Jasmine Simone here! When I was a little girl I used to HATE having my hair done. My thick tight curs fluffed out into a big afro puff all over my head and it definitely took skill to tame it. I remember countless nights of crying as my mom yanked and pulled my hair into submission – tying down the braids around my head with rubber bands and barrettes; or artfully placing cornrows in various maze-like styles; or the dreaded 3-hour sessions in the kitchen with the hot pressing comb, the smell of burnt hair wafting through the house.
Needless to say, I wanted the long, flowing, untangled hair like the girls I saw on TV. Though a girl could only dream. However, around age 11 I began to see other beautiful girls of color in the media – Brandy, Beyonce, SWV- that created this type of long flowing hair for themselves by braiding fake hair into theirs; I became obsessed with getting some for myself. For about 3 years, I constantly wore fake hair, getting it braided into different styles using different colors and textures that afforded me long hair, sometimes left loose and wavy. The best part was that it gave me a reprieve from the pain of styling my natural thick, afro curls in 3-month long intervals. I was in heaven.
However, this began to get expensive and my mom was getting less enthused with keeping up this style for me. Not to mention that it was destroying my hair. Though grateful to have my neighbors and family friends do my hair for such a deep discount, I got what I paid for as the saying goes – they were not trained on how to do the braids / weave with minimal damage (although there are “professionals” just as guilty of this.) By the time I was 16 my hair was broken up to below my ear and I had spent many hundreds of dollars on maintaining this. Sophomore year was the last time I wore fake hair (though I may try it again someday…lol!)
These days, more and more famous women are coming out with stories of their dependency on expensive hair processing and services. Solange Knowles recently shaved her head because she was spending $40,000 – $50,000 in the salon – slave to perms and hair extensions for her celebrity look. Britney Spears revealed in her reality show that though she spent thousands with the best hairstylists in the biz, the constant processing and extensions had destroyed her hair making her virtually bald – leading to her eventual shorn style splashed all over the tabloids. Chris Rock even made a movie about this billion dollar industry market with several celebrity women sharing their hair war stories and the crazy things they do to maintain their flowing locks hairstyles created with relaxers and expensive weaves (Sadly, I have only seen clips of this movie. I know, I know…but it’s at the top of my Netflix queue!) Now, I feel liberated that I can style my own hair and imitate that “fresh from the salon look” – bouncy, shiny, and flowing (you know what I’m talking about sistas!) that costs me nothing but time and patience. Now next step is to release the relaxer and give my fro curls a second chance!
Have you ever felt that you spent too much money on your hair or some other beauty process? Tell us!