I recently went to a salon in Center City that supposedly caters to hair of all types. They had a LivingSocial deal for a blowout + styling lessons, so I thought I’d give it a go. I had an early friday afternoon wedding to attend & didn’t feel like doing my own hair for it. Worst PERIOD Idea PERIOD Ever PERIOD
This was the “after”. The stylist was very nice, but had no idea what she was doing, and I do NOT understand why. My hair isn’t THAT difficult to deal with. I’m relaxed, my hair is more wavy than curly, it holds water well & is easy to style it when wet. I just don’t get why I can’t walk into a salon like any other woman & get a reliably decent blowout.
With zero time to get it in shape for the wedding, I used Caruso steam rollers to get it looking halfway decent in time. They SERIOUSLY came through for me! (See this post for more info about the Caruso rollers) Results – sorry for the blurry iPhone pic, my camera was in for repairs =(:
I ended up going back & getting a refund for the blowout – I absolutely refuse to pay for that joke of a styling job up there! They were very nice about it, and also gave me a styling cream that I actually am in love with – I’ll post on it later. For now, I wanted to quickly go over my reliable places for getting a great looking blowout. But first – a quick note about where NOT to go!
Avoid Blowout Bars & salons that offer quick/cheap blowouts (many salons will have a $25-$50 quick blowout service for convenience). Their target customer can be washed & blown out in 35-45 minutes, which is a miracle when dealing with ethnic hair.
P.S. – If anyone in the Philadelphia area knows a a salon downtown that can do sleek blowouts, PLEASE let me know. It’s absolutely unacceptable that my hair looks better when I do it than when a downtown salon does.
Dominican hair salons reliably do fantabulous jobs getting hair of ALL TYPES sleek & smooth. It’s absolutely amazing the work they can do to a head of hair!
- Usually inexpensive ($20-$30 for a wash/blowdry/curl)
- You can choose to go straight from the sink to a chair for a blowout with a round brush (costs a little more, like $4), or have your hair put up in rollers & dried under a hooded dryer. Some women opt for the rollers because it’s less damaging, but I always get the brush. i don’t have 3 hours to sit in a salon under a dryer, and I use the round brush method twice a week at home anyway.
- Amazing results – you can opt for super straight hair, a slight bend at the end of your hair, or a head of curls (costs a little more).
- Usually you can bring your own products for a small additional fee – great if you’re picky about that kind of thing
- A lot of heat is used. Some women have issues with the amount of heat used, but my hair hasn’t been negatively impacted by it at all.
- You will be there FOREVER!!! No appointments, you’re taken in the order you arrived. You can’t always choose your stylist, you get whichever one is available. Lord help you if you get there during a popular time like weekend mornings. Set aside like 5 hours for the entire process – no joke. I got to one salon at 10:45a, was called back to be washed at 11:45, and walked out at 2pm.
- Customer service usually lacks. Be prepared for your stylist to be on the phone, or eating, or talking to coworkers/friends instead of focusing on making sure you have a good/fast experience.
- They’re always in the hood. They’re never in nice areas of the city, and I don’t know why.
- They close early on weekdays – usually around 5pm, which i don’t understand. Even if I got off at 5pm, they’d already be closed. Who exactly is their target customer? WHo has 4-5 hours before 5pm on a weekday to get their hair done?!
I’ve gone to two in the Philadelphia area, I would recommend either one:
Maria’s Dominican Unisex Salon
3808 North Broad Street | Philadelphia | PA
* There are three other locations in Philadelphia, you could go to any of them.
El Pueblo Dominican Hair Salon
270 South 52nd Street | Philadelphia | PA
In my experience, black hair salons can have some questionable practices when it comes to hair care. For example, one stylist braided my hair in two big pigtails & stuck me under a dryer. Another stylist loaded my hair full of oil, weighing it down & making it look gross & stringy. These aren’t necessarily bad, but absolutely not the best way to do my hair. My advice would be to walk up to a girl with great hair that looks like it’s similar to yours, and ask her what salon/stylist she goes to. When you go for the first time, bring pictures of what you’re looking for – celebrities or photos of you on a good hair day both work. Watch that stylist like a hawk & question everything. If they go to use something you don’t like, or do something differently than you know will work for you, speak up. It’s uncomfortable, but I promise it will work out for you. After you go back a couple of times (if you like the stylist), they’ll learn what you like & will rock you out without having to stay on top of them. I’ve had experiences where I wasn’t comfortable speaking up, and hated the results – don’t let it be you!
- More of a professional setting – you can make appointments with a specific stylists, the experience is catered to making sure you are happy, and they usually stay open later
- The stylist have experience with different hair types, and know which products/tools to use.
- It can take longer than an hour at some salons to be in and out.
- It’s hard to find someone you trust.
- Each stylist is different, so you need to find one that works well for you & your hair.
- Prices can go either way – definitely more expensive than Dominicans though.
Jamez Smith @ Anbrea’s Beauty Salon (Yelp Page)
4141 Ridge Avenue | Philadelphia | PA
It costs me ~$75 for a wash/blowout/style
Jamez also does house calls for a $120 minimum (email | website)
* I currently go here
A while ago, I wrote about & filmed this method for doing your own blowouts. It can be easier to do someone else’s hair rather than your own because you can see WAY easier – grab a friend & do each other’s hair!