OMHH Red Room Luxe Salon

I so wanted to like OMHH Red Room Luxe Salon for my straight styles but unfortunately this natural salon just did not prove to be a positive experience.  I had been checking out this natural hair salon (advertised as a “blow dry bar”) for a while and met the owner, Debra, a few times, including at the African Street Festival at Commodore Barry Park, where I was given a sample of the herbal hair & body wash.  She had natural hair (extensions) so again I thought I hit the jackpot.  I mistakenly believe that women with natural hair know how to deal with my hair.  I have been proven wrong time and time again.  I was wearing my hair in a wash and go during my first visit to the salon and later in twist outs so it was obvious that I have highly textured hair.

I stopped by the salon to give my opinion of the hair & body wash.  It got a thumbs down for my hair since it was too drying, almost clarifying.  While at the salon, I decided to book the wash, blow & go styling (flat ironing optional) as well as a trim.  Debra asked me to try the product as a body wash to see if I liked it, which I did.

I arrived 15 minutes early for my appointment and was promptly taken to the back of the store, where the salon is located.  Debra and I were the only two people in the salon.  I mentioned that although I found the hair & body wash stripping to my hair, it was a good body wash.

I had been wearing twist outs for a few weeks, trying out different products, and the twist out I wore to the salon was done with my own whipped shea butter and aloe mix.  My hair was combed out a bit with a wide toothed comb (looked like a shower comb) and rinsed with warm water then washed, twice, with the same hair & body wash that I stated was drying to my hair the prior week.  I suspect that the shea butter coating on my hair stopped it from acting as a clarifying shampoo.  An OMHH herbal conditioner was used as well as an OMHH light oil and I was placed under a hood dryer for about 15 minutes.  I had expected that Hair Rules product would be used in my hair since Debra mentioned several times when we spoke that she uses and likes the Hair Rules line, which is also sold at her shop.  The dryer reclined which was a cute idea.  The conditioner was rinsed out and I was then placed back under the hood dryer to recline for a bit.  When I asked Debra about this technique, since I was getting a blow out, she said that she likes to remove some of the moisture from the hair before blow drying.  I immediately became worried since I know it’s more difficult to blow dry my hair once it’s already dry i.e. Dominican blow outs on dried, roller set hair use a ton of heat to get my curly roots straight.  My hair dries really fast.  I went along with it to see how this dry before blow drying technique would work.

During the blow dry no heat protectant was used; however, my hair was blown out on a cool setting for the majority of the blow out.  There was no brush or comb attachment used – just a shower comb.  I asked Debra about this and she said she does not like to use a comb attachment since it pulls too much on the hair  – breakage presumably?  I rarely lose hair when I do my blow out at home so I was unsure of this reasoning.  Most salons blow out my natural hair with a brush or comb attachment to make it more smooth, which means less passes of the flat iron.

The blow out was not comfortable at first.  Debra did listen to me and was more gentle; however, I still was not pleased with the technique of trying to blow out dry natural hair.

After the blow out my hair did not look well at all.  It felt very dry, which is not normal for me after a blow out.  I mentioned that my hair was looking rough and it felt dry and was told that next time I should get a steam treatment.  There was a steamer in the corner near the wash basins.  Debra stretched a section of my hair down to show me how much she thought should be trimmed, which was at least 1 inch.  I said no, I was not willing to trim that much.  We then got into a discussion about the knots in my hair, sections of hair that were not really knots at all but hair that had not been combed out well.  She wanted to cut my hair up to the “knots”.  I explained that I have single strands knots since my small curls, some 1/8 of an inch, wrap around themselves and form tiny knots on individual strands.  I told Debra that I rarely wear my hair straight so the single strand knots do not bother me.  I then began to pull apart the “knotted” sections of hair to show Debra that it was just tangled hair that was not combed out.  I did not feel that my hair required a 1 inch cut.  I had not used heat in six months and for 3 of those months I was in twist extensions.

My blow out looked like a fluffy afro from the 70’s, not like a sleek salon blow out that was prepared for flat ironing.  I even said that out loud that I had a 70’s afro.  When the flat ironing started, I was again worried.  No heat protectant was used, in fact, no product at all was used.  Debra said she intended to add product to my hair after the flat iron.  Debra asked how I wanted my hair styled and I requested loose curls.  I was not happy with my hair at all and told Debra that I really did not understand her technique and that it was not working for my hair.   She asked me not to judge all blow dry bars based on this experience and asked if she could finish my hair.  I agreed to let her flat iron my hair.

She reached for the flat iron and the first section was swiped 4 times.  My hair did get smooth, but I normally only have to swipe my hair once or twice since my blow out gets my hair pretty straight.  Once my flat iron was complete, my hair did not look like it usually does after a flat iron.  Debra added an OMHH herbal scented oil to my hair.  It was already starting to frizz in some sections and Debra started to go over those frizzy sections again with the flat iron.  It was strangely dry to the touch and I could not run my hands through my hair without my fingers getting snagged in tangled sections.  Granted, there is no AC system in the salon (and it was a cool day) but my hair does not normally frizz right after a flat iron since I thoroughly moisturize my hair in preparation for heat styling such that my hair does not suck moisture from the air.   I told Debra that I was not happy with my hair and I did not want a trim and I also did not want it curled.

The appointment took 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Debra said she was going slowly so as not to hurt me.  I can usually get a salon blow out and flat iron done in 90 minutes or less.  I put my hair in a bun, paid (20% discount) and left.  I walked home (30 minute leisurely walk as I told my natural friend about the experience).  My hair had reverted by the time I got home.   It was shocking, so much so that I promptly pulled out my moisturizing conditioner, applied it to my dry hair along with coconut oil and sat under my steamer for 45 minutes.  Thankfully all of my curls reverted.  I saw no straight pieces at all.  Every curl popped back into place just as tightly coiled as before this salon visit.

I had considered getting a trim but I was just not comfortable enough with Debra to allow her to put scissors in my hair – yet alone an additional heat appliance (curling iron).  I ended up doing my own blow out and flat iron that same night just to prove to myself that it would come out better, which it did.  My blow out was done in 27 minutes and my flat iron was done in 35 minutes.  I knew it would not last long since I work out 6 to 7 days per week, but I wanted to make sure it was the technique and/or products and not my hair acting crazy.  I put my hair in a bun to get some waves once I was done with my own blow out and flat iron.

I really wanted to like OMHH Red Room Luxe Salon as my once in a while natural salon for straightening but it’s just not the case.  It was so odd to me that a long time natural stylist would put someone with kinky hair under a hood dryer in preparation for a blow out that it made me immediately uncomfortable.  I do my own hair for natural styles so I don’t really need a salon for that.  I’m sure Debra does well with braid styles, twists and maybe roller sets (she suggested a spiral set for me) but for a blow out and flat iron on kinky hair I cannot recommend this salon.