Last week Judith wrote about her frustration – which quite a few naturals share – about the inability to get our hair done at non-specialized hair salons, with some suggestions on how these salons can get our attention back. As you can imagine, one of the major concerns was the cost of natural hair styles. After posting about the article on Instagram, I received a lot of responses from hairstylists with their own side of the story about why natural hair styling is so expensive and time consuming. I figured it was only fair to share their perspectives with you, so we can all have a better understanding of how to work with stylists to get our hair done!
Jocelyn Reneé – Lanham, MD, Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctitian, and Blogger – CurlyNuGrowth.com
On the difference between paying a professional hairstylist and using a kitchen beautician… read the rest here:
A professional will charge you accordingly. The factors that go into cost of a service are not just pulled out of thin air because “natural hair is more demanding or labor intensive”, the factors include:
- Time. A Professional Hair Stylist will make an hourly wage (just like you do at your job) to compensate them for time away from their family, often at times that are convenient to you, and to pay for living expenses (like the phone to answer your calls, texts, and emails; transportation to get to the Salon for your appointment, food to ensure they have energy to take care of your hair, listen to you and complete your service in a timely manner).
- Products. Professional products are expensive. Even readily accessiblequality consumer products are expensive. To ensure your hair remains healthy or to revitalize the condition of your hair professional products are necessary. And from a Professional Stylist standpoint, professional products come with training to understand their synergy. A label on the back of bottle won’t explain how to use the products for each hair type; education does.
- Training / Education. Obtaining a Cosmetology license is hardwork, 1500 hours (in some states more) of science, practice, and basic hair care knowledge. But it doesn’t stop there, with so many different textures, curl patterns, haircuts, styling techniques, color placements, braiding styles and fashion trends a Professional must constantly seek education.
- Sanitation. Can you imagine going to the Hairdressers and leaving with HIV, or Hepatitis or Lice?! It happens, every day because of poor sanitation or not sanitizing the tools and surfaces of a workarea. A licensed Professional is drilled on Sanitation and should use proper sanitation with cleaning equipment that also costs money. Sanitation should be performed for each client and so the cost to ensure your health and safety is also built into the cost of service.
- Maintenance. You want the Salon environment to look, feel and smell nice and be clean when you arrive for your experience, right? Well that doesn’t just happen it takes constant upkeep, passion and, you guessed it, money.
Bonita Abakah-Koranteng – Maplewood, NJ, Licensed Cosmetologist – Bundles & Kinks
As far as pricing goes: time, hair length, texture, density, and the stylist’s skill level and education are all factors. Some stylists increase their prices every time they take a class, go to a show, or get a certification. As we all know, everyone dreads “wash day,” and it’s not different in the salon. For certain styles I have to charge more for a shampoo and blowdry. Many people don’t come detangled even when you told them to, and detangling before I even shampoo can take 15–20 minutes on some people. So I charge extra to detangle because I realized it was adding time and giving me more work. I always do two shampoos, conditioner, sometimes a deep conditioner; then I detangle again, section and blow dry. This is a lot of work, which is sometimes strenuous and does take time. Blow drying natural hair that hasn’t been trimmed recently is especially difficult. This is what I signed up for so it’s cool, I just have to be compensated accordingly.
Stylists pay $16,000 – $20,000 to go to school and also have to pay out of pocket to advance their education in cosmetology. Classes are hundreds and thousands of dollars plus travel costs which we have to pay for out of pocket. In addition, we pay for products and tools: a good pair of shears alone is priced in the hundreds. In Maplewood, NJ, the rent is high but the shop has to stay open. At my salon, we use quality products, we do a great job, and give a great experience. So in addition to our credentials and the hours spent working, standing, and sweating (sometimes with no lunch break), it is only fair for stylists to charge what they feel they deserve. I personally work on commission so I make sure my prices are high enough to make a decent cut for myself without tips.