I once spent $100 on my hair, in utter horror and guilt at my frivolous spend. $100! One-hundred-freaking-dollars! I almost fell to my knees in ablution for my greed. Surely, I must have been high on something? Factoring in hair extensions, hair sprays and mousses for ‘long-lasting sheen’ and ‘volume’, hairstyling tools and hair oils, I felt like Queen Esther bathing in oils for her first meeting with the King. Only, this Queen is on a tight budget, and had just massively overspent.
How much money is too much money to spend on your hair? I honestly don’t know. I could seek answers from my mother, but she never took interest in beauty a day in her life. As a teenager, I was given a budget of $40 to ‘get my hair did’ every six weeks. That was it. No negotiations, no adjustments, nothing. I would always choose braids, because it was the easiest, cheapest, least frivolous option, and my choice made everyone happy, including me. Now, making my own money and trying out so many different hairstyles, there are no longer any set guidelines for me to follow.
Did you know that those Brazilian weaves can cost upwards of $100 per bundle? All the girls were wearing them at my church, growing up, so I assumed that they couldn’t be that expensive. Boy, was I wrong! And even when I decide to wear my natural hair, I must factor in the costs of combs, oils, shampoos, special swimming conditioner, swimming caps, and so on. It never ends. Our hair is an endless money sucking device given to us by God to keep us permanently frustrated, but also, in a special trade-off, permanently beautiful.
So, how much, really, is too much money to spend on your hair? I suppose it depends not just on your budget, but on how much out of that budget you are willing to part with on your hair. For those, like my mom, who are happy to wash and go – she doesn’t even condition her hair, the horror! – a mere $2 a month for a bottle of shampoo is perfectly satisfactory.
For us vain, vain types whose every outfit, hairstyle and accessory choice must say something to all those eyes watching us, spending 10%-20% of our entire budget on hair is not a big deal. I want to look good! I want to look in the mirror and know that my curls are shiny, and my hair smells like Queen Esther’s. Nevertheless, to cut some of the deficit in my budget, I learned how to do each new hairstyle myself. Crochet braids? You’ve got it! Regular braids? You’ve got it! Dye jobs? You’ve got it! Even learning how to take care of, and style my afro saves me a fair penny.
I wouldn’t be spending $100 on my hair anytime soon for, although I like to look good, I still can’t afford to look Nia Long good.