Are Black Hair Salons Hurting Black Women? Some People Say So

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by Connie K. Grier

If you are a woman, then it is a safe bet to assume that you are familiar with hair rituals.  As a child, your parent had a certain day or a certain way that you hair was cleaned and styled.  As much as many little girls hated certain aspects, the ritual was still a type of bonding activity.

Upon reaching adulthood, the expectation to experience those good feelings around hair have been outgrown…or are they?

When choosing a hair salon, most women want a stylist that is at the top of her craft, but more importantly, they want superior customer service.  After all, depending on what you are having done in the chair, it can cost you a pretty penny AND a major chunk of your day.

African-American hair salons are notorious for failing to deliver on the service portion of the styling experience.

Najah Aziz, owner of Like The River Hair Salon in Atlanta, Georgia, used to be one of the dissatisfied customers, until a male friend helped her have a breakthrough

“You spent how long in the salon?  Six hours? Why do you tolerate that”

Famous last words.

Aziz shares with Atlanta Black how her own saga of making it on time for an appointment at a salon only to be told her stylist was late.  She recalls getting her hair done in stages interspersed with idle gossip and video vixen music, and watching her stylist eat, take multiple breaks, and double and triple book clients and how it drove her crazy on a regular basis. But, she figured that was the price of beauty.  Her epiphany helped her to think differently.  She was inspired to open her own salon which she runs by her own rules, including fines for her stylists who are late for clients and NO double booking.

Like The River, according to the news outlet, was ranked top in Atlanta for two years in a row and ranked on the list of 100 salons to visit in the United States.

Kudos, Ms. Aziz, on your ability to mix business with pleasure.


  1. F Walker

    January 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Unfortunately, the experiences of Ms. Aziz ring true for many women who go to black hair salons. When you address the problems of time management and customer service with the stylists, alot of them catch a bad attitude. Also, if you have you REAL long hair, alot of them get really jealous and are ready to recommend a “trim” aka “cut” or they fry your hair with all that darn pressing with the flat iron. Salons are in not scarcity, what is rare is a quality hair stylist. That is the problem that I am facing, even with a relative who owns her own hair salon in the Atlanta area.

  2. r calhoun

    January 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm


  3. Dean

    January 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Well, they push weaves, hair staightening and dyeing hair unnatural colors like orange, red and blonde. They push black self-hating racism and carcenogenic hair products. I’ll never go for a black woman that is so much into self-hate. (And I haven’t mentioned the exhoribitant costs that could be used for so much good or the fact that black women often don’t exercise or swim for fear of the effect on their hair and on the expensive “perm” or hair-do.) So, yes, they are harming black women and the black community. Case closed.

  4. Ann G.

    January 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Wow! A Black hair stylist with the ability to run a salon the way it is supposed to be ran! I am so sick of the eating, talking on the phone, the six hours of waiting, getting there before they do! That is the way most salons are ran by us. We are not professional nor business savvy. Kudos to Aziz! Wish you were here!

  5. soulshadow55

    January 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Wow, long overdue subject. Just this past summer I was recommended to a salon to begin locing my hair. I called them and spoke to a stylist. She told me that I would have to come in for an initial consultation (meaning: waste most of your Saturday morning so that I can look at my hair for 5 seconds and tell you that I can do it). I arrived on time for my initial consultation then waited 1 and a half hours for her to show up. Once she got there, she spent 1/2 hour talking to the other stylists and complaining about getting a parking ticket. I got so angry and felt so disrespected about the wait that I was walking out of the door just as she was coming out of the back room. She never did apologize for being late. I figured since I had waited so long that I might was well go through with the process. She took a look at my hair and say “yeah, I can do your hair.” I made an appointment, (gave her a $50 dollar depost) for a few weeks later. I explained to her that I work on the weekends and I have to have your first appointment because I have to get out on time so that I can get to work on time. She assured me that I would be her first appointment – no problem. Of course, I arrived on time (well, actually 4 minutes late and mad as hell with myself because I forgotten the exact location. But I rushed into the salon upset at myself and was told to, “have a seat, she’ll be right with you.” Again, I waited, and waited, and waited. Now I’m furious, looking at my watch and with each hour realizing that my Saturday is a bust. She never came out to say “hello, I’ll be right with you,” “so glad that you came back.” She never showed her face the entire time I was waited. Even after I asked one of the other stylist’s twice to let her know I was there. After 1 hour and 40 minutes I got up and walked out. As I got to my car, her assistant (the only professional in the entire salon) came running out the door and screamed at me across the street, “she’s ready now”). I said, “no thanks, I have to go to work” I got in my car I drove off. Another wasted Saturday!! I was so angry that I wrote about my experience on my Facebook page. I looked the salon up on one of the local and national service review websites. I saw that they had some problems (and some negative reviews) in the past with lateness, customer service, etc. That spured me to write a review of my experience. The owner of the salon responsed. He apologized and offered to give me my deposit back. He said that he had spoken to the stylist more than once about her customer service and time management skills and that he had put her on probabation. He offered to do my hair his self but I decided that I didn’t want to go back there. Now, I go to a salon where I can make appointments on-line, the stylist are always on time, they play music at a tone that doesn’t hurt your ears (nothing vulgar, no loud rap music) and I’m out in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Black salons need to understand that customer service is key to a long-lasting business.

  6. Michelle

    January 10, 2014 at 12:42 am

    This is why I don’t patronize black salons….unfortunately there is absolutely zero respect for the clients’ time. i have a black hair dresser however, my appointments are on her off days so that i don’t have to deal with the b.s.

  7. Ronnie Hughes

    January 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Brother Dean, what an intelligent and penetrating analysis of the black hair saloon. You are right, “a multi-billion dollar industry based on promoting (and selling) self-hate”. The Black woman’s hair indicates what’s in her head. If that is the case, she in bad shape! I don’t understand why so many Black women feel that God made a mistake when He gave them the hair texture He did! What is natural is always superior to what is artificial. And the cost of maintaining a “perm” is staggering. I hear a lot of Black women say that maintaining a natural is too hard. That is the biggest cop-out in history. Maintaining something that is unatural is much more expensive and time consuming than being natural. Oh, the excuses to justify hating one’s self! Black womnen you look like clowns, bufoons and fools in the eyes of others when you try to be a cheap imitation by “perming” your hair, not to mention the actual physical damage you are doing to your body by using all the harsh chemicals to “get the naps” out. Be yourself, Black woman, then you will experience real beauty on the inside and outside.

    • Devon

      January 11, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Well most black women claim that “god don’t make no mistakes”….guess to them that doesn’t apply to the natural hair under those awful perms weaves and wigs.

  8. LeahO

    January 10, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Can anyone tell me why black women wear wigs?

  9. David

    January 10, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Black hair salons are hurting black women all right. They’re making them look like fools! With all that blonde and red weave, a lot of black women look like clowns to me. Then when you get up close to them you can see a bald head where the weave starts. I’m a big fan of natural hair on black women, as opposed to perms and weaves. In my honest opinion, black hair salons are like the Koreans in that they exploit Black women’s insecurities and need to look as white as possible.

    • Truth-B-Told

      January 11, 2014 at 1:38 am

      Exploit! Thank You. That is happening in so many areas of African American lives.

    • Devon

      January 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Well the good news is as more women go natural, more and more natural salons are popping up, and some dont do weaves they just work with natural hair and they do braids twists and locs. Some even offer natural treatments for hair damaged by perms and weaves.

  10. 실제 돈 카지노

    April 16, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Love watching Voice online !

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