Know the dangers to do-it-yourself hairdos

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's no secret women shell out a pretty penny to look gorgeous, so sometimes they like to save a few bucks by playing beauty salon at home.

However, WREG is on your side with a warning about DIY.

The On Your Side Investigators reveal one popular styling technique when it could be dangerous to put your hair care in your own hands!

It's one of the hottest trends in hair care.

"Most of my clients are strictly natural," Simeona Holloway, a stylist at the Beauty Bar at Chickasaw, said.

Audris Williams, owner of Naptural Hair Studio told WREG, "It's like going back to your roots!"


From blowouts to braids, women from Hollywood to Mid-South neighborhoods are shedding their chemically-treated hair in favor of natural tresses.

Williams recently opened up her own salon, strictly catering to natural clients.

"They realize some of the harmful effects of some of these products we put in our hair," Williams said.

Memphis resident Aisha Houston gave up her relaxer for a while.

She said, "It's kind of versatile."

Women can go from kinky curly to bone straight with a little time and few tools.

Some also take advantage of options like braids and sew-ins to avoid further damage to their own hair while growing out the relaxer.  Plus, braids have always been popular with young girls.

Williams said, "It's protection, about the protection and the convenience. That's why people love braids and especially with children."

Lots of ladies have also figured out how to achieve the same styles without the salon price.

At-home hair care is nothing new, but the internet and social media have taken do-it-yourself 'dos to a whole new level.

However, there are some occasions where stylists say women shouldn't take their hair care in their own hands.

"It can be extremely dangerous," Williams said.

Holloway added she wouldn't recommend trying certain styles that call for special techniques at home.

A Mid-South mother shared pictures with WREG of her daughter's injury. She was hospitalized after suffering second-degree burns while her mother was styling her braided hair.

The girl's hair was braided using extensions, and her mom was dipping the ends in hot water to finish it. It's a standard technique for synthetic hair, which won't stand up to a curling iron.

WREG watched Williams use the same technique while installing extremely popular crochet braids on her client Jaylah.

Williams said, "The hot water is going to seal it, it's going to smooth it and it's going to form the curl or, if it's just left straight, it's going to make it straight and smooth."

Williams draped Jaylah with additional towels and each time she dipped a roller, she quickly dried it with another towel.

"You don't want the steam or the heat to burn your client's scalp. That could damage the scalp permanently," Williams said.

In the little girl's case, her mother told me she jumped when she felt the steam and that caused the water to spill.

"Even a little drop, you don't want a drop to get on somebody. The water is that hot," Williams said.

Just to give consumers an idea about how hot the water can get, the On Your Side Investigators used a thermometer to check the temperature of the water Williams was using at her salon.

Within seconds, the thermometer read more than 200 degrees.

Holloway said, "It's just not safe to, you know attempt curling your hair with the hot water at home, it's just not safe."

Mishaps can happen at salons, too.

Houston told WREG, "Actually I was in the beauty shop a couple of weeks ago and the girl was getting crochet braids and her hair was getting dipped in hot water and I actually heard her kind of 'Ah!' You know, scream."

Two New York women sued some African braiding shops after they claim they suffered severe burns while having their hair dipped in hot water.

Tennessee's Board of Cosmetology couldn't tell WREG whether it had complaints specifically related to hot water burns, but did reiterate even hair braiders need a state license.

"I say you either go see a stylist or you don't do it at all," Williams said.

However, there are some other options for women who want to save.

WREG found one YouTube video where a woman used spray and styling foam, and others where the hair was pre-dipped.

There are also new flat irons on the market that are supposedly safe for curling synthetic hair.

There's heat-friendly hair and pre-curled hair.

Most importantly Holloway said, "You just want to make sure you're safe before anything else."

The good news is, the little girl in those pictures is doing just fine. It wasn't a quick road to recovery, but mom says she's healing nicely.