Sep 13, 2012

Discussion: The Price of Help

So, let's be honest.

Most of us didn't care for our 'natural' hair all our lives. The process can be overwhelming. It took me three attempts to go natural before I was able to completely transition. Why was the fourth attempt so different?

I got help.

I went to a salon and got assistance with transitioning. Luckily, I had a friend in beauty school, so I got most of my services for a reduced rate. (Style tip: Getting services at a beauty school involves risk, but if you know someone or can have a good student recommended to you, it's an awesome way to get inexpensive hair care without exactly going to the kitchen beautician.)

If you don't have a beauty school near you, you'll probably end up asking for help from another relaxer-free friend. That's great. I love that  there's a growing community to support ladies and men who are still learning to care for textured relaxer-free hair. But where do you draw the line when asking for help - how much is too much?  How often is too often?

How many in-home hair appointments are you allowed to request before you become a natural hair nuisance? I wish there was a hair fairy that tapped us on the shoulder and whispered "She's helped you a lot. This deserves $25." Alas, no such fairies exist. Personally, I have SO MANY QUESTIONS about this situation. If I continuosly ask a friend for advice, styling tuips, or actual styling sessions, should I:
  • Pay by the hour? I don't know many people who can wash, untangle, condition, and style hair in under an hour. 
  • Pay you in food? If a friend styles your hair but you feed them a full 3 course meal... are you even?
What if it's you? What if your friends are asking YOU for help? After so many in-home hair style demonstrations, you will eventually tire of helping that same friend... for free, right? I have no idea what an unlicensed natural hair stylist is going for. But a single strand knot removal session can take some time. Some styles can take well over an hour to complete. And gently de-tangling someone ELSE'S 4b hair? I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Is it rude to ask for money after you've played stylist and no compensation is offered? What if someone showed their gratitude with $10 for a wash and style? How much is 1.5 hours of teaching and styling worth?

The purpose of this post is to establish some natural hair community etiquette guidelines. Do you think someone who needs hair help should pay for hair help? And when should the payments start? One or two free "help" sessions a month?

This post is FILLED with questions. Leave your answers in the comment section below.

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