational upbringing. If they are taught to do better they will act better. We blame them for their actions but we should really attack all salon owners for letting this outlandish behavior go on.

  57. Vic Hall says:

    The biggest failures I've seen are bad weaves, overpricing and creating an environment where mothers spend money on their hair when it should be better spent elsewhere. If you can afford it, do it…if you are under financial duress, maybe go natural for a while…

  58. some of us never speak up it's Sad. Even more disturbing is black stylist are charging extra for natural hair or unprocessed hair. So sick!

  59. Audrey Terry says:

    Thank con advance for being our voice. I have aqrrived at a salon for services 6:30 am. My stylist would finally arrive at noon. Did I mention the his assistant would perm,cut,color,blow dry the works. All

  60. Rachelle Natacha I totally agree with you Rachelle. The prices depends on where you live. When I lived in Atlanta, for a wash and set I paid $35 @ Regis Hair Salon because I was a regular client. I pay the same price in my hometown in a SC. If I have to wait, I pay and tip the stylist and do not set another appointment. My time is very valuable. My stylist schedule clients according to hair styles. I love her because I am in out within one hour.

  61. Alicia Hinshelwood says:

    I agree with this article to some extent . I've actually been a shampoo girl to a shop like this and I feel that the hair stylist overbooks. However in defense this is their living so fitting clients in where they can is their payout. I've also witnessed many black clients that are inconsiderate of the stylists tine and will either show up extremely late if at all without a call. This is a huge waste of time and money. Someone else could have taken that slot that you failed to show up to. Respect and time show hold be valued both ways.

  62. Linda Magdalena Malley says:

    Oh give it a rest. That's why she put it in quotes. Please. stop.

  63. Tonya Smith says:

    Over the last decade I have seen a stylist 5 times. I do not like giving my time away but when I did go in it was always just me and my stylist, I received all the attention and paid a fair price for it. You get what you demand and I demand fair exchange for my hard earned dollars.

  64. Tai IlikethewayGodmoves Paine says:

    Great story

  65. Andrea Moore says:

    And this is why I don't go to black beauty salons. After I waited 12 damn hours, yes I said 12 damn hours to get my do done, and THEN paid $80.00 dollars for a short hair cut. Never again. Now, the Dominicans don't do that. No heat, in and out, $55.00! That's wassup

  66. Andrea Moore says:

    Shardae InNyc Thats the only problem with them. They will try to change that price. I get that straight upfront…. But you can bargain with them easier than the Keisha and Mekas of the world. LOL

  67. Chelle 拜尔斯 says:

    Black hair demands a lot of time and attention. If you are in the salon more than 3 hrs u need a new stylist! Point blank and the period……Hey Chelsea Harmon, "WAVING"

  68. Chelle 拜尔斯 says:

    Black hair demands a lot of time and attention. If you are in the salon more than 3 hrs u need a new stylist! Point blank and the period……Hey Chelsea Harmon, "WAVING"

  69. We can sit in a Dominican Salon for hours as well. I have yet to find one that takes us by appointment.

  70. DeeDee Holland Griffin says:

    Thank you

  71. Sherri Prillerman says:

    I am a hairstylist of 13 years. I own my own salon. I can have some clients that may be there 45 up to 3 hours. I have always kept my clients aware of what was going on and who was next to sit in the chair. Everyday will not always be perfect because sometimes there are clients who would like a different service other than what is expected. As far as expediency is concerned you may get done faster if there is an assistant available. Hiring an assistant costs a stylist more and the customer more. So if your clientele cannot or would not like to afford the luxury of the stylist having an assistant then the customer can or should be prepared to have more time spent at the salon. In all you get what you pay for in some salons but if you provide a relaxing environment then time is less noticed.

  72. Canela Martin says:

    That's the way to conduct a business……someone mentioned something about Dominican salon…….I will be a bit off subject…….but still same point….there u wait just as long……and if u don't speak the language……..u do t know what's going on….there……or places I had been….they make fun…….mock….redicule black women hair…………….
    It's a shame………………..when large amount of their business come from tne African American community…………….

  73. Renee Johnson-Cook says:

    Thank you so much you've spoken for so many, I had an appointment for 9:00am, my parents came to visit me that Saturday, I was gone for 6 hours at the salon they left, the stylist ate lunch, talked on the phone, talked to other stylist this is the kicker, some can in selling purses she took the time to look at them, I was so upset, my parents drove 4 hours, I vowed never to go through that nonsense again, then I moved to Atlanta, I've been with my stylist for 26 years, I've never been in the salon more than 2 hours and that's contingent upon what I am having done

  74. Monica Mitchell says:

    For the basics .. I frequent the Empire beauty school in atlanta .. thru the week u can normally get in and out in less than 2 hrs .. and they use great products they even will do 2 strand twists on your natural hair for like 30.00!! .. I have natural hair and got a wash / blow dry and flatiron for 10.00!! … if I ever go back to chemicals I may find a "professional" but for now . EMpire Beauty is THE Hook UP ! ..

  75. Chardae Bowe says:

    It takes extra time to do natural/unprocessed hair because most naturals want it either pressed out or a protective style, not just wash and go. Business is business and time is money. A business minded stylist who does excellent work should charge accordingly and book appropriately according to how much time it takes for a service. That way the stylist isn't overbooked. It goes both ways because some clients show up over 15 minutes late and/or change services at the last minute. Beauty professionals should raise the bar in terms of professionalism, customer service, and learn proper salon etiquette.Communication is key.

  76. 2 hours has always been my max and 1 hour of that is to dry my thick hair!

  77. Keisha Ralliford says:

    Thank you for writing this! I had the same terrible experience with a salon, where as a single working mom, I had to take off from work to get my hair done. I would make appts and show up on time, only to be told that she was running late (once she told me she was behind on her errands and running an hour late). That day I decided enough was enough and took my hard earned money elsewhere! It is so difficult to support our businesses when professionalism is LACKING. Be at your job on time, get it done in a timely fashion, and do not give me the excuse that your personal life is what conflicts with my appointment …. what a nice day it would be if I could tell MY supervisor that Im an hour late to work because my personal household errands had taken up my time.

  78. Denise Datblingdyva Lawson says:

    I have had this problem for years and it got worse when I moved to Atlanta. Now that I have a male stylist that understands the concept of time. My time in the salon is less than 3 hours.

  79. I feel you — we fail each other on all ends.
    I own a beauty supply store now, and our goal is to have a clean, uncluttered environment — people remark all the time how clean it is when they come in here. MOST of my customers (since we're VERY small) are return customers or are word of mouth customers and they say things like "I just love this store!" or "This place is too CLEAN to be a beauty supply store!"
    I overstand the sentiment, because as a black woman, I used to shop in these beauty supply stores, too. In fact, I was told by one (Asian) guy when we were building the place "Why are you doing all that?? Just put the shelves in, put the stuff on the shelves, and they will come and buy it! You don't have to do all that!"
    We've got laminate flooring, awesome hand-made shelving (grid-paneling) a sound system, and a general "good smell" in the place, lol.
    If we WANT better we can do TWO things — demand it, as the consumer, or CREATE IT OURSELVES.
    Blessings, sis!

  80. they overbook…why for the money! They are trying to make the rent like everyone else, doesn't make it right but that is the reason.

  81. Shannon Stewart says:

    Where I get my hair done, this doesn't happen because it is a VERY professional black owned business and my hair dresser keeps her clients happy. Some people get mad when she tells them they need to make an appointment for certain styles. She is making sure everyone gets their deserved time.

  82. As a stylist of 23 years I have seen a lot of unprofessionalism in my industry. I myself was trained in a large busy salon. I have experienced disrespect on both ends. One reason stylist over book clients are no shows on a constant as well as trying to make money. Some clients want more than they ask for at the time of booking the appointment extras that may cut into the timing of the next client. It just takes communication on both parts. Its character that the stylist lacks when they are unprofessional by being late or overbooking consistently.

  83. Lori Gomes says:

    I think when she referred to "real" job, it was only making a mockery of what others believe , not what we think if ourselves as professionals .. I've been told by others " get a real job" so this is how some ignorant people think.. I don't think she think our profession isn't a "real job" .. It's as real as they come!

  84. Lavonne Chambers says:

    Excellent article! It's insane to wait more than 3 hours unless your are getting braids or a weave. I have a wonderful beautician in Cleveland Ohio and I am done in 2 hours or less!

  85. Lavonne Chambers says:

    Excellent article! It's insane to wait more than 3 hours unless your are getting braids or a weave. I have a wonderful beautician in Cleveland Ohio and I am done in 2 hours or less!

  86. Kimi Brown Jefferson says:

    Thanks for the post. This is happening everyday and in every State. You're right if the client doesn't take a stand it will only continue. Love the hairstyles from your salon please continue to post. Thanks again

  87. Tam E Golden says:

    A sad perspective but my salons reputation sets a much higher standard, and unfortunately clients must love being treated that way because when they bring that ill and tardy behavior to my salon they won't be seen…. my service time is 45 min to 90 min for an average service. If you are late or a no show then you are costing me money in which you will be charged… that's my bad rep and I'm sticking with it… I'm not for every body, just for professional women who want quality service effective and efficiently. They not ready.

  88. Tam E Golden says:

    A sad perspective but my salons reputation sets a much higher standard, and unfortunately clients must love being treated that way because when they bring that ill and tardy behavior to my salon they won't be seen…. my service time is 45 min to 90 min for an average service. If you are late or a no show then you are costing me money in which you will be charged… that's my bad rep and I'm sticking with it… I'm not for every body, just for professional women who want quality service effective and efficiently. They not ready.

  89. Cecille Bolton says:

    Yes! My thing is why is that stylists can charge if the client is late, but we can't be given a discounted rate if we haven't been serviced within 30 minutes of our schedule time?

  90. Ken Lucas says:

    Damn WeWill: I thought I was the only brotha that experienced that nonsense! The last shop I went to, the barbers looked me up and down, looked at my shoes, turned their noses up at me. I didn't have to WAIT to get insulted, I walked the f**k out!

  91. A HUGE part of the reason why my stylist is a barber… 20-30 minutes and I still have my day

  92. I had walked out of a beauty shop after the beautician wanted to do something other than what I asked for when I made the appointment. I had been assured over the phone that they could do a perm, but when I arrived, there was an effort to convince me to have a conditioning service done that would involve several visits to complete. I had been sitting there for over an hour just to be told that.

    Thirteen years ago, I switched to going to barber shops, and I had my hair cut off. It's easier on my wallet, I never have to sit around for hours to see a barber, and it doesn't take all day to get my hair cut. The fact that some stylists may have not had "real jobs" before becoming stylists doesn't cut any ice with me. The fact that a client made an appointment should be motivation enough to get to the shop on time and be ready when the client shows up.

    Don't get it twisted — some beauticians know good and darn well that proper customer service is not being given. Beauticians will often let a client sit with wet hair, perm in the hair, dye in the hair, etc., to keep a ticked off client from walking out or at least, demanding better service. Salon managers have to stop backing up their stylists over their customers when service wasn't delivered properly. Customers need to not only call out stylists for inappropriate behaviors, but walk out of the shops if necessary, and spread the word about bad beauty shops.

  93. I have been a licensed stylist for over 40 years and unfortunately I have witnessed a great deal of unprofessionalism in the salon, especially lateness and client abuse. Clients have a great deal more options these days and are no longer willing to put up with bad behavior and unprofessionalism. Time is money and wasting time is loosing money. Just as important is the environment should be peaceful, free from gossip and a professional place to relax and regroup. Stylist, stop the client abuse and respect your clients because if you don't treat them right, believe me someone else will another culture will gladly take care of your client

  94. I am not in an agreement with you with regards to natural hair and more money. I believe black hair stylist, some are just use to relaxing the hair and are not up to the challenge of pressing and curling! it does not take longer. You are washing and pressing , so simple. We are plain flat intimidated and that is simply Rid… Sad And that is why another group of people are making money off of us because some of us want to take something so simple as our hair and make it complexed.. How crazy is it to go to a salon of your own people and get charged extra for your hair being in it's natural essence! No twist…. just a wash . Our minds are brain washed!

  95. Michelle Adams says:

    Love this article! As a former client of Najah she is Amazing! She was very professional and she did get me out of the salon in excellent time! And of course my hair was beautiful and healthy! I moved so I had to find another stylist but she is the truth when it comes to all things hair!

  96. Nephari Luckett says:

    I couldn't agree more with this article!! I had relaxed hair and it was ridiculous and now that I have natural hair I commit to certain stylists that can get me in at my appointed time and get me out!!

  97. Nephari Luckett says:

    I couldn't agree more with this article!! I had relaxed hair and it was ridiculous and now that I have natural hair I commit to certain stylists that can get me in at my appointed time and get me out!!

  98. Gloria Newsome says:

    If the clients would respect the stylist by getting to their appointments on time this would eliminate one third of the problem, secondly if the client is unable to keep her appointment call as soon as she's aware that the appointment must be cancelled, that would take care the stylist overbooking and lastly if the client would makeup their mind on a style before hand this would resolve all our woes….

  99. Yes that long wait is ridiculous, that's why I stopped going years ago. but now I have a stylist that has me out in around 2 hours and that's only because I have to sit under the dryer because of my thick hair. otherwise it would probably be less time than that. when I had longer hair and no relaxer I was out in about an hour

  100. I don't tolerate it because I don't have enough hair on my head to be at any salon for 6 to 8 hours and then pay a fortune!! Thanks for bringing this to the forefront because you are absolutely right!!

  101. Vonetta R. DeVonish says:

    I agree, but this post is about black hair salons specifically. In a perfect world, we would get excellent customer service everywhere we go, because we are after all, the paying customer, but that is unfortunately not the case. Spending 6 hours in a salon is pretty ridiculous.

  102. Latoya Underwood says:

    ok,ok, Shoot me now but im a cosmetologist and let me say this… The local Beauty and barber shop are pretty much the only Black Business in our Communities besides the church. We know you, your kids and you confide your darkest deepest secrets with us.Yet we get the short end of the stick or have to do flips for a few bucks. I see so many black women at the Korean stores buying $200 in hair (getting the "Hurry up and Buy" treatment)and want to pay the stylist $50 (for wine and cheese service.) and We let the Eygtians,Koreans and Dominicans burn and break your hair off then expect the Black Salon to regrow it for $20…). So let's reverse this title, Black Salons are not Failing Black women. Black women are Failing Black Salons..

  103. This is why I went to a black salon ONCE and that was it!

  104. Kae Williams says:

    I'm a stylist of 22 years and what I've learned over these years is that people don't know what it takes to become a cosmetologist. We are not as "dumb" as people think. We are educated in biology, anatomy and chemistry. We are licensed by the state in which we operate and required to have continued education to maintain our licensure yearly. We are governed by the same entity the license doctors and lawyers. We are far from stupid. BUT!! When we as hairstylists carry ourselves in such unprofessional ways, what way are people to perceive us as. It is up to us to dispel the myths that others have of our profession.

  105. Roslyn Hardy Holcomb says:

    I haven't been in a salon since 1998. Every time I even consider it I get such an anxiety attack I have to cancel.

  106. As a customer you should have stop giving then your money. Of course it will continue to happen if you continue to patronize them. It should not have taken you six years and a man to realize that youshould not have to endure such treatment and then pay for it. It doesn't happen in other cultures because it would not be tolerated. I am a stylist myself and I pride myself on my customer service skills. You should have more respect for yourself and where you spend your money.

  107. Mary Briley says:

    Raw Material 1175 North High Street, Columbus , Ohio get you in and out~ I am a senior citizen and the music they usually play is old school or jazz. I have been with my hair stylist for over twenty years and I have nothing negative to say about my beauty salon visits.

  108. Lena Kendall says:

    I learned how to cut my son's hair for similar reasons. I wasn't interested in subjecting him to the language and the objectification of the woman via their soft porn pics displayed, nor the "Black Men" mags lying around in abundance.

  109. Here we go.Using a paint brush.Not all Black own hair shops are like this.How many white busness dis respuct us and we keep going Back.Look at what macy's In New york do to people of color.Label them as shopliffters.How many of you go into macy's and shop.

  110. Debra Odom says:


  111. You are a professional who cares about how you operate your business and in the long run you will continue to be very successful.

  112. Maryam Sabir says:

    Are you really moving to Atlanta?

  113. F Alan Young says:

    This article is one side of the chicken or the egg. Here is the simple truth. Bad behavior begets bad behavior. Black business runs both ways. You have the business giving bad service. But for every one of them, you have black customers trying to get a hook up, a deal, credit, surprise shortage of money, is super late, no show, go fuck their weave out and call back the next morning like it just fell out, and more. So what should not be tolerated goes both ways. Nothing is absolute so if you are thinking "well I'm not like that". This post is not about you three people. You clients created this monster now work with them to fix it.

  114. Arthur Chistine in Vienna, VA is a wonderful salon where hair health is more important than having a million customers. Rachel and Dusan not only do your hair but also give advice on hair care. They serve, all types of clients with all types of hair.

  115. I always talk about this! It's really hard to find a salon that offers good work, exceptional service and affordable prices. Often you can only get two of the three.

  116. Mary Panzu says:

    That's not everybody's experience. You should have changed salons. If you feel so strongly about the subject matter focus on that and not race. Deal with issue you see a problem with and stop making it a common problem among blacks. If your black, that might be the same reason someone might not want to sit in your chair because helped perpetuate a stereo type. Learn to keep race out of it so you can help people not always make race the problem. That's clearly how you feel towards your black sisters. Remind me again how many nonblack salons you have been to?

  117. Sistar Meshi says:

    I am an African American Hairstylist and I am a clint like many of you. I agree it is all unfair. I vowed years ago to never do this to my clients. I respect our time and demand to be respected as well. I deserve it as awomen itting in any environment not just in a salon. That is why there is no waiting, Inspirational music, honesty about your hair, good pricess, (and a $50. Weave special) a calm relaxing, clean area, and good quick service if you come to me in Pomona. 714)381-2044

  118. totally false business is about relationships and relationships require patience

  119. Being on the stylist point of view, if you have a large clientele it's going to be times where the clients have to wait but in order to be a successful stylist you have to have great time management skills to get clients in out and out in a respectable time. Not all stylists or salons are that way

  120. That's why I wear my hair short. I just got tired sitting in the beauty shop for 8 hours sometimes.

  121. Linda Malley says:

    I was teaching my niece a lesson about a month ago about how people would do anything for money, even if it means stepping on your own people. This article is a great learning tool I'm going to continue to use to teach our youth. The other lesson in this is, don't reward bad behavior.

  122. I left my stylist for this very reason. The thirst must be real because she keeps calling and texting asking when im coming back: NEVER!!

  123. Amen! I thought I was the only one who felt this way! And let's not forget the most blatant form of disrespect of talking on ones cell phone or having friends/relatives stopping by the salon for a chit chat while they're supposed to be doing my hair! My time is valuable too!!

  124. The fact that almost 38,000 people shared this story SPEAKS VOLUMES.

    It's so crazy because I have contemplated writing an article like this for a few years now. Mostly when I am angry beyond epic porportions which is probably not the best time. The Detroit hair culture is insane to me where stylists are treated like celebrities and consider themselves to be doing you a favor by allowing you to be a customer. At no point will we allow a man or terrible friend to occupy that type of space in our life yet we show up every week or two, like nothing ever happened hoping it will get better but it never does. At some point, you have to get out of the abusive relationship because that's exactly what it is. BTW…I have a male stylist now. William Gaines You can't help the convos by the patrons sometimes. There is a shop culture that will exist in more cases than not but when I leave, I feel like someone has appreciated the fact that I'm showing up every 10 days or so. My name is Jennifer and I am no longer an abuse victim!

  125. As a hairstylist for over 30years I have come to hate when people put all the fault on the stylist. There are many reasons the client is in the salon for extended amounts of time and many are not the stylists fault. Lets start with pricing. Many stylist overbook because their clients aren't willing to pay them a fair wage (or they are fearful of raising prices to support themselves based on client comments). A client will spend $500 on weave hair and be unwilling to pay anything relatively close for your 3-4 hrs of labor installing that hair.
    Lateness. Clients come late ALL the time. Even 15 minutes can throw off a schedule an hr based on what services that person and the surrounding apps are having done.
    Clients add services other than the ones they scheduled for. Y
    Rey say they r coming for a shampoo and style, they get there and realize they JUST need a relaxer AND color AND trim.
    You feel compelled to oblige because they are long-standing, and because you don't want to lose them, and because they all take your standing for your rights (as well as your other clients) as a personal affront. That includes when they have an emergency and need to come last minute, or earlier, or later.
    Some say "well don't take them!". Well if I didn't take the clients who wouldn't pay my worth so I could take less clients, or came late, or didn't require extra services, or didn't need an emergency I wouldn't have many clients. So I say before we point all the

  126. I am sooo glad someone is speaking out about this! I got tired of sitting in a salon for half a day (well, it seemed like it) just to get my hair done. And to think that I paid to have my time abused like that? It disgusted me, which is why I stopped going to some of these places and started doing my OWN hair.

  127. Imari Smith says:

    I can see the author's point to a certain extent. My mother is a beautician and she has a large clientele, however, some of the clients are extremely inconsiderate. They come 30minutes late and then get upset when they are waiting to be serviced after a person that came on time. There are times when they don't show up for appointments without canceling prior to their time slot. They will call my mother on her day off/at odd times to talk about their hair as if she has no life outside of the shop….so while I do think that customer service is key to the job, it takes the effort of both parties (stylist and client) for things to go smoothly. My mother has great ethic and always puts her clients first, but sometimes I think they have no regard for her time because they don't think (as you put it earlier) that it is a "real job".

    Also, regarding double booking: There are clients that will schedule appointments and not show up for them. When this becomes a pattern, my mother double books. She cannot simply get mad at the women for not showing up because they will take it as her being unprofessional and disrespectful and take their business elsewhere. Stylists maintain their clients by forming relationships with them and providing great service so to call the client out on her bull could sever the relationship and cut her business. But when the client wants to follow through on her appointment, she is upset because someone else is there with her. BILLS HAVE TO BE PAID! And even though this business is based on clients, the stylist has to make provisions to obtain the money she needs to pay them.

    Younger stylists need to do better…mind their manners….play decent music, however clients need to do better too. So while everyone is agreeing with this article, truly ask yourself just how respectful you are to your stylist.

  128. That's why I go to the Dominicans…who are black (despite the fact that they may not think so…but since the county shares a border with Haiti, I don't know how they can), but they don't play with their time or my money. Shout out to the Doobie Shops who do $20 washes and $50 perms!

  129. Im a hair stylist and this does not go for every salon, but so many are like that. Women still go to salons like this though, why continue to be treated like the rest instead of finding a salon that caters to each client on an individual level

  130. I disagree with this article, my stylist takes less than 1-2 hours from beginning to end of my services and there isnt a lot of sitting around goung on unless I am late it may take me longer but otherwise it is a smooth process. Ive been with the same stylist since August 1998 every week, if I had all the complaints on the article I wouldnt still be there. You get treated just how you allow yourself to be treated. Personl

  131. Personally I dont pay or continue to frequent any where that has poor customer service. No one forces you to accept this type treatment for weeks, months, years…

  132. Jo Forrester says:

    Wonderful article


  134. Jayna Wilson says:

    I had a stylist that would schedule appts at 10 am but wouldn't come in until 5 in the afternoon hung over. Her clients would call out of work, order food and wait for her.

  135. It's about time that someone speaks out of how our nlack women run the hair salons. It's certainly not good business practice!

  136. That's why my barber shop is a good family oriented place with good music but that's why I got my own cause of that one reason

  137. I also feel that the Hair salon experience should be one of relaxation…. I'm frustrated and ready to leave the whole time. It just takes too long. I got to a salon at 1:15pm for a 1:30 apt and wasn't done until he salon until a quarter to 6. I got a hair cut and I deep condition but my hair is all natural. I took just as long as someone getting color and a relaxer… I have children, a life. I can't just mark off a whole day in my calendar just to get my hair done. Might as well figure it out on my own.

  138. Come to hands in motion II in alexandria va 426 Hume ave. We have ethics at our shop

  139. I think this is SOOOOOOO true I have locs and natural salons still will take 4 to 5 hours!!! I do my own hair because if it takes that long at least its free!!!

  140. Tag Buckhead says:

    I am one of the owners of TAG concept salons here in Atlanta a Charlotte and DC location , I have been a stylist for 28 yrs and our team works together to ensure a timely enjoyable experience for all of our guest . Check out our reviews . I'm glad there are quality salons available for women of color

  141. Wendy Cade says:

    Or how about you get a salon owner who doesn't overbook but feels you need to come on her time. I ask for an early appointment since I have function at 1 pm. She said I have a 2 pm as appt. I need a Friday. She says she has a Thursday. I need the earliest available appt. She says she has a 4 o'clock. After 4 attempts to get an appointment on MY schedule to no avail I said forget it.

    So I have experienced one extreme to another. Spend 6 to 8 hrs in a salon to finding someone who could get me in and out in less than 2 hrs but thinks its on her time. Smh

  142. I can tell you this is NOT the case in Alexandria, la where I have gone for years. I am not a black woman, but the majority of the clientele where I go are black. I see no difference in the way they are treated and serviced. The stylists do an excellent job, and do so in a pleasant atmosphere! Whether th e women are in for hair extensions, conditioning. Hair cuts, etc…the women walk about looking very nice. I have never heard a disgruntled customer, or stylist! I would suggest you gals look for another place to do your hair if you are not pleased! That is exactly what I would do, regardless of my skin color!

  143. when i saw the headline: black hair salons failing black women i was expecting it to be philosophically deep and go all the way with tackling the concept of beauty in the black community… like shedding light on the fact that the black salon owners condone the massacre of black women's hair, by processing it with chemicals to look 'sophisticated' 'professional' and 'tamed' in other words, to appear like the whities…*shrugs* oh well

  144. I went to Like a River August 3rd 2013 the morning of my brother's wedding to get my hair done…TERRIBLE! Receptionist stepped out when I was ready to pay and nobody else knew how to work the damn thing…wasted 20 minutes. THEN I was there for a bridal style suppose to be $65…WRONG got charged an extra $20 because I don't have a relaxer…wth!? Upscale white hair salons dont even charge me extra for that. Plus the stylist attempted to COMB MY CURLS WHILE DRY…I had to check her on that one. Can't pay me to go back to that place.

  145. I used to go to a great natural hair salon with a cool vibe that was owned by two young black women, and I loved that I was supporting small business. After awhile, though, one owner left, and the other one, who was my stylist and did a great job, would forget that I had an appointment, or show up at her own salon an hour late, or forget altogether. And I was reluctant to say anything because I really liked her, and I know she was juggling school and work, but it was ridiculous, and I am sorry that I led her to believe that was okay by not going elsewhere.

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