During my first haircut at college (not my first haircut ever, just my first one while a co-ed), the stylist told me that my hair was so dry it “wasn’t even taking the water” while he washed it. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I have a good idea and it involves lots of split ends. I’d also like to point out that naturally curly hair is always drier than straight hair, it’s a fact of life—welcome to my world.
The stylist also gave me an education on hair products before I went back to my dorm. He was black and he told me that I needed to use African American hair care products. He put some Right On Curl on my hair while I was in the barber chair and I liked the way it felt. More importantly I liked the way my hair looked with that product on it. Right On Curl is a curl activator moisturizer manufactured by Lustrasilk, a large ethnic hair product company. I asked my stylist where I could buy some Right On Curl. He replied that beauty supply stores sold it.
I left that salon on South University in Ann Arbor with much shorter and healthier hair. I also left on a mission. I had to get a yellow pages and find a beauty supply store I could take the bus to or find someone to give me a ride. A week or two later, I got a ride to a Sally Beauty Supply store off campus. I waltzed into the store excited to get my hands on some Right On Curl.
But when I asked the black sales lady with long braids to help me find the hair care product, she said: “that’s for black people.” I told her I knew that but that the guy who’d just cut my hair told me that I should use it in my hair. She looked disgusted and then grumbled: “Right On Curl is for black people, you shouldn’t use it.” She kept on saying this even after my explanation. When I tried to back away from her and find the curl activator on my own she chased after me. That sales woman literally chased me out of the Sally Beauty Supply.
I was enraged. How rude! Not to mention a bit racist. So what if I’m not black? Does that really mean I can’t use black hair care products? I don’t think so. I got back in my friend’s car ready to burst into tears. We spent the rest of that autumn, Michigan, afternoon searching for another beauty supply store. I finally found my Right On Curl and was permitted to purchase it. In fact I bought another Lustrasilk product to use after the Right On Curl. It was called Moisture Max.
I wanted to drive back to the Sally Beauty Supply and show off my 2 bottles of ethnic hair care products a la Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she went back to that snobby store on Rodeo Drive with all her expensive purchases, but I didn’t have the guts. I just wanted to go back to my room, put on my robe, haul my shower caddy to the communal bathroom and wash my hair and then douse it in you guessed it. . . Right On!