Like many women, I suffer with H.M.H. Otherwise known as High Maintenance Hair. Long and blonde my hair is probably my most expensive extravagence that requires regular, time consuming upkeep. Only it isn’t really an extravagance, it is a necessity. Our hair is a significant part of who we are and deserves to be well looked after. Over the years I have had many mishaps either at the hands of an over zealous hairdresser or through my own fault thinking DIY hair was the way forward (it wasn’t) and one thing I can assure you is that one bad hair experience can cost dearly, in time as well as money.
For example, it takes a very long time to grow out a red home dye kit when it is used on light blonde hair. A very long time indeed. Wash In, Wash Out (as the box informed me), it was not.
That wasn’t the first time that I had dabbled with how my hair looked either. Oh no. As a wee young thing of only 7 years of age I boldly declared that I wanted to have all my hair cut off into a short cropped style. A pixie cut if you please. Problem being that my face really, really does not suit such short hair. A fact the hairdresser apparently deemed irrelevant. As I was shown the mirror, post haircut, a deep sinking feeling fell upon me. I wanted to weep.
I didn’t weep though, instead I pretended all was fine and that I loved my new hairstyle. Well, what was she going to do if I’d said I’d hated it, glue it back on? I went to bed devastated. The next day did not fare any better. As I stood in the line to go into class that morning, my friend stood behind me unaware who was next to her. Apparently she thought a new boy had started in our class. To add insult to injury I was carry a little bit of puppy fat at the time too and actually, in the school photograph, taken that very same (mortifying) morning, I do indeed look like a boy. I think this was the very first time that I became acutely aware of how I looked and, at that moment, I hated it.
Another mistake came at the grand old age of 16. The TV series, Friends was ruling the airwaves and the ‘Rachel Cut’ was in vogue. Only nobody told me that after years of perming (don’t judge me, it was the 90s), my hair wouldn’t suddenly just stop being curly, submit to exactly how I wanted it to and look like a carbon copy of Jennifer Aniston. In short, I looked like a frizzy haired Sad Sack.
If the Rachel disaster hadn’t been damaging enough to my ego, only a year later I decided that my naturally blonde locks were not blonde enough. So, sister in tow, I chose (another) home dye kit which contained more peroxide than the contents of my mother’s cleaning cupboard – a nigh on impossibility – or so I thought. This time, I was faced not only with horrendously dark roots but disgracefully unhealthy looking hair with hideously dry and damaged ends that ultimately had to be cut much shorter than I would have ever liked.
I wish I could tell you that after these traumatic hair experiences I learnt my lesson and never messed unnecessarily with my golden mane again. I wish I could tell you that. But I can’t. Whilst I was at university, a somewhat maverick hairdresser promised me layers yet delivered a mullet. Oh how I sobbed. The fringe has also been and gone, numerous times (it takes me a while to learn my lessons), as has the bob. All with varying degrees of success, or not as the case has too often been and I have spent a great deal of my hard earned money rectifying these situations.
Now, I can’t tell you which colour or style you should have, but I can help you obtain fabulous, professionally styled hair spending as little as possible.
Here’s my top tips to get fabulous, salon beautiful hair, the frugal way….
- Check voucher and discount websites such as Groupon or Wowcher for offers at salons in your area. I’ve managed to get a full colour for free before now using this method.
- Research the price lists of your local salons before committing to booking an appointment. A group of differing salons in one area can vary significantly in price.
- Enquire or check the salon’s website for any special offers they may be promoting. Some offer discounted colours and cuts on select days for a set price that is significantly lower than going any other day of the week.
- If you need a trim, look for standby appointments. Appointments made on the day, you won’t necessarily get to choose who cuts your hair but you will get a cut and blow dry for a great price. Salons realise that it is better to have someone in the chair paying less at the last minute rather than an empty chair making no money.
- Don’t feel obliged to have a colour and cut together. Spread the cost across the months by having one service at a time.
- Equally, don’t be pushed into having ‘extra’ treatments if you neither want, nor feel you need them. Hairdressers are encouraged to sell the products supplied within the salon and often catch people out by offering ‘intense conditioning treatments’ after they have finished a regular wash. Sometimes costing upwards of £10.00 they can quickly make the total cost feel quite unsavoury.
- Liberate yourself and choose to mix and match your salons according to how they suit your requirements. The cheapest cut and blow dry may not be in the same salon as the cheapest colour service. Don’t feel that you can’t use more than one salon.
- Hair academies are great if you are on a shoestring budget. While the hairdresser will inevitably still be in training and as such, unqualified, they are supervised at all times and directed by professionals. Local colleges will have a range of services to choose from and even high-end salons where training takes place in house will offer great prices for trainee haircuts.
- If you feel uneasy about getting your tresses tended to by someone new, somewhere new, research their credentials. A salon’s website offers a wealth of information and any salon worth visiting will be featured and rated in the Good Salon Guide. Aim for a salon with four or five stars for complete reassurance.
So now, whatever your budget, you’ve got no excuse to have anything other than lovely, luscious locks, always.
Love, Emma. X