The U.S. is home to nearly 210,000 beauty salons, yet for some people, finding one is still difficult to do. Many stylists are unable to accommodate service for people with certain hair types, leaving many — specifically people of color — with inadequate services.
While many beauty salon finders are popping up in the iPhone and Android app stores, Swivel is the first app that caters authentically to people of color.
The app allows you to select your desired service (e.g. a blowout, cornrows, bantu knots, extensions/weave, faux locs), your hair type (natural, relaxed, transitioning, locs), city, and price point. Currently, however, only New York City salons have been archived.
From there, salons that match your specifications will come up on the screen, with reviews, prices, images, contact information, and a booking option built in. The founders, Jenny Lambert and Jihan Thompson, are best friends who have struggled through their young adult lives to find stylists who can handle the realities of their “ethnic” hair, as many salons call it. They have tolerated rude stylists, long waits, and overall bad service.
“We were tired of being overlooked or treated as an afterthought,” said Thompson.
Since not all stylists are trained to handle kinkier hair, many women of color often feel inadequate as they are essentially rejected from service.
“Intentional or not, that sends a clear message to young girls about which beauty standards are valued, said Lambert. “We want young girls… to feel empowered and beautiful without feeling like they need to conform to another standard of beauty.”
While salons for people of color are often marketed on sites like Yelp, Swivel is the only app on the market at the moment that exclusively markets to people with textured hair, filling the hole in the market left by more well-known beauty booking apps like StyleSeat.
The Swivel app is currently free in the iPhone App Store.