Black Braider Will Only Braid Flat-Ironed Hair, Charges ‘Inconvenience Fee’ For Natural Hair

hair braiding
Photo Credit: Ruslan Dashinsky/Getty Images

In today’s edition of WTH news, a braider has left many of us pissed, confused and flabbergasted after saying she refuses to braid any client’s hair that isn’t relaxed or flat-ironed to meet her silky-straight requirements.

[SEE ALSO: H&M Hair Outrage Highlights Texture Discrimination In Mainstream – And Black – Communities]

The braider, Shay Thirsty, posted a video of a braiding demo where she demands clients “pre-stretch” their blown-out natural hair.

“After you blow out your hair, you need to go over your ends with a flat iron,” she says in the video. She goes on to explain that clients who don’t flat iron their hair will either need to reschedule (and go home and flat-iron their hair) or be charged upwards of $40 for pressing and “inconvenience” fees if she has to do it.

“There will be a $15 inconvenience fee on top of the $25 dollar blow-out and press fee. It’s $25 if you’re natural. If you’re not natural and I have to just blow it out because your hair is extremely thick, then it’s a $15 charge plus the $15 inconvenience fee.”

In the full four-minute video, she goes on to pass a flat iron through the girl’s natural hair 12(!) times without combing it out first, without applying any heat protectant, and allowing it to basically sit and smoke on some parts of the sectioned-out hair.

For those worried about taking on heat damage for a protective style, shay goes on to say, “This is not going to damage your hair. Our hair can sustain anything. We have very great strong hair.”

This, for the record, is a bald-faced lie. Hair cannot sustain anything. Heat can and will damage hair. No matter how thick, natural, strong, healthy your hair is — sustained high heat will damage the hair — ranging from heat damage and loss of natural curl pattern to flat out frying and becoming brittle and broken (like the ends of Shay’s young model’s hair).

Now, it is common practice for braiders to require clients to have their hair washed and conditioned before getting it braided (most braiding licenses don’t allow for washing hair), as well as blown-out and combed. But, requiring a full-on silky press is outrageous.

Protective styles are meant to protect hair. Any braider with proper skills or training will know how to manipulate and braid your hair in its natural state. Excessive heat not only damages the hair, but braiding natural hair while bone straight can create tension and hair loss issues later as the hair attracts moisture and begins to shrink within the braid, pulling on edges and bottom of the braid.

If your braider is requiring that you have a silk-press for braids and you don’t want to, I highly suggest you look for another braider.

About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

isis is digital media director for Hype Hair and founder/Black beauty director for Sadiaa Black Beauty guide, the top hair and beauty directory for women of color.