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) I… 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 nat­ur­al… 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).

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 »

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.


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 »