There are seven fundamental types of catastrophes. Beauty is not one of them.
After parting ways with Kim, I was in somewhat of a bind considering my hair was due for a relaxer touch up, I needed to find a new stylist fast. I was also burned out on the offerings in my area, having tried several salons only to end up disappointed or insulted (more on that later), so I decided to conduct a fast & furious internet search hoping for the best.
Years ago, I stumbled across a Yelp thread where a young woman asked for help finding a “good” hairstylist for African American hair. She was new to the area and needed suggestions. After initially reviewing the list, I made some calls out of curiosity, but so much time had passed I wasn’t sure that thread was still accessible. Fortunately for me, not only was it still there, but it had been updated, so I made a new round of calls to start my search.
I considered a known downtown salon that specialized in Dominican blow-outs, a popular service that I’d been curious about for years. I made an appointment, but after reading a few reviews on the process which apparently includes a lot of intense heat that eventually damaged several heads of hair, I changed my mind. Then I called a salon that was a little far, but the stylist sounded nice, professional and anxious to have me, as she was fairly new to the industry. Dreading the distance and possible problems that could arise with future appointments, I decided to make one more call from the list….
Sheri’s tone was warm & welcoming. I briefly explained I needed a relaxer touch up for an event on Saturday. She provided her available openings and added that she worked from home & would I be okay with that. I’d never had a stylist who worked from home, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she was only twenty minutes away, we had an instant rapport, and I was pretty desperate.
My first appointment with Sheri reminded me of my first appointment with Dr. Brannick, the wonderful naturopath doctor who spent two uninterrupted hours with me investigating my health concerns. Sheri has over thirty years in the industry, having spent several of those years in LA, where she worked on celebrities and expanded her skills to developing her own products. She specializes in hair restoration and replacement, plus she makes her own wigs and extensions. She has a holistic approach to hair, and after running her fingers through mine, didn’t hesitate to give me the low-down on just how much damage it had sustained.
As she prepped my relaxer, we discussed my hair goals, which led to a discussion about her other clients, most of whom are relaxer-free. Sheri is also relaxer-free, and while her hair was in a bun, I could tell it fell far below her shoulders, and had a lot of natural shine. She had my attention. I had already stretched 16 weeks past my last relaxer which was a first. And considering the sudden breakage, combined with my suspicion that regular demi-perm color treatments had something to do with it, I was pretty excited at the idea of eliminating chemicals altogether.
Sheri assured me the results would be worth it and if I wasn’t pleased, we could always return to relaxing. Still intrigued, tho skeptical, having tried this before with Kim, but my roots were always puffy & my hair was a bushy mess, so back to the creamy crack I went. Not with Sheri, my edges were super smooth, my hair bounced like it hadn’t in years & she gradually trimmed my ends ever so slightly to help blend the breakage in the back.
Good news & bad news
Although my hair was damaged, my scalp was in good condition. Thank goodness, considering all the chemical burns I’ve endured due to stylist’s delays, in order to let the relaxer “take” or “just one more pass-thru”. I also learned that my ends were porous, which explains why they’d kinda stick together while combing. I always thought it was due to left-over conditioner residue or something.
To be honest, I was rather amazed that Sheri’s business hadn’t crossed over into a household name. She’s unlike any other hairstylist I’ve ever met, has a wealth of knowledge and makes wonderful homemade products. She created a 12-Step Regimen for her clients to follow at home & her Damage Control pomade eliminated my dry winter scalp after one visit, which surprised us both. She puts so much care & time into each client. I’ve met some of her other clients & they each raved about her, all eager to share their experience – most started with damaged/thinning hair or suffered severe hair loss due to illness & wore her custom-made wigs/extensions until their hair was healthy enough to style.
There was only one problem: My healthy hair journey required weekly appointments, and I was newly unemployed & due to start paying for expensive esthetics courses in a few months. But Sheri had a remedy for that too, proving our meeting was pure serendipity and, as it turned out, most timely. 🙂
I snapped just a few pics after my first appointment with Sheri, my hair had shine and felt smooth sans chemicals, to my delight. But I had a long way to go. I’d soon find out why they call it a “natural hair journey”.