“Hi, I was wondering how much it would cost to get my hair washed, conditioned, and flat ironed?” I asked.
“It starts at $65 and up,” the hairdresser replied. That was already out the range of what I was willing to pay, but I continued because I was curious.
“And up? What determines the price being higher?” I asked already knowing the answer.
I had just walked into Honey Salon right in my neighborhood in Harlem. And though I do have a salon I normally go to, I had read so many good reviews about this one on Yelp. Not to mention I was recommended to go there from someone I’d met at my friend’s wedding. She raved so much about the place, that I had to see what the hype was about.
“Well it depends on the length and thickness of your hair,” she said eye-balling my hair. I knew it.
“Okayyy….so based off of my length, and thickness, what would you charge?” I questioned. Damn, I felt like it was like pulling teeth just to get an answer.
“Hmmm…well,” she said touching a coil of my slightly past shoulder length twisted-out hair, “your hair is thick….like you really have a lot of hair, so I’d say it’d probably be $10 more.”
I looked at this chick like she was loco.
“So you’re saying it’ll be $75 to have my hair flat ironed??”
“Yeah, well, I mean it could be $65, it just depends…..”
“What? What does it depend on…who does my hair??” I asked extra confused.
“You know, it depends on how the stylist is feeling that day,” she responded with a half smile and chuckle.
I gave this chick a side eye, and felt my face scrunching up. I only pay $45 at my normal spot. So I thanked her and went on my way. But as I left, I knew that she had officially just lost me as a potential customer. Little did she know in that small convo, she’d provided me with not one, but THREE reasons why I should never step foot in that salon again (which I’ll get to in a minute). But first…
WHY DAFUQ DO SALONS CHARGE MORE IF YOUR HAIR IS LONGER AND/OR THICKER?
The dumb, obvious answer: “Well Avia, it requires more work and time to do.”
DUH. I do my hair everyday so I already know that to be true. But how in the hell does a salon determine what length and thickness is standard enough to charge the starting rate?
No I do not have “mixed girl hair” as some would call it (see Tia and Tamera from “Sister Sister” type hair). It doesn’t have a silky wave texture or ringlets. Nor do I have fine strands that are limp with no body.
I do not have wash and go hair.
It’s 3a-3b for all you hardcore naturalistas. My hair looks fun, wavy, and carefree (due to me manipulating it into twist-outs). But it’s actually coarse, froish, big, and pretty kinky. And yes, if that stylist was right about anything during our conversation, it’s that my hair is thick.
Now, here’s why Honey gets the boot from me:
1. AGAIN, WHY SHOULD I GET PENALIZED FOR THE HAIR THAT GOD GAVE ME?
A salon charging more for anyone having thicker hair, is like a spa charging black people more for facials because their skin is darker. I cannot help how thick my hair is! I also can’t help being black.
…Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the best analogy. But I hope you catch my drift. It just really irks me when I want to give a salon chance and they give me that “the more hair you have the more money it costs” bullshit… especially a salon such as this one, who prides itself on supposedly being knowledgable about natural hair. Spas don’t charge you more if it’s been a trillion years since your last brazilian and you need a weed whacker to get the job done. And they don’t charge more to wax your brows if they’ve grown in so thick they rival Bert’s from Sesame Street. Hair is hair is hair. I don’t get it.
2. CHARGING A NATURAL GIRL AN ARM AND A LEG TO DO HER HAIR IS A NO-NO
So on top of the penalty, the rate she quoted me was the price of what I used to pay to get my touch up when I had a relaxer. So essentially, I’d be paying the same price I paid to get my hair permanently straightened, just to have my hair temporarily straightened! Where they do that at??…I really do believe there is some sort of conspiracy with these black salons and that they secretly charge natural girls more to do their hair so that the price of getting their hair done will discourage them to stay natural, and eventually they’ll go back to a relaxer. That way, that’s one less natural head the hairdressers have to tackle in the long run. Call me crazy but you never know.
3. INCONSISTENCY IS UNPROFESSIONAL AS HELL
“You know, it depends on how the stylist is feeling that day.”
That one sentence pretty much sealed the deal on my decision, even if she said it light-heartedly. So you mean to tell me I may have to pay $10 more depending on what stylist is assigned to do my hair, and how “their mood” is that day?
Because I can already tell you, no matter who does my hair, if they have the option to charge me more based off the hassle it takes to do my hair THEY WILL. My hair is a piece of work and has a mind of its own. If you have a salon, have set rates printed on a rate card (which I also asked for and they didn’t have). Ain’t nobody got time to be getting charged extra for a service because you just so happen to be PMSing and are too aggravated to detangle my hair. I’m good.
So back to my tried and true salon I go…