With all the Rice Water challenges and the memes being shared by cosmetologists calling the method laughable at best, it’s time we have a sit down to start an open dialogue between naturalistas and the "Licensed" Natural Stylist. Our relationship with our stylists have been rocky for quite sometime. Hairdressers have been a staple in the black community for over 100 years. Most of our bonding can be linked back to sitting in the shop, playing catch up and getting the latest gossip with your standing appointment girlfriends. Our relationship with our stylist began to change when many women began to opt out of the every 4-6 week date, patting your head to keep from scratching to prevent burns, half of my Saturday lost, can’t get my hair wet, so I don’t work out relaxed hair lifestyle. Some just wanted to live a more holistic lifestyle and after Chris Rock’s Good Hair documentary aired, many of us decided to return to our natural texture. The 1st place we landed was in the hands of our trusted stylist. “Sure girl! I do natural hair as well, I can press that hair ALL the way out! No, I want to wear MY texture, can you help? Chile.. Natural ain’t for everybody!” The New Naturalista took her freshly big chopped hair off to YouTube University to learn about her natural hair. She found an entire community of women on the same journey, they shared DIY recipes, hair product reviews and styling tutorials. She stumbled a bit, had to endure many snide comments from coworkers and family, fought natural nazis online but eventually her hair began to thrive. She may have even began to make hair products and now has a successful business selling her handmade products. Meanwhile, the cosmetologists began to thrive in a profitable space of precision cuts and custom color on healthy relaxed and beautifully silk pressed hair. Others are killing the game in hair extensions and wig making. As women began to seek assistance with caring for their natural textures, they struggled finding a stylist they could connect with. They were either shamed for their “YouTube” knowledge, not made comfortable with the process, told to throw out their $5000 stash of holy grail products, or heat damaged due to priority being given to finished style versus the overall health of the curls. Stylists have their struggle with naturalistas as well, many of whom have not found a routine, struggling with accepting their natural texture and come in with all of their DIY remedies resulting in 10 layers of shea butter and coconut oil on their brittle hair. By opting to specialize in “Textured Hair” this meant more training, less customers and having to charge higher prices. An average visit to see a natural hair stylist is $85-150.00. They have to coax you into a trim after forgoing one for 3 years, tell you ALL the pictures you have shown are people with different textures, and NO they will not use your homemade avocado deep conditioner under the steamer! Enters social media and you will find many discussions with the naturalista versus the Licensed Cosmetologists. There are shady posts and YouTube rants from both sides. How do we come to a place of healing? We have created a unique synergy at Kinks and Curls. We encourage and connect our customers with local stylists that specialize in providing healthy hair care for textured hair. We have a licensed cosmetologist on staff (Givini V of Curltured Salon Studio) that understands the basic biology of all types of textured hair and has the experience to help her clients achieve their hair goals, because she has worked with many different textures. She also understands a standing two week appointment in her chair may not be an option for some people. My mission for Kinks and Curls was to pair quality products with knowledgeable recommendations for the DIY naturalistas. We don’t encourage product junkyism. We help our customers understand basic regimen and encourage them to embrace their unique hair characteristics. We understand products don’t “work” unless you do, a $50.00 conditioner cannot compensate for lack of trimming and inconsistent washdays. We offer our clients solutions based on what their hair needs and sometimes that need is a trip to the doctor for blood work, a dermatologist or a textured stylist to help them get their damaged hair back on track. Other times it’s just a new conditioner for her daughter who struggles with dryness due to swimming, encouragement to big chop or transition, natural hair color options, curl acceptance encouragement or just a hug to the tender headed child after their services, We take a closer look at the hair via our Product Consultation, which gives the client a chance to see the products in action before they invest. A client leaves our store armed with knowledge, great products, but most importantly confidence. In turn, our local stylists send their clients to us for day to day styling options. We have built a healthy community over competition environment for our local natural community. There’s space for all of us as we find our place in this new era of hair. It’s time to heal ladies!