Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Got My Herr Did at an Egyptian Salon!

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Yes, you read that correctly! I let a non-black woman do my hair! For those of you who haven't heard, hair is a big deal to black woman. Because our hair texture is so unique, it's difficult to find non-black people that can properly maintain it. Even shampooing black hair can turn terribly wrong and end up in tangles  if you don't kno what you're doing! I've been observing the texture of Egyptian womens' hair and the technique they use to straighten it. Like black women, the textures range from tightly coiled, coarse curls to loose waves. Most of the women go to the salon weekly to get their hair flat-ironed straight. A few black female expats have recommended that I try the Egyptian salons instead of my futile battle with the creamy-crack (permanent relaxers). Because all the women I've known who regular visit Egyptian salons have natural, non-chemically processed hair, I was hesitant to take their advice. Relaxed hair is more fragile than hair in its natural state.

This week, my new roommates and I threw a birthday/house-warming party. I am currently 2 months post-relaxer and I've been tying my hair into an ever-lasting ponytail so that I can avoid combing through my thick new growth.Nonetheless, I really wanted to look nice for the party and actually dress up so I spent the entire week whining to my roommates that I didn't know what to do with my hair. My Somalian roommate suggested that I just go to the Egyptians and let them flat iron it. I considered this a last resort for some time until she went to the salon by our apartment and got her hair done. She returned with her naturally curly hair sleek and shiny. Ok, I thought, it worked for her but we don't have the same hair texture. They could still totally screw my hair up...

Finally, the day of our party came and I had no desire to battle my tresses myself so I took a deep breath, said a couple Hail Mary's, and trudged over to the salon nearby. Fatma, the beautician, greeted me with a smile and took me over to the sink to wash and condition my hair. I'd brought my Wave Nouveau moisturizer and I asked her to put it in my hair to serve as  heat-protection. She then sat me in front of a mirror and pulled out a rounder brush and a blow dryer. Oh gosh, this is going to be painful, I thought. I'd like to see her get through these thick roots with just that! I braced myself for what I was certain would be an agonizing experience.

To my surprise, it didn't hurt at all! Fatma parted my hair into fours and rolled the rounder brush through each sections as she held the blow dryer to my hair. The technique was what I've come to know as the Dominican Blowout except that the Dominican salons usually precede this process with a rollerset under the hairdryer. After the blow out,  she flat ironed my hair to get any remaining curl out. She worked so quickly and efficiently, that I was surprised when we were done. I looked in the mirror and admired the weightless and bouncy feel of my newly straightened hair. I finally exhaled a sigh of relief and smiled! I loved the end-results*!

All Egyptian salons use similar techniques to straighten hair. The cost is about 20-30 LE (approximately $4-6). Although I wouldn't recommend the technique on a regular basis b/c of the harsh effects of direct heat being applied to your hair, it's nice for a special occasion.


*the crimp in my hair is my fault b/c I tried to wrap it to shower later on 

18 comments:

Farah Fanciful said...

I would have been scared senseless. Cairo sounds very interesting. Beautifully written:)

dnyree said...

In chicago (where I'm from) there are a lot of egyption salons there. For the most part they use similar techniques that the black salons in chicago do in terms of cutting and blowing out. They use too much heat of course, but the round brush technique from wet to dry (no roller set) has been how my hair has always been done for the most part. I never knew of dominican salons until i moved to NYC. [A.Euros]

ohradiogirl said...

Yes, it was looking nice at the birthday party.

Tiarra said...

And I know of nothing aside from the traditional relaxer running me the equivalent of a car note. =_=() Thanks for sharing this! I'm a new reader, but I look forward to following your blog in the future. :) Take care!

Frenchie said...

Thanks for the support ladies and welcome Tiarra!

Shrilaraune said...

Frenchie! This blog is a life saver. Seriously. I am going to attend the American University in Cairo this fall for a semester and I have so many questions that only another young black woman could answer. I'll start with this one: What do I do with my hair? I am officially natural and have been rocking an afro for a little bit now. But my hair is long and healthy enough now that I am considering straightening it for my duration in Cairo (I'm not sure how an afro would be received by the population at large). I just plan to roller set, overdose on heat protecterant and then flat iron (once a week mind you). Is this unreasonable with the weather in Cairo (and the dust)? My mother personally thinks it would be too much of a hassle. Is she right, do you think?
I look forward to any advice!
Chloe

Frenchie said...

Hey Chloe,

Natural hair will attract a lot of attention in Cairo. I've seen very few afros since the Egyptians meticulously straighten any chance of curl out of their hair. 3 of my friends have dreads and they received constant comments from people fascinated by their hair. However, if you are staying on AUC's campus, you will be in a bubble for the most part and wont have to worry about wearing your fro freely.

Haircare is a subject I'm constantly exploring. I'd advise you to bring all the things you need with you initially. Once you get here, you'll find almost all the products you need can be found here and there with a little digging.

You can certainly straighten it every week w/o worrying about the style not lasting due to the lack of humidity here but it probably wont be the best thing for your hair overtime. My roommate straightens her hair on a weekly basis at an Egyptian salon. Like I said, most are equipped to straighten the black out of anyones hair lol. In the end, its up to you how to you decide to wear your hair and keep it healthy but i have so many posts on the topic that you can learn from my trails and errors lol

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but your post sounded so ignorant to me. You are african american and from what I understand is that egypt is in africa therfore AFRICAN AMERICANS and AFRICANS come from the same bloodline although we live in america and they live in africa. Basically I'm trying to understand what you meant by "I let a non-black woman do my hair." I had to shake my head when I read that. I will not be returning to your blog ever again. Please stop being so ignorant. Have a nice day :)

Frenchie said...

Clearly you have never been to Egypt and you have no clue how much the culture derides anything associated with blackness or Africa. Your post not only belies your own ignorance but also your failure to actually read the MANY blog posts i have discussing this topic. Whether or not you return to my blog is no concern of mine or anyone elses.Please read a book or seek some other form of expanding your narrow-minded worldview in the meantime.

Anonymous said...

I agree, @ anon, your comment was the ignorant one...meaning you have no clue what you are talking about. Africa is a huge continent and holds a variety of races, ethnicities,etc. There are plenty of non-black peoples in Egypt. Eventhough I have never been, I know for a fact there are (in addition to Black Africans) Caucasians and Arabs not just in Egypt but the entire continent!

Rey-Nichole said...

Hey Frenchie!
I'am new to Cairo..I moved here from the states, Ive been here for 2 months exactly...I'am also natural. I found this blog site just by typing in natural hair in Cairo, and to my surprise I came across this blog site! :)
I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this, I will consider giving this a try! btw was it expensive???(ps.. I understand why you made the comment "non-black women"..most egyptians do NOT consider themselves to be black..I have observed their behavior of how they treat the "Africans" here and its baffling!)

Frenchie said...

Hi,

I hope your trip is off to a good start! Its about 20 LE to get your hair straightened at any Egyptian salon. The technique they use straightens any type of hair but I'd warn you against getting perms there. I learned the hard way that the chemicals in their boxes are harsher than US relaxers.

Mary said...

Awesome! Wonder if all Egyptian salons are good for natural hair... but I kinda like the idea..

cara said...

Nice start guys...I went through the website and I found that you made decent point for Keep up the topic that everyone can choose one of the best. Thanks

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jessica said...

I love how this website not only gives you hair advice, but they give you fashion and life advice as well. From how to deal with your child’s natural hair, to the significance of good and bad hair days and more

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