Inside the World of Black Hair: Difficulties with Finding a Stylist

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Yolonda Jones Yolonda Jones
William Jones William Jones

In a series this week we're taking you inside the world of black hair to learn more about the significance of style in the black community.

NBC29's Madison Carter shows us what makes finding a place to get your hair done different for African-American men and women.

Ethnic hair is very different: it sets stylists apart in the industry from what they know, to what they charge, and who some are even able to serve.

“Salons are different and white salons are very different. They have always kind of got the money,” said William Jones with His Image Barbershop.

Many cosmetologists agree: doing black hair can be tedious.

“Textured hair, it can be really thick, it can be painful if you are not properly moving the comb through it,” said Yolonda Jones. She is married to William, and together their business in Albemarle County services black men and women.

“In cosmetology school the literature, the books, the teaching, the experience tends to be based on straight hair,” Yolanda said.

The Joneses say that's the reason black stylists can service any hair, while non-ethnic businesses sometimes can turn people away.

“People just have never seen it, never had to manipulate it, never have to touch it, or work with that as a medium. So it feels strange. So they just say we can't,” she said.

William says higher prices means less business in the barbershop: “They would start coming less. They'll start doing every two weeks, every three weeks, all that type of stuff. So at the end of the day you make the same money you just work a little less,” he said.

But, in the salon, “I thinks it's always been expensive, yeah,” said Yolanda

Black women will pay for talent, while a haircut from William could cost about $25. Yolonda's price menu starts there, and it can top $200 depending on the style a client is looking for.

“I don't ever get push back. No. With people who are coming into see me? With people who are inquiring? They'll say, ‘well I can go to so-and-so and get so-and-so.’ And then I'll just say, ‘well go to so-and-so then and get so-and-so,’” she said.

Paying for hair is the easy part. Deciding on how to style hair is where it gets tough. Tomorrow Madison Carter show you the history of why many black women began straightening natural hair, and why so many have decided to stop.