14 May 2010

[d:series] going natural is not cheap.

the disillusionment series.

if you've considered going natural, or are already natural, i'm willing to bet that you've told your girlfriend (or have been told by a girlfriend) that going natural is cheaper. if anyone has ever gone on to explain this (and i doubt many have), at the front of that reasoning is that it keeps you out of the salon.

this is lie number one.

going natural is in no way inherently cheaper than being relaxed.

whether or not your natural or relaxed hair is cheap is completely up to you, not the hair on your head. relaxed hair can be expensive if you rely on your stylist to whip your tresses into some semblance of a style. likewise, a natural can easily shell out 50-70 bucks for some coils or twists.

if you don't know how to maintain and care for your hair yourself, natural or relaxed, it can easily run up your bill of monthly salon visits - it's to be expected. relaxed hair can be cheap too, as soon as you work up the gumption to become a do-it-yourselfer. you don't need to throw your hard-earned money at some stylist to wash your hair (which you can do yourself), blowdry it (which you can do yourself), and style it (which you can do yourself with some practice).

i think naturals are tempted to claim naturaldom as the more fiscal alternative to hair because so much of the experience is focused on learning your own hair and how to work with it. naturally, this will lead to you learning and experimenting with different styles on your hair. however, there are also those naturals who rely on a blowout or press and curl to coax their coils and kinks into something more manageable. braids or twists on a full head of hair can easily run you a hundred bucks; some comb coils on my 3 inch twa would've set me back 70 dollars! and any natural whose been to a dominical salon can tell you that they will charge you more depending on the thickness and length of your hair.

in my own opinion, relaxed hair starts in the salon, so it makes sense it would continue in the salon. your first relaxer is applied by a stylist, and that sets the precedence for your future visits. however, there are a multitude of resources out there for you to learn to style your own relaxed hair, and once you work up the confidence, to do your own relaxers.

i could even argue that going natural is expensive. this is anecdotal, but when i was relaxed, i was in no hurry to try this new shampoo, or this gel. i had my little army of products and rarely ventured outside of what i used. and for good reason, when you're relaxed, you have little need for a curly pudding, a defining gel, a detangling spray, a comb or brush with special teeth. with relaxed hair, you need very little to get by; your most expensive items would be your styling tools (a good blowdryer and flat iron), which will easily pay themselves off in salon appointments you no longer have to make.

i will admit, there's just something almost kitchsy about being natural that you want to try every jane carter and miss jessie's out there. you start browsing etsy, and trying this and that. then, you start buying five pounds of shea butter and different oils and odds and ends to make your own things. not saying that relaxed ladies don't also make their own products, but i'd be willing to bet it's not to the extent that natural ladies do.

i'm not exactly sure why natural ladies seem more prone to product junkyism, but it is markedly more concentrated within that community as opposed to relaxed ladies.

in the end, being natural will not magically put money in your pockets. and likewise, being relaxed doesn't have to break the bank. being relaxed and being natural can be pricey, or it can be relatively expensive - it all depends on the individual and their own habits. but to claim that "being natural is cheaper" is grossly mistaken.


LaToya said...

ITA!!! I've only been natural 2.5 months, but I've probably spent enough on products to pay my mortgage...yikes! I've always been prone to pjism though, and being natural just gave me an excuse to buy more.

Skeeta said...

OMG this was put perfectly. I have spent WAY too much being natural . And with my relaxer, I did my own perm, trims and use the same bottle of creme of nature conditioning shampoo for 20 years so I didn't "try out" other things. This is Definitely a misconception.

Amina said...

GREAT POST!! I was going to say wait a minute, it's all about choices. I know some people who just use Suave coconut conditioner, shampoo and shea butter. But like you said, it all depends on your hair practices. When I was relaxed, I was at the hair salon all the time and also buying products. As a natural, I don't go to the hair salon anymore but indulge in hair products. Now that I am locking, I still enjoy products even though I keep hearing beware of build up..
anyways all this to say that you have summarized very very well the myth of going natural= cheaper.

If the person goes to the salon regularly for natural hair styles, it is going to be more expensive than DIY styles..
last but not least I haven't been commenting much b/c I was so busy with exams but I am still reading! I loove your blog!

Melyssa said...

thank you for the feedback ladies! i'll start working on another post soon. :)

Robyn's Nest said...

Love this post!!!