Austin Is Lacking In Hair Care Diversity

Austin Is Lacking In Hair Care Diversity

While Super Cuts are everywhere, Black owned hair salons are scarce.

One of the reasons I anticipate being home for the holidays is because I know I'll be able to get my hair done. As much as I love my small afro, it takes a lot of energy to get up early in the morning to moisturize, comb, and accessorize it depending on if I want to add a hair band or not.

After two years being in Austin, I still can't find a Black owned hair salon. Granted I haven't walked or taken the bus far enough to find one, but that's just it, I shouldn't have to. If UT Austin can have an ordinary barbershop, nail and hair salon, then there should be someplace close to accommodate Black students hair necessities.

When I searched Google for "Black-owned hair stylists in Austin", I was so excited to see a lot of red dots on the map, but when I looked closer and actually explored the suggestions, they weren't even Black hair salons. The salons had at least one but at most two stylists of color who may know how to do my hair, but I still wouldn't feel completely comfortable.

There's so much that goes into doing my hair. Unlike the Caucasian majority, my hair is more curly, coarse, and a tendency to dry out quickly if not moisturized enough. My hair also suffered a lot of damage from when I had put a relaxer on it for 6 years of my life until it got so brittle and broken that I had to cut it all off.

Back at home, it takes two to three hours just to get my hair trimmed. That's because my stylist not only has to shampoo and condition my hair using certain products, but they also give me a steam treatment and brush/straighten out my hair before they can even think about cutting the ends.

It's already disheartening to live in a city that's known as the "10th 'fastest-gentrifying city in the nation..." and going to a school where Black students only represent 5 percent of the total on-campus population.

It's aggravating how easy it is for hair salons to promote diversity in their shops, but most of the time they wouldn't know where to start with a Black person's hair.

The hair salons that could accommodate me on The Real Yellow Pages were much farther than the results I found on Google. The difference between the two search engines was YP's recommendations featured Black customers with sew-ins, braids, twist outs, and more. But their locations were farther away from campus and extremely expensive.

People of color need stylists with the same type of hair as them and are as easily accessible to their customers as White owned salons, plain and simple. But that's unlikely to happen since Austin will continue its dream of a gentrified society forcing residents of color and their businesses to move farther away.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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My Hair Journey After Box Bleaching My Hair

Although it may seem cheap and easy, the reality of box bleaching your hair is disastrous. Professionals, this article is dedicated to you.


In 2017, I made the disastrous decision to box bleach my hair that I am still paying for today.

It seemed cheap, easy, and was something fun I could do at midnight. Little did I know, this would be a choice that I would still be regretting to this day. Besides the awful reality of box bleaching your hair, such as the chemicals in store hair dye already being disastrous for your hair, if you don't know what you're doing you not only run the risk of damaging your hair, having your hair fall out, but could also seriously hurting your scalp.

Follow me on my hair journey over the past two years and use this article to look back on if you're ever bored and in need for a change. Wait to go to a salon!

May 23rd, 2017.

Nichole Doty

I like to call this moment the calm before the storm. Back in 2017, I had long dark hair. I loved my hair and was very proud of how long I grew it. This is the longest my hair had ever been at this point in my life, and I absolutely loved it.

July 31st, 2017.

Nichole Doty

This was the day that everything changed. I made the terrible decision to not only box bleach my hair but to add box pink hair dye on the underneath of it. Not only did it look terrible, but it was also an irreversible decision that was made that I would have to live with for the next few years to come.

August 12th, 2017.

Kasey Bauner, (kasey_bauner via instagram), who works at Jay Marie Salon and Spa in Schereville, was able to save my hair in a beautiful way.

Nichole Doty

HALLELUJAH! My hot mess was fixed! Through hours and hundreds of dollars later spent at the salon, they were able to salvage my hair without shaving all of it off!

December 9th, 2017.

Nichole Doty

A few months later, after some length came in, that's when the roots started to appear. After the first glace at the outgrowth, I knew that I would have to keep chopping my hair until the roots fully grew out.

January 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

This was the first big chop I had to do since the box bleach disaster I did to my head. I knew that I didn't want to dye my hair back to its original color, so this began my repetitive cycle of hair growing out, getting a drastic chop, and growing it out again.

July 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

In July, my hair started to show more length since I had to originally chop it. My roots were starting to come in the dark so I had to try and wear hairstyles that would discretely cover how much my hair had grown.

August 31st, 2018.

Another big chop when school started in the fall of 2018. There's something so disappointing about having to keep growing out your hair just to chop it, but unfortunately, that's what I signed up for when I got myself into this mess.

November 29th, 2018.

At this point, my roots looked terrible. From the back of my head, the roots were growing towards the middle. I had to keep reminding myself that I couldn't see the back of my head so I could gracefully ignore how terrible it looked. Aside from this awful outgrowth I had going on, the color in my hair was starting to settle into a yellow mess.

January 31st, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As if I didn't learn my lesson from the first time, I started to experiment with different colors. I used the L'Oreal Colorista Semi-Permanent dye. I will say, though, this really is the most Semi-Permanent dye I have ever used as it would fully wash out in two weeks without any traces of color left behind.

April 25th, 2019.

I felt as though if I added different colors to my hair it would make the roots look more natural. As it did, I do NOT recommend the Kiss Tintation hair dye. This was the most patchy dye I have ever used, although I did love the blue.

May 12th, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As of just a few weeks ago, my hair was a big green mess. The dye would not leave my hair, so I started to panic that I really messed up this time. I could no longer wait at this point as I felt the frantic need to chop my hair.

May 23rd, 2019.

Nichole Doty

Here we have it! At the end of my journey thus far, I have managed to almost have all of my natural colors back! Although there are some green strands still left behind, I am mostly back to a full head of hair being the same color.

Overall, I want this article to serve as a warning to those who are like me and don't think through decisions properly. I'm the type of person when I want something I want it at that exact moment no matter what. My rash decision has led to poor self esteem and issues throughout these past two years. Am I being dramatic? Maybe. Maybe I'm like you who feels as though your hair is a big part of your identity and who you are as a person. Thank you for following my hair journey and remember: ALWAYS think through big decisions properly and wait to go to a salon to get your hair done!


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