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Black Model Mortified After Stylist Calls Her Traditional African Hair-Cleaning Techniques ‘Dirty’

Romilly Lockyer/GettyImages

Why is it so difficult to admit you may not know something?

You don’t know, you learn.

It feels like often times when we don’t know something we try to place blame on something or someone else instead of admitting defeat.

That can have some disastrous effects.

Case in point…

Redditor Zealousideal_Lie5054 wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“WIBTA if I call out a stylist for being racist?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I was at a fashion show as a model.”

“And when it came time for the hair stylist to do my look, she started spraying alcohol based hairspray all over my afro.”

“All ready a huge no no, but I didn’t want to be labeled as difficult, so I let her continue.”

“Dreading the damage I would have to deal with later, hey the show must go on right?”

“The real problem started when she went to pick out my fro, trying to get a certain section to even out with the rest of the afro.”

“If you guys don’t know anything about afro hair, basically you have to use heat to puff it out, or use an overnight twist method.”

“The heat essentially freezes the curl, not allowing it to shrink back to its original size.”

“However, all of these methods become undone with liquid or water.”

“Essentially she had sprayed the hair so much, it began to revert back to its original state.”

“She then tried to pull the hair out again, just for it to shoot right back like a spring.”

“At this point I asked if she needed help, and showed her the tools I use to fluff it up, back to an afro.”

“She instantly told me the products I use weren’t good.”

“And that I have too much product build up, and thats why it was shrinking back up.”

“I told her that I only use a single product once a month for special occasions, such as this.”

“After that she started interrogating me about how I wash my hair.”

“Asking me what shampoos I use, but I don’t use shampoo and told her as much.”

“I told her that I use African detoxifying methods, vinegars, lemons, black and red clay.”

“She starts talking very loudly about how dirty I am, and how that doesn’t wash anything, I was completely embarrassed.”

“The only response I could think of was to say, ‘I’m black, I use black methods, they didn’t have head and shoulders’ in the bush, and they seemed to do just fine.'”

“But it wasn’t enough, and she still continued to joke about my cleanliness.”

“And suggested new ‘natural’ shampoos for me to try.”

“The thing is my best friend is a chemist, and we have looked through so many different brands.”

“Searching for ones without Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and all of the brands I have dismissed were the ones she suggested.”

“I have to see them again next week, WIBTA for calling her out on calling traditional African techniques dirty.”

“And promoting chemical laced products as natural?”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP would NOT be the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. I’m white and even I know that what she did was incompetent.”

“Then she doubled down on her ignorance by calling you dirty?!”

“She should never be allowed to work in the industry again, that is just unacceptable.”  ~ Izzy4162305

“Lemon and vinegar are well known for being good cleaning products.”

“OP’s hair sounds cleaner than mine lol how could this awful woman call her dirty?”

“Hope she gets fired.”  ~ Due-Wrap9790

“This! I’m white and not a stylist, and even I know that Black hair needs to be treated differently to mine.”

“If I needed to know how to treat hair I’m not familiar with, I would ASK SOMEONE WHO KNOWS like the person who has the hair… facepalm!”  ~ chumpydiplodocus

“NTA!! A good stylist would know the different hair textures.”

“A question you may want to ask future stylists: ‘what experience do you have with Afro-American hair.'”

“A true professional will admit where their strengths and shortfalls are.”  ~ BigBadBobJr_1968

“If you can, talk to someone above her, then drag her racist butt because she deserves it.”

“Just because methods differ doesn’t mean she can call them, and you, dirty, loudly and in public at that.”

“On top of that she damaged your hair!”

“Clearly, YWNBTA if you called her out.”  ~ Psychological_Ad3329

“NTA. The stylist has, presumably, gone to beauty college or at least has done some kind of hairdressing course.”

“If they don’t know how to do Afro hair or haven’t learned about the different ways to take care of it, that’s their problem, not yours.”

“You have the right to call them out for being racist and to refuse to let them work on your hair again.”

“You could tell them to do more research about afro hair.”

“But it isn’t your responsibility to teach them about something they should have already studied.”

“Especially if they wish to get more work with a wider clientele.”

“A hair stylist should be skilled in working with many different hair types.”

“If this one isn’t, they need extra training.”

“You don’t have to bear the brunt of their incompetence and sheer nastiness.”  ~ Fearless-Golf-8496

“I’m in Europe and 25+ years ago trained as a hairdresser but haven’t worked as one in decades.”

“So admittedly I’ve no idea about current training methods but back then it was a whole different level/course before you even touched black hair.”

“And a lot of people didn’t do the extra part of the course because it wasn’t required learning and cost more.”

“I’m hoping nowadays things are different and you learn about all kinds of hair and methods.”

“Anyway to get to the point I’d never have presumed to know how to treat or style hair I’ve no idea about/training for.”

“Let alone double down and turn into a racist arse after showing my ignorance.”

“It was drummed into us that afro hair is much more delicate and specialized and greater understanding is needed to work with it.”

“More recently my carer who is African tried to plait my hair for me and realized that a lifetime of managing her own and her kids hair hadn’t prepared her to work on my curly yet flyaway hair.”

“And she got very frustrated with it!”

“Yet again no racist comments came from her about my hair.”

“All this to say it’s no shame admitting you aren’t used to working with something different to what you are used to.”

“However if this ‘stylist’ intends to work in a professional capacity with a variety of different people they need the skills and experience to do so.”

“There are a multitude of different hair types on this planet and working at shows where you don’t control your clientele means you will be expected to be educated and professional enough to manage every type you come across.”

“OP is NTA and I think they should reach out to the organizers before the show and let them know the situation.”

“This stylist is bang out of order and showed their face once.”

“Guaranteed they’ll double down worse next time and possibly do some real damage to someone else’s hair/head.”

“Not to mention hurt them with the vile way she speaks to them.”  ~ mortstheonlyboyineed

OP came back with some thoughts…

“UPDATE: wow guys, I really wasn’t expecting this many responses”

“I really appreciate the support.”

“I’ve been reading through the comments this morning, and I realized, I’m exhausted. Emotionally.”

“I’m going to say something to the director of the show this weekend.”

“Along with telling them that I will withdraw from the show.”

“I’ve been modeling for 10+ years, and honestly had slowed down considerably in the past two years, literally because of situations like this.”

“At this point my ‘career’ is more of a ‘hobby’ and I only work with designers I feel passionate about, or if I would have fun with.”

“Guys… I ain’t having fun.”

“After thinking, what really irked me, wasn’t just the stylist, it was the reactions.”

“Everyone watched, but no one said a thing.”

“A fellow model in the stylist chair next to me, even gave me comfort in the bathroom afterwards, but no one said a thing in that moment.”

“They just watched. Even though they knew she was wrong.”

“It just brought back a lot of painful memories from this industry.”

“I’m realizing that I really don’t want to be around these people.”

“I’m going to contact the head of the show, explain that I was really insulted by the implication that my hair was dirty.”

“And very put off by the unprofessionalism of the hair staff and that I no longer feel comfortable working with the brand.”

“I decided not to say anything about the racist thing, they can draw their own conclusions.”

“I’m choosing inner peace.”

Reddit is here for you OP.

It looks like you’ve also chosen to be there for yourself.

Good luck speaking up.

Sorry that something fun turned into something terrible.