15 January 2013

Frustrated: The Salon Experience

9 month locs loc'd and retwisted
fully loc'd and freshly retwisted

Well I didn't waste any time. I went to a professional who retwisted my locs and salvaged what she could from my unravelling fro.

Stylers Afro Hair Salon: I went in for a quick chat to find out what had gone wrong with my hair and where I could go from here. I hate to be the demanding, fussy customer but with a journey like this and so many inappropriate salon experiences behind me I had to be clear. 

Upon initial inspection, Charlie, the manager, felt I'd have to start over from scratch (Smiling away, I cried a little inside). Her method of choice for starter locs was an unusual combination of back-combed two strand twists that were interlocked at the roots. She was confident that this was the best way to ensure the locs wouldn't unravel, which of course was exactly my problem.

unravelling loc afro

She could see my parts were still visible in areas and I reassured her that it looked worst than it was because my hair is thick. I explained that I would prefer to continue with the comb coil method with the intention of not washing my hair for a month. She went on to say that because my parts were so big comb coiling would be difficult but having done them myself I persisted (I was aware she thought I was too stubborn at this point). We came to the conclusion that I would be booked in for the next day and that I should do some research beforehand to consider her method. Of course I understood what benefits her method would have for my locs and how comb coiling is an up hill struggle but I trust the process.

For the sum of £60 I got a overhaul retwist using the comb method and an aloe vera gel that I had bought after being offered a choice of only Organics loc gel or some type of wax at the salon. 

The lady who did my hair (Hazel) was very nice and I was grateful that she took my preferences on board. I requested that she simply follow the parting pattern by recoiling sections that were unsalvageable and retwisting ones that had loc'd.

I was happy with the results. I haven't had gel in my hair since my very first week all those months ago but I tested the aloe and it washes out very easily. I don't plan to use it again simply because I don't need to but if ever I do it's there.

She did exactly what I wanted and I still have a number of my original locs. The parts are the same the size because she went through it one by one. The manager came over to help because she promised to be done in three hours (no breaks) and she mentioned how even though my parts look big, when they're twisted "they're actually a nice size". Well at least I got something right.

Now for the pros and cons starting with the cons:
  1. I don't think it should have taken three hours to twist 65-68 locs. With no prior washing and only 15 minutes under the drier I did wonder why it took so long.
  2. Once she reached the front of my head she seemed to lose track of where she laid the clips which meant my locs were sticking up very oddly when they dried.
  3. She twisted several locs too tightly, not at the roots but down the length. Many of them are actually curly now.
  4. The manager tried to charge me £65 because she felt my hair was "long". I had to speak up once she gave me her price card that stated £60. She didn't discount any further for having parts already set out and bringing my own product.
On the plus side:
  1. They were very patient and accommodating even though I asked for quite a bit.
  2. She let me have what I asked for without complaint.
  3. She gave good advice and seemed to know what she was talking about which was also backed up by her stylist's skills.
  4. The drier wasn't too hot or on for too long so I don't foresee any heat damage.
  5. The salon was clean and quiet.
  6. There was no pressure to come back, as in she didn't roll her eyes when I mentioned wanting to look after them myself, instead she gave good advice.
  7. She took before and after photos which suggests she is proud of the service quality she provides.
  8. Three hours may have been a good thing because each loc was thoroughly and consistently twisted without lumps or bumps.
  9. It didn't hurt at all and nothing was sore or tender when I left.

From here on out my locs are on their own.


**Photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DONOT use without permission**


  1. 3 hours? Dang. That's how long I spend in the salon with about 170 locs!

    1. Aha! I can't say she didn't do a thorough job.

  2. Wow, what a difference. I don't think my dreads have ever looked that defined. Your hair even looks to be as long as mine in the back. I can't wait to see how your salon dreads progress. Now you have me wondering if I should have forked out the money for salon-made dreads. Thanks for posting this update and the pics.

    1. Well my dreads were only groomed at the salon, they were of course started at home. As yours were started with extensions and with much longer hair (mine only looks similar in the photo because it hadn't shrunken yet) I guess you were able to bypass this stage when your dreads were forming?

      The major flaw in my journey so far was starting out too early. Unravelling was inevitable at that length, also I've been wondering whether my particular hair texture has anything to do with my recent issue but who knows..

      I'd say your locs are ideal for you so don't fret over "salon dreads".

  3. They look good but 3 hours, geesh! I'm glad you're happy with the results, I can't wait to see a follow-up...

    1. It was a pleasant enough experience.

      Month 10 coming soon :))

  4. I think they look really good and glad you are happy with the results. In my opinion, and it is only my opinion so of course you don't have to take it on, but I think you should go to the salon a couple more times before you continue to maintain your hair yourself. I think it is good to get used to the idea of mainitaining your own hair as you should know and get used to how your hair works, however because of the trouble you had in the early stages it makes life easier to have a professional keep an eye on the progress and health of your locs. I myself have been locked for 17 months now and only stopped going to the salon after about a year and washed my locs myself and as you are aware I attempted a retwist myself, that was because I felt confident that my hair was in a good enough state and my locs had matured enough for me to take over plus I like to save money lol. Ultimately the decision of course is yours but I would suggest it just so you can have the desired looked you are trying to acheive in the future without any further problems.

    1. I was inclined to agree with you MsP. Being new to dreads and first starting out I'd certainly recommend a salon approach, especially if you're not used to doing your own hair anyway.

      I don't know if I'll go back as washing doesn't seem like a service I should pay for and as I've written, the issued appeared to be solely due to over washing.

      I 'm waiting to see how developed my locs become and based on that I'd feel very comfortable palm-rolling them myself. I just took advantage of the extra money I had this month to have someone else do it with a better view and because I was beginning to give up.

      The manager did request that I pop in to update her on my dreads as she's curious to know how the comb method worked out for bigger locs. She said it would be a learning experience for her as well as me :D

  5. I hear you, as I said it was just an opinion, and as you reiterated you discovered the source of your inital problem so its all good. I hope from here on in the journey becomes easier and you get the results you are looking for. I will keep checking in on blog I am looking forward to seeing the progress

  6. Hi NL
    Happy new year! I am sorry to hear about your experience but also glad that you have also gained more knowledge.
    Each loc journey if different we may share similar highs and lows. But each persons hair type and lifestyle is different.
    I personally feel that a visit to a loc salon every now and then is a must. They if good, can spot any hair issues and advise. I know cost at times can be a problem. So treat your self at least 2 -3 times a year.
    As you know I hate un ravelling and interlocking helps with this issue but by my being a long term interlocker I can now also see some of the con's. such as thin locs even weak roots and hair loss.
    I am glad you went to a salon when you did. 3 hours does sound long for a re twist but trust me I have spent longer with shorter hair. Hence my very few visits to a salon. It may be worth trying another salon on your next treat just to compare differences. From your photo's they did a good job, anyway the journey goes on, I look forward to your next post.
    Stay blessed.

    1. Hey Ms Natty, You've been gone for quite some time, I'm looking out for an update? :D

      Looking back I can only be grateful to have learnt the lessons I have if for nothing more than to share it on this dreadlocks blog.

      Believe me I could see a lot of pluses with the interlocking method but also saw the cons you mentioned. That aside interlocking just wouldn't give me the look I'm after. By the way, how much does it cost to get your locs interlocked if and when you've had them professionally done?

      I agree when planning to have locs for a long, long time, the average person will inevitably end up in a salon. At least if you're not a hair guru and YT can't solve everything. I know I could've done it myself or gotten my mother to help like she did at month 4 but as you say we all have different lifestyles. Things are quite a bit different for me now than they were when I started.

  7. It seems that overall you had a positive experience. I'm glad the you haven't given up on your journey.

    1. of course, in all honesty if I were to "give up" my only two options would be a fro or a perm and I've never been quite up for the former even when I was a little girl.

      onwards and upwards :)