Discrimination can look and feel like something different to us all. The point of this discussion isn’t to minimize what discrimination is or feels to someone, but simply to offer a difference of opinion based on experiences. The truth of the matter is, I did not grow up being discriminated against based on race, color or creed because I was born in an independent black nation, The Bahamas. The racial experience is not mine to claim, but classism, yea, that’s a whole different story, for a whole different day!
I felt the need to throw in that major disclaimer because when speaking on race, it can get complicated. So, why am I really here today?
A few weeks ago I was scrolling Twitter aimlessly and came across the following tweet:
So I just got charged $10 extra at Aveda salon for the “textured” hair fee. The woman at the counter said, “It’s because we have to use extra product. It’s not meant to be discriminatory.” Is it just me or is that not okay?
On first sight of the tweet, I simply kept it moving, because this was a non-issue to me, because of my experience as a lifelong curly girl. Truthfully, I didn’t see anything discriminatory or wrong with this, if it was a simple standard operating procedure. I have been natural since the womb, I have never known myself not to have super long thick as hell hair.
Every time I stepped into a salon in The Bahamas, it was like the stylists saw a nuclear bomb, tick, tick tick. I would sit for hours AFTER my appointment time because no one wanted to deal with Sherice’s hair. Maybe this was a product of laziness or incompetence…I don’t know. They just didn’t know HOW to deal with natural hair.
“Back in the day”, there was no curly girl method, there was no hashtag natural hair goals, no Instagram pages. NO influencers. You were a pariah if you had natural hair like mine. Yea, I was always told, “don’t ever cut your hair,”, “don’t ever perm your hair”, all of the cheerleading from these stylists, but guess what….they always charged my “you have nice hair”, self an additional fee! As a natural curly girl with long hair, I have always paid my black stylist more.
So, let’s bring it home. Was it fair? Hell no. Do I understand? Yes, I do. Do I like it? Of course not! This is the main reason I was unfazed by the entire discussion that ensued because of this tweet. A lot of the arguments were based on discrimination and the fact that this would’ve never happened to a woman with wavy, straight hair, a non-black woman, or in a black salon.
While discussing this with community friends, I think the main problem with Aveda is the keyword, “TEXTURE”. Some found this word to be especially triggering. Had they worded or formatted the fee in a different light, it would’ve been more palatable. Also, I argued that this has and will continue to happen, even in black salons. I’m a prime example of that. Every single salon has charged me more than my friends with shorter hair. There is more product that is used and more time that must be accounted for. I chalk it up to being, “just business”.
So, how do you deal with stylists charging you more because of your hair fee? In all the years that I’ve dealt with this, I’ve always called beforehand and inquired vigorously on pricing. I give detailed descriptions of my hair texture AND length and I confirm pricing before I even walk through the door. Stylists are appreciative of the heads up, trust me and so is my pocket. The other resolve is to find a stylist that is specialized in your hair type and/or length and doesn’t charge an additional fee. But, truthfully, the extra cost will always be there, you just don’t see it!
What are your thoughts on paying more in a salon as a natural? #NaturalHairTax Have you ever experienced this?