Mar 26, 2008

The Cost of Having Pretty Hair

I just read a post over at Saving for a Home of My Own that details the $$$ Saving Diva has spent over the years to perfect her coif en route to her currently frugal lifestyle. Her post is so great! She breaks down, by hair style, how much it has cost her to maintain over the years. $2225 a year for the bleach blond hair, $1374 for dyed brunette locks, and now $104 per year for the low-cost, low-maintenance version.

It's amazing how much money us girls spend on our hair. Even without going to fancy salons, the costs quickly add up if you follow the recommended "get your hair cut every 6 week" myth of the salon saleswomen.

When I was younger and my parents were paying for my hair maintenance, I would get my hair cut every six weeks. From middle school on, I got my hair highlighted and dyed. It must have cost my parents a small fortune! Sometimes I'd dye my hair myself with drug-store bought brands, but it would usually come out shitty and I'd have to get it redone at the salon.

After graduating college - now that I'm paying for my own hair care - I fall somewhere between "spending way too much money on my hair" and "frugal." I admit I like to splurge on my hair, when I get it done. But I just get it done about two to three times a year. $200 three times a year or so is not going to break the bank, but every three weeks would be awful!

I think it's important to have a good hair cut and style. Makeup you can buy cheap and you can go w/ just some concealer and maybe basic lipstick to look professional. But hair is so key in your look. It doesn't need to be dyed at all - I think the cut is what's worth spending the money on.

I used to go to supercuts for a while and spend $20 on each cut, but half the time I'd end up with crooked, messed up hair. I like my hair stylist now and she knows what would look good with my face shape. Sure, it costs $60 (plus tip) to get my hair cut. Then the dye is another $100. I don't do highlights anymore, they are way too expensive. And right now my hair is dyed my natural color, almost, so I may just let it grow out and stick to cuts until I go gray and need to start coloring again.

Speaking of tips (not roots) I wonder how many people actually tip their hairdressers. I always tip 20% if someone does a good job and usually tip about 10% if I don't like what they did and don't plan on coming back. If they really mess something up I won't leave a tip at all, but that's very, very rare.

My friend - who comes from a lower-income family (not poor or anything, just not upper middle class like my family) apparently never tips her hairdresser. She goes back over and over again and her hairdresser, who has been cutting her hair since she was a kid, doesn't seem to mind much at this point.

I just wonder... how many people tip their hairdressers and how much? It seems like the tipping cost alone adds up fast. But I am very cautious of tipping poorly to people who do things like cut my hair, etc, because I want to go back to them and I don't want them to make it awful the next time around.

How much do you tip your hair dresser?



13 comments:

Lazy Man and Money said...

I asked this question a while back. I got about a billion comments - each was quite a good read.

http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/women-what-is-your-hair-budget/

tejl said...

I tip my hairdresser at least 20%. I think right now I pay $65 and I tip $15 or $20, depending on what cash I have on hand (no tips on credit cards at my salon for some reason). I would never even consider not tipping!!

Fabulously Broke said...

I'd pay about $50 for a cut now.. but once every 6 months, and I don't dye my hair any more :)

A said...

$10, the barber won't let me pay anymore as I teach his daughter.

Before I had free hair cuts, it was usually a $2 dollar tip on a $10 dollar hair cut. Right at 20% which tends to be the norm for a men's shop.

savvy said...

I tip ~15% every time. I go fairly often so I don't feel the need to tip more. However, I feel like I should tip something since the price is reasonable and I know she has to work hard blowing out and flat ironing my unruly mane.

Shuchong said...

Some people do "medical vacations" to get cheap surgery/dental work. I do hair cut vacations. (Or at least, I get my hair cut while I'm in China, which is usually once a year.)

I tried to tip once. It didn't work out well. I think they thought I was trying to bribe them.

JanePlain said...

my hair cut costs $75 - I go every 8-9 weeks, and it takes her less than an hour to wash, cut and blow dry. I usually add about $15-$20 on top of that, depending on how good a job she did (my hair stylist is interesting that way... :)).

sfordinarygirl said...

I border on cheap cuts every 6-8 weeks and one nice cut ($60) once every 6 months.

I'd spend $20 including tip or $25 in Chinatown every 6-8 weeks but my hair came out horrible and difficult to manage. So I figured it was better to spend $60 and wait longer in between cuts.

Alison said...

I get my hair cut about every 4 months at a salon in nyc. The hair cut is $35 and I tip her $8 and the girl who washes my hair $2. So total comes to $45 every 4 months...not bad! :)

E.C. said...

My mom trims my hair, and I trim hers. I stick with generic dandruff shampoo and Suave conditioner so my hairstyle costs are minimal.

I've been debating whether it would be worth it to try to learn to cut my own hair when I move away in a few months. I hate the idea of spending the money every few weeks.

SavingDiva said...

I can't tip because I go to a school...

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend is a hairstylist (nice perk for me), and 20 percent or more is what he and his colleagues consider a good tip. I'm really lucky--all I have to do is pay for the color ($10) and then he does everything else on his salon's friends and family night. I always take him out to dinner afterward, though!

Anonymous said...

i cut my own hair! using two mirrors!

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