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Half a trillion!!! Breaking the bank for hair care.

Piggy bank image by RambergMediaImages


I was perusing FaceBook and went onto the page for Nappturality (if you haven’t already, please check it out: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nappturality/120615415653). On the page, I came across an article entitled “What spending a half a trillion dollars on hair weaves says about us” (http://atlantapost.com/2011/05/11/what-spending-a-half-a-trillion-dollars-on-hair-care-and-weaves-says-about-us/4/). My mouth fell open. Wait, half a trillion?!! You mean to tell me that the US deficit is around $14 trillion and we spent half a trillion on our HAIR in 2009?! Are you kidding me? Okay, I don’t know about you but I need to do some research because this cannot be right. Can it? I’ve been blogging about hair and identity for just over a month now and I’ve come across many interesting facts and opinions. However, half a trillion dollars on hair care and weaves threw me for a loop. Perhaps it’s because half a trillion dollars is an amount of money that can impact economies. Just to put it into perspective, here are other things valued around half a trillion dollars:

1. The cost of the 10+ year pursuit of Osama Bin Laden (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703859304576306942627633336.html)

2. Potential government cuts to Medicare to help balance the budget (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/half-a-trillion-in-cuts-t_b_809577.html)

3. The amount of pension deficits faced by big US cities (http://www.cnbc.com/id/39626759/US_Cities_Face_Half_a_Trillion_Dollars_of_Pension_Deficits)

4. Revenues generated by Asian-Owned businesses (http://blogs.census.gov/censusblog/2011/04/asian-owned-businesses-bring-in-half-a-trillion-in-revenues-.html)


Imagine if we put a portion of that money towards things like…education, job training. Alright, I need to go think about this. What do you all think? What does this mean? Are we just spending like everyone else or is there something deeper going on here? If you think we’re spending too much, how might we go about reducing our expenditures? Well, glad you asked. Here are a few websites that talk specifically about how to save money on hair care:

http://blackhair.about.com/od/products/tp/savemoneyonhaircare.htm; http://budgetstyle.about.com/od/haircare/tp/save_money_on_hair_care.htm; http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/home/how-to-save-money-on-hair-care-products; http://madamenoire.com/34069/how-to-save-money-on-haircare/; http://www.examiner.com/natural-hair-in-columbus/budget-friendly-hair-care.

What are some of the unique things you’ve done to save money on hair care?


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Dreadlock Journey


I was now wearing double-strand twists and waiting for them to loc. It was quite an interesting process. I like my hair to be neatly sectioned, parts gleaming through. Well, I was told to clean my scalp with Sea Breeze so that I wouldn’t have to wash it as much so that my hair would loc. I got my hair professionally maintenance every month. That meant that my scalp was covered in new growth (wow, NOW that was a good thing. I remember when I wasn’t quite so happy about it: http://tropie7189.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-growth.html and http://tropie7189.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-growth-meant-not-pretty.html). I was excited by my new hairstyle but I had to make several adjustments.

1. I had to stop expecting my hair to “lay down”. As I waited for my locs to grow, I’d sometimes stare at myself in wonder because a particular piece(s) of hair would stick STRAIGHT up. My hair seemed to have a mind of its own. Yes, my twisting product would allow me to bring them back into the fold but I realized that my hair was not meant to lay flat, it really wanted to grow OUT!

2. I no longer had to run from water. There were many times when it would start to rain and rather than bolting to safety, I could take my time. No, I don’t dunk my head in water every day (eeks, I still don’t go swimming…that is the last frontier for me I guess, hmm, I need to write about natural hair and exercise!) but I no longer view water as my enemy.

3. I had to accept that everyone wasn’t going to appreciate my journey. This was a huge deal. My immediate family knows that I have thick, coarse, kinky hair. So, they thought I was crazy to loc my hair. You know how when you get dressed up to go out and your family says, “Awww, you look beautiful”? Well, I had to stop expecting to hear that, at least about my hair. I had to seek affirmation from folks who appreciated what I was doing. Note: Now, my family loves my hair. I don’t know if time to adjust or the length of my hair did the trick.

I had to make other adjustments but more about those later. I am on a hunt for pictures during this part of my hair journey. Will post if I find them! J

Here is a site about locs: http://www.nappturality.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68:locking-your-hair&catid=34:careinfo&Itemid=30. Also, “The Bronze Goddess01” channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/BronzeGoddess01) has great loc styling tutorials (e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZaRFJ3Ab7Y).

Enjoy your journey!

Image found at: http://csnwf.org/files/images/short_dreadlocks1.jpg

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Hair is ABSOLUTELY political

When I’m teaching, I have to be careful about revealing my personal opinions because a primary goal is to help my students develop logical support for their opinions. Revealing my own opinion might stunt their intellectual development. However, I write this blog because it gives me a chance to voice my opinion and dialogue with those who agree and disagree with me. In yesterday’s blog, I asked, “Is beauty, specifically, the way you wear your hair, political? Does your choice of hairstyle say anything about your politics?” I think that the answer is YES!

For example, blonde hair is a fixture of the White beauty standard. I almost fell out of my seat when Chris Rock appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to promote Good Hair and famously called out the blonde women in the audience. Pointing at them individually, he outed them and said that they were new blondes out of a bottle. Women who wear their natural hair color (even, shriek their natural gray hair!), and those who choose NOT to dye their hair blond are likely saying something about just wanting to be themselves, who God created them to be. I thoroughly enjoyed Chris Rock’s appearance because he broadened the discussion beyond a conversation about how Black women weave and relax their hair. This is an issue that affects most women whatever their cultural or ethnic background.


In a society where women are constantly told to change, adjust, nip, alter, color, straighten, lengthen, bind, curl, crimp, highlight, cut, themselves it is a political statement to voluntarily step out of that fray. I see women who choose to wear their natural hair color and women who embrace their natural hair texture as making a political statement because it challenges the notion that women have to change how they naturally look in order to be beautiful. What do you think? I’d love to read your comments. Thanks!


If you want to learn more about a natural hair life style, check out a few sites that I find particularly helpful: http://www.nappturality.com/, http://www.curlynikki.com/, http://www.youtube.com/user/kimmaytube.

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