Black girl hair: beyond the stereotypes

Keegan Tenney, Staff Writer

For me, walking into a salon and getting my hair done costs as little as $20, yet I still find myself complaining at the gaping hole in my wallet from the loss. The struggle is definitely not real. For female students of color, the financial pain is much greater.

Weave is a hairstyle created by weaving pieces of real or artificial hair into a person’s existing hair, typically in order to increase its length or thickness. While many of us know what weave is, what we don’t know is how truly expensive it is, like holy cow.

“It all depends on what hair you get, if you want micro braiding hair (small braids), it will probably be $6 at the most for each pack you want. If you want regular braiding hair, it’ll probably range from $6+, and then there’s track hair that ranges from $14+ depending on what type of hair you would like,” explains Junior Akeema Hunter. The number of packs you need depends on the fullness of the look you’re going for. “For box braids, you need 6-7 packs if they’re small or 3-4 if they’re large,” said sophomore Trinidee Garrett. I’m complaining about a $20 haircut that I get maybe once every six months, when that’s nothing compared to what black girls face every time they want to change their hair.

There’s also different kinds (synthetic and human) of hair, and there’s different ways of putting it in, all of which are time consuming. “If you get it done professionally it will take 8-10 hours,” said Garrett. “The first time I got my box braids done, my sister did it, and it took 14 hours. Because I’ve done it before, I can sit there for a good 10 hours and be fine,” she said.

Weave is not the only expensive and time consuming aspect of ‘black girl hair.’ Their natural hair consists of many difficulties. Sophomore Makayla Smith says, “It’s more expensive if you wear your hair natural, like don’t straighten it or anything, because you can’t just use cheap products, you have to use products that will make your curls look nice. Our hair is dry and white people’s hair is usually oily, so they was theirs like everyday or every other day, but we wash ours like every week. We put oil in our hair since it’s dry and white people wash their hair to get the oil out, so we pay extra for special shampoo, conditioner, oils and edge control along with other things.”

Some hair can be very course, resulting in having to get a relaxer, or perm, to settle it and straighten it to be easier to comb through. Other hair can be very curly and thick naturally, and if you perm your hair too much it can be bad for the roots. This alone, a talk about hair, should be a big enough lesson to stop complaining about some things because that just sounds rough, and I have no idea what it feels like. Everyone needs to show some appreciation for time, effort and money black girls go through more often than not just to do their hair.