My Shopping List: Shoes, Dress, and a Hairdresser

Change is a funny thing. When seasons change, so do people and their way of thinking. For some of us it can be scary and for others a welcomed challenge. A few of us will throw out clothes we have not worn in years. Others will throw away old shoes, handbags, jewelry, hats and belts only to refill their closets with a shopping trip. Shopping is the ultimate change for a shopaholic. However, there are some of us who will shop for the ultimate change? a haircut. Whether it is a two-inch cut or a 10-inch cut, you better be sure to shop for a person who knows exactly what he/she is doing. I never thought that one must also shop for a hairstylist in the same way that we shop for the perfect dress or pair of shoes. After I saw my neighbor's hair, I have changed my thought process.

My neighbor went to her hairdresser to get all of her hair cut off.. Onlookers gasped at the thought of cutting it all off. You could hear sighs of pain from other clients as the clipped hair fell to the floor. The hairstylist cut, snipped and dismissed her from the chair. AAHHHH! I thought to myself. Is she going to shape it up or comb it or something? Immediately I started to think of the scene from the movie, Waiting to Exhale when Angela Bassetts' character was depressed and upset about the breakup of her marriage. She sat in front of the mirror and just started cutting away at her hair. The way she cut it, you would not believe she had a mirror. I saw my neighbor walking towards me and I could not believe she did it. She looked like a depressed, tired old maid. (Translation? Someone who does not have anyone to love and/or is not happy with her life.) Her earrings were small, simple and plain. The dark circles under her eyes complimented by her uneven skin tone made her look like she never owned a mirror. A hairstylist is supposed to make you feel like a new woman. The same way a new dress or pair of shoes makes you feel. She looked horrible. Something in my mind kept saying, "Don't you say anything to hurt her feelings; be quiet." Now you know I could not be quiet, however, I did choose my words wisely. I began, "Wow, you cut off all your hair! You have a good shaped head for such a style. Now you need to go to the barber and let him give your style some shape. I know a place where you can get some fabulous earrings to accent your style too." She said, "I have earrings, but the people on my job don't get all dressed up." I said, "Forget the people on your job, what about going to and coming back from work. You never know who you will meet with your new look." Then I said, "It was meant for you to see me today so that I can give you a complimentary makeover consultation." She laughed and we said goodbye.

As she walked away, I had to laugh to myself because I had also experienced a bad hairstylist. I was an unsuspecting consumer who drifted into the Bunches of Hair beauty salon in midtown. (I changed the salon name to protect the innocent.) This place will definitely have you drifting in by the fabulous hair photos covering the wide framed window. The stylists are dressed to impress in pink and purple. Everyone's hair was whipped to perfection. "Come on in, sit in the chair and would you like a cup of tea?" said the stylist in the pink and purple smock. "Oooh girl, I am impressed." I thought to myself as I told the stylist that I would like finger waves. She said, "Yes ma'am." I walked over to the sink where not only did I get my hair washed, but my blouse and legs got a soaking too. Water was everywhere. She scrubbed my scalp so hard that I got a headache. I guess she thought she was giving me a good head massage. She almost broke my neck. Back in the chair, she proceeded to dump almost an entire jar of gel on my head that resembled orange bees wax. Carefully, she sculptured each row to resemble a sea of beautiful water waves. As she finished, I glanced in the mirror only to spot clumps of orange goop. Three hours later? (That's another story) my masterpiece was finished. She slowly unwrapped the net from my head. The moment of truth has arrived. Ahahhh. Ahahhhhh Ahhhahh. I couldn't stop screaming. I spent all day at the salon and all I have to show for it is a matted mess. Now the orange goop had got deep in color and hardened into a wax sculpture around my hair. "I am not going outside like this!" I said. LOOK AT MY HAIR! LOOK AT IT! By the way, I do not like unisex salons. There were some nice looking men getting a haircut and they witnessed the entire episode. How embarrassing. The stylist apologized a thousand times and marched me back over to the sink where she used a hammer to chisel the orange sculpture from my hair. Well, it was not a hammer but that's how I felt. I ended walking out of there with a pigtail. You heard me, a pigtail. It is a style here you get just enough hair for the rubber band to catch hold. I will never go in any salon without getting at least two referrals and a hair police report.

The next time you are shopping in the mall and pass the local hair salon, just take a peak inside to see what is going on. Ask the clients for a referral and keep it in your shopping file just in case you should ever need it.

Belinda Trotter-James is a talented creator of beauty magazines. Ms. James developed several major national teenage magazines for Word Up! Publications. Hype Hair, 2 Hype and Try It Yourself Hair boosted circulation and opened doors for other magazine spin-offs and new advertisers for the company. In addition to writing and editing, Ms. James also combined her knowledge of marketing and the entertainment industry to promote the magazines. She cross-promoted celebrities with products and asked celebrities such as Queen Latifah to demonstrate correct hair care.

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