Dana White has been making historic moves in the haircare world lately — and she’s just getting started. White is the founder/owner of Paralee Boyd, a salon that caters to women of color with thick and curly hair. The Midtown Detroit salon offers blow-dry and styling services, growth treatments, hair masks, and more. What sets Paralee Boyd apart beyond that is its walk-in-only service model (that’s right, no appointment necessary!), which was inspired by lean manufacturing methods of the auto industry.
This fall, White made news when she began the process of nationally franchising her company. She’s believed to be the first African American woman to franchise a salon business. And it gets even better: White is working with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (the retailer for the U.S Army and Air Force) to open Paralee Boyd salons at military bases around the country and overseas in Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Japan, and South Korea in 2022.
Here, White chats all things hair — from popular styles to keeping it healthy.
What does it mean to you to be a Black woman embarking on this historic franchising?
It’s huge. I am the hope and the dream of those who came before me, and it’s time. The fact that women that look like me have gone this long without this level of consideration and effort put into the dollar they spend and what they need — it’s sad. But it [left] open a door for me to create it.
Right at the top of Paralee Boyd’s site are the words “Evolved Haircare.” Explain.
We’re deliberate about our products. We’re deliberate about our service model. We’re deliberate about our time. I still want you to go to your traditional stylist because you need that cut, you need that color, or you may need some major overhaul. But in between those visits, come and get a sugar scalp scrub. Come and get a Dead Sea Mud Mask. Come and hydrate your hair. So, “evolved hair care” is about introducing the new ways in which African American women should be treated and how they treat their hair.
What styles are trending now?
The hairstyles and trends we’re seeing in the salon are long layers, hair styles from the 1970s — specifically styles worn by Farrah Fawcett — and natural curls. We do provide cut or color services, but we’re seeing guests who are trending toward their natural color and covering their gray hair less.
What are some common misconceptions when it comes to hair care?
Protective styles can be abused. And being natural does not mean hands-free, hands-off. Whether you’re wearing a protective style like a weave or wig, whether you’re wearing your hair curly, in an afro, or straight, nothing gets you away from the basic service of your hair: shampoo, condition, blow-dry, and style.
What else is top priority for hair maintenance?
You’d be surprised how many women don’t brush or comb their hair frequently. Maybe you have a style where you don’t do it every day, but you should be in that head every other day. You’ve got to stimulate that scalp and release that loose hair. You shed about a hundred strands of hair a day — don’t leave it there, get it out.
Are there any “holy grail” products or ingredients for all hair textures?
You want to stay away from high alcohol content. One of the first ingredients in your products should be water. You also want to try [the product] on your hand to make sure there’s no film residue.
What about superfoods?
Avocados, broccoli, kale — if it’s green, eat it. Also, nuts like almonds and cashews. And I can’t tell you enough: water. It will help your hair and skin immensely!
Visit Paralee Boyd Salon at 3939 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 248-809-6093; paraleeboyd.com.
This story is featured in the November 2021 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more stories in our digital edition.