- August 30, 2021
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Curly-hair specialist Tori McCutcheon is cutting and coloring natural locks in her newly opened Headhouse Square studio.
Tori Did That, a natural-hair salon owned by Philly native Tori McCutcheon, cuts and colors curly-haired clients in Headhouse Square. / Photograph courtesy of Tori McCutcheon.
Philly native and hairstylist Tori McCutcheon first started focusing on curly hair three years ago. At the time, she was working at one of Rittenhouse’s luxe spas and was the only woman of color on the team. McCutcheon recalls that she was often tokenized as “the Black hairstylist” in a salon that didn’t educate employees on natural hair and mainly catered to white clients — who would exoticize the hair of clients of color. “I found myself wanting a more inclusive space, not just for my clients, but myself,” she says.
So McCutcheon started learning how to work with curly hair from YouTube videos and practicing on her family and friends. Once she felt comfortable in the craft, she began posting her work on Instagram in order to build a strong local following. Within months, she says, her book was full.
When the pandemic hit, McCutcheon took the opportunity to venture out on her own and pave the way for her own salon. In June, her studio — branded as “Tori Did That” — officially opened in Headhouse Square.
The interior of McCutcheon’s Headhouse Square studio. / Photograph courtesy of Tori McCutcheon.
Tori Did That offers cuts for clients ages 11 and up and devotes one day a month to cuts for kids 10 and under. McCutcheon also offers color services for clients she’s styled in the past six months. New and returning “Curlies” — her moniker for clients — receive a custom cut plus a hair detox, deep conditioning treatment and styling in her one-client-at-a-time space, which McCutcheon says is beneficial not only in COVID times, but for personalizing the salon experience. “I think there’s a ton of stylists today who still don’t understand that textured hair comes in different forms,” she says. “I have my clients wash their hair and let it air-dry before coming in. I want to see the curls in their truest form, so I can work with them in alignment with how that client typically wears their hair.”
A post shared by Tori~Curly Hair Stylist (@torididthat)
In addition to her professional experience in the industry, other driving forces behind McCutcheon’s opening of a curly-hair-only studio were her upbringing and the difficulty she faced finding natural-hair specialists. “As a Black woman, I grew up not knowing how to care for my natural hair,” she says. “I was always getting relaxers because I was told that frizzy hair doesn’t look good. Later in life, when I stopped applying heat and felt more comfortable with my natural hair, I would go to the salon, and they’d want to wash and blow out my hair before cutting it. I believe your hair shouldn’t have to be manipulated to an extreme state just so it can be cut.”
While McCutcheon says the curly-hair community is growing, there’s still a lot of progress to be made both locally and nationally, specifically in the areas of inclusive training for staff and an increase in diverse stylist hires. She’s hopeful her space will contribute to the industry’s evolution.
You can schedule an appointment at Tori Did That here.
Tori Did That is located at 401 South 2nd Street in Headhouse Square.
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