I knew before coming to Spain that my hair would be a great challenge. Yes, there are people of color here, but most Black females I see across Europe have weaves or braids. Very seldom do I see someone with their own hair. I began asking around for hair salons and looking on line. Then one day whilst riding home in a cab, I saw a sign for a Peluquera and the words Afro-European next to it. It was right around the corner from my house and I couldn’t have been more excited. The next day I went in, talked to one of the employees and booked an appointment for the following week. I was taking a huge risk. I wanted a relaxer and didn’t know if they knew how to put one in or do hair, but it’s only hair. It will grow back – This has been my hair mantra no matter how I decide to style my hair: natural with no relaxer, my own hair relaxed, short Halle Barry cut, bob, wrap, etc.
The day of my hair appointment could not have come sooner. Like all visits to the hair salon, there is always a wait – even if there is only one person there (as in my case). It’s almost a golden rule that you must wait at hair salons. Even if you are the first person in line and in the chair, luck will not be on your side because you will still not be able to get out of the hair salon before someone else.
After waiting a long time, I settle on an Olive Oil relaxer. So far so good, I thought. She based my scalp, sectioned my hair, only applied the relaxer to the new growth…and then she let it set. I waited and waited and waited… I wasn’t burning, but I thought to myself ‘my hair is going to fall out’. I don’t know exactly how long I waited for her to rinse the relaxer out, but I know for sure it was beyond any amount of time I have ever waited for a relaxer to be rinsed out of my hair.
After the relaxer was finally rinsed out of my hair, I sat while a deep conditioner was applied to my hair. I got my hair thoroughly trimmed and then had my hair rolled, Dominican style. I sat under the dryer which seemed like an eternity and then I had my hair blew out hair Dominican style as well.
Similar to other African hair shops I have attended (mostly when I get my hair braided) more than one person was doing my hair. It was kind of odd because I have never had two people blow drying my hair at the same time. Now, imagine the worse burning and tugging experience at a Dominican salon. Now imagine that feeling on both sides of your head. I was in sheer agony, but I was happy to have a Dominican hair salon experience although the women were not Dominican.
From there, the experience went downhill. They attempted to flat iron my hair whilst spraying and applying all kinds of products on my hair that were not made for my hair. They failed miserably as giving me a basic ‘wrap’. I kindly thanked them, inquired about future services, and immediately went home and took a flatiron to my hair. I wrapped it properly, put my scarf on, and was happy that I could at least fix my hair the way I like (had I not been able to, the trip to the salon would have been a total disaster). Whilst wrapping my hair, I noticed that my prediction came true; my hair was over processed and my edges had broken off. Also, my hair changed colors. I now have a red/light brown tint to it!!
I’m still on the lookout for other salons, but I will go back as long as I specify what products I want used or do not want used in my hair. At the end of the day, very few people have been able to style my hair like I like it (shout out to Adrian in Chicago). I have noticed a Black Hair salon in Lavapies not far from the train station and several hair braiding shops near Sol (they are inside of tattoo shops).
The picture of me on this post was taken a few days ago in Switzerland. I have received many comments about my hair – so it wasn’t a total disaster, but ladies I have some advice for you – learn how to do your own hair. It will come in handy when you can’t get to a proper salon!
If you are in Spain (Madrid specifically)and have been to a hair salon that specializes in Black hair please let me know where you get your hair done.