Natural Hair More Expensive?-Response to Essence

by Tracey Wallace via NaturallyCurly.com

On my usual trolls through the website jungle that is the beauty dedicated side of the Internet, I often come across hair claims and exclamations that rattle my belief that humans are beings of higher intelligence. So, I must say, it is not a rare day to find a story that makes me gasp, or worse, ensues anger. After all, you all remember the talking vaginas and Channel 4 News stories!

What is a bit different, however, is finding a story claiming the impossible, the unheard of, the story that, dare I say it, makes me think. Today, Essence magazine published that story.

In an article titled Is Your Natural Hair Costing You a Fortune, Demetria Lucas claims that taking care of naturally curly hair is just as, if not more, expensive than taking care of treated hair. Now, while this story was a bit shocking, I was interested to see what the author’s conclusion would be. Sadly, I started to write this article as soon as I read the ending. She said, “yes.”

Fair and Reasonable Points

  1. Supply & Demand The author claimed that taking care of curly hair is more expensive now than it used to be, she believes, because of the fact that a larger portion of women are choosing to be natural. This has my mind racing back to high school economics, remembering supply and demand, and noticing that, perhaps because of the increase in women wanting to take care of their natural hair, the supply may not have caught up. Okay, I can get on board with this claim.
  2. Tough Economy The author notes that even in this tough economy, salons specializing in curly hair have been thriving. In Washington D.C. alone, Lucas states that the number of natural hair salons has increased by 18% That makes total sense. Hair is not an accessory. It is not something I can buy when I have extra money, or sell to get a few needed bucks. My hair is like my health, and often a representation of it. Taking care of it is as essential, yet more fun, than going to the dentist. But, to her point, even dentists offices are shutting down in this sub par economic turmoil. Perhaps an 18% increase is a bit much.

Reasonable points aside, I know for a fact that taking care of my natural hair is not only good for me, but for my purse too.

How Curly Hair Saves Your Wallet
  1. Less trips to the salon. Most of us have been there, shelling out upwards of $200 a month for straightening treatments that damage our scalp and hair. When you go natural, that $200 is back in your pocket, to use for whatever you want – for me, shoes. Furthermore, when you go natural, due to less heat styling, your hair tends to have less split ends, meaning it needs fewer trims. There’s another $20 back in your wallet.
  2. Make your own products. Yep, that’s right, chemically treated straighties cannot do this – without risking messing with the treatment, or having an abundant amount of frizz. Being natural means that we can make our own homemade hair treatments from whatever we desire — usually the leftovers of whatever veggie or herb didn’t get used in last night’s dinner recipe. Less produce thrown away equals more produce put to good use, and less money wasted.
  3. You can do your own hair, and well! OK, so, I did my own hair when I had chemically straightened locks as well, but only to a certain extent. I couldn’t straighten my hair any more than the chemicals or my flat iron already had, nor could I ever replicate the style with which I left the salon. I was at a total loss about transitioning to natural hair. So to fit the status quo, I bought miracle product after miracle product and flat iron after flat iron. Now, with curly hair again, I use rose oil, leave-in conditioner and no shampoo. My hair looks great, though not the same, almost every day. No need to use energy to dry my locks — they air dry! No need to buy tons of product to tame down breakage and frizz either. I just use healthy hair habits. It is simple and natural on this side of the fence — and cost effective, too!
More than save you money!

Having curly hair can not only put some doe in your savings, but can boost your confidence too! Try our curly hair confidence challenge, today!

Final thoughts

Overall, a curly’s main money saver is her bathroom, where she can turn the room in to a salon and trim her own hair, do her own hairstyles and make her own products. The three main reasons you need to spend money on your hair are totally eliminated by having natural hair. With how great it is for you, how awesome it looks and how much it saves your wallet – no one has any excuse not to do it.

Ladies, dig in! Let us know what other curly hair routines save you money – and even what you buy with that extra cash!

What say you?

66 Weigh in!:
Anonymous said...

When my hair was relaxed I went to the salon every week for a wash/curl iron ($1820). I also got a relaxer every 6 weeks ($650), for a total of $2470 per year, not including the cost of hair products. The cost of wearing my hair natural for the past year hasnt't come anywhere close to that number. Shampoo, leave in conditioner, styling product and a good oil, and I'm set. My wallet is smiling.

Anonymous said...

Essence is about selling as much weaves, relaxers and other products as possible. They are owned by Time Warner Publishing, so I don't expect any better with an article like this.
Now I need to re-think my current subscription.

Aishah said...

Only way I can see you spending more money natural is if you become a product junky (those darn carrier oils and shea butter add up lol) or if you go to natural salons and don't do your own hair (those natural salons are EXPENSIVE).

Jamie @ Rural Glamour said...

Demetria Lucas gets under my skin all the time. OMG! I'm not shocked this is an Essence story, chile. smh. Natural hair is only expensive as you make it. Same goes with relaxed hair. Has anyone checked the relaxed hair boards and topics lately online? Those ladies are just as big of PJs as we are! lol! I was a PJ natural and relaxed so the only money I'm saving is that I do my OWN hair now. But some relaxed divas do their hair as well and save money. I save also by using up what I have before I buy and thinking and researching before I make a impulse buy.

La'Tasha said...

i think that natural hair initially is more expensive, only because in the beginning you have to find a whole set of products that will work for you. Then through the various transitions; twa, afro puff, neck length and beyond, the type of product that your hair enjoys may change. But once you find your holy grail, its smooth sailing and happy saving.

Natural Hair Love Affair said...

Monthly Chemical Touchups/Maintenance-$$$Expensive, Pain from Permenant Processing-$$$Expensive, Naivety about the consequences of Permenant processing- $$$Expensive; The quest to achieve healthy koils, appreciation for my goddess-descended tresses, newfound confidence & love for natural hair=PRICELESS!

Anonymous said...

I bought products for my natural hair last year for about 150 total give or take a bit and gues what I still have them still using them. I did a lot of research on hair products and I hit the bulls eyes right out the gate ,a few bad products, yeah for my hair type but my sons are using them now so no waste. so now that i know what my hair like it will be even less than last year, and I'm mixing at home. Compared to my 200 buck every 2 months more if I had something special to probably 50 a year plus a barber visit for a trim. Yeah Essence can keep thier statistics.

Black Velvet said...

+1.
Between the few braid outs that I do and the natural hair products I buy, I'm saving so much more money than I ever did in one year of relaxed hair.

Anonymous said...

so glad I am saving money being natural cuzz these darn electric bills is killing a sistah!!!

Erica B. said...

When my hair was relaxed, I did my own hair. Salon visits didn't make sense because I regularly workout. Since I've been natural (for the last month), I've had to overcome sticker shock for organic, SLS-free, silicone-free products that have been recommended on every hair site and natural hair vlog. I'm commit to this and I don't have a problem spending what it takes to maintain healthy hair. But it is definitely much more expensive for me.

Anonymous said...

Even on my worst product junkie binges, I've saved more (time and money) than my salon days. That article is more about propaganda than it is truth. Salons and product manufacturers are hurting these days because many of us have become educated and have empowered ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Agree with second Anonymous. I do not trust Essence as a source. Flip through a mag, count the ads for relaxer-related products versus, heck, versus any OTHER type of product much less natural products.

I paid 70 bucks about 3 -4 months ago for a supply of oils, butters, containers, and other implements plus maybe another 30 for a food scale. The products I made have lasted me until now and I still have quite a bit left, maybe another 3-4 months worth. Yes, occassionally I supplement with some almond, castor, or olive oil none of which costs me more than 8 bucks each and fragrance oils that may cost me more. Plus, a few jumbo bottles of shampoo and conditioners that I buy from a chain beauty supply store that I earn points with. None of this adds up to more than 300 bucks for 8 months of supplies. For me, where i am from, that 300 bucks would buy me three relaxers every 6 weeks (including tip). I see a savings.

Anonymous said...

I have been natural for four years, and it has been more expensive for me, but that is because I don't do my own hair. Even long terms styles, such as senegalese twists, turn out to be more than what I was spending during the same time period with a relaxer. Having said this, I would NEVER go back to a relaxer, I love my natural hair. The reasons I don't do it myself are: 1. I have A LOT of hair and it is truly a test of patience and physical endurance to manage it on a regular basis, and 2. I have about 3 different textures in my hair, so I can't just "wash and go" without looking a mess<= this is probably my biggest set-back

Anonymous said...

I have found that being natural cost about the same as being relaxed. I have always done my own hair (I have a bad history with stylist, so I dont trust no one in my hair), wheather it was relaxed or natural. So salon prices have never been an issue for me. My problem with natural hair is that, in my opinion, it is way more time consuming.

Anonymous said...

Can it be more expensive? I suppose, depending on what you're buying and how often. If you are going to run to the store for every new product on the market catering to the natural hair consumer, then sure it can add up. I estimated caring for my natural hair cost me about $60 every other month (mostly henna, shea butter, coconut oil and evoo) versus the $80 every other week I spent on a touch-up & hair style that lasted about 3 days so it works for me. And I don't waste my time or my money in salons of any kind anymore (especially like some of the ones that makeup the 18% in DC...doing braids or locs with extensions does not automatically mean you specialize in natural hair).

Honeysmoke said...

I think it depends. I haven't had a hair cut in more than a year. Let's see, that's $50 X 6 times a year or a savings of $300. Or, think of it this way. I've haven't spent one dime in a salon. Sure, I buy products. I cowash with Hello Hydration. That's $3.99 for a big bottle. I bet I buy at least six of those a year. Four times six is $24. I like SheaMoisture smoothie. That's 9.99. I probably buy three of those a year. That's $30. In the winter, I also purchase Qhemet's Amla Heavy Cream. With shipping, that's about $20 a jar times 3, or $60. Those are my basics. Let's see, that's $24 + $30 + $60, or $114 a year. I purchase baggies and the occasional hair barrette or hair thingamabob. I'm going to throw in another $40 for that. That moves the mark up to $154. I lurk on LongHairCareForum.com and don't pay for that. Oh, and I recently purchased a bottle of argan oil for $17 from Mountain Rose Herbs. I'll round that up to $20. So, we're up to $174 a year. So, if someone can relax, condition and trim her hair for less than $200 a year, then, yes, it's more expensive to take care of natural hair. It doesn't really matter to me. There's no way I'm going back to relaxed hair. It could be free, and I wouldn't do it.
One thing to keep in mind. The mag has made a lot of money from those who sell relaxers. It's not unheard of for magazines to write for their advertisers. I am not saying this is what happened here, but it absolutely does happen.

Dolores said...

The cost of caring for natural hair depends on your choices. In my opinion, the only product you really need is conditioner, and that can cost as little as $3 (assuming you co-wash).

Anonymous said...

Essence magazine suffers from such an identity crisis that the article doesn't surprise me at all. I got tired of it a long time ago and ended my subscription. I now spend that money on natural hair products lol.

Anonymous said...

When I was relaxed I spent tons on hair relaxer retouches AND hair products and hair equipment like the InStyler and various flat irons and appliances. With transitioning I still buy products mainly natural mid range products with a few expensive indulgences and also lower end products such as Suave Shea butter conditioner. So all that is left is mainly product junkism which is being curbed by finding and sticking with products that work and becoming and arm chair mixologist.

I suggest that we take the money we would have spent at the salon, create a seperate savings account and use the former salon money as a product slush fund.

Shouna said...

My costs are only a little less but that's because I choose to use organic only in my hair...rather my hair does better with all organic. My hair HATES most oils, silicones, mineral oil, protein, and SLS dries it to the sand dunes of the Sahara and back.....:D

Anonymous said...

Since going natural I've become so disenchanted with Essence and all those other "black" magazines that constantly force feed relaxers and weaves.

Anonymous said...

I'm agreeing with what La'Tasha said. For me it has been just as expensive. The more expensive organic products work best for me and I'm always buying accessories and different hair rollers. It just depends. I just spent $30 on shampoo and conditioner but its worth it.

Jeannette said...

I've read a few of Demetria Lucas' articles and I pay no attention to her! She says things that make me shake my head LOL. I think people who write articles like that are just trying to make excuses for the relaxers they choose to put in their hair. If they want to relax then fine but trying to convince me with false information is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

No way I spend more money natural than I did relaxed!! Even in the beginning of being natural, it does take time & money to find the right products, regimen, & styles for you. But the products that I bought & didn't work were passed on to friends, family, co-workers who were natural or transitioning.

Most of the products I use can be bought on the ground and I do my own styles, conditioning, henna and trims.

I don't go to a salon anymore and my hair is growing, I have very little shedding and no split endz or fairy knots.

My hair has never been in this great of shape relaxed AND I am saving money!!!

IcyLillies said...

I am going to say no, it's not more expensive for me. I would pay $20 every two weeks to get my hair straighthed. $40 dollars to get a touch up whenever I remembered to get one (lol).

When I first went natural, I wasn't sure what to do exactly or what products were good, so I'd try out different things and what I learned over time is that being natural can either be really cheap or really expensive. It depends on you. The most expensive products I buy are online for $20 (including shipping)and that's Pretty Dimples' shea butter and Curls clarifying shampoo. I buy those products because they last me months. So it's like I'm spending $20 on products at most three times a year. I haven't even finished my first bottle of curls since I clarify my hair every three months (mostly because I forget about it, I shampoo weekly).

Shampoos and conditioners are from regular stores like cvs. They work fine for me and are cheap. Eco gel, cheap, lasts a while too.

I guess I make it expensive because I like trying new things and I'm also looking for new ways to style my hair, so now I'm buying accessories and bobby pins and all that. However, I honestly think that if you want to be cheap and simple, you can. Just find a look you like, make sure you're hair is moisturized and stick with your regimen.

Anonymous said...

Name: Porshia
I think this is their way of trying to convince women not to become natural. Bandwagons, IMO, make being natural expensive.

Anonymous said...

Nope, 'Mess'ence got it wrong again. Natural hair is as expensive as your wallet allows, just like relaxers. When I had money as a relaxed I splurge and went to salons to to my relaxer and treatments. Plus I bought products, put on weaves, etc. When I didn't have money as a relaxed, I did my own relaxer at home and used basic shampoo and conditioner. Since becoming a natural, I've never been to a salon. When I have money, I splurge on hair products. When I don't have money, I use what I have. Suave Coconut is still a staple for me!

Anonymous said...

Perfectly plausible to believe that natural hair can cost more rgan a relaxer.
1.Frequently washing hair requires more products.
You deplete your conditioners,moisturizers and stylers more than u would with a relaxers.
2."natural" products tend be more expensive and come in smaller quantities. Not everyone is a mixtress.
3. Surcharge for natural hair at salons.
Salons that "specialize" in natural hair also tend to be more expensive and those that don't charge a surcharge for dealing with natural hair. Newslash, not every natural is a DIYer. Some of us actually enjoy getting our hair "did".
4.The opportunity cost of time.
Depending on what stage you're in,and the texture and length of your hair, in you may spend significantly more time than others.
A few asides:
I have non-black friends who went to the salon less frequently than I did but spent as much if not more on their cut/color/blow outs annually.
I'm not a huge fan of Essence, but to be fair where else do we find a diverse representation if black hair,hues and sizes. To dismuss this article(paricularly when they often have spreads devoted to natural hair seems petty.
One last point, would we be up in arms if the article argued that vegans spend more on food than meat eaters?

Anonymous said...

i find it so much cheaper. The soap works shampoo conditioning bar $2.oo + eco styler large jar $3.99 = $5.99 ( i do my own hair, its kinky n im afraid of hairdressers lol)
less than ten dollars, last so long. I'll never buy that magazine again. perm killed my pocket $65.00 plus ten dollar shampoos n treatments, n weave, n conditioner, n touch ups. i can go on but i feel like im reliving my money wasting days :p

Yirssi said...

I completely disagree. What sources did she use for this? Because it makes NO sense. I haven't been to the hair salon once in the 2 years since I went natural. So that's $480 saved in relaxers, and $160 saved on trims. Not to mention the electricity I've saved from not using hair dryers and whatnot. The products I use cost around the same long term, so that's over $700 saved in just two years!

Anonymous said...

I actually saw the statistic refering to the opening of salons in the DC area. That article talked about the fact that people were out of work, and one salon had staff that had been to college; one person even had a Masters degree.

Anyway natural has been way cheaper for me. Let me not start with the $65 touch-ups every 6 - 8 weeks, and the $15 trims. Now I use oranic products, catch 2 for 1 sales, and do my hair at my leisure. Someone mentioned the opportunity cost of time. Well after spending 3 - 4 hours on a Saturday to get my hair done, I can spend that amount of time or less,in the comforts of my home!

Anonymous said...

I'm a perm head and my girls are naturals, we all use the same products I was never a fan of "black hair care products". Mother always used evoo, and other oils and creams on my hair even with a perm. I don't do salons. I stretch my relaxers only relax twice a year saves plenty of money. I have noticed that some natural products more for smaller quanity compared to products you'd use on relaxed hair, maybe that's her point of stating her comment?

Serenity said...

I believe that it all depends on the person and how they choose to style their hair. For me, having natural hair is WAY more expensive than having a relaxer. This is because I didn't go to the shop for anything but to get my ends trimmed. Bought the perm at the store for $5, some hairspray for $3-5, and flat ironed my own hair. There, straight hair for less than $10. And I took great care of it, very healthy. But being natural is completely different with all of the stylers that are required. So you really can't make a general statement about one being more expensive than the other because it all depends on how that person takes care of their hair

Annabel said...

I am saving so much since I decided to transition. I no longer live in the US, but when I did, I frequented the salon twice a month, paying a total of 140 per month and 240 when I had to get my relaxer. I'm trying to be less of a PJ, but even with my product purchases, I will never spend that much on products per month! What natural hair is costing me, is time, however, I think that my transition is the primary cause of this. Once I'm natural I hope to be able to simplify my routine.

Anonymous said...

I think Demetria is the same woman who wrote and article about going to the beach and getting angry because some man splashed water on her hair. I don't know how you can go to a beach and not expect to get wet? This is the type of loopy logic she uses. Anyway, I think Essence is trying to appeal to advertiser who want to promote relaxers and weaves. Nothing wrong with wearing either, but there is no need to put down natural hair by making false claims that caring for it is more expensive.

Anonymous said...

Another thing about being relaxed is the freedom, when I was young and stupid I would worry about what would happen to my hair if I had to move to Iowa to find work at a university. I'm sure they have black people in Iowa but would they have a hair stylist that could take care of my relaxed hair. I figure being natural the anxiety of finding the right hairdresser is gone....you have the freedom to move, the freedom to exercise, the freedom to swim all without that overwhelming worry or ruining that one hairstyle.

There seems to be alot of self doubt articles regarding being natural starting with Oprah's hair dresser.....I'm skeptical, Essence survives on ad money from relaxers and such....I'm also seeing the mineral oil is good for you articles probably funded by the mineral oil industry.

Anonymous said...

I don't think much changes. If you were the type of girl who spent thousands on salon visits, weaves, and expensive products when relaxed, then it is totally possible to do that as a natural. If you always did your own box perms at home, bought products on clearance, and did your hair yourself, then , again, the same trend probably continues into your natural journey. I'd never spend $40 on a product when I was relaxed and would never do so as a natural ( no matter what curl defining claims it makes). I really don't think it has anything to do with natural or relaxed hair. What certain women are willing to spend on their hair will never change. Period.

Jai said...

"I think Demetria is the same woman who wrote and article about going to the beach and getting angry because some man splashed water on her hair. I don't know how you can go to a beach and not expect to get wet?"

According to that article, the guys who splashed water on Demetria and her friends' hair (on purpose) were being disrespectful. One of them even said something like,"That's why we prefer white women!" So, I think she had a right to be pissed about that situation.

Anonymous said...

OMG! More expensive?....really?
My 5 year old Locs have been the best thing for my cheap, hating scalp burns, enjoying saturday mornings out of the salon, using the same oils on my hair that I use on my body(and salads),cheap behind!! What I have realized since I have been natural is the amount of excuses women will give for not going natural. I stopped trying to convert. It takes many types of hair to make this world go'round!Blessings

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

Have you seen how many adds there are in Essence for hair care products? If they said anything different they would lose their advertising.

Anonymous said...

Love being natural and will never be convinced to go back to creamy crack. But, do you believe that the natural hair celebrities, videobloggers, and the like who get pimped by companies to do "product reviews" are not contributing to the problem? Hair steamers, new conditioners, new rollers, henna treatments, new techniques, new "mom and pop" webfront natural hair stores, push products on us and most of your blog followers have professed at one time or another to be product junkies. Now what? Be true to ourselves and let us really add up the costs. Then, let us be conscious of what we are doing and change. #thatisall

Kimberly said...

I haven't quite taken the plunge to become 100% natural. I'm still relaxed. However, I now relax 3 times a year vs. relaxing every 8 weeks (baby steps on becoming natural). As someone with relaxed hair I went to the salon every 2-3 weeks. I haven't seen a stylist since Feb. 2009. I have never totally depended on a stylist to do my hair. I think it's important for all women to now how to style and properly take care of your own hair. With that being said, I totally agree with the person that said it depends on the individual..if your a PJ than yes being nautral can be just as expensive as if you were going to see a stylist. Through out my hair journey I've learned to stick with what works for me and buy in bulk. With purchasing henna on a regular and my other staple products, I think I come out even.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm This is interesting and could really go just on the person's personal lifestyle. Me personally It has been cheaper for me. I count it as a splurge buying new products, I get excited! LOL, but since being natural almost 4 years my buying of products have slowed down big time. I know what I like, I know what works for me. So now I buy a new product here and there just to try. I was a slave to the salon when I was relaxed, I felt like I HAD to get my hair done every two weeks, and I didn't get a relaxer but every 3-4 months.
I equate most naturals now as how the white folks get their hair done.... If we do go to the salon it's for a color/cut or a trim. When our counterparts go in they sometimes pay a hefty price tag for their visit, but they only visit the salon maybe 3-4 times a year, and that is what is happenening to us, thus why a lot of natural salons will charge a higher fee I believe.
That's just my take on it.. and with all that babble... guess what.... the answer is.. I think my natural hair care is LESS expensive!
..... make a good day ladies! :-)

-Dee

Dr. Ronnie said...

The issue is not that caring for our natural tresses inherently costs more. Rather, the issue rests in our quest to find the perfect product to give moisture, definition, hold etc. It is the perpetual PJism results in big $$$. Beyond that, many naturals choose to use products with fewer toxins or products marketed as being 'natural'--such products often cost more. Finally, for those who like a little luxury and pampering, shea butter and water just doesn't evoke the same feelings/smells as other products.

MasterBarberWms said...

Hey Its Your Man Master Barber Wms. Here. Ladies as a 30 plus year Veteran of helping to keep Black America Beautiful one head a time as a Stylist /Educator let me weigh in here. As a Salon STylist I tended to look at Clients in terms of yearly accounts and strove hard not to lose one because having a client with special cut, relaxer and customized color could result in 3-5 thousand dollars a year in revenue. When a client goes natural even with special cut and color design that revenue stream is cut by at least half. I will see her for the essentials. I love the fact that Natural hair is being realized as a unique and beautiful texture. Apparently The CREATOR thought it was good HE gave it to African women like HE gave other women other hair textures and types. Oh my answer is Natural is Naturally less expensive check out my videos on youtube the sofnfree channel Ciao

CurlyinTheA said...

Before everyone gets up in arms (I admit it, I almost did before I read the article) I think she does make a few valid points. Also, this is a blog, and she's encouraging discussion, not making a blanket statement. Overall, I think it varies for each person. I can respect her opinion, because she was natural for 10 years, though her use of products I'd prob disagree with. Today, you have a lot of folks wo see the natural hair market as their way to wealth. Come on, why would a salon charge $600 for what's basically a texturizer. And, when you look at the price of some products, they're more than gas. Now, as far as Ms. Lucas, Im sure her current hairstyle is much more expensive than the Pink Oil and 50 cent comb she used as a natural -- I'm guessing here, but her chic, short cut (I love a short cut) requires bi-weekly touchups, AND she's got color, and weekly or bi-weekly appts to maintain it. That cut, while gorgeous, can't be done at home, as many naturals do. So, I know Ms. Lucas is spending a grip. In short, being a natural can get expensive if like others said you are a PJ and don't do your hair. Relaxed hair is expensive because of salon visits; natural hair is expensive because of products.

Anonymous said...

For me, its not a money issue but a time management thing. I don't think you can put a price-tag on the time we wasted camped out at a salon trying to get that retouch on a Saturday morning. Picture this: I am there for 6-8 hours looking at a raggedy old hair mag and being overlooked because the stylist overbooked!!

Two years ago, I said so long to the endless Saturday morning madness at the salon. My time is my own on Saturdays.

Anonymous said...

As a Breast Cancer Survivor my health is more important than head full of relaxed hair any day. I began my natural journey after my cancer treatment and one breast later. It was best decision I ever made to go natural. I wanted my body as chemical free as I can get it. Just my two cent

A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR WITH HEAD FULL OF NATURAL HAIR

ABdS said...

As a woman who has done her own hair majority of my life, I'd say being natural is proving to be about the same expense for me as being relaxed.

The difference for me is in product quality. I am happily using products with natural and or organic ingredients which do command a pricier tag vs the others. And I now have no need or desire to go to a salon at all, however infrequent it did cost when relaxed to get that wash, style and occassional cut or weave when I just wasn't feeling like doing it myself.

Now for naturals who use premium products and don't do their own hair they are paying a grip so in that case it is more expensive. No doubt about it. I just put in lower waist length kinky twists that I would charge someone at least $250 to do so ladies get to learning :-)

ABdS

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Anonymous said...

For me, I see a difference in my wallet. I use to get my hair done, once a week and it was putting a hurting on my pockets. I will admit I am a product junkie, however, the amount of $$ I spend on products doesn't come close to what I was paying when I was a relaxed hair chica. And I believe if I was going to get my natural hair done or a bi-weekly basis, I still would be spending less.

Anonymous said...

Even if you are a product junkie! You can get a pound of Shea butter offline for like 20 bucks and once you mix that in with a tblspoon of coconut [1 jar is $8 at WF] some olive oil [$5 at WF] and a few drops of carrier oils [$4-8]. That shea butter and all of those oils will last you probably 6months {for the oils} and a year {shea butter}. so thats $40 bucks for a year...then once you add up leave ins, shampoos, gels, and styling products..all of which don't have to be $25 a pop and last at least 4months themselves I would say that natural hair probably costs about $250ish a year!! That is if you do everything yourself, like I do! This is opposed to paying $100 every three months for a relaxer [400 a year], paying a stylist to trim your raggedy ends every 6 weeks [173ish dollars] etc...and then getting weaves, etc [i dont even know how much that costs]....please I'm calling BS on Essence

MB430 said...

This is just a case of people trying to boost dwindling sales of "traditional" services in black salons. This article makes me slightly annoyed but at the same time I don't think it's really going to be the deciding factor in whether or not someone goes natural. Who ever wrote that article doesn't know Essence readers pockets so to speak. I've read too many stories in the past few months about people who stopped getting perms because they just couldn't afford it any longer. (It's one of the reasons why I stopped.) Hair will cost money to maintain period and deciding to wear your hair natural depends on more factors than how much it will cost. For example willingness to learn to style and take care of your natural hair, how much time you have to devote to that, and sadly; whether or not you can handle the naysayers.

Shame on Essence for running a opinion piece as fact when they could've just as easily made a far more in depth article with "experts" from both sides listing the pros, cons and yes the cost.

Anonymous said...

I've been fully natural for five months. In those 5 months, I've spent more money on my hair than I did in 1 1/2 years relaxed. I've bought ton of products because my hair has been super dry and I've had a tough time getting rid of that problem. I've also had to find something for curl definition but without the crunch....and on and on and on with the natural hair thing. When I was relaxed, I used a total of three products: shampoo, conditioner, and a light oil that would come to a total of $10-$15. My hair was healthy and I got consistent results. Honestly, my natural hair has been so much more of a headache, financially and time wise, than my relaxed hair ever was...and that's just real! Now, I'm sure that I won't always be spending this much money on products because I'm slowly finding what works for me and that's good because "natural" products ain't cheap. Essence isn't that far off the mark. Natural hair can be expensive.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Essence on this one. I have been a do-it-yourselfer for decades. I have been natural for a little over six months. When I factor in wigs and weaves, styling gadgets and products, relaxers cost me quite a bit more than being natural. But I can also say that my hair is in the best condition ever and I LOVE the way it looks (most days) and wouldn't go back to relaxing under any circumstances. As far as time committment I don't really see much difference there either. Just a shift in when I style I do most of my protective styles at night and put on a cap. With a relaxer I needed at least 20 minutes to style my hair in the morning.

I also agree with the posters that stated if you tried to save money as a relaxed diva you will also try to save money as a natural diva. After my learning curve for caring for my natural hair I am down to a regimen that costs approximately $15/mo not including buy myself a barret or hair comb every once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Besides the fact that this is plain ridiculous, what is the price that is too high to pay for good health? I have only had three stylists that I liked well enough to become a regular client. Even with that, I hate wasting my day at the salon, I hate negotiating about MY hair, I hate paying with set backs following other people's lousy (although perhaps well meaning) advice. So, the cost of relaxers, and the so-called professional assistance that goes with it, is only a small part of the equation. It makes me mad even thinking about someone trying to convince women to compromise their health because it costs too much to maintain it in its healthy, natural state. HOW RIDICULOUS!!!

FattieSoSlim said...

For regular upkeep, it all costs the same. The shampoo, deep conditioner, hot oil treatment, moisturizer, and certain styling products and tools (whether you use curly pudding or heat protectant, rollers or curlformers, paddle brushes or tangle teasers). But the difference is definitely there. No need to relax. No need for that extra protein treatment. No need to buy a flat iron either (unless you want). And as far as I know, a bottle of Kinky Curly Knot Today is cheaper than Mizani's Rose2O Moisturizer.

LovelyB said...

I can definitely say it has been WAY more expensive being natural than I was relaxed. I've always done my own hair.

When I was relaxed I washed my hair once every 1-2weeks blow-dry and flat iron. That style lasted me until the next time I washed and all I had to was wrap at night then get up in the a.m. and go. Only time I went to the salon was about every 3-6months for a relaxer which added up to 50-100 a year.

As a natural I wash my hair much more frequently (and if I don't wash it I still have to reapply product to get my re-moisturize) and not to mention the crazy prices for natural products [KCKT $14?!] My hair EATS conditioner for breakfast lunch and dinner and laughs in the face of a "dime size" of anything. I end up shelling out way more on my natural hair.

However, I would never go back to being relaxed [I hated getting my hair relaxed, why I always waited so long in between them haha] but it definitely was cheaper AND easier. But from time to time now when I feel like it I'll still do a good blow-dry & flat iron to rock for a week and then wear a curly fro the next haha ;)

http://livewonderfully.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I was a PJ when I was relaxed, every shine product,setting/wrap lotion,scalp moisturizer that cam out? I tried it!A salon trip ususally cost me $65 for a touch-up,DC & trim every 6-8 weeks. As a natural I spent alot IN THE BEGINNING learning what did NOT work 4 me. Now that trial and error is done, I def spend LESS.I buy large bottles of my oils and mix-up my condish & I am HAPPY!Lets not 4get the added bonus:I dont run from rain,I can dance my as* off at a party & not worry abt my tresses,I can go temp straight when I like, I can go on VAC & not worry abt the beach, the pool,..its all good! I just wash n go!No more waiting 4 me to wash,condish & blow dry, flat iron my hair...I save sooooo much time. My hair is my best friend now! We arent fighting anymore!It wanted to be curly n kinky & I wanted 2 force her to be bone straight...I gave in, she won the battle & Im happier for it! :)

Anonymous said...

I love my hair and any money I spend on it is worth it. I look better, feel better and in my opinion spend my money on better products (oils and butters, and wonderful smelling stuff instead of chemicals that ruin my hair. I get more compliments than I ever did with relaxed hair. I love my hair. It's okay to spend on what you love.

ChicaRizada94 said...

I was relaxed for a period of about 6.5 years, and after my initial $200 relaxer, my mom paid $80 every 4-6 weeks for touch-ups. This turns out to be a total of $4,706-$6,960. Let's remember that that's solely the salon price. I was a huge PJ, so literally spent hundreds of dollars on shampoos, rinse/deep/leave-in conditioners (I also firmly stuck to Black hair products), setting lotion, hair greases/pomades, gels, curl activators, combs, brushes, clips, bobby pins, headbands, caps, etc. I easily spent $350-$500 annually on miscellaneous hairstuffs. In total, my hair cost nearly $10,000 over an almost 7 year period. Now, I pay for everything myself, and I stick to the inexpensive products - Aussie, Garnier Fructis, TRESemme, Alberto VO5, Bioluxe, Herbal Essence, etc. I haven't yet spent $100 on hair products this year.

Anonymous said...

i think this is just another excuse for naturals and relaxed to be at war with each other. i know a girl who has relaxed hair and all she does is washes and conditons with TRESemme inbetween relaxers (she relaxes her own hair). i know a natural who's house can be a beauty supply warehouse. it all depends on the person and on how you wanna treat your hair. if you are a product junkie, becoming natural wont solve any problems. when i first became natural, i considered relaxing my hair again because i was tired of spending money trying to find products for my natural hair. everywhere i turned i was being told what to use and what to buy. let us not even forget all the "rules" of natural hair. no sulphates, no petroleum, no this, no that. what hair type. are you protein sensitive. and on it goes. and that sucked cuz that meant half the stuff i had bought had to end up in the trash. it was only when i had spent most of my allowance on my hair that i realized i needed to stop. right now i have promised myself i wont buy anything until all the products i have are finished. as long as they dont damage my hair. even though im no longer spending any more money, natural hair is more time consuming. between pre-poo, shampoo, protein treatments, moisture tretments, detangling and whatnot. dont misunderstand me, im not hating on natural hair, but just be honest and dont lie to yourselves, natural har is expensive and time consuming. people just need to let things be and stop trying to prove that one hair type is better or worse than the other.

Candace said...

I have to say that I spend more money with natural hair. I used to do my own relaxers, and only went to the salon once every two months to get a trim, which was about $45. To wash and style I used basic shampoo that could be bought at a grocery store and plain old Isoplus oil sheen as my main styling aid. And my hair looked great!

As a natural, I find myself not only buying way more products (shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, styler, sealant, deep conditioners), but I'm using up more quickly because I'm doing my hair more often. I also spend way more time doing my hair than I used to with a perm, where I only had a once weekly wash and straighten, and a wrap every night.

Unless my previous life just happened to be more charmed than others, I've noticed a lot of naturals tend to exaggerate their permed experience for whatever reason -- I never experienced the "pain" of perms, the breakage and thinning, and all the other things I see thrown around in natural hair discussions. I made the decision to go natural for one reason only: versatility. I wanted to be able to swim or sweat and not have to worry about looking a hot mess afterwards. And although I definitely find it WAY more expensive and time consuming than when I had a perm, I appreciate my natural hair and I'm glad I made the decision.

Candace said...

As a brief addendum...I actually have a friend who like me, was a slave to the perms in college but decided to go natural far before I did, and after ten years with natural hair, she's decided it's just too much work and money and is getting a perm this weekend. I haven't gotten to that point yet, but I fully understand how she could!

Anonymous said...

I do not spend more on my hair now then I did while relaxed. I have more product, but the simple fact that I do not have to pay 65-100 for a relaxer/touch up means I am saving money. Even when I spend a bit on products, it is not every 6 weeks I am shelling out cash on my hair. I wasn't even the type to get my hair done every week. I did my own hair in between relaxers. For a while, when I was overseas I even did my own relaxers and everything. The benefit of being natural and the overall health of my hair is worth it to me. Even if I were to be actually spending more, but thankfully I am not :)

Anonymous said...

It's cheap for me, I love my hair short and tapered at the neck which is 10 bucks every month to two months. I don't do twists and the such so I can manage my hair at home. I don't have the damage and upkeep from my relaxed days. I'm a happy camper!!

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