Anyone who knows me knows that I have a special relationship with my hair. And my hairdressers are very very important people in my life. The ladies of Khamit Kinks have cared for my hair for over ten years. They’ve seen me with weaves, braids, afros, twists and finally locs. I had my last appointment the third week of October where I was firmly reminded to get my hair done within six weeks. “Because Bisi, you how your hair gets”. Did I listen? Of course not.
I was two weeks overdue for my hair appointment and I found myself lost in Brixton. My Google maps was picking up a salon with a natural sounding name. I’ll say “Natural Roots” – not the real name of course. I booked and secured an appointment for the following weekend at “Natural Roots”.
The following weekend I showed up for my 4:30pm appointment on time. The salon soundtrack – a nice Erykah Badu vibe. The scene in the salon looked chaotic but clients were getting their hair done and sipping tea and eating biscuits. After waiting 5 minutes, I put my head in my Colson Whitehead novel to pass the time. My stylist approached me at 5:00pm, introduced herself and stated that she would have to wait for hot water before she shampooed my hair. I should have ran out of there but the vibes were good, my book was good and it’s hard finding a last minute hair appointment on Saturday afternoon.It all went downhill from the “no hot water”. I took the next series of events in stride- all the while saying. “I really need my hair done. It’s gotta get done today”.
Waiting for hot water to come, I noticed a shampoo girl filling up a bucket from a tall canister. She then walked over to the sink where she commenced in rinsing her client’s head with water from a bucket using a ladle. Soon after, my stylist tapped me on my leg and motioned for me to take the chair next to the ladle girl. Soon my stylist was rinsing my hair with bucket water. I had to pinch myself to remember where I was. Yes, I’m in London in a fancy salon that offers tea and biscuits. But momentarily, I pretended that I was five years old and my grandma was washing her hair in her sink. No worries
Then the steamer broke and fell on the ground a few times. All the while, I’m keeping my cool. It’s just the steamer. They just need a new steamer but at least they have working dryers.
Loc grooming went well. Bantu knots looking good! Starting to feel like this wasn’t such a bad appointment after all. I was under the dryer for no more than 20 minutes when the stylist says, “All done? I’m trying to get out of here.” and pulls me from under the dyer and handed me my bill. Anyone with a bit of volume and curls know that 20 minutes is not enough time to dry your head.
I was upset by having to leave the salon with a wet head but by that point, I wanted out as much as they all wanted to get to their party. But the card machine wasn’t working. The receptionist went to the sidewalk to catch a free wifi signal. Are you serious? I thought better of using their card reader and settled for the dodgy ATM machine at the corner store. Yeah I used a bespoke ATM machine in dispiration.
My search for my London hairdresser has been interesting. Never would I have thought that I would get a shampoo from a bucket of kettle heated water in a seemingly fancy “Natural” salon with tea and biscuits. Wet head and 90 pounds broke, I stopped by an electronics store on my way home and bought a hair dryer. I didn’t look half bad but I definitely wasn’t going back for another bucket water experience. I would’ve like to make statements about small businesses going through hardship, facing high rents, and high product prices, but I really just need a dependable hairdresser that has a successful business model and practice. Ms. Anu please open a London location of Khamit Kinks and bring some of your magic across the pond. But until that day my search continues… hair appointment due in one week.