The bank might be calling about the mortgage. The lights might get cut. The car may break down on the way to the salon. But as the old joke goes, black women will keep a hair appointment, no matter what. Still, the tough economy is testing the sacred bond between black women and their stylists. In a collection of essays and photo galleries, The Root explores the many tangles and twists in this deeply committed relationship that goes back centuries to our roots in Africa.

5 products to repair your hair.

Click through as faithful client Delece Smith-Barrow explains why she’s keeping her regular appointment, as Detroit-based stylist Paunice Savage reveals her secrets to survival in the midst of the auto-industry meltdown.

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