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Are Natural Hair Salons Worth Your Money?

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Hair is never just hair for women of color. It can be political, personal, exhausting, and restorative. Black women have spent entire generations trying to conform to a "cultural ideal" of straight hair by using chemical relaxers or weaves, however this is slowly changing. As of two years ago, relaxers accounted for just 21% of black hair care sales and the sector has steadily declined since 2008. In the last year, sales of products used for natural hair care, like hair oils, grew by 55% according to the NDP group. It's not just a trend, it's also a movement geared towards embracing what you were born with.

Despite the growing interest in natural hair, there's a hesitation within the natural hair community concerning salons. Due to the overwhelming popularity of chemical styling over the past century, there's a significant knowledge gap regarding how to take care of coarse and kinky hair. Many stylists are ignorant of the type of products and techniques needed to cater to its needs — some even charge what's known as the "black hair tax" just to "deal with" hair like mine. However, as interest grows, more salons specializing in natural hair are opening.

I usually forego salons and haven't been to one in a few years. Either the stylists were too hard on my hair, using tons of products to "tame" it, or I spent more than I wanted to for a style I was only half-happy with. However, I am now a Grown Woman with a Job and I want to entrust my hair to professionals. I deserve luxury hair care as much as any other women with "easier" hair types. I took a trip to Devachan in Soho to test out the ins and outs of their techniques.