Hair Color Makeover at PR at Partners

December 24, 2009

Black women’s hair was a hot topic this year with celebs like Chris Rock, Tyra Banks, Oprah, Solange Knowles and Rihanna catapulting the issue to onto the national stage. Chris Rock’s mockumentary took Americans on a journey into the secrets behind black women’s obsession with “Good Hair,” while Tyra Banks empowered black women to shed their weaves and embrace their natural hair. Whether for political, personal or religious reasons, black women took India Arie’s song “I am not my hair” to a whole new level.

As an African girl growing up in Ghana, I remember running for cover every Sunday night when my mother would put the hot iron into the firey hot coal pot to straighten my hair. Next to her would be a tub of Blue Magic grease that would coat my hair as the scalding hot iron wreaked havoc and worked its magic straightening my hair, making it more manageable. My mother refused to relax my hair to make it permanently straight until I was thirteen, a decision I came to regret years later.

The sky is the limit when it comes to styling options for black women but for some insane reason, most of us have adopted the “sew-it-and-forget-it” school of thinking, where we spend thousands of dollars each year on Remi hair for sew-ins that last up to three months. I’ve been wearing extensions on and off for the past two years, while shedding myself of my permanently relaxed hair in the process. It took me two years to fully re-grow out my natural hair, never to be relaxed again.

Since moving back to Washington, I’ve had a tough time finding a good salon I can frequent. I’ve bounced from one salon to the next like a whore bouncing from bed to bed seeking some kind of satisfaction. Sometimes I left the chair with a grin on my face but not fully satisfied, other times, I left with tears over how awful I felt about the experience. I’ve tried African American salons, “celebrity” salons, Dominican salons and private homes I found on advertising cheaper African haircare services. Finding a salon is like finding a lifetime mate. It takes time, patience, experience and trust before finding the right one.

A couple of weeks ago, PR at Partners reached out to me about trying out a haircare service gratis at one of their fourteen locations in the Washington area. I was a bit skeptical because I have gone to salons to “check out” their services with anticipation because friends had recommended them or I’d heard great things through the media. I traveled to Friendship Heights for my appointment at the Mazza Gallerie PR at Partners with stylist James Cornwell. I got there late (my bad) but James was patient and talked me through what I wanted, my problem areas and what he wanted to do.

I haven’t dyed my hair since high school because with my dark hair color, I knew exactly which color weave I would buy at the store with no fuss, 1B if you care to know. My hair was dull but full of life. So thick, super super curly and unmanageable, which is why I kept it in a sew-in. James took on the challenge of coloring my hair using a chocolate brown color and conditioning it.

The amount of hair on my head is ridiculous. It took two people to get through it quickly enough for me to go to an event I was running late for. Alicia and James worked methodically on my hair, giving me tips along the way on how to maintain the jungle of hair I had on my head. I left with the K√©rastase Paris Oleo Relax products they used on my hair, which I’ve been using since.

I am not going to put down the celebrity hair salons that boast the Angelina Jolies and Sharon Stones of the world as clients because they do great work. What I have to say however, is that most of them know how to work on Caucasian hair and normally do not have a stylist on hand who can really do my hair (this is my experience, another person out there might have a different opinion). PR at Partners has fourteen locations in the Washington metropolitan area with stylists that can really handle any type of hair. I am extremely happy with the results and just had to give a shout out to the team. Make sure you check out the video for my before and after and tips.

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