I have been natural for about four years now.
I became natural after I cut my hair into a pixie cut for the second time in college, and I was really tired of paying $80 for a relaxer that burned my scalp. I decided there had to be a better life, so I relinquished myself from the creamy crack forever.
As all my natural girls know, freeing yourself of chemicals that can be damaging to your hair is a true science and journey of self-love. I became (and still am) a self-proclaimed product junkie. Although I tried everything I saw promoted on my favorite naturals' Instagram posts, or by natural hair vloggers on Youtube, the biggest struggle was trying to find someone to straighten my hair and for it to stay straight without me spending the same price as my relaxer.
I've been to natural stylists who would charge crazy amounts that a college student/ young professional with loans just couldn't afford ($60-$80) just to do my hair. So like most naturals, I found myself at the Dominicans because: 1) They are cheap and run tons of specials, and 2) Because my hair is soft, smooth, and stays that way after the style is completed.
But that heat from the Dominican salon was a killer, and wasn't the best for my overall hair health. My ends began to split, and my hair started to break off during the transitional phase of growing out my permed hair. Just as I felt as though I was losing my hair battle, a friend began raving about a new place she started going to that treated her natural hair with love.
That's when I found the holy grail that is...
This sounds too good to be true! What's the catch?
I also wondered:
Do they really know what they are doing with my kinks and curls?
Will the style last?
They probably don't have products for my hair.
All the answers to those questions are a resounding YES!
For $40 (or $45 if you live in New York), I was able to get a blowout with minimal heat and a lasting style that usually lasts up to two weeks with proper maintenance and care. They have products for literally everyone, and they have even blown out my hair when I had extensions/weave in for an additional $20. All of their hairstyles & products are cocktail inspired, which adds to the experience.
Since I have moved from DC to New York, I have opted into the Barfly membership. For $75 a month, I can get two blowouts (basically one every two weeks) and any additional blowouts will be $35 instead of $40. Also any blowouts that I don't use will roll over to the next month! That was a perfect set up for me! Not to mention, on your birthday, you get a free blowout.
So why am I suggesting this to all my natural ladies?
I was in complete shock the first time I walked out of The Drybar. When I arrived, the beautiful, open, crisp, white and yellow scenery surrounded by fresh flowers, snacks and smiles were very welcoming, but I didn't see anyone in the salon chairs that looked like me. And I wasn't sure if the stylist were skilled in dealing with coarse hair.
Once I checked in, I was asked if I wanted cucumber-lemon infused water, coffee, tea, lemonade, or a mimosa. As I settled into the styling chair, I was given the option to watch a chick flick, while the tunes of Beyoncé and Sam Smith played lightly in the background, as as they stylist finished, I was spun around to look at myself in the full-length mirror that was located behind the styling station. My hair felt healthy and amazing! The blowout was definitely well-worth the money.
The products were great as well, with my stylist using The Velvet Hammer: Hydrating Control Cream (which works like Moroccan Oil), followed by The Hot Toddy which they used to protect my hair before applying heat, and the 100 Proof Treatment Oil, which is great to fight against those annoying flyaways and frizz. They even have nourishing hair masks which serve as their deep conditioners. I usually get the Mudslide Hair Mask ($20), at least once a month, and they also give me a little bottle to take home with me. (Although I refuse to touch my own hair in fear of it breaking off again!)
I've had the opportunity to go The Drybar in Georgetown, DC and in Del Mar, California. I've had white stylists, black stylists, and male stylists.
Every single time, doesn't matter where I go or who the stylist is, I've received the same level of service, and I always walked out of their with my hair looking fleeky!
They are always quick and professional.
I literally recommend it to everyone I know, and a major plus are the products smell amazing!
Have you tried to Drybar before? What has been your experience?
I remember perusing the Cosmo Snapchat as I do every day, and they had an article about misconceptions in your 20's. One of the those misconceptions was, "If your parents make you miserable, you don't have to force yourself to talk to them."
I was literally flabbergasted because I am dealing with this struggle now. Society tells to us to cherish, respect, and love our parents. But what happens, when your parents do not do the same in return?
It is a terrible misconception that society pressures us to talk to our parents when they really don't make us feel all that great after the conversation a lot of times. You hang up the phone or leave the conversation more frustrated and sadder than when you enter the situation. Life is way too short to fill them with too many suppose to's and should be filled with doing things that make us feel good.
Honestly, talking to one of my parents always ends in either a) tears, b) anger, c) frustration, or d) all the above. Why do I constantly allow myself to be surrounded by so much negativity and bad vibes? Because people tell me I should do so because they are my parent, but when do you start to do what is for the betterment of yourself and not for others? Do you allow yourself to feel like a punching bag or constantly in turmoil because you feel some sort of obligation and you continue to be upset and sad?
It took me years, honestly, to get to this point of understanding that I could love that parent from a distance and begin to put my feelings first. I don't have to feel this sense of obligation to talk to them everyday or week, when most times their intent is to hurt if they are in a mood. With this one parent, I would find myself constantly blaming myself for our constant strife and took all their ill-willed words to heart. Feeling as if all those words were true.
It got a whole lot better for me to remove myself from that poisonous energy, once I was independent and living on my own. There were no looming threats or constant fears of bare essentials to better myself being taken from me, i.e. having my cell phone turned off, my car being taken, tuition not being paid for, or getting kicked out of the family house, (all of which have happened).
Once that was eliminated from the equation, it made it easier for me to say to myself, "Look, I love you, but I don't always have to talk to you."
No one needs negative energy and constant drama in their lives. If your family brings that to your atmosphere, let it go. I am telling you, you will live a much better and more stress-free life. I know it sounds cruel and unfeeling, but sometimes you have to love people from afar. I've learned that sometimes people do not know how to love properly because they were never truly taught from their own parents to love, and this all becomes a systematic effect that leads to you and your parent's relationship.
I addressed the problems with my parent multiple times. I have even suggested therapy sessions, but the sessions would never happen. The emotional abuse would begin again and I was stuck at square one. I finally made the decision to start loving myself, when the effects of that parent's actions spilled over to my love life, friendships, and professional life. It was hard to distance myself from the people who raised me, but as an adult I realized that if something is toxic and breaks your spirit, you have to learn to let go.
Once you have addressed the problem, and offered the avenues for help, and they still refuse to take it that help...you have to let people find their own path.
Just a couple tips to remember:
- You always have to love yourself more. I know you want to help, but you can't risk your own mental and physical health to be at stake.
- You have to learn how to love people from a distance. Sometimes you want to help, but sometimes you have to help yourself and step away from the situation.
- Whenever you feel yourself getting angry or frustrated, take deep breaths and remove yourself from the situation.
Always remember self-love and self-appreciation is the most important.
If you have any personal stories that you'd like to share with the readers of xoNecole, please submit your essays to email@example.com for a chance to have your voice heard and your story featured!
Featured image by Shutterstock