Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon |

Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon

Last week Judith wrote about her frustration – which quite a few naturals share – about the inability to get our hair done at non-specialized hair salons, with some suggestions on how these salons can get our attention back. As you can imagine, one of the major concerns was the cost of natural hair styles. After posting about the article on Instagram, I received a lot of responses from hairstylists with their own side of the story about why natural hair styling is so expensive and time consuming. I figured it was only fair to share their perspectives with you, so we can all have a better understanding of how to work with stylists to get our hair done!

Jocelyn Reneé – Lanham, MD, Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctitian, and Blogger –

Jocelyn Renee - Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon |

On the difference between paying a professional hairstylist and using a kitchen beautician… read the rest here:

A professional will charge you accordingly. The factors that go into cost of a service are not just pulled out of thin air because “natural hair is more demanding or labor intensive”, the factors include:

  • Time. A Professional Hair Stylist will make an hourly wage (just like you do at your job) to compensate them for time away from their family, often at times that are convenient to you, and to pay for living expenses (like the phone to answer your calls, texts, and emails; transportation to get to the Salon for your appointment, food to ensure they have energy to take care of your hair, listen to you and complete your service in a timely manner).
  • Products. Professional products are expensive. Even readily accessible quality consumer products are expensive. To ensure your hair remains healthy or to revitalize the condition of your hair professional products are necessary. And from a Professional Stylist standpoint, professional products come with training to understand their synergy. A label on the back of bottle won’t explain how to use the products for each hair type; education does.
  • Training / Education. Obtaining a Cosmetology license is hardwork, 1500 hours (in some states more) of science, practice, and basic hair care knowledge. But it doesn’t stop there, with so many different textures, curl patterns, haircuts, styling techniques, color placements, braiding styles and fashion trends a Professional must constantly seek education.
  • Sanitation. Can you imagine going to the Hairdressers and leaving with HIV, or Hepatitis or Lice?! It happens, every day because of poor sanitation or not sanitizing the tools and surfaces of a workarea. A licensed Professional is drilled on Sanitation and should use proper sanitation with cleaning equipment that also costs money. Sanitation should be performed for each client and so the cost to ensure your health and safety is also built into the cost of service.
  • Maintenance. You want the Salon environment to look, feel and smell nice and be clean when you arrive for your experience, right? Well that doesn’t just happen it takes constant upkeep, passion and, you guessed it, money.
Bonita Abakah-Koranteng – Maplewood, NJ, Licensed Cosmetologist – Bundles & Kinks

Bonita - Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon |

As far as pricing goes: time, hair length, texture, density, and the stylist’s skill level and education are all factors. Some stylists increase their prices every time they take a class, go to a show, or get a certification. As we all know, everyone dreads “wash day,” and it’s not different in the salon. For certain styles I have to charge more for a shampoo and blowdry. Many people don’t come detangled even when you told them to, and detangling before I even shampoo can take 15-20 minutes on some people. So I charge extra to detangle because I realized it was adding time and giving me more work. I always do two shampoos, conditioner, sometimes a deep conditioner; then I detangle again, section and blow dry. This is a lot of work, which is sometimes strenuous and does take time. Blow drying natural hair that hasn’t been trimmed recently is especially difficult. This is what I signed up for so it’s cool, I just have to be compensated accordingly.

Stylists pay $16,000 – $20,000 to go to school and also have to pay out of pocket to advance their education in cosmetology. Classes are hundreds and thousands of dollars plus travel costs which we have to pay for out of pocket. In addition, we pay for products and tools: a good pair of shears alone is priced in the hundreds. In Maplewood, NJ, the rent is high but the shop has to stay open. At my salon, we use quality products, we do a great job, and give a great experience. So in addition to our credentials and the hours spent working, standing, and sweating (sometimes with no lunch break), it is only fair for stylists to charge what they feel they deserve. I personally work on commission so I make sure my prices are high enough to make a decent cut for myself without tips.

Abena Palmore – Bronx, NY, Licensed Cosmetologist specializing in wash and gos – Embrace Natural Beauty

Abena Palmore - Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon |

In order to keep the prices as affordable as possible I offer flexible pricing to my clients.  I charge by the service; for example, wash, condition and detangle is a stand alone service for $40. If included with another service it is reduced to $25. I also trim on stretched hair, so clients can choose to come to the salon with hair ready to trim or add the other services at a reduced rate.

I think it is unrealistic to set a time frame for detangling, twisting and so forth when each client has a different head of hair that encompasses a variety of textures, porosity levels, density and length.  Texture is the least of my concern as a professional hairdresser. The condition of the hair, porosity level, density and length are the major factors that determine the amount of time and technique necessary to ensure my client leaves with a beautiful style and well conditioned hair that will retain moisture.

Nedjetti Harvey – Bloomfield, NJ, Softsheen-Carson Educator, Licensed Cosmetologist, and Celebrity Natural Hair Guru – Hair By Nedjetti Nedjetti Harvey - Stylists Respond: Why Natural Hair Styles are So Expensive at the Salon | 

This is just a portion of Nedjetti’s comments, you can read the rest on the Instagram thread

First, I believe YouTubers are amazing creative individuals, but understand they only know of their own hair and what products work for their own hair. Importantly understand that what products work for them, very well may not work for your hair texture and majority are not Licensed Cosmetologists.

Hair by Nedjetti Salon in Bloomfield, NJ is a private one-on-one set up purposely for each client to experience a personal ‘hairapy’ session with Nedjetti which includes beverages, healthy snacks, soothing music, ottoman, candles, wifi and incense. Yes, I want our Sistahs and children to realize a salon experience is to be tranquil, peaceful & conversationally uplifting and motivational. I’ve designed such a memorable escapade to be only you & I at my home base salon and indeed I’m Blessed to have clients who will drive up to 2hrs for their ‘whoosah’ pampering hair sessions. My prices (includes shampoo & conditioner) are based on the individual hair density and length.  I do start at a minimum price because indeed some women have gorgeous tresses for 2 people. Yes, your Hair by Nedjetti ‘hairapy’ session is more than only getting your hair styled. It’s a mind, body & soul experience!

Please keep in mind, just like in the physician world how we all RESPECT & pay more for Specialists oppose to our general doctor visits, it’s the same in the Beauty Industry. When I massage my own feet I recognize & admit it’s not the same phenomenal feeling I get when receiving a foot massage by a positive soul. Now, if a person is unable to afford a service based on their financial challenges (I get it life is no joke, whew try running a business solo), I truly believe it’s unfair for one to expect a business owner who expedites a quality experience, professionalism & mastery skills to lower their prices to accommodate the public. Ladies, I’m just saying one should be empathetic towards businesses who give YOU what you pay for. At Hair by Nedjetti Salon, you get just that & more. Thank you all for reading my 23 years Natural Hair Artistry POV.

Do these stylists opinions convince you that pricing for natural hair styles is fair? If pricing is not your biggest concern keeping you from salons, what is?

Share your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. The person who said that you can leave a salon with HIV just shot her credibility to hell! Spreading misinformation like that only fuels ignorance about the disease and keeps us at risk.

  2. Since we are all openly discussing our frustration,…let me vent for a second(lol) Ya’ll think where ya’ll live is bad with the lack of natural salons, MOVE TO DENVER! it is an absolute joke! I can not express my frustration and disappointment with this city. You all don’t have salons, well there aren’t any salons or beauty supply shops. They have a total of 4 african american beauty supply shops in the Denver area, and ALL of them are an absolute joke! I wish we had salons, shoot, I wish we had proper beauty supply stores that had actual products and not wigs and weaves as a major selling product.

  3. This article does a good job of explaining pricing, but I didn’t think this was the main point of the other article. I totally get why stylists and cosmetologists charge as much as they do! They know what they’re doing!! Plus, natural hair is hard to take care of…and everyone’s hair is different, so I can only imagine having to deal with natural hair clientele on a daily basis. If I had to choose, though, I would pick somebody who knows what they’re doing to work on my head over someone not as knowledgeable every time. I don’t mind paying for good services, or for “a quality experience, professionalism & mastery skills” as Nedjetti so passionately puts it, and I don’t think that’s everyone’s main issue. For me, it’s more about the lack of natural hair stylists and cosmetologists or advertisements for that, along with the versatility of stylists claiming to specialize in natural hair (just from my experiences). I’m new to an area and I’m looking for someone able to do my hair and having trouble finding someone. I ask around and nobody can suggest a place because everyone does their own hair! I’m a natural hair blogger, so of course I get women who approach me all the time asking if I know of any good natural hair salons in the area…and I don’t! That’s my issue. I’m not going to completely ignore the fact that there are a lot of women who aren’t willing to pay a good price for good services, but there were many other points in that article that could have been addressed too!

    I will say though, there is a blogger in my area on this list! I will be checking her out, so this article was super helpful in that respect!

    1. Oh very interesting! Where are you located? I found it interesting that the stylists’ response to the 4 points Judith made in her article were to focus on price. I plan on polling people tomorrow or Thursday to see what they feel like is the issue: cost, availability, or they just prefer to DIY

  4. I can definitely understand however, I do think some stylists jump at the opportunity to charge extra just because they notice a person is natural. Sometimes it feels like you’re penalized for wearing your hair the way it grows out of your head.

    1. I have to agree with this. I don’t think I remember ever seeing a blow dry session cost more for a woman with long relaxed hair vs a woman with a bob, but naturals elicit length and thickness pricing scales. That’s not really fair

  5. Yes and no! I can get the same service over half what professional does. Not every body practice unsanitary.