I have met several women who say they have given up on hairdressers due to far too many bad experiences and now opt to wash, treat and style their own hair.
After a rather unfortunate hair experience several months ago I can’t say I blame them.
Earlier this year I was bored with my usual hairstyle so my hairdresser suggested I try ‘Pick and Drop’ braids. The ‘Pick and Drop’ style involves braiding long extensions in to your hair, stopping just as you reach the end of your natural hair, tying a tiny knot and then leaving the rest out. (Click HERE to watch a full demonstration).
I arrived early for my Saturday hair appointment full of beans and excited at the prospect of leaving the salon in the late afternoon with a new sexy look. My hairdresser gave my hair a steam treatment first and when that was over and done with her Jamaican trainee took over. The trainee is a pleasant enough young lady but at the same time could also benefit from attending a customer care and communications course.
Anyway when the trainee reached the section of the hair that’s supposed to be tied in to a tiny knot my hairdresser handed her a bottle of black BONDING GLUE!!! Now I am not an expert when it comes to braiding and the different techniques used in 2011. I am clueless. The last time I had my hair braided in extensions was way back in the 1980s, when I was still in primary school. However something about this did seem a little off.
I turned to the trainee and asked her if this was a new technique. When did they start mixing bonding glue with braids? I was under the impression that bonding glue was only used sometimes to glue in weaves (at the customer’s request). But the trainee just mumbled something about it now being in fact the norm to add bonding clue to the ‘Pick and Drop’ style, so on she went using bonding glue to seal each individual braid as she went along, under the “tuition” of my hairdresser, who I still assumed knew what she was doing.
Fast-forward to late afternoon and my hair was finally complete. It looked pretty good and I was happy. But as soon as I got home a few braids fell out because the trainee hadn’t braided them in reasonably tight enough, the hair felt sticky and wet (thanks to the bonding glue), and as each day passed the situation worsened. Traces of black bonding glue were all over my hands, my pillow, some managed to get on my clothes and some even dripped on to my beige carpet. I was livid!
When I told my friends about the situation they were shocked (particularly the ones who have worn the same hairstyle style before). Not one of them had ever heard of any hairdresser using this “technique” before, and called my hairdresser a “mad woman” and “just lazy – she used the glue to save time”.
After about a week I had had enough and ventured down to the salon to show her the mess that cost me over £100. She seemed stunned and insisted that this had never happened to other customers. I sat there thinking ‘that’s highly unlikely. Those customers probably experienced what I experienced but chose not to say anything. Or I was the first customer you tried out this little “experiment” on’.
It was then later agreed that I would go back and get it redone for half price. I did return, this time insisting that they NOT use the bonding glue or any other type of glue. The trainee did a slightly better job this time around and I ended up paying less than half price but I’m afraid that the damage had already been done.
It was during this experience when I realised that although extremely gifted and skilled at weaving, styling and cutting hair, my hairdresser clearly lacked knowledge and skill when it came to the different braiding hairstyles and therefore failed to guide her trainee effectively, which I later ended up paying for.
She should have just been honest.
The relationship between a hairdresser and client can be a complex one. When they advise well, listen and go on to do a brilliant job you just want to hug and kiss them. But when they mess up the anger that builds up within is quite frankly indescribable. You just want to buss heads.