Ten years ago, just two weeks after moving to Massachusetts, I walked into a hair salon and got the worst haircut of my life. I had no idea how I would feel good about my appearance for the job I’d just started.

So I decided to — for the first time — perm my hair (myself, eek!) and make it curly instead of “relaxing” it straight. It went well, but the maintenance was stressful, and I wasn’t sure how long I could keep it up and looking good on my own. At the urging of friends (and to the shock of my family), I cut off all my hair and started growing out my natural hair. 

A decade ago it felt new and awkward to wear my natural hair to work. I pored over Whitney White’s YouTube for the best products and hairstyles to try. I spent hours each week looking up different hairstyles and trying to figure out how to get it to look just right.

By doing my own hair, I learned which products helped my hair and which ones weren’t for me. I learned how to cut and dye my own hair; I even blow-dried it straight a couple of times a year for awhile. When I gave birth to my first son, I had a great hair care routine and loved my fro. However, a few months later I had lost the edges of my hairline, and there was shedding after every wash. No one prepared me for this postpartum effect — that I’d lose the tresses I had worked so hard to maintain and style.

For the first time in a decade, I was ready for someone else to do my hair. I went on a search to find the best hair care in Boston and the surrounding areas. And now I’m sharing my findings with you! These salons offer stylists and services that fit everyone but definitely fit Black and ethnic hair needs.

I do wish I had learned to embrace and love my natural hair texture sooner. If this list is the push you need to book an appointment, do it! You deserve to be pampered and learn the best ways to take care of yourself. It’s been great for my boys to see my different hairstyles and come to understand that this makes me look and feel good. If you visit one of these places below, I know you’ll feel and look good too! 

Fortunately for us all, the Crown Act is in place, which bans discrimination based on “natural or protective hairstyles,” like braids, locs, twists, and Bantu knots. With this in effect, Black women can wear their hair in a style that makes them feel confident — without the risk of unprofessionalism or reprimand at work or school.  

The Loft Hair Studio :: Medford

The Loft offers a custom hair experience for each client. The cut, care, and products are specific to the needs of the curly girl in the chair. It’s a must for anyone transitioning from relaxed to natural hair or who needs a new routine during the postpartum period. 

The Curl Bar :: Somerville

Needing to get your kid started with a curly cut? The Curl Bar offers to show you how to do your hair and get a “mommy and me” curly cut. The Curl Bar is the answer to your prayers. 

Fatou Hair Braiding :: Lynn

Looking for a protective style for the next season? Some of the best braids in Massachusetts are coming from Lynn! 

Marissa Michaels :: Andover

If you’re looking to straighten your hair in a non-permanent way, this luxe salon in Andover is at the top of the list. Brazilian blowouts are a specialty, and you’ll leave with hair that won’t budge even in the humidity. 

Salon MII :: Methuen and Haverhill

Salon Mii offers custom color (and color correction, if needed) for all textures of curly hair. The range of services is great, and outside of braids, they offer every kind of hair extension available.

Dashanna was born in Michigan and raised between there and Virginia. She moved to Massachusetts in 2011 after getting a bachelor’s degree in English and gender studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She married her favorite Massachusetts native (Tom) seven years ago. Together they have two sons, Lucas and Isaiah, born in 2018 and 2019. Becoming a parent ignited a passion for supporting others, and Dashanna became a doula before the birth of her second son. She is now the owner of Caring for Mamas, working with families all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She loves fresh-squeezed lemonade, good music, and helping and supporting families.