Okay, so to most people this would not be a cause for celebration.
However, being a black woman in Rome with natural hair this search was a pain in the butt. I can't just roll into any salon.
Even with black salons in the States you have to make sure a stylist does actually know what to do with hair that is not chemically straightened.
One thing I thought was so weird is that no one could give me a name of a specific person at a salon. I asked every black woman I know who's hair didn't look a mess, where did they go? All I would get is a name of a salon. All were located by Termini.
Months ago someone was nice enough to leave an anonymous comment on my blog with the names of various black hair salons. Another person said to call "Paolo" at X salon. That salon was on the list and I thought phew I'm finally getting somewhere. Well he owned the salon, was not a stylist and gave me the name of whoever happened to be free that day.
I only needed a trim. I went. The stylist didn't say a word to me. Granted at the time my Italian was weaker but still. She was Dominican and I assume she spoke Italian and Spanish. The place was packed. It was very old school. They were selling DAX. I haven't seen that in any shop since the early 80s and even then it was at my mom's hairdresser which was one of those "older ladies" shops.
Anyway, every single woman, included the drag queen next to me, were geting weaves. My stylist did an okay job. I left and was pissed. I felt like a number and the place was a dump.
The woman who does my brows is also Dominican, and speaks not a single word of English yet the first time I met her (through an expat friend), she was engaging and I have been going to her every since. I go to Nail Bar for manicure/pedicures, budget allowing. My manicurist is Italian, we speak Italian when I see her. One day I walked pass the shop window while running an errand and she waved. Is it too much to ask for the same level of service from your hairdresser?
A blogger (thanks Antoinette) gave me the name of a friend of hers at Contessa Rock Style. Then one day I was walking down Via del Corso and happened to see a woman with a big 'fro in Sephora. I ran into the store, up the steps and was surprised to see an Italian woman (I only saw the back of her head). I forgot the Italian word for hair salon but she figured out what I was asking. She went to the same person at Contessa.
I was skeptical. In the States other than some stylists who work in fashion and with celebrities, most white stylists don't "do" black hair. It like how some stylists are know for color and other are know for great cuts.
I went to see Elena for a consultation. She has worked with my texture in the past. She talked about keeping hair healthy and not fighting against it. She asked me how I normally wear my hair and a bunch of other questions. She suggested we start working together and see how it goes. I scheduled an appointment.
I went to the salon. She was professional and I acutally got out of there in an hour. She's Australian, her parents are Italian and she moved to Rome a year ago or so.
I don't think she does twists. However, she did a great job with my cut and everyone at the salon was chill. I paid more but it was worth it. The salon reminds me of the place I used to go to in LA. and NYC.
I have heard of Noi, where a lot of my white female expat friends go. Two of the owners are Italian but lived in So. California where they operated a popular salon for years.
Contessa Rock Style has salons in Rome, Florence, one in Miami and one in Shanghai. Here is the website.
Now that my hair drama is over I have one less thing to worry about. ha