A study says that women will change their hair more than 100 times during their lifetime. I haven’t been on earth more than three decades, and I’m sure I’m past 101. My hair has been long, short, curly and straight. Fiery red, orangey, jet black, brownish, and burgundy are all the colors of my hair history’s rainbow. I probably had 100 different hair disasters too thanks to those college days when I forgot I even had hair, but I remembered that I didn’t have money.

Black women spend billions of dollars on our hair (or someone else’s) each year. Our hair is our glory (and sometimes an inconvenience). One summer during an unpaid internship, I got tired of the salon trips. The price of getting your hair done ranges from $25 to more than $200. Multiply that by X amount of trips and the long waiting hours and you will have a sum that, like me, many women cannot afford and time that we’d rather not “waste” each month. Therefore, I listened when a friend introduced me to Do-it-Yourself websites and black women hair care forums. I invested in a bonnet dryer and hair straighter to add to my hair curlers then did my DIY bank head bounce.

My biggest challenge was relaxing my own hair. Cue the song that should have been made for Madame C. J. Walker. Let’s just say not everything was straight. There is also a time I tried to color my hair. And yep, I’ll leave that alone, too. Whether your hair is relaxed or straight, adding chemicals to your hair, getting braids or re-twists, shape-ups, and trims can all be a hassle when you’re solo.

Relaxing and coloring your hair are the most expensive services, but also the most important. If you get nervous when you see too many hairs after a wash and set, you should definitely invest in letting the experts work their magic. Go ahead and wash your own hair once or twice a week. Get a girlfriend to trim your ends. Apply a deep conditioner and sit under the bonnet dryer you invested in. However, leave the chemicals to the stylist and when you need a specific style or can’t master the look you want.

Not sure if you should DIY? Ask yourself these questions:

If I do this can I guarantee that my hair won’t fall out?

If I do this can I guarantee it will look better than before ______it?

Will this help hinder my goal to having healthy hair?

Remember, practice makes perfect. But if you answered no to any of the questions above, feel free to proceed to your nearest hair salon.

So ladies, when should you DIY and when should you call up your stylist?

- Shavon Donnell

  • am

    i haven’t been to the hairdresser in almost 4 years and i haven’t looked back since. i wear it mostly natural (braid outs) and i wash, deep condition and style it myself. HOWEVER i do occasionally wear it straight by blow drying and flat ironing it. i don’t really care for the bone straight look and it comes out just the way i like it. i also color my hair on my own without any problems. practice makes perfect but i’ve saved SO much money and time. it does take more effort to do your own hair but i think it pays off in the end. my hair is a billi times healthier. most hairdressers are concerned about making that money, not the long term health of your hair.

  • hehe

    I haven’t been to a hair stylist in almost 2 years and my hair has thrive without it. My hair has gotten so long and thick because I’ve taken good care of it. Although for the most part I’m a DIY girl when it comes to my hair, for the summer I plan to get it colored and trim/slight cut.

  • binks

    I haven’t visited my stylist in awhile, especially since transitioning to natural. For the most part, products, information via hair blogs/utube, and tools are easy to find now online and in stores so it is not like you need to go to your stylist for every little thing now. I mostly do everything myself except cutting/trimming my own hair. I’ am just not good at it so I go to my stylist to dust my ends or give me an hairstyles if I am going somewhere important other than that I’ am low key

  • camille

    after having my hair burned beyond belief, i have taken matters into my
    own hands..can do my own hair, and nine times out of 10 it looks just as
    good if not better than having it done by so called professionals. never
    again will i step into a salon to have it burned off..

  • http://www.hautechocolatebeauty.blogspot.com LMarie

    I usually do my own hair especially since I like to wash it twice a week (that would be almost $200 a week. Eek!) But if colored or used any kind of chemical on my hair I would go to the salon. I do make salon trips for trims and occasional deep conditioning and protein treatments.

    The salon can be pricey and some processes can take all day but as my mom says “there’s a price to pay to be beautiful”

  • http://brklynbabylon.wordpress.com MW

    As a natural, I head to the salon for

    a) trims whenever I see unhappy hair
    b) pressing/ flat ironing
    - while a bad stylist will mess up your hair a good stylist
    - will use low heat, won’t get frustrated halfway through and do a complete job

    If I ever do dye my absence of colour black hair again, I’d head to someone for that too. . .

  • Le

    I have been doing my own hair for a little over two years. The only time I go to a salon is for braids, since I can’t do them well. I am re-thinking braid salons, too, because the last time I went, I had my hair raked through like it was doll hair, and the time before that, the stylist had good braiding skills, and washed/conditioned it like a pro, but I left feeling like I wasted my money because the syle (kind of a mohawk) just didn’t fit my face or my style and I took it down the next day

  • Le

    Plus I don’t go to salons much since my hair is growing much better without the trips.

  • Najat

    I only go to the saloon to spoil myself, usually before a trip or something fun. Just got my hair braided at a salon today- kinky twist outs for the first time for $120. I’m not sure I like the style on me. The only braids I can do on myself are individuals, and they don’t last very long. This was the first time I went to get it professionally braided, and I don’t know if I’ll shell out that money again.

    Other than that, I used to go to a beauty school for a deep condition/flat iron once a week. It was like $12. I’m a student and this was the absolute best for my budget! You just have to make sure you are with someone who knows what they’re doing. To be honest, anytime you allow someone else to do your hair you run a risk. Now I prefer to do it myself.

  • Krissy

    I am the complete opposite to most of these women. I have relaxed hair. I am in college taking over 18 credits, an active member of multiple organizations, I intern and I’m studying for the LSAT. There are barely enough hours in a day for me to eat and sleep let alone do my own hair. Even when I was less busy in high school I never did my own hair. I believe there are some things you need to pay for if you want quality results. My hair is one of them. The process and time it takes to get my hair the way I want it takes A LOT of time that I simply don’t have. I’ve been going to the same stylist every two weeks faithfully for 6 years. Besides while I’m sitting at the salon under the dryer or waiting I can be getting valuable study time in while getting beautified. NOTHING beats the hair salon.

  • Nelly Love

    Come the professionals. Keep your happy , healthy and keep me in business. LOl

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