Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Natural
By Choya Randolph So you've decided to let go of the creamy crack and kiss your natural hair. Congratulations! Most of us have known hair straighteners our entire lives. We lathered our hair in Just For Me perms just to switch to using Motions. But now it's time to learn about our natural hair and […]

By Choya Randolph

So you've decided to let go of the creamy crack and kiss your natural hair. Congratulations! Most of us have known hair straighteners our entire lives. We lathered our hair in Just For Me perms just to switch to using Motions. But now it's time to learn about our natural hair and the best way to take care of it. Going natural means you've probably done the heavy lifting and are now rocking a TWA, a tiny afro. You probably did a bunch of research before you broke the scissors. I did the same. However, there are a lot of things I have learned over the years that I wish I had known before I made my big piece. Here are some tips to help you on your natural hair journey!

Detangling

First of all, disentangling is important ... as really important. With your TWA, disentangling is pretty straightforward. You can use a comb and call it a day. But once you start to develop those inches, make sure that your disentangling skills develop as well. Start untangling at the ends and even try to untangle your fingers. Always detangle your hair when it is wet. If you didn't know that… little girl, you're not well. To make detangling easier, detangle with products that lather easily like a leave-in conditioner. If you don't know how often to detangle, listen to your hair. I promise these knots and tangled sections will have a lot to say. To stay on top of detangling, try to do this every time you wash or co-wash your hair.

Do you find a good gel

I spent years not seeing my actual curls. Partly because I wasn't using the right products to keep my hair hydrated, but also because I didn't know the power of the gel. Many of us have soft, cloud-like hair, but where are the coils and curls? Getchu a frost sister. It's not just to straighten your hair back. This will give you the loop definition you were looking for. Gels can be quite cheap, but some of us may want to go the organic route which can be a bit more expensive. I make my own gel from flax seeds. You can find instructions on how to do this easily online. Making your own hair products is a rite of passage going natural, so explore and see some definition of curls while you are at it!

Don't just condition. Deep condition.

Going natural can be overwhelming. People tell you to use this cream and try this oil or buy this shampoo. It seems like a lot of work and to be honest it sometimes is. If you are having issues with dry hair, now is the time to take a look at the products you are using. If you don't use a deep conditioner, you're missing out on juicy hydration. Deep conditioners go the extra mile to replenish the hair's molecular layer, resulting in thicker, healthier hair. If the deep conditioners you find aren't doing what they supposedly gave, remember that hair masks do the same as deep conditioners.

Don't be afraid of water and heat

When I went natural, I was always afraid to wet my hair like I still had a perm. I also wanted to stay away from any heat. After years of being natural, I realized I needed water for my hair, which is why every natural should have a spray bottle. If your vaporizer doesn't vaporize like a can of Febreze, you're groping sis. I've also learned that incorporating heat into my hair regimen is actually healthy for my hair. Steam treatments saved my life. So the next time you revitalize yourself, try incorporating some heat by putting on a plastic cap. The heat opens up your hair follicles, allowing moisture to penetrate your hair to give your curls more hydration and definition.

Get your hair cut

Once you've done that chunky cut, you might never want to cut your hair again. When I got natural I noticed my hair seemed to stop growing once it got a certain length. It was because I didn't get my hair cut. I used to think that cropping wasn't necessary. My hair is growing so why cut it? One word: break. Because natural hair is frizzy, curls get tangled easily, which is why detangling is important. Our locks of frizzy hair become best friends who don't want to let go. This naturally leads to breakage and split ends. To stay in the know, you just need to vacuum it up and cut your hair regularly. It might sound like an L now, but I promise your hair will be healthier because of it.

Meet Your New Best Friend: Protective Styles

Taking care of your natural hair can sometimes seem like a chore. It definitely requires more TLC than our relaxed hair needed. This is why protective hairstyles are a paradise. Protective styles protect our hair while keeping it organized. This not only allows us to break away from a tedious hair routine, but also to break our constant style. Protective styles can be braids, faux locs, twists, crochet weaves and more. Protective styles include methods our ancestors have used for centuries, so don't be afraid to wear a cute style that embodies your story.

Don't compare yourself. Period.

There are so many hair textures within the kinky community. When we see natural hair in the media more cases than not, a certain hair texture is the standard of beauty. Not everyone has loose curls. Some of us have coils rather than curls. Not everyone has very long, curly hair. Some of us have short, frizzy hair. Many of us have found ourselves in the bathroom crying because our twist didn't go well or maybe we're not seeing the growth we want. Sometimes we just look at our hair and it is not as beautiful as society has told us. Let me stop you there. Comparison is the thief of joy. Not having hair like your biracial friend or your favorite celebrity is OK. Your hair journey is all yours. Don't get lost looking at someone else's path. The most important thing that I have learned from being natural is that if you want your natural hair to look good, you have to believe it looks good first.


There once was a time when we had to devote a huge amount of effort to uncover the truth about our beauty surveillance. Now we’re in a golden age of transparency. You can google just about any ingredient or Yelp whatever service and a wealth of reviews are available at the ready. And with social media holding brands accountable, they’re listening to our pleas and have begun providing the information we need to make informed decisions about the products we purchase. But there’s still one place where that ease of knowledge hasn’t extended : the mobilier.

Even for those of us who have been getting our hair cut and colored for decades, there’s still so much confusion around tipping. Unlike some brasseries, where your receipt gives you a gentle nudge toward gratuity by listing the juste dollar amounts for a 15, 20, or 25 percent tip, the mobilier is much trickier, with no indication of who ( if anyone ) gets extra money and how much to give. Are you supposed to tip the owner ? And what if multiple assistants helped with your blowout or shampoo ? There’s also the issue of knowing where your money is going : There’s much more tchat around servers’ salaries than there is around our stylists’. All these factors make the equation that much more difficult.

tera shed some light on what’s really going on at the mobilier, Glamour talked to stylists, assistants, and owners around the country to find out. From where your hard-earned cash goes to what ( and who ) you really should be tipping, read on for their unfiltered opinions and advice.

Salons run on a few business models—most commonly commission-based and booth rentals ( more on those later ). Commission, explains Siobhán Quinlan, a colorist at Art Autonomy Salon in NYC, means that employees are paid for the services performed, of which they only keep a portion, usually somewhere between 40 to 60 percent of the price. The remaining percentage goes to the mobilier for overhead costs like utilities, product used ( color, shampoo, conditioner, etc. ), and amenities for both staff and clients.

There once was a time when we had to devote a huge amount of effort to uncover the truth about our beauty routines. Now we’re in a golden age of transparency. You can google just about any ingredient or Yelp whatever service and a wealth of reviews are available at the ready. And with social media holding brands accountable, they’re listening to our pleas and have begun providing the information we need to make informed decisions about the products we purchase. But there’s still one place where that ease of knowledge hasn’t extended : the mobilier.

Nicole Krzyminski, a stylist at Fringe mobilier in Chicago, breaks it down : “Say you’re getting a beautiful new color—your balayage, conditioning, and toning takes about three hours and costs around $250, ” she says. “After accounting for the overhead fees and product costs, the stylist gets about $100 of that pretax. ”

In some cases, stylists can also make money by convincing clients to buy a product that was used on them during their service. However, this represents a minuscule amount of revenue says Shira Devash Espinoza, a freelance stylist based in New Jersey. “When working in a mobilier, you’re constantly pushed and ‘rewarded’ to sell, but only earn maybe 10 percent of it if you’re lucky, ” she says.

So what happens to Krzyminski’s hypothetical $100 ? The majority of it, she says, goes toward licensing fees, personal supplies, and tools ( blow-dryers, flatirons, curling irons ), and continuing education classes. That means even on a jam-packed day, a stylist may only make enough take home pay to cover the essentials of food, shelter, and clothing.

Tips, on the other hand, help pay for the supplemental benefits that those not in the service industry take for granted. Says Stephanie Brown, a colorist at Manhattan’s Nunzio Saviano Salon, “It’s a physically demanding job, and most expositions are too small to provide health benefits or paid vacations and sick days. ”

Ladda Phommavong, a stylist at Third Space Salon in Austin, Texas, says that those gratuities are what helped her become the in-demand stylist she is today. “The tips I received from clients meant being able to take outside courses to hone my craft, ” she says. “If clients knew I was saving up to take the master colorist course and that their tipping was directly contributing to me becoming a better stylist for them, I think they would definitely want to be a part of that. ”

Many stylists choose to forgo the commission-based life and instead strike out on their own by renting booths in salons. This basically means paying a weekly or monthly fee—our stylist sources said they generally pay around $120 a week or $880 a month, depending on where they are based—to reserve a semipermanent spot to see clients. In these cases, stylists keep 100 percent of their service fee as well as their tips. The downside ? “We pay for absolutely everything—refreshments, cups, capes, color bowls, foils, brushes, scissors, styling products, ” says Jennifer Riney of Brushed Salon in Oklahoma City. They are also on the hook for paying liability insurance and credit card fees.

Freelancers like Sarah Finn, who rents a peau at The Ritz Day Spa

Another option for freelancers is the coworking mobilier. Arturo Swayze, the founder and CEO of ManeSpace in NYC, is a pioneer of this relatively new setup. He provides short-term rentals for stylists who don’t need or want a regular stint in a mobilier. Stylists reserve a time slot, use an application to unlock the space, and see their clientele as needed. But even in this scenario, says Swayze, there is still uncertainty.

“Because the coworking model is so new, people really don’t know what proper tipping etiquettes are, ” he explains. “Tipping is still an important aspect for these hairstylists. They are independent, but essentially have all the expenses of a salon owner, but they’re not drawing income from other stylists. ”

“Each stylist is course their own small business in a way, ” says Nicole Wilder of Paragon Salons in Cincinnati. “We have relied on tips as a part of our salaries for decades. We kind of signed up for that as part of it. But we work hard on our feet to make you feel beautiful. ”

Assistants are the unsung heroes of the mobilier industry—and some of the most neglected. They are involved in almost every aspect of your service. “Our duties as an assistant helping a stylist are to shampoo all clients for haircuts, apply toners, blow-dry, and mix color, ” says Ocean McDaeth, one of the assistants at Art Autonomy. “We’re also in charge of setting up the stylists for each service, keeping their stations as well as the mobilier clean, doing laundry, and greeting clients and making sure they are comfortable throughout [their visit]. ”

Since assistants don’t perform technical services, they’re usually paid a day rate by the salon owner. Many times the stylists they assist will also tip them out with a small percentage of the day’s take. “Being a hairdresser has a huge financial obligation. I think it’s fair to say we as assistants really do rely on our tips. Without them I have no idea how I’d survive in NYC, ” McDaeth admits.

It’s important to note that assistants aren’t the norm in smaller expositions and outside of big cities. High-end salons with a grande clientele tend to hire assistants as a way to let a stylist book more appointments. If the assistant is washing your hair, this allows the stylist to have another client in their chair. When done well, you might not even notice your stylist or colorist is working with one or two other people in addition to you. This maximizes the stylists’ time and earning power, making assistants integral to a prestige salon’s operation.

While having assistants is a lifesaver for hairdressers, it can be a nightmare for clients if you’re trying to figure out who to tip. In grande salons, you can have up to 10 different people touching your hair, notes Jon Reyman, a master stylist and co-owner of Spoke

Of course, there’s no way to know if that is your salon’s economic ecology, so in general, think about what the assistant has done for you. If they are shampooing, applying gloss, and/or doing your postcut blowout, it’s a good idea to throw something their way. ( See our cheat sheet, below, for more on what exactly to give. )

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