Many parents who are raising children of color know all too well the many challenges that can come with styling kinky, curly tresses. How a child wears his or her hair may seem inconsequential — and I would argue that it should be — but the experience is often not at all trivial.
Hair can be a particularly fraught issue when raising daughters; girls’ hair is frequently politicized whether they like it or not. In the media, we’ve seen case after case in which young women face disciplinary action simply for wearing their hair the way that it grows from their heads. Unfortunately, young men are not exempt from scrutiny either. For youth of all genders, it seems, having “ethnic” hair lends itself to the possibility of it being policed. This can add to the already complicated issues that are a part of growing up in the world and being pressured to worry about one’s appearance.
Not only are there societal issues at play, but maintaining those crowns is another matter entirely that busy parents must consider. It requires time, patience and care. A lot of people choose to style their kids' hair themselves on a day-to-day basis, but for holidays, special occasions, picture day at school or simply because they’d simply rather pay someone else to do it, some moms and dads might opt to have their children visit a professional. Finding the right stylist, however, is likely easier for people in some places rather than in others. The access and availability of hair salons is not universal and can be a challenge around Seattle.
I am proud to call Seattle home now, but I was born and raised in Detroit. Growing up in a major city with a majority Black population meant that there was a place on almost every street that my classmates and I could go to get our hair cut or styled. I discovered when I first moved to the Pacific Northwest that there were fewer salon options here for women of color than I was accustomed to seeing in other cities. And over the years, through conversations with parents and via my own observations, I found this to not only be likewise true for youth of color in this region, but that the shortage was even worse. But fear not, parents! There are some great salons and barber shops in Seattle proper that have experience working with all textures and a wide age range. I took a look around and found some places you might consider taking your young person.
1. The Collage Salon (Belltown)
The Collage is open five days a week and offers a variety of products and services.
2. Frank’s Barber and Beauty Salon (First Hill)
Frank's serves all ages and ethnicities from First Hill, the Central District and all surrounding communities.
3. Vasuda Salon (Northgate)
This multiethnic, multicultural hair salon is up-to-date on the latest hair treatments.
4. Good Hair Salon (Squire Park)
Good Hair advocates returning hair to its natural state and embracing confidence.
5. I AM Natural Beauty (Seward Park)
This shop promotes self-love and specializes in natural and protective styles.
6. Hair Salon K (University District)
Conveniently located near UW, Hair Salon K specializes in Asian and African-American hair. Great for students or faculty with children who want to stay close to campus.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2018, and updated in September 2021.