In addition to being a ginger supremacist, I am also a curly hair supremacist. For some reason, it also seems that many redheads have curly hair. Whenever someone sees me with straight hair and gives me the backhanded compliment, "You look so much better with straight hair," a little piece of me dies inside. God gave me natural curls for a reason, and I intend not to test Him. It's just like how people with raccoon eyes tell you how much better you look when you wear double black mascara, even though your eyebrows are nearly invisible, and it's clearly unnatural. Plus, many, many straight men have complimented me on the curls, so all the keratin-treated sorority girls from buttfuck Egypt of Ohio can go fuck themselves, I say. I want to have some edge and not live in the world of plain white J.Crew toast like with them.
About a week ago, I told some friends that I could write a book on curly hair because I know so much about it. Their response? "You should." I don't have the cajones to try to write a book yet so I figure a few blog posts will suffice for now. Who reads books anymore, anyway? Plus, pretty sure Ouidad has that covered with their "Curl Talk" book.
So here are my reviews of Chicago salons for getting curly (and thick and red) hair cut:
1. Sine Qua Non: This salon has several locations throughout the city and was recommended to me as being great for curly hair. Of course I should have been skeptical when it was someone with straight hair who recommended it. And I also should have been skeptical when I called and asked for a stylist who was good with curly hair and they responded, "Everyone here is good with curly hair." Always a bad sign--very few stylists are actually good with us kinksters. I went to the one on Lincoln Ave, sort of near Southport Corridor. I simply had a trim, and I got bangs, what's usually considered a curly girl faux pax. Although the bangs looked like a rare breed of a red-haired squirrel had landed on my head for the next day (I'll never forget my boss staring at my forehead, not saying a word), I eventually figured out how to make them look nice. (A few weeks later, I went back to get a free bang trim, and the lady cut them unevenly so I had to take a scissors and even it out.) With my shaky hands, that's not a great idea.The girl also gave me a card and told me I needed to use a minimum of 5 products to style my hair everyday. Now every curly girl knows the less products, the better. You're supposed to only use one, but I find 2-3 products work best for me. However, my curls looked incredible after this cut! A few days later, however, I realized they did a much better job styling my hair than cutting my hair. 2 & 1/2 stars out of 5. (And the 1/2 is for the styling.
2. Black Hearts Hair Salon: After my experience with the more Sine Qua Non, a more "uppity" type of salon, I decided to try the opposite end of the spectrum and go to an edgy/punk salon nearby. My past experience has been that these types of salons are good with curls and actually encourage them, unlike many of the big-name expensive salons that are all about sleek, straight hair. The salon was cool, my stylist told me about her transgendered ex-boyfriend and how her parents just didn't get it, and they didn't offer me cucumber water or whatever the fuck that shit they always offer you is. I felt a lot more comfortable here. And they did give me an "edgier" long haircut (which can be tough to do) but unfortunately, it wasn't very flattering. They basically razored the shit out of my layers and it came out with sort of these chunks of wavy frizziness. Kind of reminiscent of all the members of Aerosmith back in the day or any male drummer from a classic rock band. Perhaps if I looked less innocent or wore double black mascara with cat eyeliner more often or was in a hair band, I could've pulled it off. But alas, at heart, I want to be pretty over edgy. 1 & 1/2 stars (But if you want an edgy haircut, are in a band & have straight hair, I'd highly recommend this place. It's just not for us curly Qs.)
3. Yehia & Co: I had read reviews on Yelp of this place in Printer's Row, and saw several people comment on how Emad is one of the few people in the entire city who understands curly hair. My best hair stylist ever was male, and I had recently moved to the south side, so I decided to try this place. Imagine my surprise when I start to walk in … and everyone turns to stair at me. All the clientele are black. Did I just book a hair appointment at black hair salon??? When Yelp reviewers said "curly hair", did they mean natural black hair? I decided to stay, uncomfortable as I was, because once in my past, when my hair was much frizzier and more uncontrollable, my mom thought maybe it would've been a good idea to go to a black hair salon. They might've known what to do with this mess. Afterall, no hair salons in small town Wisconsin are used to dealing with Jew fros. I also started to relax when I realized Emad was cutting a Hispanic woman's curly hair, curlier than mine. And he cut it curly and dry, like every good curly hair dresser knows to do. 'He must know what he's doing then,' I thought. When it came time to get in the chair, he did a really great job cutting. … but then he started using Aveda products. Now every straight-haired female from buttfuck Egypt of Ohio thinks Aveda salons are God's gift to hair. But if you have curly/frizzy hair, you know that they are just overpriced bottles of white cream that happen to have great branding. (FYI: Every curly girl knows Tresseme mousse is God's gift to the curly-haired on a budget. Seriously, the girls I know with the kinkiest of curls will recommend it.) Then, without asking, Emad proceeded to straighten my hair. I have to say, it looked G-R-E-A-T straight, and I got tons of compliments from friends who didn't recognize me at a party I went to that night. So Aveda products are good for something, just not curls. And within the next few weeks, due to a deep conditioning treatment that I think they gave me even though it was meant for black hair, my curls looked great. So I kept going back again and again and again. Emad did a good job for the most part, but eventually, either my hair changed or he wasn't layering it right or the straightening was taking a toll, because my hair just wasn't looking as well shaped as I knew it could. But he was a straight male hairdresser and fawned over my "wavy" hair, so I kept coming back. I should've known when one day, he asked me if I wanted to leave with my hair straight or curly, and when I said "curly", they first straightened it and then curled it with a curling iron. My girlfriends loved it and said it looked very old Hollywood…so again, I have to say that they're great stylists. On a non-haircut related note, this salon is quite dirty, they don't do a whole lot to make you feel uncomfortable, and they can be kind of rude. Most of the people who work there are Middle Eastern (I believe mostly Iraqi), and they'll literally stop in the middle of cutting your hair to take a smoke break outside. They also have a separate person do your wash, so you have two people to tip instead of just one. It feels a little bit like there's something fishy going on there (and not just because they're Iraqi). In fact, one Yelp reviewer believes it's a front for a terrorist organization. (I think the comment has since been removed.) It also gets really hot during the summer, and once when Emad was blow drying and straightening my hair when it was only 80 degrees outside, I started sweating so much that he made me go outside for a break and drink water. I spent about a year going to this salon. 3 1/2 stars out of 5
4. Chicago Haircare: The way you can tell immediately if a hairstylist will be good with curls is if they have curly hair themselves. Raydine Vigil does, and in fact, she became a hairstylist because of her own struggle with finding someone good at cutting curly hair. I stumbled upon Raydine at the recommendation of a friend (who has since moved on from her.) Raydine also has lots of great reviews on NaturallyCurly.com. I've only been to her twice, but so far she's been the best curly stylist I've seen in the city. She studied my hair to understand the curl pattern, and thinks about how to best customize the cut to your hair type instead of a one-cut-fits-all mentality. She'll give you honest feedback about what will/won't look good with your face shape, and she helped me pick out low cost products that would work best for my particular hair. In other words, she didn't push the Ouidad or other expensive products on me and actually took into consideration that I don't want to spend a ton of money on products. I also knew she was good when she didn't talk while cutting my hair. If you have five times the amount of hair as the average person like I do, then your stylist better damn well pay attention when she's cutting it. The place is unassuming on the outside and between Addison and Ashland streets, so it's not exactly in the middle of Utopia but it's not a bad location either. You're the only client in the salon…or at least I have always been. The best part is, she doesn't accept tips. She's not your typical gossipy stylist, but by watching her interactions with other clientele, I can tell she is very well liked. One thing though: if you cancel an appointment or show up too late, she's not very accommodating. This is not a customer's always right place, and I think she's able to get away with that. It seems she's trying to make sure she has enough time for clients who she knows she can rely on to be there. I would also say that I think she's better at cutting than she is at styling, and that's what's important to me. 4 stars out of 5
The above are the only salons I've been to in the city but I have a few more I would like to try:
5. Art & Science: Like Sine Qua Non, Art & Science has a few locations in the city and is known for being good with curly hair. I've seen quite a few straight-haired friends get new and impressive looks from Art & Science and hear that they have a rigorous training program. I know of one curly-Q who gets her haircut here, and apparently it's pretty good. Still, I'm skeptical when it's only straight-haired friends who say the place is great for curly hair…and it seems to be on a parallel with Sine Qua Non which I didn't have the greatest experience with. I prefer to stick to the curly-specific places.
6. Fox Hair: This is one and only Ouidad-certified salon in Chicago. I've been dying to try it, but a cut is $100, and I don't want to get addicted. Plus Ouidad-certified doesn't necessarily mean they're on par with Ouidad's flagship salon in New York (which btw, I am DYING to get my hair cut at. If only I had known about Ouidad when I was younger and much frizzier!!!)
7. Lana Cyrus: My friend N. who I bond over having curly hair with recommended Lana. Once, apparently Lana told her, "So I was thinking about your hair, and there's this short haircut that would look so great on you but it's just so pretty long!" If someone is thinking about your hair when you aren't physically in front of them, you know that they must be passionate about their work.
8. Devachan salons: Devachan seems to be the competitive answer to Ouidad, and like Ouidad, some people swear by it. I'd love to try it.
Have any of you had good luck with getting curly haircuts in Chicago?
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