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Hair Extensions at Hela Spa and Salon: Superficial and Deep Thoughts


Hair Extensions at Hela Spa and Salon: Superficial and Deep Thoughts


My "Before" with Rithy Lon at Hela Spa and Salon, Chevy Chase, Maryland

Well, I finally have it. I was finally able to get it. I have long hair!

In Process

According to a study published in the research journal Human Nature, researchers found that women originally rated “less attractive” were rated significantly higher after long hair was added. Not only do men love to touch, play, smell, and even pull hair, long hair helps to disguise the infamous “But-Her-Face” and other less desirable features like a prominent nose, jaw, or bad cheekbones. It’s seen as youthful, and sexy.

So what is a white girl to do when her hair doesn’t really grow all that long? Or we want thicker hair? We don’t want to be “But-Her-Hair”. Our black sisters have embraced wigs, weaves and extensions for years, and our West Coast sisters who were privy to Hollywood secrets have been rocking extensions for at least a decade. Culturally, there is a certain stigma attached to anything artificial on women in my community. I’ve been very outspoken on this, as I’m trying to raise awareness and lower the stigma for these terrific beauty treatment options. You may remember my profile in Washingtonian magazine did on me and the price of beauty. With regard to cosmetic procedures women have gotten, they say, “In LA, they’ll show you. In New York, they’ll tell you. In DC, they deny it.”

Extensions can be pricey, which is a whole other issue for a lot of white women. Fortunately, there the Racoon International Hair Extension System is a more affordable approach to hair extensions, and this service is available at Hela Spa and Salon in Chevy Chase, Maryland — right across the line from Washington, D.C.

Having been raised in a posher lifestyle than I can currently afford on my own, and launching and growing my businesses these past two years, much of which was during the recession, has created a bit of what I call a “Cinderella Lifestyle” for me. During the day, I’m working hard for my Miss A Marketing clients, writing, and managing charityandlife.com. Truth be told, I’m budgeting, as it’s not easy to boot-strap a businesses without taking on any venture capital, loans or credit card debt. I live on what I bring in, and invest the rest in my companies. Conversely, in the evening, I lead a very glamorous life, networking at swanky events, being dressed by brands and designers, and receiving lots of comps. My businesses are doing well, but the perks are very much appreciated, as they allow me luxuries that perhaps would be better spent elsewhere or invested back into my businesses.

Racoon International System

When Rithy Lon at Hela Spa and Salon offered to give me complimentary hair extensions, I could not turn down the opportunity. As a sort of “Girl’s Bucket List” item, I wanted to experience having long hair in my lifetime. So yesterday, I arrived at the salon at 10:00 a.m. to start the process. Rit had selected two shades of blonde to compliment the highlights that Jessica Dunaway at Hela has given me. You will see in the photo that there is this sort of  “bed of nails” apparatus that holds the natural hair he purchased for me, so that he can choose various colors and put them together before adding the hair glue to the ends of the hair and then gluing it to my hair at the root.

I didn’t take it lightly that I was able to benefit from other women less fortunate than me giving up their own hair. I asked Rit about this, as Human Trafficking really disturbs me. He told me the hair comes from India and Asia where women donate their hair to their temple as part of

Before the Blending

their religious beliefs. Corporations donate money to the temples to fund schools and other humanitarian efforts, and in exchange the temples give them the donated hair. In a convoluted way, America’s demand for natural hair is funding and supporting impoverished communities around the world. Racoon International actually guarantees ethical sourcing. I still think about these women who have given up their hair which is such a symbol of individuality, beauty, and femininity, and hope that they truly have given their hair as a choice.

By 1:30 p.m, the extensions were in and I was looking very much like Daryl Hannah in Splash! At this point, I’ll be honest, I was a bit terrified. Rit was cutting my hair and the extensions to blend them into one seamless head of hair. After blending it, he cut it shorter as I didn’t want it to be too long and Michaele Salahi-like. Then, he curled it to add some much needed body. And finally, I was all done!

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Be honest. I dish it out, but I can also take it. You won’t hurt my feelings. I’m interested in finding out what my gay BFF,  “Guy Friday” a.k.a. Mike Carson thinks. He thinks extensions look more natural of black women, and feels white women need wigs à la Kim Zolciak. He hates how extensions “clump up” on white women. So it will be interesting to get his feed back on my hair. Personally, I think her $12,000 per month on wigs is outrageous and akin to Imelda Marcos and her shoe collection! I’ll probably take a couple more inches off, but it’s fun “holiday hair” and I will enjoy putting it in up-do’s! I know are said to enjoy a certain reaction from men, so I’m interested in walking around with long blonde hair to see if there is a difference. The extensions last 3 – 4 months, so I’ll blog periodically to give you an update!

After - The Front

I highly recommend Rithy Lon. He is one of those stylists who can do everything – cut, color, hair extensions, styling. He’s truly gifted, and has a very Zen-like presence. After sitting in Rit’s chair, you leave the salon feeling both beautiful and serene. For those with coarser hair, Adrin Washington at Hela is amazing at doing extensions on black women, and has been written up in Essence and tons of other publications! Call Hela Spa and Salon at 202-333-4445 to book your appointment!

Hela Spa and Salon
The Collection at Chevy Chase
Level 2
5481 Wisconsin Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

– Miss A

After - The Back

P.S. I will blog soon about my wonderful experiences with Dr. Hong, a 3rd Generation Acupuncturist at Hela Salon!


In 2008, I launched AskMissA.com which grew from my personal blog into a site with 700 writers, covering the intersection of charity & lifestyle in 20 U.S. cities. With Charity + Life, I am going back to a personal blog where I can share my favorite things, and continue to shine a light on nonprofits, and cause marketing campaigns to inspire others to give as they live.

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