Hair salons in St. Bernard Parish prepare for potential impact of saltwater wedge

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 11:31 PM CDT
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CHALMETTE, La. (WVUE) - As the saltwater wedge inches closer to St. Bernard Parish, businesses including hair salons are preparing for how their operations will be impacted.

“Definitely calm down. It’s not going to be that bad,” St. Bernard hair stylist Lorna Lucito Boos said. “We have overcome much worse.”

Boos said she had been doing hair for a couple of decades before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, forcing her and her business to start from scratch. Then the BP oil spill hit fishermen hard in 2010, and when much of her clientele wasn’t making money, neither was she.

Hurricane Ida knocked out power for an extended period of time two years ago, and before that the COVID-19 pandemic forced many hair salons to shut down for months.

“I just don’t see any major concern. I think St. Bernard has control over what’s coming, and I think we will be fine,” Boos said. “Just do what you can to just be prepared.”

But another St. Bernard hair stylist, Dorene Garcia, says the uncertainty of the saltwater wedge is scary, given how much water her salon uses in a week.

“I guess when the time comes, we will have to bring in water to shampoo, and hopefully they can maintain their hair with bottled water,” Garcia said.

Boos says people go on vacation, swim in salt water, sit in the sun all day and fare just fine.

“We can use bottled water to spray for a haircut,” Boos said. “Styling, clients get styled once a week. It’s one shampoo.”

But Garcia warns too much salt water can be damaging to hair.

“Salt draws moisture out the hair,” she said. “It draws out moisture from the scalp and the hair, which can lead to breakage, frizz, split ends. And if you have hair extensions, around the extension piece it causes matting. It does affect color, because without moisture, the dryness, the color will fade out. And the color fades out quick.”

Garcia recommends conditioning hair frequently if the water salinity increases.

“Try to leave some kind of protectant over the hair cuticle to keep it from stripping its moisture,” she said. “That’s the only thing I can think of to do. Even like a little bit of oil on the ends and just run it through the hair.”

Boos said it’s actually healthier to let your hair breathe and take a break from washing it. That will help coloring last longer.

“When you go home, I would suggest don’t wash your hair every day,” Boos said. “You don’t need to wash your hair every day.”

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