Why I Completely Stopped Going to the Hair Salon

Nov 11, 2019

Seven years ago, I sat in a salon chair for the last time. Well, maybe not for good, but I don’t plan on going back any time soon. 

I know I’m not a professional hairstylist, especially when it comes to maintaining and treating naturally curly hair. My whole life has been a learning process, trying to figure out how to balance looks with health. I’ve always gone to Latino salons, where my hairdressers are Puerto Rican or Dominican, and specialize in turning thick curls into super straight hair. I put a lot of faith in their hands, but over time, they only caused more damage. 

I realized I couldn’t put so much blame on them and I had to take accountability for trusting other people with my own hair. So here are the four main reasons why I stopped going to a hair salon.

Too much heat.

From 8th to 11th grade, I went to a salon every two to four weeks to get a wash and set. I woke up early on Saturday mornings, headed to the salon to get shampooed, and sat under a hair dryer for 45 minutes. My hairdresser then blow dried my roots until I couldn’t feel my scalp, and then brought out the flat ironed at 450 degrees.

That’s a lot of heat. I’m surprised I wasn’t bald. I was obsessed with pin straight hair at the time and the biggest mistake was NEVER using a heat protectant. Now that I do know how to straighten my hair with little heat, I don’t think I’ll ever go back for another wash and set.

Damaging sulfate shampoo.

My curls looked like limp ramen noodles by my senior year of high school. The heat and store-bought relaxers definitely played a part, but I didn’t realize until years later that the shampoo was just as damaging.

Shampoos in a salon usually have sulfates, which are basically detergents. Sodium lauryl sulphate and ammonium lauryl sulphate are most common in shampoos. They’re sometimes necessary because they get rid of the build up – the same way dish soap cleans greasy dishes.

But when sulfates are used too much on curly hair, they strip away the natural oils and damage the shaft. I used these shampoos so much that my hair never got any moisture before the straightening.

Wasted time and money.

A wash and set was about $45, not including a tip. That might not sound like a lot, but over the years, you realize you could’ve pocketed that money. And as a high schooler, that’s decent cash.

I also saw how inconvenient it is to make plans based on someone else’s schedule. If a last-minute event came up, I’d have to rely on my hair dresser. It’s so much easier to be able to do it myself whenever I have to.

Zero understanding of my hair.

If my hair felt dry or my ends looked dead, I’d just have the hairdresser fix it. I never bothered trying to understand what the cause was. Since I made the decision to stop going to a salon, I’ve learned how to trim my ends and find products that make my hair look and feel healthy. And most importantly, I learned how to bring my curls back.

I’ll eventually go to a professional again when I want my hair cut and shaped, but she or he must specialize in natural hair. Until then, I’ll be taking matters into my own hands, and saving money at the same time.

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