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Ms. P's Hair Salon in Harlem

RENEE MINUS WHITE Fashion & Beauty Editor | 5/11/2012, 1:01 p.m.
Ms. P's Hair Salon in Harlem

Parking in Harlem is always difficult, especially on a weekday morning. After riding around the blocks of West 117th and Manhattan Avenue north and making a right, a spot on West 118th off the corner of Frederick Douglass Boulevard opens up.

When fully parked, you notice the sign of Ms. P's Hair Studio at 280 W. 118th St. Surprisingly, Ms. P herself appears on the top step of the shop to hand folks a card.

"I step out of the shop to give a card to anyone I see looking up at our sign," said Paula Dowds, owner of Ms. P's Hair Studio, with a beautiful smile. "I can make your hair look great. Hair is art," she commented, "and it's sexy."

When you walk inside this unique hair studio, you can't help but notice that it's packed on a Thursday morning. Several hair stylists are getting busy, working on every hair type and every hairstyle. Also in the shop last Thursday, Mrs. Marita Monroe, wife of former New York Knicks star Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, was getting her regular haircut.

"Oh, Ms. P will hook you up," she said with a smile.

"We work with many famous women," boasted Ms. P. She also mentioned, "Jay Leno recently filmed two of his shows at Ms. P's Hair Studio," as a part of the show's "Changing Harlem" segments. Ms. P's Hair Studio was also a part of a recent job swap with Holland, for which she sent two of her professional staff members to represent her shop in Holland.

The hair studio focuses on long and short hair and natural and straight hair. The shop's services include conditioning, perms, weaves, extensions, coloring, press and curl, braids, twists and locks. Just ask for your hair treatment or style of choice, and they will accommodate you.

A specialist in hair cutting, Ms. P has an amazing personality and a very big heart. She works with several community groups, including the Door, an organization that helps women in need. Through the Door, she gives several young women a place of employment at the shop. There was even a Breast Cancer Awareness Health Truck parked outside of Ms. P's Hair Salon. A graduate of Wilfred Beauty Academy in 1992, Ms. P arranged for all of the women who visited her salon last Thursday, May 3, to have a breast exam and/or mammogram.

Open seven days a week, Ms. P's Hair Studio offers a lunchtime special and they will have you in and out of the salon in a reasonable amount of time. For appointments, call (212) 222-8260. They also take walk-ins!

When asked what her biggest issue with African-American women and their hair is, Ms. P replied, "I want my clients to be more informed about their medical history. Hair is not just external, it's internal. Most women will not share everything that's going on in their lives with their beautician. Your beautician needs to know if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and if you are on any medication or on drugs. It all affects your hair."