Monday, May 10, 2010

Being natural doesn’t have to be expensive


I’m often surprised at how many naturals say they spend more [money] on their hair NOW, than they did as permies. In the beginning of my natural journey between 2001 and 2003(through transitioning), I pretty much used the same products I used while relaxed. Thinking back, I didn’t have any issues but then again, I wouldn’t have known WHAT to really look for as the knowledge I have now it MUCH more vast.

I think the bulk of my expenses came between 2004 and 2005. This was a period of experimentation. Trying any and EVERY new (and not so new) product that came out, that was recommended, that looked enticing, that said it would do x, y, z, etc., but not having the solid knowledge base in determining whether something would or WOULDN'T work for me. Not knowing of a product’s TRUE capabilities and not falling for product marketing o-ke-doke.

I didn’t know about hair porosity, how humectants and humidity can work with AND against my hair, didn’t know about the importance of proteins and the differences between moisturizers and emollients(something that many naturals confuse and use interchangeably), didn’t know how much my hair loves BTMS, the importance of products with slip, how protective styling can save my hair....I can go ON AND ON.

Let me give you a visual of the first 3-4 years of me being relaxed:
  • Every two weeks, I spent around $60 bucks to get my hair done.
  • Spent $120+ a month on salon services.
  • Spent approximately $1440 yearly on salon services.
  • Total costs: Low end, $4320(3 yrs). High end, $5760(4 yrs).
My mind is still trying to wrap itself around those numbers. And let me add I didn't even factor in product purchases during this time.

During my first 3-4 years natural:

  • Estimate of $30 per month on hair products and accessories the first 2 years. High end estimate $50.
  • Estimate of $60 every 3 months once a routine had been established. Bought conditioners in liter sizes and utilized a lot of BSS brands.
  • Estimate of costs of being natural during my first two years: Low end, $360 per year/$720 for two years. High end estimate, $600 per year/$1200 for two years.
  • Estimate of costs for years 3 and 4: $240 per year, give or take.

So compare the higher estimates of $5760 for my first 4 years relaxed, and approximately $1680 for the first 4 years natural. The cost savings are BEYOND obvious. These numbers are approximations, but considering my lack of disposable income WHILE (newly)natural, I’m pretty confident in these numbers. Now obviously I splurged on new products here or there, but the costs would still be less than $2000 total, IMO. The decrease in cost(s) is the result of having a consistent routine and a rotation of products that continue(d) to work for me.

Once newly-natural ladies have the opportunity to grow along with their growing tresses, the costs WILL decrease and the savings will increase. So don’t fret, naturalistas! Being natural is ONLY as expensive as you make it after year 3 and beyond. My advice would be to do your research, get to know your hair and understand what it needs, and learn not to be SO quick to jump on bandwagons or letting that inner PJ(product junkie) convince you that you absolutely NEED to buy that yummy smelling concoction that everyone has been giving glowing reviews. ;)

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