Urbanbella Salon: Where Naturals Shop, Get Styled, and Get Schooled (literally)
It was 3:00pm in early August in Atlanta and I was hot, parched, and waiting for a bus. After a sticky hour of commuting through humidity, I was delighted to find myself in the elegantly tranquil, not to mention air conditioned, interior of Urbanbella Salon, Atlanta’s ‘curly, kinky, wavy hair apothecary’ to meet with owner and fellow naturalista, Keneesha Hudson.
I had heard stellar reviews of Urbanbella on forums and from other bloggers; I thought that my weekend in the A for the Bronner Brothers show would be the ideal time to visit the salon-shop. Freshly arrived and glowing from a relaxing and adventurous weekend of white water rafting, Keneesha welcomed me into Urbanbella’s plush seating area where we spent the next couple hours doing one of my favorite things in the world: geeking out about natural hair.
In 2002 when Keneesha cut off her relaxed hair and sported a short afro, “transitioning” was not yet a word. After receiving many compliments and positive feedback about her new natural look as well she was inspired to help others take the great natural leap. She began emailing product recommendations to interested and natural-curious individuals. Soon her in-demand services called for a website that offered information about going natural and thus was born Urbanbella.
In 2006, Keneesha moved her consultations out of the home and offline to a new storefront. Originally Urbanbella was intended to only be a retail resource that focused on helping people find the right products and answer [the zillions of] questions about going natural. But soon, people were so inspired and motivated by Urbanbella’s expertise that even though they had come to the store just buy a new styler and learn about going natural, they left wanting their big chop too! So a stylist was hired and Urbanbella became a store AND a salon!
Today Urbanbella offers 13 product lines and a full salon menu exclusively focused on natural hair. We’re talking no relaxers whatsoever in the shop, a difference you can sense the moment you walk into the store as there is no scent of perms or burning hair wafting through the air. However, “Urbanbella’s true product is education,” insists Keneesha. Each Wednesday Urbanbella offers styling workshops through a new program called Urbanbella University. These workshops range in cost from $10-$60 and offer demonstrations and hands-on experience to learn and practice natural styling techniques.
One of the most unique Urbanbella offerings is their strand test. Say you walk into their store and you’re overwhelmed by all of the product offerings. Knowledgeable consultants are available to perform a procedure called a “strand-test”, which will assess your unique curl pattern and strand texture and find the perfect product for your hair by wetting your hair and trying out different products to see which is the best fit. I underwent the strand test and Sacha, my consultant, listened to my ingredient preferences (no mineral oil, no silicones), as well as my desire to try something new, and came up with two great product recommendations from the Jane Carter Solutions line that I am so excited to try out!
In a town that has traditionally sacrificed the health of hair for beauty, Urbanbella is a unique and refreshing resource for those who have questions and anxieties about going natural or simply want top-notch service for their coily strands.
For more on Urbanbella or to get directions visit their website here.