An Ode to Kitchen Beauticians
something that shows respect for or celebrates the worth or influence of another: HOMAGE
Truthfully, I never had the luxury of actually walking into the beauty shop as a young girl sitting in a stylist’s chair for a shampoo and deep conditioning while waiting what would feel like hours under the dryer. All of my hair appointments have been with Kitchen Beauticians and after my recent hair appointment with a hair braider I wanted to write a blog post dedicated specifically for them sharing my personal experience.
Crochets and Braids
I have kept photos of myself from the age of four rocking wavy crochet braids. I used to want the curly styled crochet braids and I never gotten them, they were far more cuter in my opinion. My daddy played a huge part of making sure I had my hair done and when he lived in Franklin, a small town with a population of about 1,500, a neighbor of his would braid my hair into cornrows in preparation of getting my hair crocheted in by my stepmom at the time cause she haven’t quite mastered that skill yet. Speaking of crochet, that was a protective style I ran back to again while embarking on my natural hair journey. (I wrote a blog post about it btw). Regarding braids, my mom would have some of the women in our community that we knew personally to braid my hair into a ponytail, two layers or scalp braids. A lady around the corner from our apartment did my scalp braids right in her living room, I loved those because they were so close together and neat looking plus they were perfect for when I went off to camp during the summer time. Not only were braids a means of protecting our hair underneath but it saved time and added convenience throughout our daily activities. Childhood friends I had also knew how to do braids, at the age of 15 or probably even younger than that. At one point I wanted to learn how to braid and I was in process of being taught how to do so but I never really followed through but luckily there were women like them that didn’t mind the time nor the money.
Thick, Nappy and Creamy Crack
Listening to the horror stories about how I would scream bloody murder, as my cousin detailed it, when someone would attempt to run a comb in my hair is evidence of why I was put on the creamy crack. As far as I know it, no one liked doing my hair. It was too thick to deal with and I was, still am tenderheaded, which made it even worse. On perm days, I wasn’t allowed to scratch my scalp, God forbid you do that. It was like a deadly sin. Greasing around the perimeter of my head was the first step, like a protector against the creamy crack. Next came sectioning off the hair into four, once all of the product covered the entire head then I was advised to let her know when it starts to burn or else the worst would happen like my hair falling out. Do you remember when the girls used to say, "I used to have long hair but then I got a perm and my hair came out"? Yeah I’ve heard that, idk if ever spoken those words but the sad thing is that I never knew what my natural hair looked like until I did the Big Chop in 2018. I was on the creamy crack for majority of my life and I swore I would stand beside it.
From Hot Combs to Flatirons
My mama was old school and kept a hot comb that created an aroma throughout the house from the smoke it created while resting on the stove; alongside a jar of blue magic grease to moisturize our scalp with and that made your hair shiny. I used to hate getting my kitchen hot combed, it was the worst part especially when the heat from the comb didn't do any justice because as the hot comb had gotten closer the more I would pull away while scrunching up my shoulders. In my teens, the transition went from hot combs and Blue Magic hair grease to flat irons, Luster's Pink hair lotion and a can of Olive Oil hairspray. In the 7th grade is when I began flat ironing my hair. My go to style was the cutie pie with a ribbon that matched my clothes. If you ain’t have ribbons then what were you doing?! Protective styles such as micro braids and kinky twists were on the rise. I loved micro braids, they were my favorite despite taking so long to complete, I didn’t mind sitting in the chair for hours because they were worth it plus at the time you could get those styles between $50-75 depending on who could do them, thankfully I had friends that knew how to perfect these styles with ease. I think the last time I had micro braids were in 2012, my kitchen beautician that was supposed to do my hair never finished. It took three days so I took it down and asked for a refund. I’m sure we all have the one story of that one hairstylist that basically didn’t want to do your hair so the entire appointment was filled with distractions from being on the phone, constantly getting up every five minutes and whatnot. What’s the worst service you have ever had?
Bob’n and Weavin’
I remember it well when I sat down to get my first quick weave. I was in the 11th grade and my Kitchen Beautician at the time, Anita was the one responsible for it. Anita did my hair from when I was in 8th grade up until that very year. She lived across the sidewalk (so not very far) with her family whom we've developed a close relationship with. I loves me a Bob and that was the only hair style I would aim for when having an invisible part. Bob's were edgy and fun. I'll add in a pop of color, brown, burgundy or blonde in the bang to experiment with. The cut had to be perfect. When Anita finished laying down the tracks around my head, she'd whipped out the razor scissors and began cutting it down. Sometimes I don’t know why I even gotten it because I was never satisfied with the length of the Bob. When she was done, I would go home and cut it even shorter to my liking. Going to the hair store was a gold mine, so much you could buy, every hair product you could name, different styles of combs and brushes, and every color choice in bandanas. When buying weave, I only bought the 10 or 12 inch of the Purple Pack plus I had to get the cap and glue. It wasn’t often that I did have a quick weave because I couldn't stand how I didn't have easy access to my scalp when it started to itch, and so I developed a habit of beating the hell out of my head.
Short Hair is a Statement
When I became apart of #TeamShortHairDontCare I was only in the 8th grade, inspired by women like Nia Long, Monica, and Rihanna because short hair is a statement and I admired those that had the same look as I did or how I wanted, short hair was my identity. I remember the first time I got my hair cut with clippers, such a painful experience because I ended up in the emergency room as the physician squeezed out the ingrown hair that was implanted in the nape of my neck. The most embarrassing part of it was having to wear a patch with tape on it. I felt mature with short hair, even to this very day, if I were to go back I will still feel the same way. This provided me the freedom of playing with hair dyes. I wasn't afraid of it then and not truly realizing how much damage I was doing to my hair. I would perm it then color it afterwards followed by a hair cut. Aunt Skeet that lived in the same apartment complex as I did and a former companion of my late uncle Larry, she lived right above my grandma. Sitting in her dining room as she brought out her case that carried her clippers, she told me about her time when she attended beauty school and she as well rocked a pixie cut just like me but of course as she had grown older she no longer did hair in the shop. I remember she asked me if I wanted finger waves, but at the time I didn't consider them "cool" but oh how I wish I could have them now! Having a short hair style carried on for years, I never thought I would move on from it. I encourage women to cut their hair at least once in their lifetime, Oh the liberation!
Natural Hair Movement
I was in college when I joined the Natural Hair Community. Quite a transition from a permed pixie cut, I swore that I would never "go natural" now look at me. I Am My Hair! Truthfully, it was the influence of the Black women on campus that I've seen owning their natural hair, and there were those that protected it with braids and wigs, it wasn't something that I had seen back home as much. When I actually did The Big Chop, it wasn't planned whatsoever but I never looked back. I can honestly say I've done The Big Chop like four times and that was because I didn't know what to do with my hair. It was a process of learning what your hair texture is like and the products it need and what it doesn't need; growing out my hair taught me how to do my own hair. I am my own Kitchen Beautician. This time I will give myself that luxury of walking into a Beauty salon getting my hair treated as she should. Shout out to the Kitchen Beauticians that’s has inspired me to write this.