From Kinky To Straight: My “Signature Image Salon” Experience

To straighten or not to straighten? I’d been contemplating this for a good while. I couldn’t recall the last time my hair was striaght…maybe late 2011 or early 2012. Boredom was starting to set in and I was itching to try something different with my hair.  I know, I know – there is no such thing as being bored with natural hair, right?  WRONG!  I needed a break from my go-to style, my wash n’ go. I really wanted to see my hair in its stretched state and get a good idea of how much my hair had grown in the last couple of years, but the thought of straightening it literally terrified me! Blow dryers, flat irons, tons of heat, pulling and tugging on my gorgeous coils I had worked so hard to maintain and strengthen…OH HELL NAW! I’ve read countless stories of Naturalistas suffering from heat damage due to straightening and this was my biggest fear. Not to mention, no one else’s hands had touched my hair in years. I’ve always been pretty good with styling and caring for my own hair, so I never felt the need to spend tons of money on hair care.

Well, none of the factors I mentioned above stopped me from hunting for the perfect stylist who could give me exactly what I wanted – straight hair, a good trim and no heat damage. I’m EXTREMELY picky when it comes to my hair and I don’t have a go-to stylist that I trust, so this search was a daunting task.

My girlfriend, who is also a Naturalista, had recently decided to straighten her hair. Prior to going natural, she frequented an Aveda concepts salon and raved about the owner and head stylist. After drilling her on her entire experience I was sold. I decided to try Signature Image Salon in DC.

Signature Image Salon is an Aveda concepts salon located in the U Street Corridor area of DC, that specializes in natural hair care and styling. The owner, Vonetta, is an in-demand hair stylist, image specialist, etiquette coach, author, and professional speaker. Let’s just say she is the definition of “Awesome”!

Booking an appointment was extremely easy and convenient. I booked an appointment with Vonetta through the salon’s website and got several email reminders the week prior to my appointment to ensure that I still wanted to be serviced. Peep the deets on my experience below.

The Salon & The Staff – Upon entering the salon, I felt like I was stepping into salon heaven. I immediately fell in love with the ambiance, the set up and the extremely welcoming vibe. The salon is beautifully designed. The waiting area is filled with warm colors, a relaxing sitting area, lit candles, and an array of Aveda products to browse through. The lady at the front desk didn’t waste any time greeting me with a smile and checking me in. The salon wasn’t too busy so I was able to get in and get started immediately.

Hair Consultation – I was not expecting to have a consultation whatsoever, but I was more than happy to get an assessment of my hair. After a quick chat with a stylist (sorry, but I forgot her name) and Vonetta, and a quick observation of my hair in its natural state, they suggested that I get a wash, penetrating moisture steam treatment, blow out, trim and flat-iron. Vonetta explained that an intense moisture treatment was necessary prior to straightening natural hair. It protects the strands, reduces the chance of damage and makes the hair silky smooth during the straightening process.

Wash & Steam Treatment – The stylist took me back to the wash room and set me up in one of their super comfy wash chairs. She thoroughly washed my hair and also gave me a scalp massage that felt amazing. After the wash and scalp massage, she applied the penetrating moisture treatment and sat me under the steamer for about 15 minutes. I’ve heard great things about Aveda products. This was my first time using them and I was blown away. Their products are, hands down, AMAZING! The shampoo worked up a great lather, gave my scalp a slight tingling sensation and did not strip my hair. The penetrating moisture treatment left me speechless. I was really worried that my hair would be a matted mess and impossible to detangle since the stylist didn’t bother to section my hair before she washed it. I can barely work with my hair when it’s not sectioned due to my texture. The penetrating moisture treatment literally made my hair melt, seriously, it instantly felt like butter. I’m not sure what the hell is in that treatment, but I’m convinced its nothing short of pure magic. The steam session was icing on the cake. My hair was crazy moisturized, extremely shiny, manageable and tangle free. You could literally run a comb through my hair with no problems. When it comes to my hair…that is unheard of. Lol. I must say, that treatment was the best hair treatment I’ve ever had in my life. I’ll just call it the Aveda Magic. Throughout this entire experience the stylist continually asked me if I was okay, if there was anything I wanted her to do differently and if I was enjoying my experience so far. Talk about amazing customer service!

IMG_20140131_190832The Blow Out – The same stylist sat me down in her chair, detangled my hair in record time with a denman brush, applied a heat protectant mist, sectioned my hair and proceeded to blow my hair out on medium/high heat. She was very gentle and did not yank or force the brush through my hair. She took her time and strategically blew my hair out from root to tip with just a few passes of the blow dryer. Once she was done I was very pleased. I had not seen my hair in its straightened state in years. I was very impressed with its length, thickness and overall health. I was in LOVE! She made a point to show me her brush after she was done. There were no hairs in her brush…not one. She said that was proof that my hair was extremely healthy and I didn’t have any breakage issues. My consistent upkeep and hair care regimen was paying off. 🙂

imageTrim & Flat Iron – Initially I thought Vonetta would be working on my hair from beginning to end, but to my surprise she didn’t step in until it was time to trim and flat-iron. I was not bothered by this whatsoever sine my stylist had done such an amazing job up until this point. Once I was in Vonetta’s chair she asked me about my experience thus far and if there was anything she could do to make it better. I smiled and told her that I was 100% happy. She did a quick overview of my hair and my ends, and let me know how much she wanted to trim to eliminate the damaged, uneven ends and I was okay with that. She cut about an inch off. That may seem extreme to some, but to me it was not. My hair hadn’t been professionally trimmed or cut in years so I was holding on to some old, damaged ends. I called myself trimming my ends a few times but was never completely satisfied with the end results. After my trim I was very pleased with the my hair. My ends looked sooo much healthier and my hair finally had a nice shape to it. Vonetta then applied a light Aveda oil (heat protectant) to my hair and proceeded to flat-iron my hair in small sections. She is amazing with a pair of flat-irons. One pass of the flat-iron did the job. I didn’t want bone straight hair and opt for more body and she had no problem making that happen with just one pass of the flat-iron. I was beyond pleased with the end results.

imageOverall Experience – I officially have a new stylist and go-to salon whenever my hair needs some extra TLC. I could not find one thing that could have been done better. Vonetta’s staff are very experienced, friendly and just all around great. Vonetta is the absolute best! I even received a $20 discount off of my services since I was a new client. I highly recommend Signature Image Salon for your hair care needs. Vonetta works with all types of hair textures and her salon focuses on healthy hair. I had an exceptional experience and don’t plan on letting anyone else touch my hair.

So, the straight hair didn’t last long at all (…go figure)…I missed my curls! I enjoyed it for 4-5 days and was itching to wash it to see if my hair would revert. My hair reverted back to its natural curly state with one wash. Although I don’t plan on straightening my hair anytime soon (I may begin straightening my hair 1-2 times a year at the most), I do plan to visit the salon to try some of the other services they offer. Signature Image Salon is THE TRUTH!

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