Black Women Spend Half a Trillion Dollars on Haircare and Weaves! Why?

May 12, 2011  |  

Black women spend half a trillion dollars to keep our hairstyles tight, our weaves looking good and our “kitchens” tamed. Why do we do this? Our sister site the Atlanta Post explores the mind-boggling business side of the black haircare industry, but also the psycho-social impacts behind spending goo-gobs of money on appearance in such a way.

Very interesting read!

Do you think there is any type of psychological reason or impact behind black women buying weaves?


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  • Your Majesty

    Wow! I am amazed at the array of points of views out there when basically we all want the same thing. To be beautiful. Beautiful costs, because you pay for what you don’t have. Everyone is beautiful and its ok to sport various beautiful looks. That’s what we do. We like changing our looks. Aaaaaannnnddd the fact that we will continue to spend money to do it, means we are creating a market for ourselves that we should also be controlling. Soooooooo, let’s talk about how we can begin to acquire some ownership of this booming hair care market, period. Let’s move the conversation forward…..

    • Carol Cherry

      All women want to look and feel beautiful. Black women do not have the same access to professional hair care as other demographics. Licensed Beauticians are not even trained to care for all hair textures. I have gone into several salons to get a shampoo and flat ironing, and told “we do not do black hair”. I have gone into JCP for coloring, shampoo and flat ironing and have been humiliated to the point that I left in tears. I had to wait for a Specialist (which they charge more for textured hair). their have been times when I was passed around like a nappy headed barbie doll when it was time dry my hair. Once I went in for a color by a different specialist and later when I relaxed me hair, it all fell out. The new specialist had over processed my long hair. Weave is not a healthy or hygienic hair style choice. With all the money black women spend on hair, we should expect to be able to walk into our neighbor hood salon (including the suburbs) and get basic hair care. Black beauticians should stop pushing weave onto all of their clients.

  • mslady1972

    I just don’t see anything wrong with keeping your hair up. And why is it always assumed that frequent beauty purchases are based on self hate? Why can’t the opposite be true?

  • Disappointed

    Another factoid for the idiots. Hair care is projected to see retail value growth of 12% in constant terms over the forecast period to US$11.9 billion in 2017. — According to another website. You guys pulled a statistic out of thin air just so that you could feel inferior and hate yourselves.

    • Disappointed

      Does $11.9 billion look like $500 billion to you???

  • Disappointed

    All of you are idiots and are determined to hate yourselves. Black people only have 1.1 trillion in purchasing power. Are you telling me that black women don’t eat, pay rent or sleep? Think about the numbers and stop being determined to denigrate and stigmatize yourselves. If black women had 500 billion to spend on hair care only then what does that leave for black men out of 1.1 trillions. Come on dumb asses!!

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  • Lainey

    In essence it is contributing to black businesses since many women do goto black haircare salons to get their hair/weaves done. It’s a profitable business..Many women of all races contribute to this business..many women wear wigs and weaves as an alternative to protecting their own hair and many women wear wigs and weaves due to hair loss from illness, chemo, age, etc. Is it psychological? For some yes, for others no its just a style option, personal care, and it can be a self-esteem booster, pampering, such as getting your nails done, going to the spa or gym. I’m sure men spend trillion of dollars on women who get their hair done wear the weaves, who feel and look good about themselves..hey many men have said they too wish they had alternatives or more options for their hairloss or receding hairlines other than shaving

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  • TAN

    i really think “a half of a trillion” is an exaggeration

  • EAR

    Most of this country’s “wealth” [and spending index] are predicated by the top 1% who blow money on all sorts of frivolities (who would face a tepid day in hell before supporting a more equal income distribution), but people are still distracting themselves with worrying about the black dollar.

  • Ros Mickens

    I agree with you that spending money on products that WE don’t manufacture to look like something we are not is sad, ridiculous and illogical… WE have to SEE ourselves as ALREADY beautiful. If these magazines and TV shows don’t appreciate us ‘AS IS’ BOYCOTT!!! It’s messing up YOUR minds to believe that White is best. Asian youth are relaxing their hair to look like US!!! What is that telling you about your BEAUTIFUL, KINKY HAIR ladies???

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  • This is incredibly ridiculous. What happened to live and let live? If a black woman wants to send money on such things, let her. I don’t see anyone making a big deal on how much money white women spend on shampoos or how much money black men spend on haircuts. You see? This whole thing has been made to target black women, making it a whole race thing. Is a woman is spending unwisely, she should take a look at herself and make the changes needed .. that goes for anybody. But to create a specific target on how someone wants to look……??? This is pointless.

    • Screwy Rabbit…!!


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  • A Nique

    I was born with this gene to be different. Rocking Natural Hair gets boring.So i express my personality and how im feeling through my HairSwagg (that means CuteDo) and Style. Men in general like variety in everything.and they like to see women look good.I like to see my self look good. 

    women shouldn’t tie their emotions into their hair. Thats why some cry when it gets cut.
    A women should feel Beautiful whether her hair is short or  long or bald.
    Confidence is key . took me a while too get that but hey ,I Got It now LOL 

  • tell it like it is

    Black woman spend money on their hair to be exotic..knowing they weren’t born with exotic hair..I believe if you are going to get hair like every other race get hair that looks natural or norma looking..I’ve seen dried up yarn hair look like ragedy ann..rainbow colored hair that should only be worn if you look right with it..not a big gorilla with streams of circus hair..I think the problem with balck woman is they wear what they want because in their own minds they look good..and its not true for all of them the same with every race..However what’s funny is seeing black woman bare a population of children to collect income..don’t furnish the section 8 or housing and driving around exspensive cars with no food in the fridge..or kids looking just as nice as they would dress themselves..and when it comes to the utility bills being shut off they can change their hair but call in for help but also up in the stores buying shoes/clothes to go to the club with. All races have their faults..but black woman being the subject will hold their noses in the air will saying they’re independant isn’t if you are on housing state aid then your are not independant if you still can pay your bills and buy hair.wake up and be bald headed as u have been to make due for the kids you brought in this world before yourself.

  • CancerSurvivor

    I agree with you lovemynaturalnaps. We do need to start living ourselves including our nappy hair. After Chemo 8years ago and losing all my hair I was ashamed to be bald. Idk why but I was. I was brainwashed that my long hair validated me. But my chemo was a mix blessing. Being bald to growing my hair back out at it’s natural state was liberating and free. With no relaxers or weave, but using organic herbal ingredients like Shea butter, jojoba &almond oil mix, Vit e, my hair grew back healthier, shinier and longer. My hair is down my back so I know our hair can grow if we treat it right. Honestly, I prefer going short short over long b/c of less maintenance. 🙂
    Have you wonder why most hair stylist wear their hair short?

  • CancerSurvivor

    I agree with you lovemynaturalnaps. We do need to start living ourselves including our nappy hair. After Chemo 8years ago and losing all my hair I was ashamed to be bald. Idk why but I was. I was brainwashed that my long hair validated me. But my chemo was a mix blessing. Being bald to growing my hair back out at it’s natural state was liberating and free. With no relaxers or weave, but using organic herbal ingredients like Shea butter, jojoba &almond oil mix, Vit e, my hair grew back healthier, shinier and longer. My hair is down my back so I know our hair can grow if we treat it right. Honestly, I prefer going short short over long b/c of less mainten

  • You are filled with a lot of self hatred and i feel sorry for you.

  • Sunraze

    STOP! STOP! STOP!…I wear wigs not weave simply because they are less expensive than weaves and to be honest I like them. The question was "WHY", we spend $$$ on hair care and weaves..okay, so lets not get our panties and boxers in a wad. I like the styles and smell of it. I am a professional women who handles my home, my family, my career and my business. In the working society we are to look our best so that we can perform our best. My natural hair takes too much of my time and perms and relaxers has too much chemical in it and causes damage. Its not no big deal to me I just like to look my best from my head to my toes.

  • if the hair is short maybe they want it long and if its long without cutting it they would want it short stop trying to make it seem like we have problems .

  • Thank you!

    • stitchmorris

      DOUBLE THANK YOU!!!!!!

  • blazetoday

    No fay our half a billion dollars that we spend are taken into asian and white communities where they pay for their kids college but ours can't even get loans. The asians in India China and Korea tell American Black Business that they won't do business with them and since they are not in the US nothing can be done. So black owned beauty suppliers and salons don't get the best deals. The asians undercut us so black owned supply shops cannot sell their products as cheap as the asians and they can't stay in business. And no they won't even give black blogs ans websites advertising they don't need to advertise. we'll find them.

  • blazetoday

    SMDH don't be so emotional. the point of the article is that 500 billion dollars is spent by black people and most of it goes to white owned cosmetics companies and asian owned beauty suppliers hair importers and salon owners. That's money going out of our community. No other race would allow another race to get half a trillion dollars from them and simultaneously allow that other race to shut them out of the business. I know we wanna wear our hair the way we want to and wigs and weaves are easy and allow us to assimilate and meet the prevailing standard of beauty. But our community pays a high price for that. I wouldnt care so much but black businesses cannot even get in on the importation of human hair. We are blocked out and the Indians and Koreans and Chinese will tell you to your face they won't do business with you. I promise you Asians would never want something so bad that would take so much money out of their communities. They would do without. and so should blacks until the business playing fields is leveled.

  • Rastaman

    Not certain as to the facts behind this number and would definitely be interested in reviewing them. There is a lot of valid criticism around AA and their hair obsession especially in light of how much of their HH income is invested in that process.

    I decided to quit worrying about how a mass of black folks act and decided to focus and me and mine. Always working to improve my financial status and not spend my hard earned capital on “dumb ish”.

    It is sad but so are a lot of things in life.

  • Theresa K

    It kills me how black people automatically think that white people live better and are better financially than we are. I would assume that those with this mindset aren't accustomed to living around and actively interacting with white people. I have lived, gone to school, and worked around white people of all economic statuses my whole life. And let me tell you something, they don't all pay their bills when they come, they don't all have good credit, they don't all have their houses in order, they don't all have insurence, they don't all have 401k. Even the ones who "look" like they have it together don't. It is suaually a facade.

    • getselfesteem

      yeah there are a lot of stupid white people out there. Black people shouldnt emulate them Start saving your money now people!

      • @ least until the bottom falls out then you can have the distinct privileged of lining your drawers with it.

      • OK, then STATE THAT instead of using them as the ultimate measuring stick. Which, if you have superior powers of reason like your comment not-so-subtley asserts, you would see this article for what it really is; misogyny! Black women have long served as the brunt of that in the good 'ol US of A. SIGH!

  • blazetoday

    hey once you have 8 to 12 months of emergency living expenses saved up. when every adult in the household has life insurance. when every adult and child in the household has health insurance. when your 401k or retirement plan contributions are maxed out. If you have a paid for car or at least a note without a double digit interest rate. once all children in the household have a maxed out college fund. once you own some property or land. once you have some investments (stocks, bond, t-bills, gold anything stable). Once you have all of that in place then weave it up! If you are not in that position (i know im not) there should be higher priorities.

    • getselfesteem

      I see some women who think they have to have some womans from india hair all down their back to be acceptable to black men and society at large voted your comment down. LOL. Got on a $100 or $150 or more weave in and got a disconnect notice from electric company in their purse. They voted you down but didn't have any response cause they know they don't have ish but like to front like they do. I agree once you have maxed out your retirement and college fund contributions for the year and don't pay more than 30% of your income in rent and have a credit score of 650 or better AND all the things you mentioned above you can start wasting money like whites.

  • blazetoday

    White people told us our noses, hair and lips and skin were ugly. And we believed them. Bottom line.

  • You Suck!!!

    @ Menissance: Are you high?! It’s either that or you must need a laxative or something.You should start your own website where you can spew yor hate and rhetoric there, because you never have anything positve to say–ever! You’re horrible!!

  • SMDH

    Now I remember why I stopped coming to this site as often as I used to. If you read between the lines they are insinuating that black women can’t afford these services. Women of other races yes, but not the black woman. It’s subliminal hate. I’ll tell you this though no one’s going to dictate to me how I should spend my money. I have no mouths to feed but my own. They’re also implying however, that black women with children are neglecting them by spending time at the hair salon…Wth!!!

    • menissance

      Spoken like a true independent strong BALD black woman lol

      • Blasian360

        @menissance- Just do everyone a favor and go to hell=)

    • SayCheese

      But yet the white house mom needs a nanny. Now who's neglecting their kids.

    • blazetoday

      we can't afford them. Maybe some can but most cannot.

    • Offthepink

      Don’t go wth, as black people, you and I BOTH know this DOES happen. Spend your cash on bullcrap and leave WIC to feed the babies is the way these girls do.

  • sweetie

    Is this article serious? Last time i checked white women spend about the same amount of money or more on color, cuts hair weaves, etc. It just seems like another article targeting black women as usual smh. Anyways, if u look good u feel good, and that is all.

    • Brittanii

      thank you! I agree, women of every color spend money to get their hair done. there has also always been a huge number of women AND men who spend a small fortune on plastic surgery….so what's the big fuss *shrug*

    • menissance

      So, when is the last time you checked exactly and where are the numbers you gathered to account for the money white women are spending on weaves n sh!t, where can we view said information…or are you just talking nonsense with no factual information out of anger and lack of control over your own emotions for being called out on bad spending habits & stupidity for spending so much money on something that barely last a month and has no value after being bought.

      • RAYE


      • SayCheese

        Why don't you asked Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar and any white own hair care company. I'm pretty sure most of their clients aren't Black.

    • blazetoday

      sorry sweetie but the average white household has 90,000 in assets. the average black house is worth 5 dollars. That's why we can't compare and do what white people do. We need to have priorities. When we get on the same economic level with whites then we can waste money like whites. There is no way we should be spending money on weaves and excessive hairstyles when most of us live in a situation that if we miss one check we are back into poverty.

    • Offthepink

      But that’s money white women as discretionary spending, not the “spend most of what I got outside of WIC an’ hope me n’ mah kids have enough until the food stamps get refilled” crap that a LOT of sistahs are doing…along with making babies with broke-ass gangstas who get allowances from their girlfriends like they themselves are little kids, which ALSO takes food out of the woman’s kids’ mouths.

  • Deecheri

    Again…”MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS”!…that’s all!!…have a good day. 🙂

  • Deecheri

    Every since Chris Rock put out that documentary random people feel like they have a say about what we should be doing with our hair. If they want to come together for a cause how about helping our goverment with the deficit or helping families who are dealing with the backlash of the recession. It’s sounds like black women are fueling the economy based what they are claiming we’re spending!

    • menissance

      The government has already helped and has been helping you women financially before the recession. Your spending all the gov't hand outs on weaves and wigs, your nails and your 3rd jobless baby daddy lol

      • RAYE

        my "like" was mistake. I meant to click "DISLIKE". People are so hateful towards black women. SHAME

  • LockDown

    Schools are closing, houses are being foreclosed on, jobs are being lost, children are going hungry, children are eating cheap unhealthy foods BUT NEGROES STILL SPEND 500 BILLION ON HAIR. Amazing

    • AsRealAsIt Gets

      Waht are you doing to help fund those foreclosed homes, people losing their jobs, hungry children and ensuring that our children get healthy food? Put your money where your mouth is with all your social consciousness! If you are not a part of the SOLUTION you are part of the PROBLEM and have no room to complain! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT MY FELLOW NEGRO!

  • Deecheri

    They can’t print as many articles as they like concerning black women and our hair, but guess what?! There’s nothing they can do about it! What we do, what we buy, how much we spend is none of their damn business. It is our prerogative! Black women, when it comes to beauty continue to do what you do. Our new motto for when it comes to our hair to anyone who question us should be as follows: “Mind your business,that’s all…just mind your business!”

  • menissance

    this must be why the black woman's net worth is only $5 dollars. It probably would be at least $4000 but the other $3,995 goes to their hair lmao

    • fablady

      Somebody doesn't have a life LOL

  • gwillab

    It's not about a stereotype issue, it;s about the saying " IF YOU LOOK GOOD, THEN YOU'll FEEL GOOD". Nothing wrong about changing one's hair style or color. Just keep one's priority in order (business before pleasure).

  • Anonymous

    I am a black woman and in my neighborhood there are faaaaar more hair salons dedicated to servicing other races, than there are salons that cater to and care for african american hair. I actually seen about equivalent numbers of white women wearing weaves as I do black women. They have become a staple for alot of young women of many races in the high schools around hear. I also use to work in a salon that did cater to all hair types. Believe me, ALL of these women invest a good some of money into their hair, including weaves. This article is truly biased. Why dont people do actual research anymore. Instead of doing an article solely dedicated to black women's hair care, research the whole spectrum of women and compile an article with some weight behind it. I would be less inclined to be offended by this type of material. This article gives the impression that blacks are wasteful in comparison to others. Yes that money could be used for something else but money from many other sources could be used for something else. I clicked on this article specifically to state the problems I have with articles like these that single out blacks and black women in a negative light. Im getting really tired of it. I go to the salon maybe twice a year, wear my hair natural and maintain a select set of haircare product that I love and I know work for me. Problems within the black community about hair and hair care product arise from several industries pushing us to always have our hair a certain way, poor quality products being advertised in hair magazines, and back handed comments at black women's choice of hair and hairstyles like the girl on twitter saying rihanna's hair is nappy. I think you get the point!
    I need this site to come more correct with article that address these issues and more. Please stop with the distasteful articles. Ive seen alot of people comment about not coming to the site or certain others anymore because of similar opinions. Let do better than this.

    • Nettie

      I agree with you 100%. Quiet as it's kept, white women weaves just as much,if not more, than Black women. I go to an Asian shop for my manicure and pedicure and they also do weaves. They know how to do African American hair but I never saw a Black person get their hair done. The White women spend upwards of 600 dollars to get their weaves (strand by strand).

    • Andre

      You are so full of it! Your facts are so untrue

  • Cuba Gooder

    think of it this way…were hiring hairdressers who are feeding their families and what not..with this money..Me and my girl going on vacation…Air line giving away $1000 Gift card for anywhere in US..just for giving them your email..haha..My whole fam got 1

  • LockDown


    • fablady

      Did you really just call us "you people"?? Yes, "BLACK" women spend a lot of money on hair care and weaves but I don't, and neither do a lot of other black women I know. So please people stop stereotyping and grouping all black people as "you people" as if because some do it then we all must do it. SMH

      • lala09

        I can't believe you got offended by "you" people. that just hyper-sensitive. You got the jist of what she was saying, i highly doubt she had any intent of harm.

    • Lilvaz78

      Actually, if you look at it from psychology’s standpoint, there are a higher number of whites living in poverty than blacks. The media just chooses to make you think otherwise.

      • blacks only make up 14% of the population. so of course it would be more when u look at it like that. you must look at it from a different perspective. such as, how many blacks arent in poverty vs how many are, and do the same thing with whites

  • Zoe Skkye

    I can only speak for myself and I love variety. I am not dependent on weave nor do I pretend that it's my hair when I am wearing it. I have no problem w/ rocking my short hair one day then rocking a long flowing weave the next day or even switching it up from curly to straight in the same month or so. I wear wigs as well to give my hair a rest. I love having options and because my hair is something I can "control" I do what I want. It's not based on society, but I worked hard for my money and will spend it on what I want to spend it on. Is there something wrong if a Black Woman don't jump on the "Natural Hair train" and enjoys a relaxer, weave extensions from time to time, I think not. Do what makes you happy. Live life. Support black business. I wish there were more black owned hair stores to support the black communities. Peace

    • HapNap901

      Hello Zoe,

      I wish there were more black owned businesses as well. The problem is, is that the majority of the black hair care products are manufactured by Asians, and they will NOT distribute to black owned businesses.

      • Titannic31

        Aha….and what do you think is the reason behind that?

      • Titannic31

        Aha….and what do you think is the reason behind that?

      • coolyfett

        And our people are too blind to see this. Asians taking our money & flipping it.

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  • Where is the proof of this maybe it is time to stop doing so many articles insulting black women.Black men waste there money on luxury cars, ugly jewellery, big flash houses, drugs and big divorce payments to white wives.Black women are supporting black families, charities and voluntary groups, there is nothing wrong with spending some money on our hair.

    • LockDown

      Wow a problem was presented and the first thing you do is attack your brothers. smh

      • Cuba Gooder

        hmm…Me and my girl going on vacation…Air line giving away $1000 Gift card for anywhere in US..just for giving them your email..haha..My whole fam got 1

      • champagne

        it does make you wonder why black women and men feel such a need to attack each other. smdh!

      • Kendall

        yea always bringing up black men when someone points at you. I hate black women.

      • LockDown took the words right out of my mouth. wow.

    • Real Talk

      Yes there is something wrong with spending more than $150 on your hair when your child need school supplies and you are struggling to keep food in their mouths. Weaves are self-hatred. The white man and Asians laugh at us. Wearing weaves is not loving ourselves. Be financially responsible mothers .

      • A Nique

        Honestly I dont believe that weave is are self hatred. And if anything white men love us more than black men do LOL.
        And I see Asians,White and Mexican Sistas in the weave store all the time.
        Drives me nuts because the think they better than us but they buying weave its funny.
        Everyone has their own opinion about hair. 

    • Talibabdulmujib

       you sound so socially immature…

    • EAR

      Exactly! The reported data shows ~$507 billion spent by black PEOPLE in total on a wide variety of different things.

    • coolyfett

      No we dont. A minority of brothas spend their money on that crap.

    • Moe Better

      You sound so scorned that this has come out. instead of looking at the issue You have as a woman you jump strait to what men do. We both have issues that need to be dealt with, and stupidity with denial keeps of in that cycle. Cut it out.