Beauty Booty: Splitting Hairs

by Rachel on September 9, 2010

Here’s the short list of things that scare me: being the victim of an SVU-like crime, sharks, and windowless 15-passenger vans. Oh, and having my hair done by a new stylist.

Seriously, you guys know the story on my hair. I hate having it done as it is, but I most certainly don’t want it done by a total stranger. There’s always the fear that they’ll mess up and you’ll leave with bald patches. But last week my roots went “Ka-POW!” like a comic book kick and I realized that I had no choice but to get my hair done here in Houston.

I had no idea where to go.

Soooo I turned to my sort-of friends here in Houston for a referral.

The consensus was “Go to Dallas.” That wasn’t going to work — I did not have the time nor the funds for gas.

Soooo I turned to Google and started calling salons.

Eventually, I found Azur Salon and booked my appointment. The girls on the phone assured me that I’d love my stylist.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t at first.

You know how you dread going to the dentist because you’re going to get a lecture about how you didn’t floss? Yeah…I felt like I was dealing with an angry dentist for the first half-hour. As she asked me about my hair history, she was brusque, incredulous, and, well, not very nice. I felt like I was on trial. I plead guilty to getting relaxers my whole life, not wanting a trim, and not knowing relaxed hair could get a Brazilian treatment. Do I have $500 to get one right now? Um, no contest.

So I was alternately worried about saying the wrong thing and then worried about going bald. I was in the chair for about five minutes before I started thinking, “No f-ing way am I ever coming back here again! I will be heading straight to my stylist when I go home in October.”

Luckily, the relaxer was a pretty standard one, and I relaxed as my roots did. And she did too — she made some small talk and stopped being so mean about my hair. She said that her daughter is mixed so she knows my hair and exactly how it is. She started being a little more motherly and a little less terrifying. We had a really good chat about the Brazilian treatment, and she totally has me convinced to try it (um, as soon as I stop paying rent or any other bills, or, you know, save).

Everything was good by the time I got to the shampoo, and oh, my god — that shampoo was so good. Normally I don’t like having my hair or scalp touched, but this was magical. And whatever kind of Shu Uemera products she was massaging all over my head smelled heavenly.

Things had started off on the wrong foot because I said I didn’t want a trim this time and she told me my hair was broken and needed to be cut off. Well, after the shampoo and blow out, it was a different story. You see, my roots are so thick and gnarled that when they grow out, my hair sort of shrinks up and looks really thin at the bottom. But it’s because it can’t lay down flat due to the bounce-house at my scalp. But once everything was relaxed, my hair looked a million times thicker, and it became apparent that I actually don’t have the massive breakage that she said I did.

Uh, yeah.

I felt a lot better after that.

Even though we got off to a rough start, I have to say, I was impressed with her work. My hair is so soft and not too greasy, which is the thing that drives me craziest after I have it straightened. I did let her trim a little and it looks and feels really healthy. My secrets are still in tact and it smells incredible. Who knew Shu Uemura was good for so much besides fake eyelashes?!

I definitely would trust her to do my hair going forward, and I really want to save up for the Brazilian keratin treatment. But I want a lot of things. Tech envy and vanity will face off as I decide what matters more. Right now, it’s looking like the Droid is going to win out, but a healthy, shiny head of manageable hair is just so tempting.

When inner nerd and inner black girl go head to head, it’s anyone’s game.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Taylor September 9, 2010 at 8:15 am

Azur is a block from my office. Glad you found someone!!

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2 Ashley September 9, 2010 at 8:17 am

OK, I had such an excellent relationship with my Pennsylvania stylist that I just can’t commit to one here. I’ve done the cheapie store front salon, Paul Mitchell … I may have found a cute little Southern place to try, but I just can’t get over my old stylist. She’s doing my hair for my wedding.

I always say that other than family and friends the two hardest things for me to leave were my hair stylist and gynecologist. They both changed my life!

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3 Summer September 9, 2010 at 8:58 am

Haha, you’re adorable! Don’t get those two people mixed up…could lead to future embarrassing situations ;)

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4 Laura Georgina September 9, 2010 at 8:44 am

I’m probably more scared of getting a new stylist than I am of getting a new ob/gyn (and therefore have had more of the latter than the former!) And I’m glad you waited out the meanness if she was good, in the end–I think I would have fled in tears, and my hair issues are nowhere NEAR yours (I just have uneven texture and massive frizz to contend with).

In the Droid v. Hair case, which one saves you more time each week? That’s what I would go for. Then again, I only say this because I have no access to hot phones and how tempting they can be. You can wear a ponytail, but your old phone can’t.

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5 Rachel September 9, 2010 at 8:47 am

@Ashley and @Laura

Re: OB-GYN

I’m actually not too stressed about getting a new OB. I LOVED my doctor in NYC and leaving her was hard, but in all honesty, the whole experience is both equally unpleasant and such a ritual, that I don’t really care who is doing it. I know that sounds bad, like I don’t care who is doing stuff to my you-know-what…perhaps all the years of fratting made me a lot less picky.

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6 Manon September 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

My stylist has me about talked into the Brazilian keratin treatment too….minimal flat ironing? Yes please! Come to Des Moines–she does it for $250-$300!

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7 Summer September 9, 2010 at 9:01 am

While I’m painfully white, I’m still pretty picky when it comes to my hair. Honestly, though, there’s not much to it when you have almost waist-length hair: it’s usually a trim, or a trim with layers. My hair is also unforgivingly thick, and I have to be very careful about what I decide to do with it. No bobs here—leads to mushroom head :(

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8 Kaytee September 9, 2010 at 9:02 am

I stress out about who I let touch/cut my hair too, and I have the most easy-to-work-with white girl hair ever, so I can only imagine. (A few bad haircuts will do that to you.)

And, not that I’m partial or anything, but I totally agree that Dallas > Houston when it comes to salons. That said, I have 2 friends in Dallas who do the Brazilian Blowout/Natura Keratin and they said costs around $200-250, so maybe you should shop around a little for that. :)

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9 Katie September 9, 2010 at 9:15 am

One of my friends had that Brazilian treatment done and it was inSANE. I had never seen her hair behave like that before. But that price is a real treat…

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10 Secondhand Smash September 9, 2010 at 9:30 am

OMG when you typed “Umm do you know any black people?” I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Hilarious. Glad your stylist eased up once she got going…

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11 ashleigh September 9, 2010 at 9:43 am

The bubble talk in this post had me LOLing at work.. “I swear I’m not in the Klan..”

You tell a great story! I am glad you found someone to do your hair. I am super picky about who does my hair too. In college, I would always just wait until I went home. Now I’ve lived in Boston for three years, tried multiple stylists and once again only get my hair done when I go home! Hopefully I never move more than 3 hours from Maine!

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12 Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter September 9, 2010 at 10:00 am

I am a freak about my hair and I have typical flat, white girl hair. I hate shelling out $55 for a haircut, but I’m never happy with the $20 haircut. I always end up with emo/skate type hair lol.

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13 Bess September 9, 2010 at 10:06 am

You know I can relate to the hair trauma. I have only let 3 people Yuko my hair in my lifetime and one person only lasted once.

I ironically had to get my hair re-did yesterday because my hair didn’t have color in it last time I went and required more time to process.

but my stylist was so awesome about it he wouldn’t even let me tip him!

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14 tish September 9, 2010 at 10:43 am

LAUGHING.MY.ASS.OFF

sigh…hair adventures. gotta love ’em. i’ve had some terribly boo boo stylists in the past that have no idea what to do with my jesus fro so i feel your pain. i really do! brazilians are fabulous and totally worth the money girl…(christmas present maybe?) your hair doesn’t grow out all funky charlie and it’s mad healthier for your hair overall.

let me know when you break down and get it…you’ll leave the creamy crack for good!

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15 Trinidad Pena September 9, 2010 at 11:17 am

Finding a good stylist is akin to finding a good doctor!

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16 Veronica September 9, 2010 at 11:29 am

check groupon for the brazillian treatment. we get them for a salon here in dallas every so often, maybe one will pop up in houston. i have the gnarliest white girl hair you can imagine, and have been told that getting one would be very “beneficial” to my hair situation.

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17 Mel September 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I was going to comment and say that if you continuously check Groupon, a Brazilian treament is bound to show up for suree !! We’ve featured 2 in the past 2 months!

if your luck keeps going your way today (i’m creeptastic, remember?) then hopefully a deal will pop up for one soon!

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18 Rachel September 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm

The consensus has been that Groupon is where it’s at…

Groupon MADE MY DAY this morning — considering how badly I need my teeth cleaned right now and I’m without dental insurance, seeing that I could get a full exam for $59 was seriously the highlight of the month.

I love your creeping, BTW.

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19 Quisha September 9, 2010 at 11:44 am

Love your blog and this post is out of control. I’m laughing away here at work. Hopefully I don’t get fired ;)

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20 Rachel September 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Hey!! I’m so honored to have a post described as “out of control” — seriously! :) And I hope you don’t get fired for laughing, but I’d take that as the highest compliment.

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21 Alli September 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I can’t comment on the hair, but I just need to throw a little love in the Droid’s direction – my TMobile G1 changed my life!

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22 MelissaNibbles September 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I’m so glad things worked out for you. Trying a new stylist is scary shit. It’s an hour before you even know what the f they’re doing hacking away with scissors, walking all around you….STRESS!!!

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23 Aby @ always.aby September 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I’ve never really been that picky about who styles my hair… until I fell in love with a stylist I found at the Douglas J Day Spa. I was devastated when I found out she got promoted because that meant she was no longer in my price range. Last week, during my first hair cut without her, I was irritated throughout my entire hair cut because (1) I don’t like a chatty stylist and this girl kept trying to talk to me about pop music, and (2) I was freaking out that it wasn’t going to turn out right. Luckily she did just fine with the cut! I’m glad yours turned out well, too!

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24 Libby September 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm

My hair is probably what I worry the least about; I keep it in a short and shaggy ‘do, and most of the time I go to my local hipster barbershop where they do a fine job.

Dentists, though…

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25 Kendra September 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I’m still trying to find a stylist that I like and it seems impossible. The last person I went to decided to straighten my hair despite me telling them I didn’t like my hair straight. With my strange hair type I can never seem to find someone who actually understands how it works. I guess I should ask if they have curly hair before agreeing to see them.

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26 sari September 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

hahaha you crack me up.

p.s. 500 seems like a ton for keratin… i just had it done a couple weeks ago for 300 and i thought that was high.

fyi…ulta does it for 185. (i found this out after i had already had it done)

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27 Rachel September 9, 2010 at 6:50 pm

It’s $250 for the first hour and $150 for each additional hour. I’ll have to check out Ulta though!!

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28 Lauren @ Team Giles September 9, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Hope you find someone you like. It took me years to find someone, and my hair isn’t that complicated… ok to me it is. I’m one big frizz ball of hair. But still, it does take a long time to find someone thats awesome.

My sister has the droid and loves it, I’m an iPhone girl all the way.

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29 Aj September 10, 2010 at 10:22 am

I love it! I’m totally a white girl with 1 part Jew Fro and 1 part thin limp hair (…yeah you do the math, we’re talking wavey wisps), which has gotten thinner and limper as I move toward ages beginning with a 3. If I don’t wash it in the morning, I’m done for. Since I workout after work this leads to a two-shower a day policy. Luckily water is included with our rent. I have loyalty to a good stylist like you wouldn’t believe and have gotten my hair done twice in one week (by different stylists, of course. You mess up once and we’re over. I’m more forgiving toward dates than I am towards my stylist)following what is referred to in my history as “Hair-oshima.” It was tragic. I have totally different problems than you, but I get it. I need someone who takes my hair concern seriously and listens to exactly what I say. As in “I said there’s a major cow-lick here and here and if you cut it short to give me volume, I’m gonna look like Alfalfa, so keep those scissors away.”

I hear from my black girlfriends about their hair. One of them swears by some “white girl” product, but I forget the name. I think hair woes are the common thread that ties all women together. Does anyone have an easy time with their hair?

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30 Sara September 10, 2010 at 10:56 am

I don’t get haircuts because I hate talking to stylists… always awkward (you have a hair problem, I have a social problem). I go to a different one every time and none of them ever stop talking.

MORE importantly…. I figured out how you can pay for the brazillian treatment…. gymnertainment!! The people demand it!! ok, maybe just me, but i’m going through serious withdrawal. It’s been too long :)

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31 Rachel September 10, 2010 at 10:58 am

Sara — That is SO funny because I was JUST thinking about Gymnertainment yesterday. The reason I haven’t made another one is because I need MATERIAL! Because now I can write about such a broad range of topics, I’ve been using up all my good stuff on the blog. Give me a suggestion for a theme for the next one and I’m seriously all over it!

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32 Notes from the Fatty File September 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm

DYING at “I swear I’m not in the Klan.” Thank you for a big laugh on a slow Friday afternoon!

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