Aug 20, 2012

Melissa's Hair: Senegalese twists and kitchen beauticians


On Saturday morning, I got up at 6am to be on time for a 7am hair appointment. As you know, I am a firm beliver in installing braids as a protective style. My natural hair is prone to tangles and dryness so having braids is my 'go to' effort to ensure I retain length. Usually, I install my own box braids, but this time, I wanted to try a new technique, save time, and I wanted to save money. 

In the past, I had another woman who braided my hair. She owned an African hair braiding shop on Nolensville road. Her beautiful shop was calm and serene. She sold hair in the building and often offered refreshments. Her prices were high (to deflect salon overhead), but she often had two or three braiders on my head and I'd be finished in no time. Then, she moved away and I was forced to try someone new. 

About five months ago, I was contacted on Facebook by a polite woman named Ashanti. Her handle is 'Braids by Ashanti' and she has lots of pictures of her techniques which included Micro Braids, Tree Braids, Sew-in Weaves, Box Braids, Senegalese Twists, and Cornrows. She often posted specials on her timeline and her customers seemed to be very satisfied. I had no doubt, the girl was GOOD! I sent her message on Facebook and she quoted me a price that was too good to be true! Less than $200 for long Senegalese twists?  I made my appointment immediately,

She sent me her address, and I realized, I wasn't going to a shop - I was going to someone's home. Hmm, this made me pause: Was my bougie-ness making me feel 'some kinda way'? It's been a LONG time since I've had my hair done in someone's home -  am I too far removed to go back? But the price, the price was so good, I had to trust my gut (and her pictures) that I would be satisfied with the job.

Believe me, I used to be a kitchen beautician. I installed weaves, braids, and relaxers in my dorm room and at my first apartment. I never frowned on going to someone's home to get my hair done as long as they lived in a moderately safe neighborhood and they had no kids.

When I arrived at Ashanti's home, she greeted me kindly. She was dressed and ready to braid (even though I got lost and didn't make it to her house until 7:30). There were no children running around, no random relatives trying to 'holler', and my safety didn't feel threatened. She has a room off to the side with a salon chair and plenty of products. For 10.5 hours she braided/twisted my hair while we listened to music on YouTube and had pleasant conversation.

Ashanti made me feel comfortable and her technique is BEYOND amazing. Was her home like my home? No. But, it's not my responsibility to judge someone's living condition because I don't know you beyond the job I'm paying you to do. She more than delivered, has quick hands, and she knows about natural hair. She asked me questions about my haircare routine. Even, noticed my thin edges and made sure not braid them too tightly.  Ashanti is a good stylist and I hope she gets her own shop so that she will receive even more business. I love my new twists and I've received lots of compliments. I'll be back.

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