Crown N Glory Natural Hair Studio opened in a new location at 32 Berwick Ave., second floor, just south of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, earlier this year after being forced from its former place in the neighbourhood by condo construction.
The reason for staying in the same area has to do with the kind of hair many local residents have.
Salon owner Aisha Loobie told Streeter she decided to reopen in Midtown because there were “more curly-haired people than we thought” in the neighbourhood.
Crown N Glory is a black-owned, women-run hair salon specializing in curly hair, with an emphasis on black hair, which Loobie said is a real challenge to style for many people.
Growing up, many black girls feel like they “have to live up to the standard” of what is considered beautiful, such as the stereotype of blonde, straight hair, she said.
She also feels the shop “not only enhances the neighbourhood but also enhances Toronto” as our city boasts such a diverse community. Although the salon has become popular in Midtown, clients also come from as far away as Hamilton and Oshawa and all across the GTA because, Loobie said, “there aren’t many places that specialize in natural hair.”
Learned from her mother
Loobie was inspired to open the salon in 2019 because, she said, “My mom [a home hair stylist] used to do my hair as a little girl. She never made me feel like it wasn’t beautiful.”
Although many of her friends used chemicals in their hair, her mom was adamant she would never to do so, as the toxins from chemicals can cause severe health problems.
When Loobie grew up and the time came for her to find her own stylist, she couldn’t find anyone who specialized in natural hair. They all wanted to do locks, also known as “dreadlocks,” which Loobie said is an offensive term.
The overall salon experience hasn’t been the most positive one for people with naturally thick, curly hair — especially black women — Loobie said.
“Imagine already growing up feeling not beautiful or imagine growing up like me, feeling beautiful” and then walking into a salon and being made to feel bad about yourself, she said. “We’re dealing with a lot of trauma because of prior treatment from other hair stylists, including words to describe their hair [and] the attitude they get from the stylists who don’t want to do their hair.”
Loobie wanted to create a safe space for customers to “feel beautiful within themselves and confident that there’s a place they can now go to where they feel comfortable.”
The salon does not do perms or straightening, which are not healthy for hair.
“We don’t alter the natural curl pattern,” Loobie said.
But styles they offer for natural hair can be very creative,” including braids, locks, twists, wedding hair, and hair care for curly hair of all ethnicities.
That being said, stylists at Crown N Glory are also highly skilled to do straight hair. “Yeah girl, we do it all!” as Loobie said.
‘Crowned with love’
Stylists at Crown N Glory take extra care to make kids feel comfortable, including consulting with their moms, and providing kids with colouring books, “books that offer representation” and a paper crown at the end of their visit.
The salon also offers group or one-on-one in person and virtual workshops for parents, stylists and “people who have textured hair that want to know how to style their own hair.” Prices are reasonable and affordable.
“We want to be sustainable and something you can actually afford to do,” Loobie said.
Visits are by appointment only, so the salon is never over-crowded.
Crown N Glory is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call 647-549-2796 (CRWN) to book an appointment.
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