When it comes to Black women’s hair, no one knows our hair like we do.
Whether we’re 4C with tight coils or 3A with loose waves, the hair of a Black girl is a unique experience. Hence the rule our mommas taught us — don’t let just anybody play in your hair.
With the summer coming to a close before our eyes and a new school year on the horizon, a lot of us want to try some new looks. Not just a new braided style or trim here or there, but we’re talking about color. Maybe you’ve been following this one Instagram influencer’s hair journey for a minute and you felt inspired to try something new? Maybe you woke up and said you want to go cotton candy pink? Whatever the case may be, this young Black beauty business owner has the tea on hair dying and color maintenance just for other young Black girls!
Inspired by the idea of wanting more than what was presented to her, this young Black entrepreneur sought out to create an experience for her clients dating back to her mother’s living room. Zanaysia Squires, owner of Haus of Imprints, is the founder of a luxury beauty bar where clients from all over can feel like they’re comfortable at home while feeling pampered and beautiful.
Photo Credit: Haus of Imprints
“During the pandemic, it made me realize how important a hairstylist can be to someone. Does it sound crazy?,” Squires posed to Girls United. “It may but for many suffering from pandemic depression, it helped tremendously.” As a recent graduate from cosmetology school earlier this month, achieving balance was a skill that Squires had to master and quick in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle between being a successful entrepreneur and learning the ins and outs of the beauty business.
“The process of opening my beauty bar was very exhausting and discouraging at times. My salon was an empty box with little to nothing in it; just basic necessities. Everything needed to be done from the ugly concrete floors to the molding on the walls,” the 25-year-old said. Squires admitted that while she didn’t know how to do a lot of the labor and ground work, she taught herself how to mount, install light fixtures, rewiring, and more. “I received the keys to my salon in April, and July 31 was literally the day I finished; the day of my grand opening. It was stressful but such a learning experience. I didn’t have anyone to help me with my vision. It was just me and my brain late at night putting the pieces together.”
Below, Squires spoke with Girls United about her tips and tricks for Black girls who are new to the space of dying their hair for the very first time. Whether you’re looking to go icy blonde or bubble gum pink with blue patches, take heed to the advice given by this professional and you can’t go wrong!
What Are The Differences Between White Hair And Black Hair?
This is a big question I get. Honestly, we Black women and our white counterparts both have hair that can be just as delicate. The process may look a little different because our hair has texture to it, so you have to visualize how everything looks no matter which way we may wear our hair. Our hair is so versatile and that’s the best part about it. When dealing with both, you have to of course consider skin tones, eye color, and the client’s everyday life. When dealing with how our hair reacts to chemicals, we have to make sure the chemicals won’t damage our natural curl patterns and won’t cause irreversible damage resulting in a big chop.
Let’s Learn Your Hair History, Shall We?
When dying a client’s hair, I do a thorough hair history. I find out what the client has been doing to their hair the last few years [because] the health of the client’s hair is most important. I am not afraid to tell a client, ‘No, this won’t work but this will.’ A lot of people want the luxury of color service, however, [either] their hair can’t take it or they don’t know how to maintain and keep their hair healthy. I look for any weak points within the client’s head — are there a lot of split ends? Are you willing to cut off this inch of damaged hair and give yourself a clean slate?
One thing I learned is COVID caused a lot of women to lose their hair post-testing positive. There can be many reasons why this is happening, however, most people are unaware and haven’t been able to make the connection. Now, something I ask my clients is, “Have you tested positive for COVID in the last year?” If so, I make them wait at least 3 months to see if their hair goes through any drastic changes. I get a rundown of what the client has been using in their hair. The things we usually walk into a regular beauty supply or drug store to buy are usually the worst things we can use, especially for textured hair. My biggest priority is maintaining the integrity of the hair. You can have a beautiful color with healthy hair if you approach it correctly.
Box Dye, Oh My!
Most people come in having used box dye for years, which is one of the hardest things to work with because you’re almost never going to get the results you’re looking for if you’re looking to go blonde. After using box dye, your hair is always gonna lift orange or red tones which is hard to remove and will take several sessions without damaging your hair. Most people don’t want it [because] they want the color they want in one session which may not be possible at all. The chemicals used in box dye are very harsh and harmful to your hair.
I 100% suggest professional-grade color before box color. If your life is busy and you don’t have time to do your hair, color is not for you. Once you make the decision to color your hair, you have to be nice to it and you have to show it a little extra love and TLC. If taking care of your colored hair is an inconvenience, don’t bother. Wait until you have the time and the money to invest into yourself because that’s what going lighter is – an investment.
I’ve Dyed My Hair – What Next?
The aftercare process after coloring your hair really isn’t as hard as it seems. With the right products, it will save you a lot of heartbreak. I love OLAPLEX; it’s a lifesaver and will bring some heads back from the dead almost. For the last two years, I’ve spent all my time and money using OLAPLEX. It’s a bond-building system that is not only for “white” people, as many of my clients say, but it’s a very amazing system that works great for Black people as well. It works the same no matter the color of your skin.
When we color our hair, the lighteners break the bonds. When bonds are broken, that’s when the hair can become damaged, Using a bonder helps prevent bonds from breaking during lightening, and after coloring, continuing to use the bonds preps your hair for any future vulnerabilities. Mizani is also an amazing product especially if your natural. OUIDAD as well for my textured curly hair clients.
Advice For Budding Beauty Entrepreneurs
It is so important for young beautiful Black women to have their own peace of mind, their own baby, something to call their own. My family thought I was crazy when woke up and decided to quit my 9-5 job that had a pension, but I just knew there was more to life for me. I was living check to check, had no desire to do what it is I was doing, my boss was racist, and I felt very [unappreciated.] It was tough walking in there every day knowing I was going to work for someone who didn’t even want me working for them. Sadly, this is the case for a lot of people.
We have control over our future. This is the time of entrepreneurship and us breaking generational curses. When it’s yours, it’s something no one can take from you. You get the joy of building it from the ground up and watching it blossom into something beautiful that can also make you money. If you’re going to do it, make it something you love doing, something that will actually make you happy. It’s not easy but it’s so worth it. If someone told me I would be here 10 years ago, I would think it was impossible. The sky is the limit. Make your dreams, visions, and crazy ideas come to life. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work out, but at least you’ll know what to do better next time.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Edgardo Contreras