Shoestring Living: Great-looking hair for less

Molly Logan Anderson

I recently, and accidentally, took a more than eight-month hiatus from my hair stylist. It wasn’t to save money at all, life just got in the way of scheduling my regular appointments, which typically fall about four months apart. When I entered her establishment not too long ago, she shook her head and said, “Oh. You really need a cut!”  While I was happy with the money saved, I could not disagree.

Like we’ve talked about lots of times, sometimes you’ve got to spend a little extra to get the results you want. This just might be the case with our hair, as experts agree that quality products and regular cuts preserve healthy locks throughout the year. Here are some expert tips on spending and saving to keep your mane silky and your color shinning.

It’s all about the cut

It surprised me to learn that spending a few more dollars might actually maximize the amount of time between cuts. “The benefit of going to a professional stylist verses one of the super store variety is about two weeks for a short cut,” says stylist Hilary Ward of 10up salon in Naperville, Ill. “A good cut allows you to go longer in between.” That being said, Ward concedes that time between cuts is really personal and some people don’t mind going longer. She reminds clients that shorter hair will lose its shape faster.

Color my world

Coming in more frequent for coloring allows the professionals to better maintain your color, says Ward. In addition, she strongly advises clients to steer clear of drug store products when it comes to color. “There’s only one set of instructions for everyone, and that’s not realistic,” Ward says. “Home coloring results in a hallow color, loss of shine and more damage to hair.” Maintaining professional color with quality products is your best bet for stretching your hair color dollars.

What kind of product is right for you?

Ward is a big proponent of professional products for cut and color maintenance. “It’s really no bargain to get the bargain at the grocery store,” she says. While the Pureology line is her favorite, there are lots of different products formulated to make your color, and even your style, last longer. Talk to your stylist about what you can use to extend the life of your hair-related finances.

Shades of Gray

The one place Ward says folks can really save is when touching up gray. One of her favorite products for in between touch ups at home is ColorMark Gray Roots Gone Instantly, available at beauty supply stores. Ward says there’s no need to rush in for gray roots when these products work just perfectly.

Molly Logan Anderson is a freelance writer who lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mike, three kids and two labs. Join Molly on her family’s journey of living a frugal life and making financial freedom their reality.