The Devaluation Of The African-American Hairstylist And Salons

Professional Hairstylist And Salons Are Being Devalued….

God blessed Annie Turnbo Malone and Madame C.J. Walker with the gift of paving the way for black women to make a living for themselves with a trade that not only helped them take care of their family but also helped black women look and feel good about themselves.

Annie Turnbo Malone

Annie Malone and Madam C.J. Walker had vividly shown nearly every black community across the country, hairdressing was a vital means to economic independence.

Madame C.J. Walker Photo Courtesy of

  Frederick Douglass, the former slave and abolitionist, had noted the significance of the occupations to blacks when he wrote an editorial in 1853 titled “Learn Trades or Starve,” arguing that blacks could gain greater economic independence if they were given the opportunity to perfect useful skills.

One historian stated, “Barbershops, and beauty parlors, were independent businesses with a steady clientele and, as such, were important expressions of black entrepreneurial activity.” Cutting hair and cosmetology was recession-proof. It was, simply, another extension of Booker T. Washington’s philosophy of economic independence, and as such would have been a tremendously attractive occupation. Reference: (

The days of social media has devalued the professional hairstylist. YouTube is killing our industry and it’s a shame that the professionals are doing it to the industry themselves! Why teach non-professionals how to do what you do to make a living so they can turn around and charge less than what you’re charging in their kitchen? Why teach future clients how to do their own hair? The hairstylist that are posting the videos are looking for social media fame not realizing that they are helping bring down our industry. Women today are looking for who’s the cheapest, not caring about the health of their hair and all they want is that style they saw on social media. If you paid to go to school, why are you giving it away for free? The YouTube videos are also causing black women to lose their hair because they are letting kitchenticians (non-licensed hairstylist who do hair in their kitchen) style their hair. If you are a professional and you are spending money furthering your education, going to trade shows and buying the best products and tools to use on your clients, why would you give it to someone who isn’t willing to obtain a professional license, or spend money on the best products or tools for free on YouTube? They are mocking the professionals who post videos and they have NO knowledge on how to keep the hair healthy. There are over 30 million women suffering from hair loss and 70% of them are African-American women. Ladies there is a hair loss epidemic in the black communities and it’s sad to say that a lot of supposed to be industry professionals are aiding to this epidemic. Hair loss is a bigger problem than women are willing to admit at loud. It is a situation that causes low self-esteem and shame. It causes young ladies and little girls to be bullied at school. It causes an addiction to hair extensions which causes more hair damage and so on.

There used to be a time when the African-American salon was the place to be on the weekends! Black women knew that they were headed to a place where good conversations flourished and they were going to walk out looking fabulous and full of the latest news. Hairstylist were respected and the advice that was given by the professional was well respected because the clients knew that their hairstylist cared about them and the overall health of their hair. Ladies when a woman decides to choose a CAREER and yes I said CAREER most of the time it’s because she has a passion for making women look and feel beautiful. She gets a joy when she turns a client around to the mirror and the client is over joyed about how she looks. Professional hairstylist work long hours on their feet and they have to deal with different personalities on a daily basis and that alone can become stressful. Professional hairstylist are trained to care for their clients hair, their job is to keep the hair healthy and on the head. Why do some women feel that they can go in a professional salon and talk a hairstylist down on her prices? Why is the black professional hairstylist devalued? Hairstylist are being categorized by the groups of bad hairstylist and the unlicensed hairstylist. Some bad experiences that some women have experienced with the bad hairstylist has caused them to group all hairstylist in the same category and this is why the professional hairstylist is becoming more and more devalued. Women are accepting the unprofessional behaviors of salons and hairstylist and this is why professional hairstylist are devalued. As professionals we have to also value our profession first before anyone else does.