DIVA tendencies, tight competition and simply just wanting to look great. These are some of the reasons given by women for the amounts of money they are willing to spend on their hair.
Black women around Port Elizabeth have admitted to spending up to R4000 on a hairstyle, especially weaves.
Weaves – hair extensions, either synthetic or human hair, that can be applied by sewing, gluing or bonding natural hair with the extensions – have become so popular they are almost as essential to some women as their shoe collection.
The synthetic variation is cheaper and is widely popular for those with a limited budget.
Human hair imported from India, Peru and Brazil can last up to a year with regular maintenance but is expensive.
Gcobisa Ntshona, 27, from Motherwell, spends whatever she can afford on a hairstyle.
"The most I've ever spent was a little over R3800 for a Brazilian weave and the labour in Johannesburg. It lasts a lot longer than regular bonding and keeps better. It's like investing in a good shoe that you know won't let you down."
Ntshona said she was waiting for a lace wig (hairpiece with a lace base) she had ordered for R4500.
Andiswa Jikijela, 29, from Newton Park, said nothing made her feel as great as treating herself to a new hairdo.
Jikijela, who admitted to being adventurous, said she liked trying new styles, even if they were wild.
"If you are constantly thinking about the cost then you will never actually try new things. I haven't spent more than R1000 on hair yet, but I would. If it looks good, makes you feel great, why not? If you work for your money, this is one way to repay yourself," she said.
A 26-year-old Kwazakhele woman, who did not want to be named, said sometimes one had to make sacrifices to look good.
The woman, who had one of the latest styles in hair bonding, said she would rather spend money to have something done right than to walk around with "cheap" looking hair.
"Nowadays you are not just competing with other women, you are also competing with gay men who sometimes look better than women because they invest in their appearance. As women, we have to be up-to-date at all times," she said.
Siyabonga Cembi, owner of Siya & Cassie's Dreadlocks, with branches in Butterworth, King William's Town, Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth, said the most expensive style was threading dreadlocks (sewing on longer dreadlocks).
"It's a painstaking process, but at the end of the day they [customers] think it's worth it."
A woman who refused to give her name, but said she was blessed – and cursed – with two daughters, said children took their cue from the TV stars.
The woman, who had dropped in to a salon in KwaMagxaki to do "plaits", said: "They develop these diva tendencies because they are imitating their idols. You hear them asking for the Rihanna hairstyle, and then changing it in two weeks if something more interesting comes up."
She said she now had to make space in her budget for her daughters' whims, especially for the one at university.
"There is such pressure for them to fit in, and part of that is looking the part. These new generation kids don't understand that if you want an expensive hairstyle, you have to work for it."
Nana Cele, 29, specialises in hair extensions including bonding, and believes in being the face of one's product.
She runs the Cloud 9 salon in New Brighton and says she is sometimes amazed at how much people will pay.
"Brazilian and Indian weaves ... run to about R4200 including labour," she said.
Some of the most expensive hairstyles are:
Human hair (weaves) from Brazil, India and Peru (including the piece and labour): between R1350 and R4000
Threading dreadlocks (extending dreadlocks by using hair from someone else): R1000 for labour and R200 – R1000 for the hair, depending on length and thickness
Starting dreadlocks from scratch: R450
Braids: singles and twist; up to R900 – R1200 if done at a salon. You can also get these home made at less than R500 if you are prepared to sit in one place for more than 12 hours.
Some of the cheapest styles for women are:
Chiskop (clean shaven) R20
Relax R80 – R180
Cornrows R120 – R180
Facebook comments from our readers
WHEN asked if they would spend R4000 on hair, and if they would support their partner if they spent that amount on hair, our facebookers said:
Abigail Truter: Hell no!!!! me personally I can't justify spending so much on hair of all things, but if you can afford it without neglecting other important financial needs then "to each their own.
Carol Jean Fourie: 2 years ago, I was given a 'birthday' present by my hubby - Human hair extensions @ R8000 !! - I did not enjoy them and had them removed about 3 months later :(
Theo Klaas Scheepers: I'm a guy and everyone close to me will tell u I spend as much on hair on a monthly basis. I pay particular attention to who touches my hair and the way my hair needs to be handled. Latest incident was last Sat!
Sinoxolo Ruza Yona: YES I would If I had money!!! Weaves are expensive.
Vumile Ndlela: Not even R500. I would not do that.
Yaya Yamzet: I don't go above R800 for hairstyle; where would I start paying R4000 yhuuuu
Siviwe Carol Adams: The most important line out of this statement: "if they can afford it!" And why not? Plenty of people would spend that much and more on clothing if that's what they like or single visits to their favourite restaurants/liquor outlets if that's what they prefer. What you feel is important for you, your image and your expensive taste is what you should spend your money on. And YES I would! Just as I WOULD spend millions on a dream car [which tons more people can't deny they'd do] if I could afford it. What's silly is a girl who'll go spend that much $ on hair while they or their family starve at home.
Thandolwethu Siya Hobongwana III: I'm scared of the western way…what's happening to our beautiful natural African queens??
Samora Samza Bereng: It's one of the reasons why I prefer a girl with short hair or chiskop so I can cut her hair myself.
Thembisa Lima Sineyi Hoboshe: Nope I'll never spend that much on fake hair. NEVER, I'd rather cut my hair.
Felicity Witbooi: Lol wud love to be able to hv that kinda money to spend on my hair. I love making radical changes to it and wud not hesitate to spend it if I had it. we all hv our fetishes people.
Esmé Goosen: It shows a lack of confidence, stupidity and shallowness in a person to do that. Prove me wrong.