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.”

(Continue Reading @ Black Voices…)

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  • a/n

    and… that’s why i don’t go back to the hair salon. $125 is expensive! It should never cost this much to get your natural hair twisted or styles. WHen I was younger I had long natural hair (not relaxed) and it at least cost $65 for me and my sister to get our hair done. Even though those days are long gone I would prefer to learn how to style my hair on my own so i wouldn’t have to pay that “$125″… unless it was a real professional stylist.

  • ScratchingMyHead

    This upsets me too. I was reading a stylist’s blog about natural hair and he was saying how terrible it is. In beauty school, they begin by teaching how to process hair. I’ts a shame I cannot go into a local hair salon and get my hair “pressed” for under 60.

  • Fatimah

    Recently I left my old hairdresser who was a Jamaican woman to get my hair done at a place in Toronto called Curl Ambassadors (http://www.curlambassadors.ca). The salon specializes in cutting curly hair dry. I had my doubts because I was so used to the traditional straighten and cut routine, plus most of the stylists are white. But not only am I way happier getting my hair cut in the way it is naturally, I also pay less, and my hair has never looked better! I now pay about $65 whereas I was paying $80 at my old salon. Look around ladies, and don’t always assume that black hairdressers know what’s best…

  • Kb

    This is the reason why I’m a DIYer . I’ve become great at doing my own hair(better still with more practice).

    I refuse to pay over 8$0 for twists/plaits/simple braids and $30-50 per “natural” products. On top of it all, There’s an attitude for natural hair where they can’t be bothered to learn how to do hair that is not straightened. On the bright side, I learned so much about my hair(was very ignorance about my own hair), the need for simplicity and discovering that there is more to life then hair. Yeh me! :)