Can Natural Hair Make You Broke?

I came across this article from Essence just a little while ago which purported that maintaining natural hair can be just as much if not more than relaxed hair and that black women were still slaves to their hair. Personally, I haven’t taken Essence all that seriously in years. Their content went from mostly relevant and thoughtful commentary about the issues facing black women to fluffy crap like, “How to make yourself irresistible to men,” around the time they were sold to media conglomerate Time Warner around 12 years ago. I actually didn’t to their directly to peruse the article. Another site posted this article. My thoughts? As I stated last time, maintaining your natural hair can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. It may be more costly when you first go natural as you try to find products that work for your hair, but once you find your staples and have your regimen down, your outlay could decrease. At least in my case, anyway. It’s not necessary to spend $30 on a conditioner, particularly one which you’ll just rinse out of your hair. That’s money down the drain, to me at least. You can get Suave Naturals or V05 Moisture Milk for less than $3 at your nearest drugstore and they’ll work just as well( I personally like Suave Naturals better since it’s thicker). The pricier products don’t necessarily work any better than the cheaper ones but some people get caught up in their marketing. One example is Miss Jessie’s. They’re hella expensive but their stuff is full of crappy ingredients such as mineral oil. You can find similar products in any of the so-called “ethnic hair care” aisles in the drugstore for a fraction of the cost. I paid nearly $40 once for the Curly Pudding and that stuff dried out my hair. Then I’d paid nearly $30 for the Baby Buttercreme and that crap felt greasy and sat on top of my hair. After a few times,  I ended up tossing over $60 worth of product in the garbage. It was an expensive way to learn a lesson. One of my staple lines now is Shea Moisture and their stuff is around $10 and don’t have harmful ingredients. You don’t even have to buy commercial products if you don’t want to. You don’t have to go much farther than your kitchen cabinet and refrigerator for maintaining your hair. Olive, castor and coconut oils are great sealers. You can use eggs, mayonnaise, bananas, honey or yogurt for deep treatments. The only thing limiting you is your imagination.

If anything, maintaining relaxed hair was more costly for me. Depending on the salon, as I went to a number of them over the years, I’d paid anywhere from $50-$80 every 6-8 weeks for a touchup. If I wanted or needed a deep treatment and/or trims, that was another $10-$15 on top of that. As I also stated here, I often didn’t do my own hair, so there were times when I’d go every two weeks to get it washed, wrapped or roller set. That was another $20-$50, depending on the salon. The products I used to use on my relaxed hair, like Pink Oil, weren’t that expensive, so each month, those were at most, $15. Every month, I’d spend anywhere from $40-$160 paying other people to do my hair. It’s not uncommon to hear of black women going without lights just so they can get their hair on point. We spend about triple (or more) what other ethnic groups do on hair products, primarily due to the brainwashing we’re subjected to about straight hair being the gold standard.  I don’t spend nearly that much on my natural hair. For one thing, I rarely go to salons these days. I’ve seen too many horror stories on the hair boards about stylists cutting 5 inches of hair when the person only wanted a 1/2 inch trim and stylists frying people’s hair with flat irons and blow dryers causing heat damaged hair to risk it.  Plus, natural hair salons tend to be expensive so I couldn’t be a regular customer anyway. Also, I have my staples now so I’ll spend around $30 a month on products, though some months I don’t spend anything at all. So contrary to the Essence article, natural hair isn’t making me broke. It’s saving me money, money that I’d now rather use on other things. Also, I’m not a slave to it either as I don’t have to endure day long sessions at the salon. But your particular mileage may vary.

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