OK so today’s D-Day. You’ve taken your fro to the hairdressers, your hair looks amazing and you’ve had the chat about when you need to do your roots / remove your extensions / redo whatever you just had done and you nod, smile and enthusiastically agree that you’ll be back in four to six weeks or whatever the agreed timescale is. Then you strut your way out of the salon looking amazing.
Fast forward three months and you still haven’t been back.
The Delay Zone is the gap between when you should have gone back and when you actually drag your carcass, complete with unruly afro, back to the hairdressers. There are a variety of reasons why we, OK I, don’t make it back on time.
Time Flies When You’re Looking Good
When your hair is cooperating and there is no obvious regrowth, it’s easy to lose track of how long it was since your last salon visit. Lets face it there is a certain sense of urgency when you look a mess and can’t face seeing yourself in the mirror. By the time my hair starts to give me clues that my next appointment is due, the agreed timescale is often a dim and distant memory.
Indecision / The Next Big Thing
One of the wonderful things about afro hair is that there are unlimited options. You don’t have to accept what nature gave you. If you want to change the length, colour or texture of your hair, you can. You can change your own hair or you can bury it under the hair you bought from a shop. You can have any look you like. We may not always choose the most flattering option but we’ve definitely got options. In December you were in the mood for for a full blown long luxurious weave but by the time you’re putting the next appointment in the diary you’re considering a relaxed blonde pixie cut. You can’t make the appointment until you’ve made your mind up. By the time you’ve bought some magazines, started a hair maybes board on Pinterest and discussed it with your children, your partner and ten of your friends, another fortnight has passed.
Finding A Stylist / Salon
In my last post I told you all that when it comes to my hair I only deal with two ladies. The legendary Barbara and my braid lady Lynette. If you have recently suffered a hairy horror story with a salon and don’t have a trusted stylist, then getting your hair done means finding somebody to do your hair. At this point you start talking to your friends and family which can be a quick and easy process or can feel like pulling teeth. Random Facebook posts looking for stylists can be problematic. Firstly you’ll get recommendations from people bigging up their friends regardless of their skill level. Secondly if you’ve reached the point where you are randomly asking a couple of hundred people for general advice you have clearly reached a certain level of desperation. There will be a small subset of people within your friends list that could give you useful accurate advice. This subset is probably ten percent of the list at most and there is no guarantee that those ten percent will see your post which takes you back to the rest of your Facebook friends which includes those people you hardly know, those people with totally different hair to you, the try my cousin brigade and the joker with the number one haircut who suggests that you buy some clippers.
Not everybody is as lucky as me. Not everybody has the number of a trusted stylist saved in their phone. In an ideal world by the time you are 25 you should have numbers for all the key professionals.
- Hair Stylist
- Decent Mechanic
- Plumber, preferably one that deals with central heating
- Builder. A good builder can also usually put you in touch with a good Joiner, Tiler and Electrician when needed
If you have numbers for these five professionals you’ll be saved from a lot of drama in your life. The beautician may sound unnecessary but you need to be careful who you trust with your eyebrows ladies (and gentlemen) Personally I’m too lazy and cheap to spend money on somebody plucking, threading or waxing away parts of my eyebrows. Which is a fairly easy statement to make when your brows are reasonably well behaved. I’m also so busy obsessing over my hair that I don’t have time in my life, money in my purse or space in my head to obsess over my eyebrows as well.
You’re Going To That Thing
You have finally agreed that you really should take your extensions out but then you remember that you’re going to that thing. That thing might be a wedding, a christening, a big night out or a job interview . Whatever it is, you want to look good and there is no way you are going anywhere special whilst your hair is freestyling, so you put it off for a little bit longer.
Hairdos cost money and sometimes feeding and clothing your children is just more important. I’m not the only one who isn’t happy with their hair. On paper it can be difficult to justify the amount of cold hard cash we hand over to change our appearance. Black women in the United Kingdom spend a disproportionate amount of money on hair care and sometimes there is a gap between needing our hair done and earning the money to pay for it.
The real problems occur when you have a combination of these factors. Your hair carries on looking good so you don’t think about it which wastes a few weeks. Then you decide on a change of style which wastes another couple of weeks. Then you finally commit to doing something but remember that you have ‘that thing’ so you delay it until afterwards but then you don’t have any money, which can delay things by anything from a couple of days to several months.
I’m sat in the Delay Zone right now. I don’t remember when I was supposed to have taken these extensions out but I do know that I am way overdue. I’m so far into the Delay Zone that I’m well on my way to the’ Scared I’m Going To Go Bald’ zone. Maybe one of the problems I have in my relationship with my hair is that in the course of a year, I spend so long in the Delay Zone that the percentage of time when I actually have “good” hair is so small that it feels none existent. It is definitely time I learnt from this.