As a young girl my mom had to constantly remind me that “ubuhle buyanyamezelwa”, implying that if I wanted to be beautiful I would have to hold back the tears as the hairdresser burnt my scalp with the relaxer cream, then the hairdryer, then with the curling tongs. I hated visits to the hair salon. And that fear has stayed with me for years.
In December of last year I paid one of the many Joburg CBD hair salons a visit. All I wanted was a wash. Usually I do my own hair. That is how I have been able to avoid hair salons for the past 15 odd years. so I walk into this salon and calm myself down: it’s just a wash, how bad could it possibly be? Within a few seconds of the hairdresser touching my head I was teleported to my days as a young girl. The woman’s long nails dug into head, almost tearing my scalp open. This woman was not playing; she was literally fighting with my hair. Water was splashing on my face, crawling into my ears and trickling down my back. I sighed with relief once that was over. Then came hair drying time. My heart started racing and I could not help but cringe. I knew what was coming – and it came, alright.
My hair was pulled and tugged with a fine comb (how could this woman not have seen that I walked in with an afro?), the scalding brutality of the hot air stung my poor scalp. I recalled my mom’s words and I endured. Finally the woman let go and packed away the dryer. She then gave me a comb so that I could style my own hair – seriously!
With this daunting memory still fresh in my mind, I cautiously entered the Good Hair Today salon in Commissioner Street. Minimalist, spacious, chic and unbelievably clean, I was welcomed by friendly staff who took the time to look me in the eye and smile as they spoke. I introduced myself to Barbara, the NV Hairstylist I would have to trust with my hair.
“The NV Hairstylist concept came about when I partnered with a friend with the intention of starting up a salon”, shared Nonhlanhla ‘Nonie’ Nxumalo. In 2013 Nonie started a weave-selling business called Nuovo Hair. Because of the high quality and cost of the weave, many of Nonie’s clients worried that black hairdressers just didn’t know how to correctly install weaves. Nonie saw the opportunity to increase her income stream by providing her clients with experts to install the weaves. And so, NV Hairstylists was born.
While doing her salon research, Nonie came across Good Hair Today Salon. “The salon is owned by internationally acclaimed American hairstylist, Brian Warfield. Warfield has been in this industry for about 20 years.” As a company, NV Hairstylists rents out a chair from Good Hair Today and employ hairstylists. The NV Hairstylists started operating this January and already, judging by their facebook page, have accumulated a satisfied clientele. Barbara is currently the only NV Hairstylist but more are scheduled to arrive to meet the demand. Although specialising in weaves, Barbara let me know that NV Hairstylists do all kinds of hair and hair treatment.
You’re probably wondering how I handled my salon experience with Barbara… Well, she started off with washing my afro. Unlike the ordeal of my past experiences, this time I received a head massage. Barbara’s fingers gently caressed my scalp and I felt so relaxed. From the basin to the chair and I watched anxiously as the dreaded hairdryer was pulled out of the drawer. I held my breath. But there was no need. Barbara used a big wide-toothed comb and not once did I feel the burn of the hairdryer. Because I had just removed hair extensions, Barbara informed me that my hair needed to recover and so she would not plait my hair, opting to style it instead. It’s touching how a hairstylist can have such a concern for a client’s hair – as Siphiwe, the salon’s manager stated “We do not chase after money, we ensure that the client is educated about her hair”. And this cements why NV Hairstylists is at this particular hair salon.
After Barbara announced that she would style my hair I had no idea that it meant that the bloody curling tongs would be whipped out. To be technically correct, the latest version of the tongs, the flat iron, is whipped out. “I really don’t like those…” I confide in Barbara. I briefly explain how previous hairdressers almost burnt my ears off with the thing. Barbara smiles warmly and assures me that all will be fine. And to my great relief, it is.
I couldn’t believe it. I had a genuinely good experience at a hair salon. I walked in nervous and petrified and walked out feeling confident and beautiful. Needless to say, Barbara has not seen the last of me.
Visit the NV Hairstylists
Good Hair Today Salon
35 Surrey House
Corner Commissioner and Rissik Streets
011 492 0484