On Saturday, after I posted that I was on my way to K.L’s Natural Beauty Bar, I got a DM asking me about the pricing there. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my hair has been to this salon twice, so I told the person asking- that it cost me 4,000 to do twists with cornrows on the side, and 2000 to wash and dry. She responded “Hian”. Out of actual curiosity, I asked her what exactly the Hian was meant for- the 4k or the 2k- or both services. And, it is this same question I put to you today.
Today’s post is just to set the conversation going. I really want to know what you think. Owning a salon together is one of MeeMee and I’s many dreams- if we can ever work it out between Lagos and NYC or where else life takes us. So perhaps it’s because I’m a future salon madam lol that I’m interested, or you can say biased. I do not think so, though.
One thing I believe is that most people have at least one thing they like to splurge on. For some, it is food. Raise your hends if this is your category lol. For some people it is makeup. Others, books. Accessories. It all depends, and me- my own thing is hair- hair and food, lol. But this is not just about hair being my thing. I really want to know how much people are inclined to spend on getting their hair done, and why.
MeeMee makes hair on the side. If you’re in NYC, hit her up for your twists with marley extensions, and crochet braids: styleseat.com/thekinkandi. She is usually too lazy to do her own hair lol so when she actually wants to get braids, she goes to the African braiders in Harlem. These women charge about $120 to do the same twists she installs for $80 and below. And yet. Every now and then, we get that random email inquiring whether hair is included in the price. Really guys, really?
Early this year, I did crochet braids for my aunty. Her friend’s sister saw it, loved it and wanted me to come do it for her. She would have been my first paid client but this big woman wanted me to come do her hair, in the comfort of her house, for 2000 naira only. I was asking for only twice that. She stood her ground and so did I. I was unemployed at the time, but there was enough food in my house, please. We were not operating on the same mindset, clearly- and I think that reflects a lot of us in Nigeria today. For starters, it would be a shame to my LL.B and my B.L. to accept her 2k- and even if I did not have those degrees, am I not supposed to live? Keep the lights on if I have an actual salon?
If you thought about how much you value your stylists, truly- and the beauty they hook you up with, maybe you’d be inclined to pay? As I told my friend when she said Hian. It takes at least one hour to gently wash, condition and safely dry natural hair. Is 2,000 naira for an hour of someone’s time too much? I don’t think so. Try yourself and go to your local 300 naira wash and set salon, and get 300 naira service.
The first time I truly experienced a great salon was in my final year of uni. Diva Salon, Amakom in Kumasi. I paid 25 cedis for a wash. 25 cedis then was about 2,500 naira- half my day-to-day transportation & miscellaneous budget for one week. It was pricey by those standards, but they sabi de work. I felt amazing. I came back home to Lagos not long after and my family thought I was wearing a weave! Washed, deep conditioned & steamed, dried, straightened and saran wrapped to finish… I would later realize that they treated me to the same care that I give my own hair now.
I don’t know about other countries, but in Nigeria, we generally have a bad attitude to “hand work”. I really hate that things like plumbing, hair dressing are referred to as “unskilled labour.” Things are changing in our generation though, and I hope we continue. We are a generation that has had the greater privilege of going to school- and there are still many of us that see the value in “hand work”. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing less of a divide between what is considered blue collar, and white collar. I’m not saying a manicurist’s service or skill is as important to society or as hard to acquire as a neurosurgeon’s, but every skill is valid, and people should be able to afford a certain niceness in their standards of living.
If you go to do faux locs and you are charged 6k and up- uhm, do you know how long that takes? You know- you’re the one sitting there. I’ve never attempted to do million braids, but if you go for a style like that (been ages since I saw that though), I think you should be prepared to pay. You’re taking at least one day, if it’s just one person doing the million braids for you. Is there even any need to even go this deep? The simple fact that you are UNABLE to do something yourself, should affect the value you place on the service.
If you aren’t super gifted with skill and speed like Naija Girl Next Door, or okay- you have the skill but not the speed, going to someone else to do your hair can save you time, allow you to relax. How much value do you put on that? The nice ambience, the cute decor? The air conditioning?
I hope you get the point I’m trying to put forward today- but, you don’t have to appreciate my perspective. I’d love to hear from your point of view. How much are you willing to pay? If you were a stylist, how much would you accept for the things you do yourself? Let’s talk in the comments!