Getting $$ Ready for 2012

Each year, I think through a hair budget for the next year. May sound ridiculous but black women are criticized for spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on their hair. Not me.

You can track my progress with me for 2012 here.

Oh and yea, I updated the recent post with more pictures.


On $$, Re-Tightenings, Free Styling, and Loving My Locks

Financial Check-In
For the past two years, I’ve set a financial budget for my hair.
For this year, considering the cost of sisterlocks, I originally expected to spend no more than $1400 from Jan-Dec 2011. This includes the costs of the installation ($550) + 7 retightenings.

Well, it’s July 21 and I’ve already spent $910 and I expect I will have at least 5 more retightenings this year. At an average 100 bucks a pop for the reti’s, I should be within $100 or so of my budget. Sweet.

On average, I’ve gotten my hair retightened every 5 weeks. Originally, I was concerned about my ends looking fuzzy and thought it would be best to get my hair retightened more often. I realize now that the fuzziness of my ends has a lot more to do with how I wash my hair and tie it up before working out than it does with retightenings. Going forward, I’m going to stretch the retightenings to 6-7 weeks.

Free Styling
I really enjoy freestyling. Not doing anything to my hair but shaking and going. It feels as if my ends may finally be settling into the budding process. All that pulling and curling I was doing have definitely retarded that process. Also, I find that my hair doesn’t really look fuzzy in an unkempt way. Washing it once a week (braiding AND double banding) definitely freshens up my hair (if I go much longer than that it begins looking dull, gray).

Loving My Locks
I think I’m finally settling into loving my sisterlocks. I never “hated” them before but I was resistant/ignorant to the locking process. I didn’t like how, though I started with natural hair, I had so much fuzzy ends left unlocked. As my hair is growing out and I am adjusting my maintenance process, I am owning the sisterlock look.

Sisterlocks and the three C’s: Consultant, (Initial) Consultation, and Cost

So, in less than 24 hours, my sisterlocks transformation will have begun! Here’s a recap of how I chose my consultant, how the initial consultation went, and how much sisterlocks will cost over the year.

SL Consultant

For most people, finding/selecting a consultant is a long, arduous process. But, not for me. My consultant is a one of my former hair stylists (when I had relaxed hair), and is also the SL consultant (SLC) for my sister (SL’d since 12/08). I believe my SLC left the salon I knew her from to focus solely on styling natural hair. She’s also the one who cut my hair, when I did the Big Chop last year, and put in the two-strand twists.

Long story short. We have history. About 5 years worth of history (on/off, here and there, but history nonetheless). It didn’t cross my mind to look up any other SLCs in the area. My sister’s SLs are coming along quite nicely so I already have confidence in her work.

The Initial Consultation

Nonetheless, I still wanted the full experience of sisterlocks, which included the initial consultation and watching the information DVDs.

And, wow, those movies were so out-dated and cheesy! (Please, please, Joann Cornwell… update those DVDs…and your website too!) In spite of this, there was a quote from the film that struck a chord: “Hair care practices are never really natural but practical.”

Truth. I mean, think about it. Most of the time, whether we are relaxed/dreaded/not chemically altered/whatever, we never really just letour hair “be.” We’re always whipping it into some style or another, or dousing it with moisturizer/conditioner/oils/secret concoction.

Anyways, that quote reinforced the fact (to me, at least) that sisterlocks is not a style but a hair care management system. A low-maintenance (but definitely not a “no” maintenance) system.

Through the films, I also learned about micro-sisterlocks—didn’t know these existed! My SLC explained that micro-sisterlocks, though initially do not look any different in size, are really defined by having smaller parts… and will take much longer to install and retighten. I considered getting micro-sisterlocks to get my locks to look more like loose strands (easier for curling, etc.). However, I’ve finally decided that, for the sake of keeping the cost/time of retightening to a reasonable level, I will go with the regular size SLs.

6 test locks were “installed”. Two in the back (neck line) and 4 at the crown. It’s weird walking around with a fro with little tiny braid-like things poking out, lol. I don’t think any have “slipped” after the first wash but the ends have become a little fuzzy. (Pics to come soon.)

Cost of Sisterlocks

Installation: $550 (consultation, installation, and first retightening)

Retightening: $35/hour, expect 2-3 hours (I am going to ask my SLC if there is a maximum she’ll charge)

This first year, SLs will cost be nearly $1400, but in subsequent years it will be about $840. Less than what I paid for relaxers, and but a bit more than managing loose natural hair (though the cost of extension braids/twists adds up fast!).

Tonight I’ll wash my ‘fro for… who knows, maybe forever?