Sitting with long locs twisted carelessly on top of her head ,natural hair specialist Darya Johnson knocked down some common misconceptions about managing Black hair.

Sitting with long locs twisted carelessly on top of her head ,natural hair specialist Darya Johnson knocked down some common misconceptions about managing Black hair.

“It’s a total passion for me. I started out doing natural hair and I totally love doing [it],” Johnson said, “I love the texture of natural hair.”  

She admitted to the Defender she tried to break the chain of doing hair because it was the family business. Despite the resistance, Johnson ended up obtaining a cosmetology license. “God kind of moves in a way in that He lets you know who’s boss,” she said.

After a bad allergic reaction from a relaxer many years ago, she decided to go natural herself. “I started it going natural and then I said one more time. That one more time did it.”

There are a lot of misconceptions of styling and taking care of natural hair.

Three of the big ones are trimming the hair, putting heat on the hair and coloring the hair. 

“I have so many clients who get in my chair and say ‘I’m not supposed to trim my hair because it’s natural now so  I haven’t trimmed it in six months or I haven’t trimmed it in six years.’ The biggest thing is keeping those ends trimmed. That’s the secret,” Johnson said.

There is a such thing as too much heat, but Johnson says  if the stylists uses controlled heat, the client’s hair will still be fine. 

“I use flat irons and they’re professional flat irons so that way I’ll know exactly how much I’m using,” she said. 

Some people believe coloring natural hair is bad for the hair, but she says it just the opposite. 

“It’s better to get your hair colored while it’s in its natural state because with the relaxer, you already have a chemical in your hair–that’s more harsh on your hair,” she said.

When it comes to coloring, Johnson recommends people don’t do it themselves, but go to a professional. “Your hair is not going to look like that box because there are professionals who did that,” she said.

“If you’re not licensed, I especially don’t think you should do it [yourself] because even as a licensed cosmetologist  you don’t do your own colors or relaxers. You  can’t see what you’re doing up there,” she said. 

She also adds that it’s not necessary to do the “Big-Chop,” what many African-American woman call cutting off all of their hair and starting over so they could grow it out and keep up with the trims.

Out of all the myths, these are just a few misconceptions Johnson will cross off the list. 

Opening her first salon is just one example of her entrepreneurship spirit.

The mother and wife will have a book out later this year addressing the misconceptions. She also wants to create a YouTube video she describes as “fun and informative.” Leading her own workshops is also on her list.

The biggest accomplishment Johnson has made in the last 10 years is her natural hair care products. There is the moisturizer shampoo and conditioner, cleansing shampoo, “It Tingles” shampoo for dandruff, “Protect Me” Hairdress Cream, Shine Spray, Dry Itchy Scalp Oil and her most popular, Loc and Twist gel, which was her first. 

“The reason I started doing my own products was because I was trying a lot of different products and they were not right. There was something wrong with them like flaking or the alcohol drying out my hair,” she said.

The products aren’t in stores, but that’s her next move.

Darya’s Natural Hair Boutique sits in a prominent real estate location, tucked neatly among a dry cleaners, condo and other small businesses in the South Loop, an area she and her husband always dreamed of owning a business. 

The salon has a soothing atmosphere and modern look, with dividers, large comfy chairs and neo-soul music playing in the background. 

The hair boutique offers services such as sew-ins, loc start, double strand twists, coloring, press and curl, among others. 

While Johnson specializes in natural hair, she accepts clients with relaxed hair and performs touch-ups and relaxers. 

Perspective clients are encouraged to visit her website:

Copyright 2012 Chicago Defender

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