Could you imagine walking into just any salon off the street without an appointment to get your hair done as someone with textured hair? For most of us, the answer is probably no.
You already know as someone with natural hair that chances are, most stylists at salons don’t know how to care for your hair. Being turned away by a receptionist isn’t something anyone wants or should have to experience. So you would think that by now, cosmetology schools and hair salon owners properly trained all hairstylists to style textured hair—which 65% of the U.S. population has, by the way.
Unfortunately, while salons continue to exclude those of us with kinky, coily, or curly hair from their list of services, they miss out on serving a significant portion of their communities. It’s past time that licensed professionals stopped treating textured hair as a special interest and, instead, more like an expected area of expertise.
And this change can start from the top down with hair salon owners to create a more textured hair inclusive experience for the millions of women who’d just like to get their hair done.
Train new stylists the right way.
When hairstylists join a new salon team, they typically must complete additional training programs designed by the salon owner. Clearly, most training programs include little emphasis on natural hair, but salon owners can change that. Plus, that training doesn’t have to be limited to just the stylists, either.
Owners should train their receptionists, assistants, and anyone who comes into contact with clients on natural hair services and verbiage for consultations. Though cosmetology school education is limited when it comes to textured hair, hair salon owners can make up for it by ensuring their trainees have adequate practice with models with curly hair types.
Bring in the experts.
If hair salon owners know little about natural hair themselves, this doesn’t have to be the reason they don’t train stylists to be better. Many professional stylists provide workshops and textured hair academies to teach students how to style natural hair, so call in backup.
Virtual education has blown up recently, too, because of in-person restrictions. So it’s definitely worth it for salon owners to discover easily accessible online programs on textured hair to help set their salon up for success.
Use your voices.
If something’s wrong with the standard cosmetology school curriculum and exam (there is), then hair salon owners and stylists alike can rally to fix the problem. They can sign petitions and mandates that advocate for states and cosmetology schools to update their exams and curriculum to include texture hair education.
Hair salon owners should feel pressure to own up to their responsibility of creating more diverse and inclusive spaces for women with all hair types to receive quality service.
In 2021, people with natural or textured hair shouldn’t have to search high and low to find an experienced stylist—understanding and knowing how to do textured hair should just be the norm.
Written by Reese Williams