Recently ‘The Stylist‘ magazine launched The Stylist Hair Equality Initiative and given that it featured models with Afro hair, we were intrigued. In case you have not heard about it, its an initiative to ensure some kind of equality in all high street salons. This starts with Visibility, so all salons would have a sticker to show that they do all types of hair on the door so you don’t have to go through the embarrassment of being turned away. Price equality; all salons charging the same regardless of texture if the hairstyle is the same and diversity which ensures all media campaigns represent models of all skin and hair types.
At NoScrunchie, we think a lot of this is great, especially the visibility as anyone who has been through that walk of shame out of a salon can tell you, it’s not great.
BUT we still think this does not address the root causes of this issue. Instead on insisting that salons can do all types of hair, we need to look into why they do not and if we have the power and the clout as ‘the stylist’ does, work hard on solving these issues.
One of the major reasons why salons do not do afro hair is a lack of training. Most of the hairdressing courses, either do not include afro hair or do it as a quick 2 week module which does not even begin to cover the basics. A lot of stylists in the UK do not see the need to do the afro hair training as the salons won’t need it anyway as an integral skill.
What we would like to see therefore, is a hair training equality initiative. We should be asking all training schools to make a pledge to train stylists on all hair types. That will solve the issue of salons being unable to staff salons as all stylists will have to be trained efficiently. Schools like the Kevin Fortune Hair Styling Academy are already trying to address this by offering courses.
Afro hair is not just a cut and wash or colour. A lot of Afro hair styles are embedded in the plaiting process. Plaiting underpins the cornrows, weaves and many wigs are also held under plaits as well. Without plaits, many of us would not consider a salon to cater for Afro hair and would therefore consider that sticker on the door to be a myth.
After the training though, another great initiative would be a recruitment equality initiative. All high street salons should have a stylist on board who has been trained in Afro hair. That would ensure that when you turned up for your equally paid for hair cut, there was definitely a stylist that could do your hair.
I love that Afro hair is getting mentioned in the news and with such great publications. All that we can hope for now is that the salons wake up and take heed. In the meantime, we, as NoScrunchie will continue to highlight the work of the good Afro Salons out there while we wait for the rest of the world to catch up.