Last weekend I declined all social invitations and dedicated time (and a lot of bum in seat time) to pampering myself. Well, parts of myself.
In May, I had taken off my braids and decided to keep my kinky afro to let my hair breathe before returning to protective styling. In any case, I knew what style of braids I wanted to do and the only person I trust was on maternity leave. She referred me to someone she trusted and so the journey began
On Saturday morning, I visited the much raved about hair and beauty salon Candi&Co in Randburg Square. Here is a review of the place that really helped my choice to let someone touch my hair – Wiscellaneous Get Candi Coated – I was a little bit hesitant because most of the people who have reviewed the place have different hair to mine. Them being black too, (though mixed race / coloured) would be mean we will have different hair and I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but jumped in anyway.
I arrived to clean, well lit, neutral in scent and quiet salon, (trust, if you’ve been to traditionally black salons, these are not things to immediately expect) – You can read a rant on black hair salons here – MissMillib Hair Chronicles & part two here
Back to me; my appointment was confirmed and I was asked to wait a few minutes while my stylist finished up on another client. While I waited I was offered a delicious cappuccino off the menu and free wi-fi. My stylist then led me to the seat on one of the two rows of chairs, we began with a form with personal details, work industry, health and exercise habits, hair behaviour and caring history, which then led to us discussing what kind of hair I have and how best to care for it. She then recommended treatments for me and I chose to have a deep scalp treatment, opted against heat drying and had a trim of my ends. I have coily hair and the tips tend to knot – I wanted to be able to comb easily so we took off about three centimeters. Hair care is intimate and I felt safe in her hands – I felt like she cared for what she was doing and the advise she was giving. She was very complimentary about my hair – though dry, she kept on telling me how well I’d taken care of it and that the texture was enviable. This is amazing to me because I kept it very simple in the self-care department. Wash, dry, oil, and then if I didn’t feel like styling, would put it into a headwrap and carry on with my day.
I was very happy with the results and would highly recommend a visit. I learned a lot about hair and the stresses that your scalp & hair can endure and how to counteract.
Next stop was to finally get my eyebrows threaded and shaped. Some background; a few months ago I had gone to barber on Slaone Street in Bryanston and the threading they did ended with me having freakishly thin brows. So I had to grow them out to their full size and rowdiness before being able to tame to the shape and size I wanted. Friend who had been accompanying me for the day guided me to a small centre at the bottom of 5th street in Linden to a little barber shop where my friend promised would become my go to place forever.
Indeed it was. I sat in the maestro’s chair, closed my eyes and allowed faith to take me to a place of serenity. The session lasted about 20 minutes, beginning with my begging not to repeat a too thin threading. The process itself sounds weird – cotton used basically pluck out each brow hair (is that was they are called?) until the desired shape is achieved. I am so impressed with my eyebrows I would take a look at my reflection at any and every opportunity the whole drive home.
The next morning, before the final phase of pampering – I posted this image to instagram and captioned it “going to get my hair did selfie” – I didn’t want the point of the picture “my stunning eyebrows” to be obvious, but secretly wished they were noticeable. Shameless vanity, I know.
And finally, Sunday morning, after having bought the hair piece to create the style that I was getting braided (Kinky – Afro Twist Braid) and arriving an hour later than my appointment – I know the drama of making an appointment, arriving and then waiting a while before being attended to – so I called my braid lady, Kate, to make sure she was ready
Arrived at this little Nigerian owned salon filled with food and hair scents, loud music competing with wonderfully crazy Nollywood film. All the stylists always all turn towards the door when you open, and while your eyes and nose and ears adjust to the explosion of senses they greet with big happy smiles. Already, you are sussed out, you can tell they are all trying to guess to themselves what you will be there for. Luckily, I’m already used to this non malicious judgement and I was expected.
Kate was finishing off plaiting this young man’s afro, whose hair that reaches his shoulders once braided. He is was the son of my salon crush – this gorgeous Nigerian woman married to a Dutch man and they with their three boys live in Sweden and every so often holiday in South Africa. I’ve seen the family three times at the salon and I might make a standing appointment for whenever she is there.
So, this was hour one of five of sitting still, reading, chatting, watching my salon crush and other patrons their do’s done, watching Nollywood films, live tweeting my day and complaining about numb bum, drinking Stoney and generally making sure that only one person was plaiting my hair – the women tend to help each other to work faster but I prefer one person being in charge of how my head will look.
5 hours later, we were twisting and boiling the ends
Finished product selfies below