Kwabs – Perfect Ruin

Stop what you are doing and listen to this. Immediately.


African Hairdressers and the Axes of Evil

I am officially ready to embrace the cold, folks. Black girls, you know what this means. For everyone else, loose translation: my winter hair has arrived!



If you are about to say something to the effect of “oh, but I thought you were going natural?” save it. Natural means no chemical straighteners. All naturals know the value of protective styling, especially on this godforsaken continent. When temperatures plummet far below zero, my ‘fro needs to hibernate. Fret not, she’ll be back in the spring.

Getting this done was a mission and a half. It always is – CAN I GET A AMEN? Over the years, I have had the pleasure of interacting with many different hairdressers. Due to the styles I prefer, I tend to require the services of mainly African hairstylists (predominantly braiders). In my experience they’ve been at least 70% West African. My years of research in the field have led me to the following conclusion:

An African hairdresser may be one or two, but NEVER all three of the following dimensions:

  1. Friendly
  2. Conveniently-located
  3. Good at her job

Scenario A: Friendly + conveniently-located = a terrible braider


I am beyond unimpessed

Scenario B: An awful person + lives/works at least an hour away from you = an exceptional braider


Hair looks does something else in this picture

Scenario C: Friendly + good at her job = lives in an entirely different city/country


Would it be crazy to move back to England for a hairdresser?

More often than not, I have equated a good hair braider with a terrible personality. I am sorry, but it’s just always worked out this way. When I have had braiders who were nice, offered me food and took breaks, the quality of their work wasn’t that great over time.

My most recent experience conformed to these expectations. I trekked an hour and 45 mins to the house of a Senegalese woman who literally said no more than 15 words to me all day. May I remind you this braiding experience took six hours? Exactly. She just wouldn’t talk. Trust me, I am not at the hairdressers to make friends. Something else that can be irritating is a hairdresser who doesn’t stop talking for six hours straight. But this woman was watching her Nigerian movies and yapping nonstop on her cellphone (at the same time), yet failed to acknowledge my presence as more than a floating head in need of attention. I loved the end result, but couldn’t be more pleased to get the hell out of there.

Anyone else find themselves bolting at the speed of light to get away from their hairdresser? How do you reconcile not connecting on a personal level with someone who has the ability to craft such an integral part of your physical appearance?

The struggle is real.