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Hair is never just hair for women of color. It can be political, personal, exhausting, and restorative. Black women have spent entire generations trying to conform to a "cultural ideal" of straight hair by using chemical relaxers or weaves, however this is slowly changing. As of two years ago, relaxers accounted for just 21% of black hair care sales and the sector has steadily declined since 2008. In the last year, sales of products used for natural hair care, like hair oils, grew by 55% according to the NDP group. It's not just a trend, it's also a movement geared towards embracing what you were born with.
Despite the growing interest in natural hair, there's a hesitation within the natural hair community concerning salons. Due to the overwhelming popularity of chemical styling over the past century, there's a significant knowledge gap regarding how to take care of coarse and kinky hair. Many stylists are ignorant of the type of products and techniques needed to cater to its needs — some even charge what's known as the "black hair tax" just to "deal with" hair like mine. However, as interest grows, more salons specializing in natural hair are opening.
I usually forego salons and haven't been to one in a few years. Either the stylists were too hard on my hair, using tons of products to "tame" it, or I spent more than I wanted to for a style I was only half-happy with. However, I am now a Grown Woman with a Job and I want to entrust my hair to professionals. I deserve luxury hair care as much as any other women with "easier" hair types. I took a trip to Devachan in Soho to test out the ins and outs of their techniques.