Mar 3, 2014

Where to go for Senegalese Twists in Seattle

Back Story: I remember being in Zumba one Saturday morning and seeing a girl with the loveliest twists in her hair. I stared at her hair for most of the class and couldn't wait to bum rush her and get the details on where she went. Class came to an end and I walked over, complimented her hair, and asked for a referral. She told me she did them herself (very impressive), but didn't do them for other people. My heart sank. She said she had a friend who also did hair about 45 mins North of Seattle. She took my number and promised to text me the details. A week passed with no follow-up from her. The next week at class I briefly went up to her and inquired again about her friend... but she seemed a bit aloof and I realized this was the dreaded "Seattle Freeze"... that passive aggressive, "friendly" yet lack of warmth persona that runs rampant in the Pacific Northwest.

To say it was hard to find someone to do my Senegalese Twists in Seattle would be a huge understatement. I've lived here for about 9 months and it took that long to find a place to go. I would go on Yelp and find a few places here and there, most with under 5 reviews, few pictures, rarely anything current... no websites. I'd conduct Google searches and turn up the same sad results. I even resorted to stopping the first girl I saw walking down the street with "decent" braids, just to see where she went... but opted to pass on calling.

When I was leaving Sunday brunch 2 weeks ago, walking to the car in the rain (very Seattle), I noticed a chick with noticeably grown out, yet still well-maintained braids at the bus stop. I approached her and asked where she had gone. While she didn't have cards, she did have the number in her phone... so I took the number and Googled it later that night. Yeah, it was kind of hard knocks lol... but I found the shop, Tombouctou African Hair Braiding. The website (now under construction) was rather basic, and I was shocked to not see a Yelp page (I added them to Yelp while I was getting my hair done lol). Still, I had seen the work first hand and proceeded to call the shop and make an appointment. This past weekend I headed into the shop to get my hair done and emerged 7.5 hours later with fresh Senegalese Twists! Praise baby Jesus...

The shop is located in South Seattle, in a strip mall-ish type of set-up. It's a no frills shop... clean, not fancy... very typical African braiding shop. There are about 5 stations for braiding and a small waiting area in the front with an old school TV and couch. If you've been to an African braiding shop before then you'll know what to expect. If this is your first time, adjust your expectations lol... this isn't the type of shop where you walk in and are greeted with a glass of champagne. The service is friendly and the quality of work is good, but the overall shop aesthetic leaves you wanting more.

Fatou (pronounced FAH-too) is the owner and from what I've been told one of the best braiders there. She did not do my hair, but I did see her work on 3 clients (kinky twists, invisible braids and 1 child who got her natural hair braided up). They all seemed very pleased with the work. Jamilah did my hair and was a very nice woman... twisted my hair 7.5 hours straight w/ no real breaks.

The shop is cash only and they do repair any twists/braids that come down free of charge. While I was there, 2 clients came in for touch-ups around the edges. Walk-ins are accepted, but it's preferable to call ahead of time and check the current wait, or make an appointment.

*** Feel free to ask any questions in the comments area ***

Who: Tombouctou African Hair Braiding
Where: 12629 Renton Ave S Unit F / Seattle, WA 98178
What: Various braided/twisted styles
Cost: Varies - Cash Only
Contact: (206) 794-4925 (Tell them Ishea sent you!!)

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