LI Salons Changing Focus To Adapt To Growing Natural Hair Movement

By Tory N. Parrish
Newsday

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Several hair stylists on Long Island are getting a boost in business by learning to care for natural hair — and offering protective styles that don’t require damaging heat, such as braids, dreadlocks, weaves and twists.

Newsday

The last time Kandice Rogers had her hair chemically straightened, or relaxed, she was left scarred — literally.

“I got a really bad chemical burn on my scalp and … I was just like, ‘never again,'” said Rogers, 30. That was 4 1/2 years ago.

That was also when she stopped her biweekly visits to an East Northport salon, opting instead to become a do-it-yourselfer who gets hair care tips from bloggers, social media sites and networking groups dedicated to black women’s natural hair care, said Rogers, a Queens resident and Bay Shore landlord.

Rogers is among a growing number of black women who are rejecting hair relaxers– or “going natural” — and going to salons less frequently as they do their hair themselves using tips they learn from friends, family and online.

While the natural hair movement took off in metro areas around the country at least a decade ago, it was slower to hit Long Island, residents and hairstylists said.

And now that it has, hair care professionals on Long Island who aren’t changing with the times by learning to care for natural hair — and offering protective styles that don’t require damaging heat, such as braids, dreadlocks, weaves and twists — are being left behind, they said.

“I worked in many salons and because they don’t evolve, they … are actually no longer,” said Shantelle Joseph, 30, a 12-year hairdresser who works in the Queens Quarters salon, which is inside Kut Kings Barbershop in Bay Shore.

She and some other stylists on Long Island say their businesses are benefiting from the competition shakeout because they’ve taken the time to learn how to service natural hair clients.

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