I’m a proud naturally curly girl, but I spend a lot of time with my hair straight for castings and shoots. Anyone with curly hair knows it has a mind of its own, so in my quest to conquer mine (or rather, getting it to cooperate cuz curls can’t be conquered!) I’ve decided to test out a few of the curly salons. Early this week, I had the chance to be a hair model for salon Ouidad.
For those who have never heard of Ouidad, she pioneered both curly-hair only products and a proprietary cutting technique called Carve & Slice. Being a hair model means that stylists training to become Ouidad certified practice the Carve & Slice method on your hair. This apparently goes down a few times a year. I’m all for hair stylists when I’m getting a blow out or being styled on a shoot, but I have a hard time with people touching my curls. I think it stems from a fear that they’re messing it up/frizzing it out. So needless to say, I was a bit hesitant about the cut.
Hair pre Ouidad cut. It’s hard to see with my CrapBerry picture, but the texture is inconsistent and the ends are damaged from much straightening. I do love the length though.
First Impressions: the salon is very nice, located in the low 50s on the west side. I was running late, so I called to let them know. Apparently this wasn’t an issue, but I was a bit surprised to get a voice mail 20 minutes later asking if I was going to show. When I arrived, there were several girls waiting and they had me fill out a waiver. They did not offer to take my coat or offer water like most hair places. Granted this was a training day, it was sweltering hot in the salon and I would have appreciated not having to stuff my coat in my bag and place it on the floor amongst the hair clippings. I was also a little concerned when the stylist came up to me practically squealed in my face “Oh yay! I was hoping someone with your hair texture would come in. I was looking for a challenge.” Could I trust someone who thought Afro-Am hair was “challenging”?
The Consult: Despite initial impressions, my stylist was nice enough and seemed to listen to what I wanted (keep the length but give it shape and tame the wildness). However, when one of Oudiad Staff Stylists (who were running the training) came by and asked if my stylist had showed me certain features of my hair, she lied and said she had when she hadn’t. Then they proceeded to tell my stylist what a “rock star” she was, which must have gone to her head a bit, because I was treated to a lot of ego-inflating banter about how great she’d done on the previous day’s clients as we made our way back to the shampoo chair.
The Wash: Pretty standard. The Ouidad products were neither amazing nor disappointing, and they did leave my hair soft, which I liked. I’m quite the product junkie, but I’m not sure if they’re worth the $$. Still, I’m likely to give them a try. She was supposed to do a deep conditioning treatment, but for some reason she didn’t. She also didn’t wash out the shampoo thoroughly and I was left wiping suds out of my ear.
The Cut: My stylist spent forever trimming my hair. I did appreciate that she cut it curly (my first time having this done as most salons cut it straight, even Hair Rules, my other curly salon experience) but it was very hard for me to sit still while she fluffed and frizzed up my hair. Although the trim took forever, she did shape it very nicely. I thought we were all done, but then she pinned up my hair and called over an Ouidad Staff Stylist to ask how to Carve my hair. I was a little confused, both because she was supposed to be a “rock star” who knew her stuff, but also because I thought that’s what she had been doing the whole time. Apparently Carving and Slicing involves them going into the interior parts of your hair and cutting the curls to fit together better. She literally did 2 snips on each side of my hair and that was it.
Drying & Styling: My stylist started doing Ouidad’s patented Rake & Shake method of styling, during which she heaped on piles and piles of Ouidad gel, finger combed it through and then shook each section to form the curls. I was a bit disappointed, since my hair does not like gel, and because this is what I do with my hair when I style it. Plus, if you use enough product (especially gel), you can pretty much tame even the wildest curls. She then pinned up my roots and stuck me under the dyer, which she promptly dropped on my head. No apologies or acknowledgments there, and unlike the other girls in the salon, I was only under the dryer for about 10 minutes. She then seemed to rush through using a blow dryer (which she also dropped on my head, again no apologies), and I was left to air dry on my walk to the bus station.
I know it sounds like I had a kind of crappy experience, and I did. I was disappointed that the salon didn’t go more out of their way to make a better first impression. Since the cut was free, I’m not complaining too much, but normal cuts are $150-200 and I might be nervous about spending that much for a doubtful experience. BUT. BUT. I happen to LOVE my hair cut. At first I wasn’t sure, but today (second day) I washed and styled myself (using Hair Rules leave in, Organix Argan oil and a bit of Devachan’s AnGEL) and it came out GREAT.
After the cut. Healthier hair that is very shiny! Shorter, but I actually think it’s kinda sassy. Once again, excuse the CrapBerry photos…I’ll post better ones very soon.
Final Thoughts: You get what you pay for. I’m pretty patient, so I forgave my stylist for being a bit rushed, and even for dropping two dryers on my head. Though I wish she & the salon staff had treated me the same as they would a paying client, because you only get to make one first impression, no? I would definitely give Ouidad another try, with a TRAINED stylist. I’ll be posting pics of my cut and style in my upcoming blog posts.