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Hair maintenance and your budget

06 November 2019 | By Carmen Williams

Are you tempted to say "goodbye" to your favourite cream relaxer and let your curls or coils be free? Or would your bank balance be better off if you chose to wear a wig or weave? We weigh up the costs of natural versus wig/weave maintenance. 


We spoke to Michelle Phala, a natural hair expert and owner of Hair By Michelle in Cape Town, about the choices that we’re faced with when it comes to our own hair journeys, and in her opinion, there’s no better option than going natural.

What’s best for healthy hair?

“If what you want is truly healthy hair, then going natural is the best way to go. Chemicals and heat often damage your hair beyond repair, leaving you with only one option to try and get it back to a healthy state: cutting it all off.”

Michelle says that with natural hair you typically need a trim every four to five months, which will cost around R300 a visit, and three basic products to look after your hair. “You’ll need a good moisturising shampoo, a hydrating conditioner and a treatment,” says Michelle. “Plus a styling aid to help your hair in-between washes - it’s like first aid for your hair.”

Let’s look at relaxers and maintenance

But, what about other forms of hair care? For relaxed hair you need to relax your regrowth at least every three months. This means spending at least R100 on the relaxer itself if you choose to do it yourself at home, a relaxer in a salon including a blowout will cost you minimum R600 every three months.

Then there’s the maintenance of trims every eight weeks to trim split ends. “Heat will damage your hair and when you use heat on it often then you need to make sure you trim it often as well so that the damage doesn’t travel further up the shaft of the hair,” says Michelle.

What about wigs, weaves or braids?

A decent wig can cost around R3 000, with Michelle adding, “Maintenance could cost you an extra R400 every few months to have it properly cleaned and looked after. Plus, you might want to get a backup wig just in case your first one need a little extra maintenance”.

And the cost of the wig and maintenance will also be above what you do with your hair under the wig – do you keep it natural or relax it every few months?

Extensions are a popular choice, with Michelle adding, “Extensions should not be worn for longer than a period of six weeks as all that pulling is not good for your hair and can destroy your hairline. Also having a weave or braids in for extended periods of time might be easier and cheaper, but your hair is not necessarily healthy. Your scalp isn’t properly cleaned and the hair once again can’t breathe.”

So it looks like going natural isn’t as expensive as you might think, but, of course, it isn’t the only option. Whatever you decide to do with your hair is up to you, but don’t let cost stop you from going natural if that’s the only thing standing in your way.

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com

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