From Black Voices — Some hairstyles don’t cost a lot. If you’re looking to get a shape up at a barber, or a relaxer at a salon, you pretty much know how much you’re going to wind up paying at the end of it all. When it comes to natural hair, it ain’t that predictable or that easy.
I just wrote about all of this here, in a lengthy post titled The Natural Hair Tax. Allow me to share recent experiences I had at three Chicago area salons.
Experience #1 – I walk into a salon that looks like it can accomodate my needs. It’s filled with beautiful black men and women, doing hair and getting their hair done, but I see mostly relaxers and heat straightening techniques being used. When I walk in, you can practically hear the sound of a record player screeching to a halt. Everyone turns to look.
“Hi, do you do natural hair here?”
“Our natural stylist isn’t in today. Here’s her card. Call to make an appointment.”
“Oh OK…well, can you let me know how much she charges for twists?”
“I don’t know, but *looks at me with raised eyebrows* I’d say about $150.”
Experience #2 – I walk into a beautiful, brightly colored, black owned salon. Some of the stylists have natural hair done up in intricate styles. The walls are adorned with African-inspired art. I feel like I’m in the right place. I look at the price list – relaxers cost $65. Hair color starts at $45. Rates for natural hair all begin at $100. And there’s an asterisk after that last zero.
I’m finally able to speak with a stylist, who is busy flat ironing someone’s hair.
“Hi, can you let me know how much it would cost for me to get twists? Two strand, kinky, Senegalese…”
*looks me up and down*
“I’d say $125. Around there.”