…or should I say, I attempted to.
Last Saturday, I woke up with a strong urge to visit the salon. Blame it on my sometimes vain self wanting to look peng upon resumption to the office after five weeks of working from home due to the lockdown (thank God!). Asides that, my dreads hadn’t been relocked in well over two months. Trust me, I’m the laziest person when it comes to visiting the salon or going the extra mile for one’s hair, but I’m starting to put in more efforts these days. *wink*
But that wasn’t all the plan I had. A couple of weeks ago, I had put up seven different dreadlocks pictures with hair colours ranging from blue to wine and hot red on my WhatsApp status asking my lovely contacts to select a colour they thought would fit me the most. After 24 hours of collating votes and reading different views, the hot red colour had the highest votes. With reasons such as,
“This will definitely fit your peperenpe body.”
“I think this colour suits your personality.”
“Although I don’t really like this colour, I’m sure it would look great on you.”
“This looks appealing, but you’ve done a coiffure like this before. But since this is a dye, I think it’d look great on you,” and so on.
This particular picture was my favourite as well. It had this bubbly looking lady, and the vibrancy of her dreads was nothing but endearing. That sealed the deal.
Of course, I had a loctician who has been so good to both my hair and me since I ‘stumbled’ upon him. But on this fateful day, my people needed a cute joke, so they ordered my steps towards another salon where a friend had recently coloured his hair. Yup! As you will later find out, I did entertain them.
We got to this salon which in all sincerity was better furnished than my loctician’s. Scratch that. My dreads guy operated under a Coca Cola umbrella while this salon was well-decorated with Air Conditioning, customized wall-length mirrors everywhere, fancy comfy chairs and a blasting sound system. Did I mention they had a TV and a manicure and pedicure section? Yeah, all these made me confident I wasn’t making a mistake cheating on my stylist.
If only I knew!
Now, there’s a problem I’ve always had with hairstylists. Whenever I visit a salon for the first time, I make sure I warn the stylist about my hair because fortunately and might I add, undeservingly, I have a full, long and very stubborn hair. I say I’m undeserving because my hair keeps coming out beautiful and healthy even though I kinda suck at the hair care department. I just do whatever I like with it. You can call me a boy when it concerns hair and makeup.
Despite how full this hair of mine is, it can be deceiving and often takes on an unassuming look, especially when it is packed.
For instance, when a new stylist goes, “Your hair is 2k,” I always ask, “Are you sure? Check it well o.” Then you will find me bending and turning my head and running my fingers through the hair so the person can have a closer look. Their response one too many times usually sounds like this, “I don see am now aunty. Abi you wan teach me my work?”
Why many of them find my question and innocent show of concern offensive beats me.
It is worse when there’s a need to get hair material or accessory, and I insist that they get more than estimated. You hear (the women especially 😵), “Nawa o, you sabi how many years I don dey do this work? Aunty, your own too much sef! No be say na so you hair full o.” They will proceed and turn to their apprentice with a question like, “That aunty wey come here yesterday, her hair no full pass this one?” To which the apprentice would reply, “Make I see first,” then she will dig her hands into my hair, check for only God knows what, and say, “Yes now, that one full pass this one and e even long well well sef.”
No problem. Since y’all know more about my hair than me, there’s no point arguing. I just make sure I let them know I would not be responsible for any additional cost. Shikena!
Yoruba hairstylists are the WORST. Yes, I said it. My goodness! Especially when they assume you do not understand the language because you’ve been speaking English.
They will spend the next minutes abusing you and calling you different names just because you speak “Queens English” or because “she thinks she’s beautiful.”
Man, sometimes I can’t deal with my people… Phew!
Of course, it always ends as I said it would. The material won’t be enough even after they get the additional one I insist upon. The once-arrogant stylist will now open her mouth to say, “Ah aunty, you go pay me more o. I no know say your hair plenty like this.”
Pay fire! 😒
The same thing happened on this day. After the rogue young stylist who was to make my hair spent well over one hour “looking for hot red dye” finally returned, I sat in his chair ready to say goodbye to my beautiful black dreads.
When I saw the hair colour mixture, I knew instantly it was not going to be enough and I relayed my concern to him. As expected bros insisted the dye was more than enough and paying me no mind, he started the application.
Again, I complained that he was concentrating the dye on one side, pleaded even, that he should please spread it out so we can at least cover the whole hair before the dye finishes. But nope, my ‘professional stylist’ insisted he knew what he was doing. He kept showing me the cup saying (in Yoruba), “Look now, it’s still plenty. Don’t worry it will go round, just relax.”
Relax, I did, and here is the result.
Yup! Not only did my hair get burnt, but just a portion got the colour. I went into the salon with black dreads and came out with a red-wine-golden black pepper seller-looking dread.
This is what my Yoruba people will call, “O gboyun lo, o gbomo bo wale” meaning, I went out pregnant and came back with a baby. Only that in my case, I returned with a quadruplet.
Boy, I was madddddddddd!
I wanted to cry and tear his face apart. I pulled out my phone and kept looking at the intended colour and back to the mirror into the reflection of the once beautiful black haired Gelax who was now a pepper seller trying to be fashionable.
This dude was lucky I could be livid and not raise my voice. The more he and my friend kept trying to console me, telling me the hair wasn’t that bad, the angrier I got. But I guess they couldn’t tell because I was still smiling and my voice wasn’t raised.
Chai! Blessed be the Lord for this special gift of mine because ehn, *scoffs* I for don bite both of them, walahi!
Instead, I dropped my phone –enough crying over spilt milk– and asked that the stylist dry my hair.
At that moment, I regretted choosing this fine salon over my loctician and his plastic chair under the big umbrella sandwiched between two buildings. You know what they say about not knowing the value of what you have until you lose it? That saying made more sense to me that evening.
The music I had been DJing and dancing to as if I was on a show was stopped immediately. Everyone at the salon had on a gloomy face. I had been entertaining them with my playlist, dance moves, and hyperactivity before the hair wash that revealed the disaster on my head. The switch in my mood therefore brought about a stiffness in the salon.
The next day, like the prodigal son, I shamefully returned to my first love with my dreads hidden under a brown scarf. I wouldn’t even open the hair until it was my turn and even at that, I could not bring myself to tell my loctician the truth about how I was disloyal to him and came back with regrets. I just let him assume I did it to myself.
Sweet as he always is, he promised me it didn’t look as bad as I thought and that when he’s done doing his magic, I would feel much better about the hair.
Here is the result.
What do you think? I still don’t like it, but I have to live with it for the next few weeks. My first love has promised he would colour it again with the result I had in mind. I am praying for him because this baby girl needs to slay confidently. I need me my hot-red dreads so I can spray pepper and sauce everywhere! LOL
This is my hair colour story and now I know come rain, come shine, I’m sticking with my umbrella guy.
Tell me, what’s your experience with Nigerian hairstylists? What’s your worst salon experience?
Click here to read more about my crazy self.
PS: I intentionally did not post the model picture. I don’t want y’all mocking the heck outta me😏