BAY SHORE, New York -- Long Island's K&D African Hair Braiding salon has been the go-to spot in Bay Shore for 25 years, offering more than 70 African hair braiding styles for customers to choose from.
It began with two migrant workers from the Ivory Coast who wanted to provide their native hairdressing techniques for customers to have a uniquely integrated experience. The day to day operations is now run by their daughter Kandee but the salon is still run as a family business that involves everyone lending a helping hand.
"African braiding honestly is a lifestyle," said manager Kandee. "If you decided you wanted to be an African hair braider, you decided that you don't want to have a life - nah I'm kidding - but it's true though."
At K&D their mission is to foster a supportive environment that encourages all individuals to take part in the ever-growing community of natural curls, kinks, braids, twists and most importantly, healthy hair.
"The reason why it's special here is that there were no shops on the island and even to this day there are still no African braiding shops on the island," said Kandee. "Most of the clients are people who have been coming here since we've opened up. It's a family thing, I always tell people it's beyond hair, it's beyond the beauty it's about the family."
"I love to see the last part of it because it goes through like a whole transformation, I go from a bun to two braids and I like it," said customer Tianna Bowie. "It's really important to express yourself and I feel like you can do that with your hair."
K&D has a full array of braiding styles including cornrows, box braids, feed-ins, lemonade, tribal, combos, and Bantu knots to name a few. Kandee is always on the hunt for the next challenge or trend in braiding so her salon can remain authentic, but also be innovative when it comes to implementing new techniques and styles.
"Braiding is a way for us to still be presentable but still represent ourselves as well as our cultural background," said Kandee.
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Long Island braiding salon offers customers authentic African hair styles for more than 20 years