Despite numerous people’s protests, I straightened my hair last week at Madu Salon in San Francisco, California – the first time I had my hair flat ironed since before my brother’s wedding in June 2013! Don’t get me wrong, I love my fro, but this straight hair got me feeling like:
Let me tell you about my experience at Madu Salon with my stylist LaTasha!
When I called some other bay area salons regarding straightening my kinky hair, one stylist actually told me that it was impossible to flat iron natural hair without any damage… so I’m sad to say that Madu Salon is one of the few reputable options for naturals in the Bay Area. The salon is owned by Marie France Cesar, a beautiful black woman who was rocking bright blue kinks, and has been voted numerous times as the premier curly hair salon in San Francisco.
The salon has a diverse clientele and stylist base, with both men and women, black and white customers and stylists. There were about 6-8 chairs, 3 wash stations, and at least two dryers, and for a Thursday morning, a nice stream of customers coming in and out.
The salon cuts curly hair with the Deva Cut method, cutting each curl (or club of curls) in isolation. All the stylists finger detangle, cut, and then wash, using vegan and paraben products, and then procede to style their clients hair.
My Stylist LaTasha
LaTasha agreed to take me kind of last minute, and is one of the few stylists I’ve had (Valerie in Harlem is another one) whose mission is not just to do your hair, but to ensure that you have the tools for proper haircare once you leave the salon. I know some people are pretty wary of stylists, but honey the kinds of advice that LaTasha gave completely blew my mind because it really disrupts how I’ve been approaching my hair! I’ll share more of her recommendations in a separate post next week, but just know that I will be detangling, washing, and using oils in a MUCH different way from here on out.
Since my hair wasn’t in the best shape – my last proper trim was January (eek!) plus I still have some color related breakage – LaTasha gently recommended that I not straighten it, and instead focus on nursing it back to health. Once I explained that the flat iron was super temporary and my last one was several years ago, she obliged and agreed to blowout and flat iron my hair.
Straightening My Hair
After trimming my hair dry in small sections, LaTasha cleansed my hair with DevaCurl One Condition, and then layered a couple of leave-ins to add moisture and serve as heat protectants – RedKen Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer, Caviar CC Cream 10-in-1 Leave-In Hair Protector, and Eufora Hydration Leave-In Conditioner. This was a major difference I noticed from most salons that tend not to add a lot of liquid leave ins when they are going to blow dry your hair, they simply spray on a heat protectant, leaving your hair unmoisturized and prone to breakage. By raking the thermal and moisturizing products through my hair with her fingers, LaTasha was able to evenly coat all my strands and prep me for my heat styling.
She then proceeded to blow dry my hair using a comb attachment and flat iron with a Chi (I believe) set to 375 degrees. She used small sections and although she did pass over each section several times, I think (slash hope) the leave in products will protect against any damage. We’ll have to see in about a week when I wash it out! LaTasha added some Fiber Grease edge control to tighten up the final look, and I was on my way (4 hours later!).
I LOVE how my hair looks, and my ends managed to stay in good shape for the 5 days that I either wrapped or headband curled it before going to bed. This weekend I’m going to put it in a high bun, but sometime next week I’ll do some curly styles (maybe a flat twist and curl) on my straight hair to switch it up a bit. If you live in the Bay Area and need somebody who knows what they’re doing to tend to your kinky hair, I wholeheartedly recommend visiting LaTasha or one of the other stylists at Madu Salon! I will definitely be visiting again the next time I’m in the Bay Area.