Arlington, VA

A new hair salon that helps natural hair to thrive has opened in Ballston despite the pandemic

After initially hoping to open on June 19 to commemorate Juneteenth, Thrive Hair Bar (1010 N. Glebe Road) first opened its doors on Aug. 9.

“Thrive Hair Bar provides two-strand twists, braids, and leave out styles for kinky, coily, & curly haired naturalistas on the go. Embracing your hair texture with an emphasis on hair health,” the website says.

The website said Thrive Hair Bar aims to “revolutionize the luxury hair salon experience.”

Located inside the Sola Salon Studio, which hosts a number of solo entrepreneurs, the salon services its clients during a one-on-one, client and stylist experience.

“Our goal isn’t just for us to give them a hairstyle and they walk away, it’s really to help educate women on how to maintain their hair and care for their natural hair,” said Ajia Minnis, owner and founder of Thrive Hair Bar.

However, the single stylist and client combination is not the experience Minnis envisioned.

“It was definitely something that we had to adjust to. I had envisioned a salon with at least three to four stylists,” said Minnis. “I did definitely want to keep it small, to have that personalized experience, so the stylists themselves wouldn’t be rushed and because we’re just starting. But with the coronavirus, I realized that that wasn’t going to work. It just didn’t seem like the safest thing to do and I recognized that.”

Getting used to the restrictions on who can be in the salon wasn’t the only challenge Thrive Hair Bar faced.

“We still haven’t had our grand opening event yet because I had envisioned doing something where we featured local artists in the community and with the coronavirus, that doesn’t seem like the safest thing to do, even with masks,” Minnis said.

The good news is that clients have responded to Thrive’s policies positively.

“I think they like being the only one in the salon,” Minnis said. “Nobody likes having to wear a mask all day but it’s for the benefit of not only our customers, but for our stylists too. We want to make sure that they’re safe, so everybody has been respectful and keeping their masks on. We’re also using disposable capes — one-time use and throw it out. We’re disinfecting all chairs, door handles and anything that anybody touches after every single client, and then obviously staying within normal salon standards for disinfection with using Barbicide.”

“I think our clients have been comfortable with the precautions that we’ve been taking,” Minnis said, adding that she is optimistic about the future of the business as the country continues to make progress in the coronavirus fight.

Photos courtesy Ajia Minnis

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