The Natural Hair Tax

Annie Lee painting

The painting you see here is called Extensions by Annie Lee. It’s available for sale here at BlackArtDepot.com. And you can learn more about this phenomenal artist at her website AnnieLeeArts.com.

I’ve been on a mission to find the ideal hair salon here in Chicago — somewhere I can get my hair styled into kinky twists or Senegalese twists for an affordable price. I’d like to go to a salon, not to someone’s home (yes, I’ve had that offer made quite a few times. Please don’t be mad at me, I’m sure your grandma is talented and her home is wonderful).

In this mission, I’ve had some interesting encounters. Allow me to share the most recent ones with you.

Experience #1 – I walk into a salon that looks like it can accomodate my needs. It’s filled with beautiful black men and women, doing hair and getting their hair done, but I see mostly relaxers and heat straightening techniques being used. When I walk in, you can practically hear the sound of a record player screeching to a halt. Everyone turns to look.

“Hi, do you do natural hair here?”

“Our natural stylist isn’t in today. Here’s her card. Call to make an appointment.”

“Oh OK…well, can you let me know how much she charges for twists?”

“I don’t know, but *looks at me with raised eyebrows* I’d say about $150.”


Experience #2 – I walk into a beautiful, brightly colored, black owned salon. Some of the stylists have natural hair done up in intricate styles. The walls are adorned with African-inspired art. I feel like I’m in the right place. I look at the price list — relaxers cost $65. Hair color starts at $45. Rates for natural hair all begin at $100. And there’s an asterisk after that last zero.

I’m finally able to speak with a stylist, who is busy flat ironing someone’s hair.

“Hi, can you let me know how much it would cost for me to get twists? Two strand, kinky, Senegalese…”

*looks me up and down*

“I’d say $125. Around there.”

Experience #3 – visiting a salon that boldly has “natural hair” painted on one of their windows.

I walk in, and nobody even acknowledges my presence. After a while a receptionist makes her way over to me.

“Hi, I’ve got a question. Do you have a price list, or a pamphlet with information about the price you charge for natural hairstyles?”

“You mean to press it straight?”

“Uh…no. I was looking for twists, a natural hairstyle. I don’t want heat on my hair.”

*blank stare* “Oh. Cause that’s what we do. Let me go ask somebody.”

Receptionist returns with a male stylist. When he sees me, he utters a concerned “oooh,” and proceeds to immediately put his hands on my scalp, to feel the roots of my hair — without even so much as an introduction.

Me: “Hi, uh…do you do twists?”

Hairstylist: *still feeling my hair* “I mostly do maintainance. Do you want to start locs or something?”

“No, I just want to get twists.”

Oh, no. I don’t do those from the beginning, I can help you maintain them though.”

All three experiences ended the same – with me leaving dejectedly, unlikely to return.

So right now I’m 0 for 3 in the informal poll of hair salons I’ve conducted around downtown Chicago. And I’m curious about what one reader who e mailed me referred to as “the natural hair tax.” From my experiences, I’m left with questions.


Why do salons charge so much more for natural hairstyles than chemical or heat styled hairstyles?

Is it possible to find a nice salon that does twists and other natural hairstyles for less than $100?

Or am I being unrealistic, you get what you pay for and that’s that?

I’ve still got many, many salons to explore here in Chicago. Ideally I want to find a salon I’d be proud to feature and review here on Afrobella, a hair salon and a hairdresser I’d be happy to refer to as “mine.” For now, the quest continues on.

Have you had similar natural hair experiences, in your quest for a hair salon? If you’ve got any Chicago recommendations please let me know!

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Comments

  1. well i think that beauty schools teach relaxers, colors and cuts. and therefore stylists assume it is extra work. especially since it is perceived that natural hair is something that needs to be fixed or drastically altered.

  2. I think you need to look exclusively for Braiding salons. I don’t know about Chicago, but there are a ton of them in New York’s urban areas. They only do braiding, if ask around you can problably find the ones that charge low.

  3. That’s terrible, but something I’ve experienced even when trying to get my hair straightened. I think they assume that my hair will be hard to deal with, so they try to charge more. They also know that they can get away with it, so take advantage of those of us who are natural. I think we also have to pay for their time … the difference between straightening quickly and twisting a whole head of hair. Regardless, people shouldn’t be left to feel dejected, especially if these shops are pubbing natural this and natural that. Posers! Lol. Great post. Stay hopeful.

  4. I don’t have any Chicago recommendations but I say KEEP LOOKING! There’s got to be someone. I pay about $55 for a wash, trim and set (whether it’s twists, rollerset, press-n-curl, etc.) at a very nice salon. Those $100+ prices are ridiculous.

  5. I am in Baltimore and I noticed that you have to have hair like Tracy Ellis Ross or dreadlocks down past your backside in order to be serviced. Many natural salons do not adhere to appointment times, charge exorbitant fees, then use products that are not necessarily best for your hair. As a woman with natural hair. I have reduced myself to investing my monies in quality products and working diligently to maintain my own hair. Unfortunately, there are scores of natural hair care salons in the MD/DC/VA area but many (NOT ALL) are lax in salon etiquette, customer service and respecting personal space (i.e., referring to the attack on your hair by the stylist at salon #3). At this point, my main problem is not how white people react, it is how OUR OWN PEOPLE treat it, even in a salon setting. It is truly a sad state of affairs.

    • It is ashame that the etiquette of our African-american hair salons
      have not changed over the last thirty years, as a mature women
      I’ve seen the same types of attitude yesterday and today.
      The look up and down, never prices posted so the customers
      can see, and the attack on the hair. Simply no manners.

      • P.S. – Not every african- american salon is liked the aboved mention,
        but surely way too many, and if there is a price list posted, the price
        always seems to change when it’s time to pay!!! They have to do better!!!

  6. Oh, Bella..you should already know the answer to that! The additional price is so the hairdressers can a) discourage you from those services B) to make a hefty profit. All products and services are marked up for these reasons in hair salons. Extra money for conditioner, though you must wash the hair. Extra money for longer, thicker hair. It’s a scam. Good luck in your salon search!

  7. OMG Bella.. I am sorry you have had such horrible experiences.. In my neighborhood I found the same issue when investigating salons..not only do they charge more for natural styles, it’s also on the length and density of your hair..

    My stylist is the same one I have had since I moved to this area.. She did my hair when it was relaxed and also now that it is natural.. and I didn’t pay anything extra for transition styles nor now that I’m fully natural and my hair is very thick.

    A lot of my friends who are also natural couldn’t believe that for a wash & style I’m only paying $40 and no more than $55 if I got a straw set.. I tell them it’s because my stylist knows how to do all kinds of hair and does it well that she doesn’t have to overcharge for services just because it may take more time to deal with natural hair.

    One other thing that I love about my stylist she knows that all natural hair isn’t the same and works with you to find a regimen that works well for your hair type so the trial and error with products is minimal.. and just as the old west indians say.. her hand agree with my head! and that truly is all that matters to me!

  8. I also live in Chicago(all my life)and have noticed the same thing. I have a little past my butt dreads and everyplace seems to think A) I want to cut my hair off for a perm
    B)too long and therefore is extensions
    Or My favorite “wash, condition and twist costs at least $175 For that length of hair. hair terrorist mumbles, “she needs to cut that nappy shit” After that experience I wash, condition and twist my own hair.

  9. I am right there with you. I have been natural for about 6 years and I’m at the point where I don’t go to a salon unless I am getting a blow out or hair cut. Other than that, I do my hair at home, because in Chicago, the dearth of salons that cater to natural hair and natural hair styles is frustrating. When I did get two strand twists about four years ago, it was in Oak Park and I think I only paid $70, but I no longer have the information for the person who did them and I believe she switched salons.

    Other than that time, I’ve gone to other salons for natural hair services and some not so natural, including roller sets. I’ve been told that my natural hair could not be put in a roller set. When I challenged this, they told me that it was “impossible”.

    I hope that you can find somewhere in Chicago that does natural hairstyles, but it is tough. If you do find some places, I hope that you will share them with us readers!

  10. Outrageous. I know how you feel.

    I went to get a hair cut and went to a black hair salon that several people recommended to me (there are not that many in Rome).

    Everyone there was getting a weave or relaxer. People looked at me like I was a unicorn.

    The woman who cut my hair didn’t say a word to me. True there may have been a language barrier. She was Dominican and I don’t speak Spanish but I did know enough Italian to at least say hello, etc.

    At the end of the day I found a non-ethnic salon/stylist I love for hair cuts. I saw a person with an amazing ‘fro in a store. I ran in and when she turned around I realized she was not black but Italian. She gave me the name of her hairdresser.

    It’s the first time in my life I have had someone who is not black cut my hair. She’s Italian-Australian and sat down with me for a long consultation about the health of my hair before I made my appointment.

    I don’t understand why a black salon would not be able to do all types of black hair. Natural hair is not something to be “tamed”. Wake up salons. It’s 2010 not 1810.

  11. Reader219 says:

    I haven’t been to Chicago but I’d be very surprised if there aren’t plenty of braids/twist/locks shops to choose from. For example a quickie google search for Chicago braid salons turns up quite a few options. BTW I can understand if you’re hesitant about going to a stranger’s house to get your hair done, but keep in mind that some kitchen stylists are very good at what they do and not just bumbling grandmas as you imply. They work out of their homes because they are freelancers who don’t have the time or desire to own their own salon or to pay chair rent in someone else’s salon. And if they don’t have to pass the cost of their rent on to you – then you benefit.

  12. You should try Van Cleef Hair Studio! They offer all kinds of natural styles and work with a wide variety of hair types. I am loyal to this salon and encourage you to give it a shot!

  13. It’s amazing I feel the same way in DC. Two strand twists, flat twists, and strawsets all with my natural hair, costs me about $100 – 200 dollars. But to get my hair blown out it only cost $55. That’s insane to me because it’s a lot more work involved to blow it out than to twist it. Also – STAY AWAY from BRAIDING SALONS. I’ve had more than one experience with damage to my hair because they are only used to working with extensions.

  14. styleosophy says:

    Bella, the ease of finding natural hair stylists led my mom, and my sister to teach themselves to do their own twists. I am a huge believer in the fact that natural hair care for black woemn is an untouched niche. There is no formal training available for it. (I’ve even thought about adding little girl natural plaits as a side hobby for myself as soooo many women either don’t have the time to braid and/or twist their babies har or simeply can’t comb the hair when it is in it’s natural state…so they perm it. Sad.)

    Also, I think many of the natural hair salons open and then close simply because they don’t know how to market their business. There are sisters willing to pay for maintenance but they can’t find the stylists to meet their needs.

    I have three recommendations for you, and timehairgallery.com is the first! Kenyon is the owner and although I have not been yet (I have had to reschedule twice) I have witnessed Kenyon helping a lady grow her bad habit perm out into a natural state over the course of two years. The menu on the website states the salon handles twists, and it seems moderately priced.

    I found this website as a resource, http://www.treasuredlocks.com/salons.html, but cannot personally recommend any of the salons.

    And last, Why Knot Concept Salon, 851 W Randolph St.
    Chicago, IL 60607, 312.421.6580

    I have not visited Why Knot in a long time, but previously they mostly focused on loc-ups and loc maintenance. Hopefully they have branched out and started servicing other natural styles.

  15. Giiiirl, every place that I have ever glanced at charges at least 60.00 and up. The few times I have had someone do my twists, I went to my co-worker’s sister who charged me $30. Try to find someone who does hair in their house!

    My experience of being charged more happened at a hair school a few years ago. I have been natural for 7 years and there wasn’t a plethera of hair blogs then. I went to this beauty school to get color and they set me up with an asian woman. When I asked the price ( it was like 25.00 on the wall—but I knew that wasn’t meant for me) she said 50.00. The “teacher” then proceeded to mumble something about her needing to charge more, but the woman didn’t hear her. This woman, along with another woman, proceeded to DRY COMB my hair out! While she was coloring, the “teacher” had the enough to come by again and say ” see, I told you to charge more for her hair”!The woman left the color on too long in areas and it wouldn’t take in others. When she finalaly washed it, she says ” oh your hair is curly, not like most…” silence. My hair turned out to be a brassy, hot mess. I had to use rinses over it for weeks before it was presentable.

  16. styleosophy says:

    BK, who is your stylist?

  17. I actually spoke to a stylist once about this imposed “hair tax.” She explained to me that many stylist charge so much more for natural hair is because of the actual hands on time it takes. She said in the time it might take her to 2 strand twist one client, she could have slapped some perm in at least 3 different clients and rotated them through the process of rinsing perm, washing, conditioning, and roller sets.

    I don’t necessarily agree with it but from a business aspect I guess I understand where she’s coming from. That still doesn’t excuse the horrible customer service you received at the salons you’ve visited. (they need Tabitha’s Salon Takeover. Do you watch that show on Bravo?? I love it!! LOL)

    Good luck in your search. The natural bellas I know in Chicago have locks, and I’m pretty sure they pay an arm and a leg for the upkeep. But if I hear anything I will let you know.

    • Actually, I am a natural stylist and I totally disagree with the price hike! The only reason stylist have their prices sky high is because everybody is natural these days and all they see is $$$$. Stylists, knows that people who are natural will pay whatever price they charge because they (the client) really don’t want to full with their own hair or even educate themselves about their own hair, texture and what products is need for their type of hair.

      I makes me so angry when they over because after a while those that are natural will return back to the “Creamy Crack” the Relaxer, because it’s too expensive to remain natural. And to me that is a No! No!. Not only are some of their prices are too high but they use product on your hair that has some type of chemical in it. I can see their price being high (but not to the extreme) if they are usual 100% all natural products that they know for a fact that is all natural instead of the using commercial natural products that claim it’s for natural hair. I make all my products, therefore, I know my clients hair is getting the best and it all natural. I’m from Chicago and I know how they over charge for everything. I no longer live there but I wish you all the best in your search! Smooches

  18. I don’t know about going to braiding salons, unless you are very careful. I live in NYC, and the braiding salons in my neighborhood are no-frills operations where you can get braids, preferably with extensions, but no real hair care to speak of. There are natural hair salons in NYC that style, groom and maintain a wide variety of natural hair styles (locs, twists, knots, etc.) and yes, I do find the services to be pricey. But in a true natural hair salon, you receive full service and treatment, not just styling.

  19. Hi Bella,

    I’ll be watching this post closely. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to a salon, and I thought I finally found solace in a braider who really cared about the health of my hair and nourished while I was transitioning. Now she’s with child and on bedrest indefinitely. :-(

  20. Try Glo-On Braids & Natural Hiarstyling 773-910-3035

  21. I’ve had the same experience with my mid-back length locs but was determined to find a weekly maintenance salon here in CT. A couple of months ago, I packed my products in my purse, went in/out of about 4 ‘hood spots’(not the best neighborhood, but not the worst either) and was able to find one and get a wash/dry and style for $30 (tip included). The stylist didn’t retwist my loc, but she did wash, deep condition, dry, and style (a braided updo, no less!). The customer service wasn’t great at first (no receptionist to speak of, the stylist didn’t bother to introduce herself, etc) but when I told her what I needed done and let her know that I had my own products, she quoted $20,sat me at the sink and did her thing. I didn’t get any disturbing looks or comments (though she did try to put a plastic cap around all my locs for the deep conditioner ) and was pretty drama-free. I still go to my loctian every 6 weeks for $60 a visit retwist and I use my hood spot for weekly maintenance. So what you’re looking for exist, you just have to be willing to explore a little.

    • Hey,

      Any chance you could share those salons for locs? I am in CT and am STRUGGLING.

      • the struggle is real here in CT, Dee! have you had any luck finding a natural hair stylist? i’ve started and maintained my own locs for 13 years but damnit, every now and then, i’d like to get a deep condition and a cute style and i’d love to NOT have to cross state lines (travel to NY) to do so. CT is unlike any place i’ve ever inhabited.

  22. Sounds like a horrible experience! Sounds like you need to make a trip to Detroit for service!!!

    It is strange that natural hair cost are high & Ive never understood that.

    The woman that maintains my locks works from her home & Ive been going to her for years. I was apprehensive at first but its all good really.

    She also does my oldest daughter’s twists & only changes 55 bucks. Other places around Detroit charge around the same rate.

    I say let go of your reservations of home salons because you just might strike gold. Seriously!!!

    And yes, I know all about salon experiences so I know the deal.

  23. I second the comment made by ‘pets’. After a ton of bad experiences (mainly with professionalism and/or timeliness), I stumbled upon Glo-On. Shavon is wonderful!

    Definitely look into it.

  24. nolagirl says:

    I live in new orleans, and two strand twist after a deep condition and trim cost $50, but I work at a University and I said if I loved my hair I would tell every natural girl at the HBCU where I work, she liked that…… I was quoted a price over the phone once and I tried to tell the lady I had thick very kinky coily hair, but she promised a price of $40 and when I came it, and it took half the morning and her sitting down to finish my hair I was surprised that she never raised the price. I loved her for that and tipped well. \
    keep looking Bella there is a new up and coming person who wants business and a good rotation of natural haired bellas that is waiting for you to walk into her place.
    maybe she’ll read this today!

    ( still laughing at the guy feeling your scalp)

  25. I’m sorry but these people should be ashamed of themselves. This is something that I would expect from non-black hairstylists but the fact that a black woman who wears her hair natural can’t even be serviced in a black hair salon, or worse yet, is charged unreasonably high prices for something as simple as twists just sends the message home that we have a very long way to go before we can finally be rid of the ignorant stigmas that are attached to natural hair. What kind of black hair stylist can’t work with natural hair anyway? I’m not even talking about what they learned in beauty school. I thought that all the various forms of braiding and twisting and the multitude of intricate styles that I see on black people was just another facet of our culture and that even if we could not do it ourselves, there was always someone that we knew who had the skill. I guess I just thought it was one of those things that are passed down since I always knew of someone who knew how to do the most intricate things that someone requested. Heck, in the summertime you can see people getting their hair braided while sitting on the front stoop. It can’t just be an NYC thing…

    I hope you can eventually find the kind of salon that you are looking for, but maybe you shouldn’t write off the home based ones just yet. You never know, they might be able to do exactly what it is that you want at a fraction of the cost. Maybe they might even be the types that are doing it out of their home until they can open up their own salon.

  26. If you find a spot let me know. I am a homegrown Chicagoan who has been natural only since December 2009 and don’t know of any places that I would recommend.

  27. I’m rushing to get ready for the Red Pump Project fashion show – photos and fab post to come! Just wanted to say thanks for the commiserations and suggestions, and I wanted to make it plain – I didn’t mean to in any way diss at-home stylists. I was merely sharing my own experiences, and often it’s someone I’ve just met saying “OMG my aunty so and so will do your hair” or “my grandma does great twists” but with no further info than that, which has made me skeptical based on past experience. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on anyone. Who knows – my best experience could come in that form. I’m not ruling anything out!

  28. I had my natural hair braided with extensions before I decided to start locks (for some crazy reason, I thought it would be easier to care for once my first child was born… ain’t ever doing that again). I went in with freshly washed hair in a twist out. I have very thick coarse hair and I knew it would be easier to work with. Well, the lady insisted she wash my hair, which made it coil up and was hard for her to comb. The braids took 3 days, and she charged me $150. I never when back.

    I think they also judge how thick and kinky your hair is when they add the natural hair tax. At least, that’s been my experience. After all the “oh, your hair’s so thick. it must be so hard to do” comments, anytime I go anywhere for hair care, I prep myself with comebacks to their stupidity. Sorry you’re going tthrough that, Bella.

  29. Hi there,

    I’ve never had my hair twisted or braided at a salon. I do it myself and I do my friends’ hair from time to time. I’m not sure and I’m not condoning the exorbitant prices or anything but I will say that perhaps (I’m just guessing) that the price may have to do with the amount of time it takes? It takes me sometimes 4 to 6 hours to do my own hair in very small braids and if I estimated my cost to be anywhere from $10 to $20 an hour I could see that if it was my profession I would definitely charge about $80 or more to do it for someone else.

  30. OMG, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience :( and at 3 salons! You’d think only one would stink.

    I don’t really have any advice to offer you about hair stylists for natural hair, but I’m sure you will be able to find someone.

    When I first moved to Tampa, I couldn’t find a decent salon to save my life! I always like freaky colors in my hair, and every person I saw here would charge me about $130 for cut and color, but then the color would wash out right away, so I’d have to complain and get re-done. I finally just started coloring my hair on my own again and got better results. It can be SO FRUSTRATING to find a good stylist.

  31. You are not alone SADLY! I live in NYC (the LAST place I expected to have trouble finding a natural hair salon) and every woman I know who is natural but doesnt have locs has the same story to tell.

    I have pretty long hair — about 7 inches off my shoulders and I’ve been transitioning from relaxers for the last 10-11 months. I chose not to do a big chop; rather, getting it cut every other month as the relaxer grows out (only a few inches left which are going bu-bye on Sunday!). At first getting a blow out wasn’t a problem then as the “new growth” got longer and longer, my reg hair dresser kept pressuring me to get a “touch up”. That’s when I knew it was time to find a natural hair salon.

    Luckily I have a few natural haired (is that the right terminology??) GFs who have already done the leg work around NYC to find the right salon, so I collected their referrals and called/visited to find the right place and stylist for me and my hair. I also had someone invade my space and my follicles without even saying, hello first when I told her what I wanted. I was so annoyed and walked right out.

    In December, I finally found a place that works for me. It’s more expensive than my previous place but I haven’t spent more than $75 for wash, set, and cut. I found another place that was about $25 less for the same service, but it was a walk in place and I don’t have all day to spend in the salon on a first come first serve arrangement, so my time is worth the extra $$.

    This whole experience has made me learn to do my own hair better. I now have more tools, products and accessories than I ever did when I relaxed my hair!

  32. Natural hair tax? How about hair tax period? Thickheaded girls like me always get charged extra. When I used to relax my hair, I’d always get charged $20 EXTRA when the stylist realized what they were dealing with.

    It’d be really great to be able to find a reliable and affordable place to get my hair done. Especially since I’m not good at doing my own hair(Even when it was straight!!); and I’m poor!

  33. Gurllll…do NOT get me started. Chicago has hair salons up the wazoo and yet I experienced more than my fair share of unprofessional treatment…and this was BEFORE I went natural. I’d been to salons from the Gold Coast to the edge of Englewood…didn’t matter. In fact the #1 reason why I went natural was because I was sick and tired of being dependent on salons and stylists. So I know how you feel and it’s a DAMN shame that Chicago can’t do better in 2010.

    Back in the day there used to be a salon called Amazon’s that had natural hair services. They cost a TON but they did a really good job. They were really the ONLY salon that gave me consistently good results. In fact they were the ones who put in my last set of extensions back in 2000…and I didn’t step foot in a salon again until 7 years later when I cut off my locs.

    Long story very short: If you’re looking for extensions, look for a braiding salon that’s willing to work without heat. (It helps if your hair is fully stretched ahead of time.) However, for other services on your own hair, you might do better to find a “non-ethnic” salon that specializes in curly hair care. I hate saying that because like you I want to patronize black business but seriously…your time and money is valuable and you need people who are going to RESPECT that.

    One more quick thing: I live in Iowa now and just recently BC’d again. It was done by a young white woman at the local BEAUTY SCHOOL and for $12 she did a REALLY good job. It helped that she did exactly what I told her to do. :)

  34. melaniecheryl says:

    Just sitting here shaking my head. I have been natural for almost twenty years. about ten years aago I walked into a salon with my natural fro out to there and asked if someone could wash, condition and trim my hair. Honey, they just about ran away screaming (even though I have so-called “nice hair”). Haven’t set foot in a salon since and I likely never will. Should have known learned for my former adventures in Creamy Crackland that finding a professional salon that respects you is a needle in a haystack prospect. I learned to do my own hair. Do I sometimes long for a pampering “salon experience”? Yep. But not worth the epic search required to find a salon that serves my natural hair needs.
    It saddens me to realize that ten years later, little has changed.

  35. Aja Nicole says:

    Being here in Chicago a trip to the salon will just cost you if it is to be done right. I have been to the braiding salons just to get braids while natural here and they have tried to kick me out. I have to blow dry my hair straight before hitting those places up. So I would say no to that as well. I did find a non black salon on the north side that had a stylist who I found on the Deva care site. She was great. I would say look up the stylist who have taken the Deva curl learning courses and start there. .

  36. Black Honey says:

    Philadelphia 2006.

    Me-a transitioning bella. Her-the stylist who stylist my hair every week for 2 years.

    Week 1 of transition, twist out -$50.

    Week 2 of transition, 8 cornrows-$140.

    It was the end of our relationship.

  37. I had a similar experience. Before I locced I couldnt find any reasonable natural hair stylists. I actually went to a lady who did relaxed hair and after persuading her that roller sets, twist sets, braid outs.. etc worked the same way on natural hair and bringing my own product (sometimes) we were able to form a natural medium. I finally found someone that did the two strand twists for 75.00 and I would do those for 2 0r 3 weeks and then take them down and wear the twist out.
    but it was hard and the prices are ridiculous.
    but i was able to find someone that worked with me so I think if you keep looking you will find someone. try some of the braiding shops? or try the online hair communities to find a referral. the lady i eventually found was a referral from napturality and she has now been doing me and my daughters hair for 4 years.

  38. Hi Bella,
    It’s a shame…but I haven’t been to a salon in years…I had to learn how to do my own…but that said, I did some research at Natural Curly hair website where there are salons which do multi-racial hair and curly hair and here is a link to the Chicago area salons. Check them out and blog about your experiences. This subject interests me.
    Here is the link:

    http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlsalons/search/219/United%20States/34/Illinois/Chicago

  39. I would say try an African Braiding shop. Usually there you can find a reasonable price (between $80-$125)for the twists. I live in New York and the city is full of shops that cater to african braids. I don’t think you’ll find a price cheaper than that unless you learn to do them yourself. Lastly, here in New York (and I know this may or may not help much) the salon may be a little crowded, and slightly annoying, but your hair will come out beautifully, it’ll last 6-8 weeks with proper maintence, and you won’t feel like you’ve been hookwinked.
    I’d say do a search solely for African Hair Braiding in Chicago and see what you come up with.

  40. I have dreadlocks and although it is not difficult to find a salon to have my hair done where I live (Nairobi), I do find that there is some disdain for natural hair. I mean like treating the hair roughly, having the hairstylist shampooing with all her might etc. I experienced that also before I had dreads when I just had natural hair.

  41. What if there were an Afrobella Hair Salon? Looks like you’d have some customers.

  42. paradisebird says:

    I am happy to live in germany`s biggest city and even here it is not easy to find a natural hair salon, I then found my stylist throufgh a reference of a good friend who is also natural. And this stylist is godsend. She has specialized in cutting curly hair but will offer a blowout as well. She is not strictly natural, she also relaxes hair if her customers wish this, but she alwasy mentioned . And her service is brilliant and affordable. A deep treatment, scalp massage and a cut cost 20,-€, which is app. 40,-$. I really like her philosophy which is

  43. Bella, I am sorry to hear about your experience in Chicago. I would like to chime in and big-up Raleigh-Durham for having at least four reputable natural stylists I know of who do NOT inflate their prices, because natural hair is all they do (no flatirons). I can get a deep treatment and trim for around $35-40, and two-strand twist style for an additional $20-30.

    • C. Hamilton says:

      Hey Shones..I just stumbled on this thread after sticker shock here in the RDU area…$60 (low estimate..they needed a ‘consult’ for a final price)for wash/trim/condition on short hair?!
      Holla back (isleofcapri@gmail.com) with the stylists you recommend in the Raleigh area.
      And here’s a question..I understand about twists, specialty cuts, etc. taking longer…but how does a trim for a man w/ medium hair cost $15 @ the barber and the same trim for a woman..with similar length..cost $40 and up?!

  44. Your description of those scenarios made me laugh! But I feel your pain.

    I stopped going to salons–even supposed natural care ones–and taught myself to handle and style my own hair.

    I liked and wore kinky twist extensions a few times but it wasn’t worth the price tag and all that “extra” you described. (I’ll learn to do them myself if I decide to ever wear them again).

    Good luck in your search though!

  45. I feel your pain. I stopped going to hair salons years ago because stylists always wanted to flat iron my hair. I’ve been natural for almost 20 years and I’ve learned to take care of my hair myself. I twist it, braid and cut it. I even make my own natural hair products.

  46. well, since no one has commented representing for natural stylists, i guess i will.

    i have had locs and been a natural stylist since 1997. at that time i was still in college, and only used to charge $10 for my services.

    now, i work out of my home, and can comment that i do not have the same overhead costs that a salon does (rent, utilities, employee payroll, etc.) so i able to undercut their pricing and pass some of those savings on to my clients.

    that being said, i have had my trials and tribulations with clients and their aversions to my pricing. i had one client who balked at me raising the price for her hair maintenance two years after i started her locs! from this i learned the importance of educating your clients about your pricing structure. many people with natural hair believe that the first price they pay should be the only price they will ever pay…kind of like with relaxers, etc. at salons. however, as a natural client accumulates more length, this will require more styling time, and eventually result in a price adjustment.

    i have also learned that it is just as important not to price your services too low, or people will not value your work, they might be coming to you only because you’re the cheapest ticket in town, not because of the quality of the work you do.

    i feel that the best thing to do is a consultation. i offer those free of charge, and have learned ONLY to quote a price AFTER a consultation! I’ve definitely been burned by clients whose hair looks one way dry, but wet, it’s a whole different story. and trust me, there’s nothing worse than busting your butt for 4 hours and making $50 or $60.

    in the end, my styles are based on time. it’s the most fair and defensible strategy for me. i have a timer that i start once the service begins, and ends when the client leaves the dryer. the price may be adjusted depending on hair length, thickness, and other factors i would have been able to assess during the consultation.

    i have attended natural hair workshops and they always have a session on pricing. the first thing that is explained is that natural stylists work on each client from start to finish, and aren’t usually able to rotate among clients like in a regular salon, therefore the pricing is structured differently. i will admit, even at these workshops, the pricing seems to be very subjective. and prices are always more expensive in the major natural hair cities (nyc, dc/md/va, atl) because there’s a larger market for it.

    the best thing to do is get referrals. if you see someone with dope natural hair, ask who did it. i’d say it is possible to get a natural style for under $100…i’d say around $75 or $80. but anything less than that may not be worth a salon stylists time.

    best of luck with your continued search! :-)

  47. When I adopted my 2 girls from Ethiopia they were 10 and 11. Both had LONG natral hair.

    I lived in Chicago for 5 years with them and we asked around and found a group of Nigerian ladies who cornrowed for CHEAP (like $30 for cornrows). I can’t remember their names :(

    Our favorite two were sisters who were also grandmothers who lived with their daughters. They would typically come to our house, if we could pick them up or pay for their transportation. They are amazingly fast. I will try to get their info for you. (FYI- they always gave me VERY low prices e.g.-$25 for 4 hours worth of tiny cornrows. So I always payed them more.)

    We could not find a salon that wanted to braid my 11 year olds hair because it is thick, long and nappy. It also is mid to lower-back length when stretched, but is an AWESOME afro if we put a little moisture in it an puff it up.

  48. Reading these stories indicates there is a market for these services. One could find a nice place, decorate it and then charge natural hair stylists for seats. I understand keeping your overhead low; but in today’s world where people are moving a lot it helps to have salons available…thanks everyone for your insights and stories. I appreciate they stylist chiming in.

  49. Sorry to hear about your bad luck finding a salon/stylist in Chicago. I assumed services like that would be easier to find in a place like Chicago, but I’m not surprised. If you are ever in Atlanta, I highly recommend my stylist and friend, Ayo Smith. She’s wonderful. I always time my visits to Atlanta to include an appointment. It’s a must for me. She has become the only stylist that touches my hair (aside from me, of course ;) ) Ayo is warm, attentive, creative and an amazing stylist. She started my locs almost 4 years ago and styled my natural hair before that. Ironically, I met Ayo after my natural hair had been scorched (read: destroyed) by a Domincan blowout. She had to cut off the damaged hair and help me start over (and restore my trust in stylists in general). She does braids, twists, color, extensions, weaves and loc extensions. She is a licensed beautician and can do pretty much everything, but I’ve only ever seen her do natural hair. I think she may even be participating in the Natural Hair show in Atlanta in April so you can see her in action yourself if you go. Her website is here:

    http://ayohair.com/services.aspx

  50. Bella,

    I work with celebrity glam squads in LA/SF/NY and still I have hella difficulties in finding stylists to do my natural hair. At this point, I do my own and have fun learning styles with Youtube videos. I would contact a stylist that works with the Deva Chan (DevaCut) style for a cut with shape and for consultation/checkup on the health of your hair. The next thing I would do is flag down every person you see with a hair style that you like and take notes/numbers/email/whathaveyou. I recall how insulted I felt after every salon stylist responded to my natural hair request with a dollar analysis only. It hurt, I felt manipulated, underwhelmed by their nonchalant energy, overwhelmed by the astronomical costs and cynical about the whole experience. I wish there were more Tabithas around to takeover and add finesse to salons everywhere. It sucks to be discouraged by our own haircare professionals time after time, but like most things nowadays you gotta keep at it until you find a process that suits you. And when you find someone that epitomizes HAIR. CARE. PROFESSIONAL you won’t backslide to someone who only “styles”. Trust.

  51. Little Miss V says:

    I think that for many salons/ stylists its simply the fact that they have NO IDEA how to take care of natural afro hair. They put ‘afro salon’ at their shop fronts but when an afro walks in they have no idea what to do! Its ridiculous. Surely afro salons should be able to take care of and style afros- duh

    Since going natural I’ve stopped going to salons and do my hair myself. In fact I’ve stopped weaving/ braiding my hair because it caused more harm than good and for me its all about the health of my hair as opposed to getting ‘the look.’ Plus there are loads of tutorials on youtube for learning how to braid/ cornrow/ twists etc so its not too hard to take the DIY approach.

    And if you think the salon experience is bad in the states, try the UK- its bad here for curly/ afro natural here period.

    My experiences so far have shown me that most black hair stylists have no clue. For example, they wouldn’t know the difference between growing hair and retaining etc, so why bother whith them? Of course there are probably some good ones out there that I am yet to find. Lets hope some Chicago natives will recommend some to you, bella.

    • Look up @afrosnbabyhair on twitter and on styleseat.com , Her name is Alecia and she does it all….tell her Jeanette sent you :) Let me know how it goes….I’m @jeanette_nadene on twitter

  52. MsOverproof says:

    Bella,
    I live in NY, one fo the meccas for natural hair and the scene is still the same. And for all the natural hair salons around you are hard pressed to find one who will offer services for less that $80. Its INSANE and that is why I do my own, and that is also why I encourage other naturals to barter their services and offer what you do best to a sister in need. I can two strand twist and groom locks like nobodys business gimme 2 hours and a good movie and I will have you twisted out in no time. Im actually starting a barter site just for this thehaircoop.com (under construction) cause aint no way on Gods green earth Im paying $150 for some twists especially when they are going to wash and condition my hair with same products the use on my relaxed counterparts…UHHHH NOPE CANT DO IT.

  53. kurlykathy says:

    Girl, I and another Natural were just complaining about the same thing. For what we get done, naturals are undoubtedly overcharged.

    My natural stylist, Imania, at The Abyss, does a great job. And they publish their prices. Ggogle the salon and the website will come up. She’s under $100 for twists, and it’s right downtown.

  54. Honestly, I assumed that I would always have to pay high salon prices because I’m natural now. That reason is mainly why i started learning how to do my own hair. I thought it was only me that felt $60+ is too much for two strand twists.

    Wow, I am very so dissapointed to find that you are having difficulty finding a salon in Chicago.. I thought there HAD to be some salons that cater to natural hair and that are also professional. I planned on trying to find a salon when I come to Chi to visit in the future. If it helps Why Knot was on my list because I think I read quite a few people that reviewed them and were very happy but I have not personally been there yet. It is so frustrating not being able to find salon because I would LOVE to find one simply for routine trims…

    Bella, good luck with the hair salon search!

  55. ~~From Upstate NY

    My sentiment is pretty much the same as most posters…

    I transitioned with micros and paid $70 for my first set of two strands on hair no longer than 1.5 inches, not to mention the quality of the products that was used for the twists…

    I started doing my own and they ended up looking a helluva lot better than the salons…

    Haven’t looked back and that was over 10 years ago…

    Sometimes I just want the treat of going to the salon and getting my hair “did” but I refuse to pay more to get my naps done than I did with a relaxer…

    So other than a trim…it’s all on me!

  56. bylinediva says:

    I have to take the opposing view here. I live in Philadelphia and there are a plethora of natural hair care salons here including a very well-marketed one. My post would be extremely long if I detailed my natural hair – shortcut-twostands to locks journey, but suffice to say this – I have gone to four different salons and probably dealt with eight different stylists. My experiences ranged from totally unprofessional (and that salon is now closed) to extremely professional and brilliant with natural hair (the one I have now.) The irony is that the hairdresser I have now was referred to me several times by women whose locks I admired in the street, but I went to the highly marketed one first. Why because when I first made an appointment with my current hairdresser, I was turned off by the fact that she worked out of her home. However, ironically enough years later she handed me a card at an event and I realized that she was the one I’d be reccomended to over and over again, and now I spend extra time hanging out at her home shop engaging in the always stimulating discussions!
    I admire all of you who do your own hair – but I never will do mine. My hair’s too thick and I like it to look a certain way. On average, because I also get color and a set/style, I’m in that salon for four to six hours. My hair looks like I want it to, and any request is met with either a solution or explanation of why it might be challenging or unhealthy for my hair. I do pay my hairdresser over $100 per visit and I’m sure I’m a major contributor to her daughter’s college fund, but I don’t mind. (I like her daughter anyway LOL) I respect her craft, I get the service I want and my hair looks great. I think we need to be careful before we undervalue people’s work. There are folks paying $500-1000 for a weave and not blinking an eye. If you have the time, skill and energy to do your own hair, bless you. But do not undervalue the skill and time it takes for locticians who are professionals pursuing their livelihood.

  57. sabreena98 says:

    MsKaos, where is your salon in NYC and is there a particular stylist to request, if you don’t mind my asking?

  58. Hi Shones,

    I would be interested in the names and locations of the natural stylists you mention in the Raleigh-Durham area. Thanks

  59. Oh, I really hope Jasmine comes back here! I also live in CT and would love to know who she’s going to, both her regular “loctian” and the “hood” place.

    I’m in Waterbury, and I’m very wary of getting my locks (almost to my knees now after nearly 9 years) re-twisted here. One salon in town actually put NAIL GLUE in my hair and tried to tell me (even though I’d obviously had the locks for years even then) that was the only way locks would stay twisted on me due to my hair’s texture… which brings me to another issue, the looks *I* get when I walk into a salon. I’m mixed, and my skin tone and hair texture (loose curls/waves) owe more to my Italian grandfather than anything else in my ancestry. It’s been gratifying that in almost 10 years of wearing my wonderful natural style only once has a stranger with darker skin than mine reacted negatively to my hair “on the street” …but way too often I walk into a salon, even one that advertises doing braids or twists, and I get ugly stares, and/or told they can’t work on my hair.

    My fiancee and I had been going to a fantastic salon in Newark, NJ (near her family) called Tanya’s. It was worth the trip especially before she moved up to CT with me because their twists/locks/braids stylist, Malika, was always in, was able to juggle multiple overlapping customers, was incredibly good, and only charged $35-45 for re-twisting — and only $5-10 extra for a braid style like I like to get to hold my newly-twisted roots in place. My fiancee wears her hair in a natural, but likes to get hers bleached down to a sunny gold, so anybody at the salon (which also does any black hairstyle you can think of including all the relaxer and hot-roller ones) could work on her hair… sometimes Malika even did it. We’ve heard Malika left Tonya’s to open her own salon, but we haven’t made it down there in a while.

    I’d just re-twist my own locks, but my arms just aren’t up to it; I have MS, and one of the ways it most affected me has been killing my arm strength. Some days it’s all I can do to brush my teeth, and my hair weighs a lot more than a toothbrush.

    There’s actually a salon right near us here in Waterbury that claims to style “all textures of multi cultural hair” but their posted prices for braiding & twisting make us suspicious. My fiancee wants to get her hair locked in time for our wedding next year, but finding a place to do the upkeep once she’s got them started is beginning to worry us.

  60. I’ve reached the conclusion since relocating from DC to Chicago….that you’re gonna pay. You don’t want to treat your head like a science project so you might as well head on over to AMAZON and get it done right. I’ve gone to a zillion places here and believe me your hair is not something you want to experiment with. I ended up getting sisterlocks. I’ve had them 4 years and I’m happy.

  61. If you are ever in New York (Brooklyn) Khamit Kinks is wonderful. A little pricey but the results are fabulous.

  62. this is the norm, and sadly so. unless you are getting a perm it costs an arm and a leg. I recommend you look on craaigslist! that has been a big help

  63. i think it probably has something to do with the amount of time the stylist has to spend with you (that and they can’t be working on multiple people at once, the stylist is trying to make money, after all). if i were you i would be looking for stylist, not salons. if you’re new to the area just look around for people with hairstyles that you like & ask them who does their hair.
    also, i don’t know exactly how it works in Chicago, but in the midwest it really isn’t unheard of to go to someone’s house (that you trust) to have them braid or twist your hair.

  64. futuremd says:

    YES Bella I hear the pain,.. the irony is I am in the transitiong state and I too live in Chicago ( southeast side) I have went to different salons as well, and nothing. Either the price is insane or the stylist doesnt look as if she is really ” into” natural hair care. Braiding or twisting too darn tight, can I please leave the salon with my edges , thank you!!!! Or lastly they are Africans that are not licensed and ‘pretend” not to know English..really???? LOL My late father is from Senegale and HE KNEW EXCEPTIONAL ENGLISH… you know how when you go to the nail shop.. all of a sudden no one speaks English… OKAY then I just take my money some where, where the business can understand clearly the tupe of service and price to match. LOL
    I am going to call Why Knot, Van Cleef and Glo on Braid, got all these from this blog I will defintely keep you posted on my outcome/experience.

  65. Voice of Reason says:

    I can’t understand how unreasonable most of these posts sound! I am not a braider, but I get my hair done in those styles all the time. The price was always the same whether my hair was natural or straight. Can you honestly imagine being a braider how has to stand for hours on end doing ONE person’s head? And on top of that, it requires more than one person to do it so a person can get out within a reasonable time. Getting a perm takes what? Maybe 20 minutes? Braid can take 3-8 hours! And on top of that… braided styles can hold up for a good amount of time. People tend to come into the salons to get their hair washed or styled between touch ups… how many people with braids/twists do this? And yes… I am mad that I paid $190 to get my last set of kinky twists done…. so where I am I consider $125 to be a good price.

    • stylist in houston says:

      I thank you for your discernment. I have to hold back my words as a hair dresser. Any hair dresser that takes out the time to learn a professional trade, continues thousands of their own money to invest in their education to pass to the client the best products and service should never settle. As professionals you have to know your worth. If you are working for your self your prices you charge are based on what your rent and over head cost you, retail, backbar products, also years of expertise. I personally pay 220 a week for my rent. My expenses all together runs me about 3000-4000 a month. So I already know how much I have to make a day to cover salon expenses off the top. Then my personal bills. Then saving then a small spending for pleasure. If you go to a salon that is modern clean, professional, and honors appointments by not double booking. This is what the customer pays for. Unfortunely its a nitch for me. Due to the lack of concern to maintain outstanding customer service in our industry. No one want to be miss treated ignored, hair not treated the best, being served in a nasty salon etc. So if a african american stylist upholds to a standard of excellence why do you want to pay them less than you would charge someone working at Mc donalds. The math does not add up to justify serving a client for 3-6 hours and charge $35-65 for their time breaking down their hands, back and feet. This is why salon all over the states close down at an alarming rate. Stylist cant even brake even with this logic. Dont complain when the salon has tired worn out stylist the over book. This how they have learn to serve with Mc donald price you demand they charge you. Your doctor will look at a paper for 5mins and you with no questions asked will give that person or(Wht man) his $25-35 co-pay. You go get your oil changed. You pay your yard man $25-35 for 15mins he spent half doing a good job mowing your lawn. Heres the BIG ONE you Pay that cable bill no questions asked every month $65-250 for 85% of the channels you dont even look at. Why because you respect those services and professionals. But dont think we are worth it. My professional client get it. For that I thank you so much. It makes going to work a career and not a job.

  66. Welcome to Chicago!! I have yet to find a salon who is affordable so I had to learn to do my own hair and learn all the different styles and techniques.. Will be looking forward to reading when you find one!

  67. Try Christian Fields, 6550 S. Cottage Grove. I went to the site today and I plan on visiting them. My cousin gets her hair done by Tonya and it always looks amazing.

  68. @Nik do you know what type of styles they specialize in?

  69. I’m based in Liverpool in Engalnd. The hairdressers here just suck their teeth and shake their heads in pity if I ask for any hair treatment that doesnt involve chemicals, heat or Korean hair.
    I cant even buy tights for my skin tone.
    So pay thet $125 and love your hair.

  70. I have not read the rest of the 60 responses. I hope I am not repeating something another bella already said. But here is my advice. I went natural in college and as a young professional still find college students, high school students and parents of young children to be the best and most affordable stylists for my hair. College students are used to doing younger siblings unpermed hair for free. + natural hair is popular in the youngest educated generation so sistas on campus think it is the norm to know how to color, style, twist, and wash natural hair. I pay college students about $20 and a tip. They are eternally grateful. And they take pics of their “work” (my hair), to get more businesss. High school girls are usually very good braiders in Indianapolis. I basically let them twist and braid fabulously cool designs on one side of my hair and then style the rest of my free flowing curls myself. They too are used to handling younger siblings unpermed hair. They think its no big deal and want to say they have “experience” with natural hair to get more business. They too are extremely cheap and fabulously creative. The final group, parents of small children with unpermed hair are usally used to doing individual twists and braids for their sons and daughters. They do a great job too. The down side is they cost more and of course have less time (constant child interruptions lol). My final and possibly most helpful and cost effective: Motowngirl.com. This natural sight taught me tricks of styling my natural hair without EVER steping foot in a salon. Two strand twisting your own hair is very easy, although tiring and time consuming at first. After mastering it myself, I taught my boyfriend who now can two strand my hair as well. No worries Bella! See if these tips help until you find the salon of your choosing :)

  71. omg I just re-read my post. So many spelling errors. Sorry Bellas!

  72. Brown-eyed Girl says:

    Hi Bella,
    My recommendation would be for you to ask anyone you see with nicely styled natural hair who does her hair. That’s how I found my loctician, who charges $55 for wash, condition, palm rolling and styling. I travel 40 miles once per month to see her, and it is well worth the time. I don’t want to do my own hair because the salon is the only pampering I get! I am nowhere near Chicago (I’m in Northern Cali), but Chi-town is my home town, and I am so sorry to hear you’re having a difficult time finding a professional in that huge city to do your hair! I’ll ask my large contingent of relatives that live there if they know of any good natural hair stylists, and get back to you!

  73. Taurusga says:

    I really expected more from the Chi! I have an EX-boyfriend who lives there. We got back in touch via FB (aka the devil). When he asked about the hairstyle shown in my profile pic, I told him with pride that my hair is natural. He replied, and I WISH I was lying, that “We dont do that here. We wear weaves!”. I fully expected that perhaps the natural scene there was larger, but I guess not?!

  74. I just stumbled onto this site and think it’s great. I’m in Chicago and have locs (but she also does natural hair) and currently go to Reginald Von’s at 79th and Artesian. The owner is Patrice and her number is 773-863-7915. It’s not downtown, BUT I’ve had such difficulty finding professional natural hair stylists that I make the drive from the Northside. I think that it would be hard to find many natural hair places unless you go to the Southside. Good luck!

  75. I am having the same trouble! I live in Brooklyn, NY, and while there are many natural hair salons, they are all expensive! I only decided to go natural three months ago, and I am ready to do my big chop, but I need to find a stylist to cut and possibly give a treatment.

    For all those that live in NY, can you please help me out and recommend someone!? I would greatly appreciate it.

  76. funkystarkitty50 says:

    Here in the suburbs of ATL, it is a rarity to find someone who will deal with Black hair at all. The people that I have found won’t do anything for under $150. I’m not making a one hour trip to the West End or College Park, just to get my hair braided. It is a pain having to shell out so much money just to get my hair braided.

  77. Check these pics of Christia Donaldson, author of Thank God I’m Natural. Her hair looks great and she gives contact info for her stylist: http://thankgodimnatural.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/kinky-twists-update/

  78. I live on the southeast side of Chicago where there is a salon purporting to do natural hair care. I say purporting because the whole time I was there this last time in March, the stylist I ended up with kept telling me about how well she could blow out/flat iron my hair. I’ve been to this salon a total of 5 times since I went natural in 2007. They change stylists so often that you never know who/what you’re going to end up with. In February, I rolled the dice and again went to get two-strand twists. That time, it was the salon manager who did my hair. I was in LOVE. She didn’t take my hair out combing it and the style she did looked great (flat twists in front and two strand twists in the back). My hair looked healthy and well-moisturized and it looked like it had been professionally done. I received a lot of compliments from strangers and people I knew. So this last time, about 4 weeks later in early March, I called to make an appointment with the salon manager and I asked for her by name. I was told that she could do my hair at 11:00 on a Saturday. I went in for my 11:00 appointment and salon manager is there finishing up someone’s comb coil out (which looked absolutely gorgeous, I might add). While I’m waiting, a stylist comes over to me in the reception area and says that she’ll be doing my hair. I asked why I couldn’t have the salon manager do it. She gave me a sourpuss look and walked back over to talk to salon manager who was still finishing up her client. She then comes back and again says that the salon manager couldn’t do my hair. I wasn’t even given the opportunity to wait for salon manager or to reschedule. Silly me, I should have left at this point. But I really needed my hair done though, so I went ahead. As I’m walking back to the shampoo bowl, salon manager said, “Sorry, I’m running behind.” Still, no opportunity was given for me to wait or reschedule. Long story short, hated my two strand twists. It looked amateur and I could have done better myself. Should have known better when Stylist asked me before she combed me out to shampoo, “Uh, do you have to have these in the front?”(referring to my flat twists). Clearly, this indicated that she didn’t know how to do them. Stylist was totally unprofessional. Went on and on about how she had to kick her daughter out of the salon because her daughter complained too much when she burned her with the flat iron. Turns out that salon manager went out partying the night before and had a hangover and that’s why she didn’t do my hair. Salon manager was there the whole time I was getting my hair done. After she finished her comb coil client, she spent the whole time lying down and bemoaning the previous night’s drinking/partying adventure, when she wasn’t ordering/eating Harold’s Chicken with the other two stylists there. Stylist wanted me to make an appointment with her and, much to my surprise, salon manager didn’t even intervene and say, “No, that’s my client. I’ll handle her future appointment.” Salon manager just said, “Make sure you put her in the book.” So I guess it was either a bait and switch or salon manager just hated doing my hair so much (which isn’t even thick or long) that she couldn’t care less about any repeat business from me. Never seen anything so unprofessional in all my life. Highly disappointed after that experience and will be doing my own hair from now on. I certainly can do it better than this last stylist. I just didn’t want to spend a huge chunk of my weekend doing my hair. I’ll be doing it from now on, though. Good luck, bella!

  79. Cheetah Witch says:

    Why are you ignoring the big ugly elephant in the room? Um, black people have issues with their own natural hair, especially women who do not just cut it off.

    It’s very simple and obvious. That’s why there are fewer places to obtain he style. End of subject.

  80. This is the reason that I choose to work from home, and am in the process of looking to rent my own space. The cost of services in some salons is ridiculous, their customer service is horrible, cleanliness is an issue in some and some dont take pride in their work.

    I get ridiculed for my low prices. People always say that I am under-charging, but I’m a mom and I understand the need for affordable hair care for the entire family.

  81. I’ve also had a hard time trying to find an affordable and competent stylist.

    I have visited the following salon on the city’s west side:
    NuBeginnins
    5914 W Roosevelt Rd
    Chicago, IL 60644
    (773) 378-6858

    I had a great experience!

    I’ve also been told there is a woman in this shop that does natural hair.
    Ron’s Barber Shop of Oak Park
    6058 W North Ave
    Chicago, IL 60639
    (773) 836-2887

    Best of luck!

  82. Good luck finding a spot Afrobella!

    Your experiences in the salons you visited sound less than stellar, but we have to keep a couple of things in mind.

    A stylist isn’t looking you up and down out of malice–he/she is sizing up your hair to come up with pricing.

    A price of over $100 isn’t necessarily unreasonable–caring for delicate, unprocessed natural hair will take more time and attention than simply blow-drying another customer’s hair, or putting a relaxer in someone’s hair.

    And since many stylists have to cover the price of their chairs, time is going to be a factor in deciding the price.

    Be grateful– you may have to spend $150 to do your hair at the salon every now and then, but the girl next to you with relaxed hair is spending way more on relaxing, rolling, and blow-drying on a regular basis to make her hair do something it won’t do naturally.

  83. Hello Ladies,

    If any of you live in Connecticut, please consider joining our Natural Hair meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/Connecticuts-Natural-Hair-Meetup-Group/

  84. ChiCityKitty says:

    Hi Afrobella!

    I live in Chicago and I have a fantastic stylist who does do natural hair. I don’t know how much she charges to do twists. I used to wear my hair in a super short TWA and she would cut my hair with scissors. And let me tell you – it was AMAZING. I have seen her do twists and they were gorgeous. Please email me and I can send you her contact info. I absolutely adore her but now that I am growing my hair, I don’t get to see her that often.

  85. Do NOT go to Van Cleef!!!! I went there on the recommendation of friends and the experience was sooo bad that it set me down the path of going completely natural and learning how to do my hair myself. I went in for a texturizer (I didn’t know I didn’t need chemicals for the look I wanted) and left in tears. You know it’s a bad sign when the stylist says “well you’re pretty so you’ll be able to rock it.” UMM so unprofessional, she knew she messed up my hair. None of the other stylists would look me in the eye, I’m assuming they were embarrassed by her shoddy work.

  86. I’ve had similar experiences in Philly. It’s RIDICULOUSLY expensive to get hair done at a natural salon. Especially considering there’s not necessarily any hair to buy a whole bunch of sprays, products and tools. All they need is a couple combs and some hair oil…

    • afrodytee's microlocks and more says:

      Hi Aisha, I am so sorry to hear that you have had a hard time finding someone in Philly (my hometown) to get your natural hair done. You may want to check out Craigslist in NE Philly. My daughter’s name is Cynthia.
      I am in Kansas City,Kansas and if you ever come to the Midwest look me up.
      Good Luck Bella!

  87. lexibugg says:

    this is not an ocurance exclusive to “black” salons. i have a friend who is multi-ethnic, of italian decent, and get her hair done at “white” salons. she has coarse(thick strands, 3b curls, that i would think would straighten with ease. she would get the occasional blow out, and pay a heft price. after a certain friend( i wont say who)texturized it for her, she found that her blowouts, at the same salon were significantly cheaper. i believe it is coomon practice for certain services to cost more depending on length and texture of hair when it effect the time it takes for these services to be completed. i think we forget that stylist rent their chairs/space and make their money from the number of clients they see each day, if your hair is longer or kinkier than the usual client and takes longer, it will cost more, is sucks but that is the natural of the business. one of the reasons why i do my own hair, that and i don’t trust anyone else!! but i hope you find a salon to meet your needs!!

  88. spiceempress says:

    Yeah, unfortunately there are not much salons, that cater to natural hair that isn’t locs. I live in Brooklyn,NY, and I went natural two years ago. Finding a salon, that doesn’t charge you 100 for a wash and twist out, or tell you that your natural hair can’t be cut unless it’s blow dried straight it’s impossible to cut hair so coarse. I laugh at the ignorance and lack of education towards natural hair. It’s very very frustrating. I wash deep condition and twist my own hair which can take half a day if I’m not busy, but until I find someone in the tri-state area that will wash deep condition trim style and is focused on the health of my hair and not just styling and won’t charge me 100 +. I’ll do it myself or pay my friend to twist my hair. I do wish you all the best in your search.I will be grateful however, if anyone in the NY/NJ/PA area knows of any affordable salons where I can get my natural tresses trimmed/cut is highly appreciated. Thanks God bless

  89. thats busted. i’d be pissed. that’s why im all about DIY i got tired of that kind of treatment!

  90. ebonyqueen says:

    Personally, I think salons charge more for natural hair because they know that you aren’t dependent on them for haircare services. You might get twist or a roller set done from time to time, but for the most part, you probably won’t be running to them every two weeks to style your hair. So why not charge $100 bucks and try to get as much money as you can? When I first told my stylist I was going natural, her first question was why? (and not a postive “why”) and she suggested that we blow it out and curl it with the curling iron…the same process we did with my relaxed hair. She didn’t understand that I wanted my natural nappy hair..I’ve been natural for six months now and have been doing my own hair…money out of her pocket.

  91. hey patrice :) I came across this listing of services for really cheap prices and wanted to pass it on:

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/bts/1794746729.html
    72ND WESTERN AVE:: 773-983-1397 Maria
    press and curl $35 and up (DEPENDING ON LENGTH) done with actual pressing comb
    designer cornrows $30……blowed dried, pressed then braided..
    straight to the back cornrows $25…… blowed dried, pressed then braided..
    extension cornrows $35 and up (NO MICROS OR KINKY TWIST)
    braid outs $25
    twist outs $25
    crochet braids $80 >> lasts up to 3 months with proper maintenance, takes 3 to 4 hrs to do
    tree braids/interlocks $90 >> lasts up to 2 1/2 months with proper maintenance, takes 3 to 4 hrs to do
    flat twists $35
    double flat twist $40
    individual double strand twists $45 (NATURAL HAIR ONLY)
    knotted twist $40
    braid, weave or your natural hair mo-hawks $30-$40
    straw sets $45 and up
    spiral sets $35
    micro- braids, weave or your natural hair pin-ups $20-$30
    wash & blow dry $25-$35

    I haven’t gone to her yet, but was looking for haircare and found that on craigslist.

  92. I am not sure if u were able to find a stylist or how far u r willing to travel. I have been natural for 8 years and I truly have had my ups and downs with these stylist in Chicago re: natural hair. Fortunately, I have found the most amazing stylist. His salon is in Westchester, A Salon Bizz, his name is Ryan. He specializes in natural hair. 9834 1/2 W Roosevelt Rd,Westchester, IL 60154-2748
    (708) 681-9834,www.asalonbizz.com.

  93. Emon Fowler says:

    Call me. I’d love to do your hair! The right way. 708.441.1696.

  94. HI,

    I read your post on visiting hair salons and I wish I lived and worked in the Chicago area because I offer exactly what you are looking for (minus the salon. I’m currently working with a small business agency to secure a loan to get a commercial space. I currently work from home). I offer my clients a great atmosphere that welcomes natural hair. I love doing natural hair, everything from locs, to two strand twists to, braids. I also offer straightening for my natural clients but I also provide education on heat damage so they can make informed decisions about their hair. My purpose is to provide options for my clients and to encourage them to embrace their unique and individual beauty. I’v have been doing this work for some time now and as a natural sister myself, I understand how hard it is to find affordable, professional service.

    Hopefully I will be expanding and maybe open something in Chicago. But in the meantime, if you’re ever in NY (Harlem), look me up. I would love to invite you to my grand opening :) http://www.imenainc.com.

  95. Currently building a Loc & Retwist business in VA with an additional speciality of Loc repair; I spent today researching ‘All Stars’ in natural hair care and came across your site! My charges are $45-$65 (adding fiber pumps the price up because of the time). My mission is to encourage all to live with healthy hair, remove those damaging chemicals, stop the tremendous hair loss, and proudly display our naturally gorgeous locs.

    Never again will I ponder if i’m too cheap and doing the wrong thing. Thank you for those uplifing experiences. It would be great if all of you were here in Hampton Roads,(7-9 city area depending on whose stats are used)VA; however, my website- irepairlocs.com is under construction. Further promoting healthy hair and protective styling, I make my own gel, blend my own oil and use black soap shampoo.
    Thanks for letting me know that my path is blessed.
    Peace and Healthy Living to All

    Trisha

  96. Thats a crying shame smh

    I have a cute tutorial showing how to style three, quick, easy hairstyles.
    If you or anyone else likes it, check out my other tutorials c:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/BlackWomenHair#p/u/5/XM9-BsQY7c4

  97. Zainab Oba says:

    I very much think we blacks don’t really appreciate our nature. I recently had a reality check. And I gave up all hair extensions that I had invested a lot of fortune in. And for the first time in a long long time I feel better knowing that I could carry off my natural hair. Spend time and money maintaining it. And I haven’t loved my looks as much as now.
    Very few saloons, care about Afro textured hair. And even the so called black saloons don’t help matters.
    I say wearing extensions is totally a complex thing.
    Am glad to be part of this blog.

  98. I think you should go on youtube and do it urself. Then u cab have it perfect. :)

  99. Queen Tati says:

    Hello, I am new to the BC I did my BC almost one month ago. At first I didn’t like it due to the fact I had some hair on my hair for years. Honestly speaking chopping my hair off made me have a little more confidence in myself. Not as much stress or feeling depressed .I feel like by chopping my hair I have founf more of who I am.
    It’s need to impress anyone. It’s either you love me or don’t. I don’t know if myhair has grown yet. I believe it has but I havent yet to measure it. FYI oh I do hair as well but haven’t done nautral styles on adults only children. Well I must say I chopped my own hair off salons wanted to much, alot of salons do not try to change their minds but I am starting to love my hair more and more … OH and youtube is my best friend … I make my oil out of * grapeseed oil
    * coco nut oil
    * olive oil
    * jojoba oil
    * aloa vera plant
    * and i will be making my own natrual gel as well soon out of the Flaxseed.. Please tune into youtube.. love your self before anything. and most of all take pride in your roots from your scalp down to your roots of Blackness

  100. Actually, I am a natural stylist and I totally disagree with the price hike! The only reason stylist have their prices sky high is because everybody is natural these days and all they see is $$$$. Stylists, knows that people who are natural will pay whatever price they charge because they (the client) really don’t want to full with their own hair or even educate themselves about their own hair, texture and what products is need for their type of hair.

    I makes me so angry when they over because after a while those that are natural will return back to the “Creamy Crack” the Relaxer, because it’s too expensive to remain natural. And to me that is a No! No!. Not only are some of their prices are too high but they use product on your hair that has some type of chemical in it. I can see their price being high (but not to the extreme) if they are usual 100% all natural products that they know for a fact that is all natural instead of the using commercial natural products that claim it’s for natural hair. I make all my products, therefore, I know my clients hair is getting the best and it all natural. I’m from Chicago and I know how they over charge for everything. I no longer live there but I wish you all the best in your search! Smooches

  101. Hi my family representative! I want to state that benefits and drawbacks amazing, awesome authored are available with about just about all very important infos. I wish to glimpse excess blogposts like that .

  102. Wow, I finally saw the end of the comments queu. Anyway, going all natural must be that expensive for the extra labor that a hairstylist must do, I think so. I have less knowledge about hair care for curly or kinky ones but I hope you didn’t lose hope. Great site!

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