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 –

Jocelyn Renee - Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon |

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

Bonita - Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon |

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.

Click to read the rest at

Do these stylists opinions convince you that pricing for natural hair styles is fair? If pricing is not your biggest concern keeping you from salons, what is?

Klassy Kinks founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. You can find her on social media @klassykinks.

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30 Comments on "Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon"

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Stylist’s prices can go to a million dollars per hour for all I care. I do my OWN hair. It has never been healthier or longer since I went natural and left the salon for my kitchen sink and bathroom shower. My hair was never beautiful before I started taking care of it myself. In the beginning it took a while because there was a learning curve, but now I’m in and out in under half an hour. Plus, thanks to youtube, I make my own products (no chemicals) which helps keep it growing. I agree that their time is… Read more »
Courtney Wheeler

except maybe Baltimore or Philly


If paying so much is a problem why not do your hair yourself? You can’t tell someone they charge too much for the service they offer if they’re doing a quality job.

Leslie Alessandro
These are a lot of excuses. Growing up everyone I knew had natural hair and the stylist were professional, knowledgeable and your hair didn’t fall out, it grew and you weren’t in the salon all day long due to double booking, gossiping, tardiness, rudeness or God forbid, some stylist spending 4 hrs doing a pea pod hairstyle on someone that has inch of hair. You know these clients as well as their stylist. Natural hair on the east coast has been in play since the civil rights movement, this is not a new phenomenon unless you’re from the west coast.… Read more »
Mackenzie Irick Milks
Mackenzie Irick Milks
A stylist should be compensated for their time, I agree. If you can turn out 7 relaxed people in an 8 hour shift versus only 3 non-relaxed people, your time reaps your less profit with the non-relaxed. I get it. The reality of the matter is that non-chemically relaxed hair will take longer to wash, blow-dry and style. Still, in the end, what grows out of our head naturally will be a cost detriment to us in the salon if we opt NOT to chemically alter our hair. It feels as if we are being penalized, and that’s a problem.… Read more »
I think that for the quality and the results from going to salons,are not justifying the price for a weave or a wash-and- flatiron. Since I am going to college soon, I will not be able afford to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on my hair, because I’m afraid to touch my own hair. It was actually recommended by my mother mother that if I wanted to flat-iron my hair, I must go to a professional, in the fear that I damage my own hair, which I do understand her concern, ( since her hair was damaged by perming,… Read more »
I don’t believe any market should have overinflated pricing… HOWEVER, I do feel most free markets are self-correcting. If your stylist is a bomb stylist but charges an arm & a leg, she’s doing so because she CAN. She thinks she’s worth whatever she’s charging. And you agree with her, the minute you return for service… I think it’s horrible when or if horrible stylists have exorbitant fees, BUT I can’t see how they last long without repeat business and in the face of bad reviews. Nobody goes into the grocery store haggling over why the name brand goods aren’t… Read more »
Ang B
thing is … natural customers didn’t necessarily leave salons bc of price (though its a factor). Many left bc while paying these hairdressers the arm & leg their weren’t satisfied. Trims turned to major hair cuts, flat irons turned to heat damage, sulfate products that leave hair like straw, long wait times …. not worth it. Women began to leave & start doing it themselves. My hair is mid-back / bra strap now .. its toms of work. Id LVOE to have someone else do it .. id even pay well …. alas .. even in Harlem (black hair mecca)… Read more »

Unfortunately. So true. I would love to sit back and allow someone to do my hair—–using good products, nice scalp scrub, decent TRiM, etc. —but the salon is not going to treat my hair like I do. So sad yet so true

At my natural hair salon they charged me extra for the lenght and thickness of my hair, for the detangling, the deep conditionning, and for using their products in my hair. I realised I would have to come to the salon with my hair already detangled and parted in sections and with my own products for the stylist to do her job without overcharging me. I’m sorry but some of these natual salons are ridiculous and abuse their clients. Useless to say, I learned to do my own hair, and to rely on family for braids. But carefull with the… Read more »

I attended cosmetology school and practiced for a while until I realized I actually did not enjoy doing other’s hair ( waste of time, i know…I was young and trying to find myself). I’m at an advantage because I know how to do hair myself and never have really had a need for the salon, even before I went natural. I also know all the tricks of the trade so don’t fall for exorbitant prices ladies.


That was funny, Dee!

Claudette UK

I think we should start helping each other and braid each others hair. That’s what worked back in the day before it all became about the money.


Except for maybe time I don’t see any factors that would apply exclusively to natural hair. Regardless of what they feel they deserve I’m not going to pay them a whole lot of money to do a simple style I can do as well or better myself in a relatively short time. Best example is twists. so is it better to get lessmoney than you want from me or none? I wonder if they are charging relaxed clients more to make up for naturals either not coming or coming less. i think doing relaxers were my stylists main money maker.


I appreciate my hairstylist so much. It sucks that I can’t go to her often since I’m unemployed due to being disabled.


Honestly though, those factors can be said about almost any and all professions, yet chipotle is not charging $20 for their delicious bowls.

My friend and I were recently talking about the high prices that stylist charge just for natural hair. We both went to the same stylist. Depending on how well you know natural hair, can either increase or decrease how long you are in the chair. For instance, the hair dresser I used to go to would not detangle my hair before running a round brush through it. But yet, she would complain that my ends needed to be trimmed. No, you just didn’t detangle my hair first. Also, she would use a sulfate shampoo and didn’t DC my hair, so… Read more »

I don’t think that a wash, condition, and style should be the same cost as a relaxer. I think that beauticians are trying to compensate for more women been natural than relaxed. Before the natural hair explosion a wash and style was $45, now it’s $60+. Ridiculous and I live the Atlanta area where more women have natural hair than any other city I lived in.

Hair Anomaly

On the rare occasion that I do go to my stylist, it’s only for a simple wash, condition, and cut, which is about $30. So, price is not the issue. The reason I don’t go is quite simple actually…

I have been natural again for over two years, and no one knows, grows, or cares for my hair better than me.


Construction workers make $25/hr+
Consultants and Engineers make around $50/hr+
Lawyers and Doctors make over $100/hr
What is it about applying products, washing hair, parting and pinning hair down that demands doctoral wages? I’m curious. I know a lot of women are intimidated by their own hair, but the only advantage I’ve ever seen to having someone else do my hair is the fact that they would have a better angle to maneuver and see what they’re doing (whereas my range of motion is limited since my arms are connected to my body).


Exactly!!! Im all for women making money…but not off the backs of one client….Ill just do my own hair and keep my money to pay of my student loans.

Reina Benoir
I refuse to go near my own hair with scissors unless I’m cutting the rare knot. Otherwise I’m not a big salon person. I have no qualms paying for service. I do think however, that triple digits fro a trim is a bit much. However, the last salon I went to charged less than triple digits for a trim and didn’t discuss with me how much they were trimming and I left with the same length of hair I left my trim with 3 months earlier and I was not happy. Especially when the stylist told me that if I… Read more »

I am not a DIY gal, but after reading this article I am starting today


I will pay for quality service. If I go to a salon that is clean, organized, works on one person at a time, provides quality styling and service, and starts on time, I will gladly pay more. I have an issue with salons that charge an arm and leg for ghetto ass service. No. Do not pass GO. Do not collect my $200.

Also, I will not pay for services I can do myself. If it’s something I can’t do myself reasonably well (i.e cutting my hair in a style) and you meet the above requirements, I will gladly pay.

Ang B

exactly, and for me at this point in the natural hair game, where I can wash, DC, hot oil treat, braid oit, blow out, flat iron, havana twist, & box braid my own hair like ….. LOL .. the only thing I MIGHT pay a salon for at this pt is to professiprofes color. Women like me they dred, hence i think the astronomical prices when we walk in the door

Courtney Wheeler

i stopped getting perms to avoid the fees….i refuse to become a new slave. Love my styling sistahs butteruum…I cant do it! Thank you youtube.

while i think they should be compensated as any other profession, i find it interesting how they compare themselves to other jobs, yet are itemizing every.single.thing. as justification when most jobs dont do that. These might be a bad examples but people at mcdonalds aren’t making gas money to get there and its not included im sure its not a calculated cost in their minimum wage pay otherwise, they wouldnt be making minimum wage! Receptionist and executive assistants aren’t getting compensated for their cell phones bills so the boss can reach them. Most of these justifications just dont pan out… Read more »

This is why I wash and condition my own hair and go to a barber for a haircut. The salons for me are ridiculous.

All this sounds nice, but the prices are still too high. I have been a scieintist for over 19 years and I went to an Ivy league school for undergrad and I have my MS also. My education was not cheap. I continue to further my education and knowledge. This does not mean my company will pay me 100-200$ an hour. I make a good salary, but I cannot justify paying so much money to get my hair trimmed. If natural hair was not so popular, this probably would not be an issue. I do not agree with increased prices… Read more »
Well that’s why I don’t go to natural specialty places I just do my hair on my own and then I go to my hairstylist (who isn’t a natural specialist) for a deep condition every so often. I know it cost to keep your hair healthy I have a friend that is a hairstylist and I see all the stuff that she buys and the classes that she takes, so I understand that, but sometimes you just don’t have that much money because of other monthly commitments. However when I see my hairdresser I always tip him $20 or more… Read more »