So, I had cause to be in Lagos, a couple of weeks ago and I needed to get my hair done. I mentioned it to my stylist, who asked me if I’d ever had ‘crotchet braids’ done. I had no idea what she was talking about. She assured me that if I did it, I’d find it difficult to return to braids … or anything else. After some back and forth, she got the contact details of a hair stylist-cum-beautician, spoke with her and passed on the details to me.
I have heard it said that I am notoriously difficult to please.
Of course, I don’t agree 🙂
I just like things done in a particular way … the right way.
When I got to the premises of DeLegacy Plaza, I called the owner, Shalom. She sent one of her workers to find me and bring me into her salon.
My apprehension began to wane, as soon as I stepped inside. I had been apprehensive because me and Nigerian hair salons … that’s a story for a different blog post.
But I was ushered into a comfortable seat – one of those kinda cushion-y ones – by a polite lady, who told me that their boss was attending to something else in the office, but would soon be with me. In the mean time, they showed me a mini slide-show of hairstyles on an iPad.
When Shalom came into the salon (from the office), she was also warm and polite. No unnecessary airs and graces, that are so typical of many Nigerian business-owners. I told her that I was the person referred to her by my stylist. She then showed me another slide-show of pictures of ‘crotchet braid’ hairstyles. We talked about the cost. I decided on one of hair styles and looked at the appropriate hair extensions, while one of the workers started to loosen my hair. It turned out that I’d need three packs of a specific hair extension; they had only one, so Shalom went to buy more! Now, anyone who knows Nigerian business-owners, knows that this is actually rare – a typical ‘madam’ would send one of her staff to buy something, hope that (s)he gets the wrong thing, then shout like her life depends on it. Not at Mille Visages.
It took under three hours to get everything done. Those were pleasant hours.
Shalom had to leave, before I finished – but she left instructions for me to be given a complimentary manicure and pedicure.
Reasons that I found it difficult to believe I was still in Nigeria:
1. The salon was clean! If you’ve been in a number of Nigerian salons, you’ll appreciate this.
2. The owner, Shalom Stephen-Ojji, is actually involved in the running of the salon. Many salon-owners just hire staff to do a mediocre, p*ss-poor job on the unfortunate client. Which brings me to –
3. The staff actually know what they’re doing. Again, if you’ve been to many Nigerian salons, you’ll understand what I’m saying. Some of these salon workers – if they’re not pulling at your scalp as if you’re their husband’s mistress, they’re doing things that make you wonder why you bothered to darken their doorway with your shadow. But Shalom’s staff are well-trained and actually polite. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Mille Visages has groomed over 150 professional stylists. Or that she runs a beauty school, as well. Some staff in Nigeria are poorly trained, because their employers are terrified of empowering them, so that they will be eternally dependent on the employer(s) – I think it’s called sitting on their destiny or something like that. But Mille Visages actually empowers students and staff.
4. That complimentary pedicure. I went to this other salon (in Abuja) last year, where I was given a mediocre pedicure, that I paid for. Usually, I would refuse to pay for crappy service, but it was night and I was tired. The next time I went to the salon to get my hair done (the guy there is really good, so he’s my go-to guy), the madam of the pedicure chic came round, asking if I wanted to get a mani-pedi. I had to tell her I wasn’t impressed with the job her girl did the last time I was there. She promised there would’t be a re-occurrence. So, I gave her another chance … but not before warning her, that if she did a poor job, pictorial evidence of the results of her work AND the name of the salon, would be going up on Facebook. Her skills appeared to have improved dramatically. Me, I don’t like feeling like I have to threaten someone or have a go at them, before they do the right thing.
5. The atmosphere. A week or so before I went to Mille Visages, I’d made a post on Facebook about why I hated having to go to Nigerian hair salons. Obviously, that’s the only way I can get my hair done – home service can be pricey – but having to listen to bitter women moan, whinge, gripe and complain bitterly about Nigerian men for hours, is more than anyone should have to deal with. I call such women “Members of the All Nigerian Men Are Useless Support Group” and they can be really vicious in their … evangelism; more pro-active than any church I’ve seen. No, I’m not kidding. So, Mille Visages was like basking in fresh air.
6. They take POS (card) payments. Easy and convenient – especially if you bank with GT.
7. The experience made me understand that just like technology, hair has evolved. There are now even more styling options, which also offer scalp protection – whether your hair is Afro or permed.
My stylist was right.
I am now a crotchet braid convert. And whenever I’m in Lagos, it’ll have to be either Mille Visages for my hair or nobody/nothing else.
If you’re in Lagos and
– need to get your hair done, in a classy environment, by knowledgeable staff who understand customer service
– are looking to get your bridal make-up done
– want to study to become a hair stylist or make-up artiste
Mille Visages is the place you need to be. They are at DeLegacy Plaze, 50 Ado Road, Ajah and can be reached on +2347030413528.
Oh, they also do home service 🙂 So you can send them a message NOW on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 🙂
All Rights Reserved, Chioma Nnani
PS: I have not received financial or other remuneration, for this review.