Tweaking the 3 C's could save you $300 this year!

Saving on Hair Care

by April Serock


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For great hair that costs less, focus your efforts on the three C's of hair care: cut, color, and cleaning/conditioning. By making some simple changes, you could save $300 or more!

Cut - The first step in keeping hair costs down is choosing a low-maintenance cut. Shorter cuts require more frequent trims, so longer cuts are often less-expensive in the long run. Average salon prices for women's cuts range from $14 at a chain salon like Great Clips to $50 or more at a boutique salon, not including tip. Shorter, precise, or angled cuts like a pixie cut need to be trimmed every six weeks at minimum to keep their shape and to keep you looking your best. If your hair grows quickly, a shorter cut may need maintenance as often as every four weeks. Longer hairstyles are much more forgiving, and you may be able to go eight to ten weeks between trims. Ponytails, braids, and other styling accessories can push the time between trims to as long as three to four months. That's an annual savings of at least $70 over getting a trim every six weeks.

Color - The least expensive color option, of course, is none at all. Going natural is free and easy. Until you start seeing some gray hairs, the cheapest, easiest thing to do is to just embrace the hair color you were born with. It can be a little more challenging to embrace those gray hairs as you get older though, so cheap coloring options may be a priority. To stretch the time between colorings, choose a shade that matches your natural hair color as closely as possible. This helps to disguise new root growth. Going gray is a gradual process, and some of your original color will remain to help camouflage new grays. Choosing even a shade lighter or darker than your natural color makes new root growth obvious more quickly because of the contrast in tones.

Styling can help, too. Wearing your hair with some volume at the roots will also help hide those gray roots better than a tight, slicked-back ponytail. Headbands can be a graying girl's best friend to stretch time between colorings.

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Coloring your own hair will save you a considerable amount versus getting your hair colored at a salon, even if you buy the most expensive home dye kits. The cheapest salon coloring services at chains like Supercuts start at $35, and J.C. Penney salon services start at $55 for basic coloring. Even the most expensive box kits sell for around $10 at Walmart. If you dye your hair every six weeks or so, in a year's time, you'll save at least $225 by coloring your own hair at home.

Save more by getting your dye for less. Find a quality dye like Clairol's Nice and Easy or Revlon's ColorSilk (both top rated by Good Housekeeping) in your shade, clip coupons for it, wait for it to go on sale, and then stock up.

Cleaning/Conditioning - In some cases, the saying "you get what you pay for" certainly holds true. However, that is not necessarily the case when buying shampoos and conditioners. All shampoos and conditioners do basically the same jobs using similar ingredients. You're often paying more for a brand name, heavily advertised product with the same ingredients as a cheaper, less well-known product. Ingredients are listed by amount on labels. The first two ingredients on VO5 Balancing Shampoo and the much pricier Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge are exactly the same: water and sodium lauryl sulfate.

Try out different cheaper products when they're on sale or you find a coupon for them. Even if you don't like the product after a few tries, you're not out much money. When you do find a less expensive product that you like, you'll recoup those losses many times over during several months or even years of buying a cheaper product. Even without a coupon or sale, 12.5 ounce bottles of VO5 usually retail for less than $1, while the same size bottle of Garnier Fructis sells for $3.42 at Walmart. Assuming you use one bottle of shampoo a month, that's a savings of nearly $30 a year. Apply the same concept to conditioner for double the savings.

Even if you adopt just a few of these tips, you'll save some money. The more tips you try, the more you'll save. If you're used to using all of the most expensive salon services on a high-maintenance hairstyle, you could save $750 a year just by tweaking the three C's of hair care!


Take the Next Step:

  • Stop forgoing your favorite beauty treatments just because you're on a tight budget. Check out the TDS Guide to Beauty on a Budget and learn the tricks to pampering yourself for pennies.
  • Don't miss these 10 ways to save on natural skin care.
  • Save every shopping dollar that you can! Receive cash back on your purchases when you use one or more of these 14 favorite cash back shopping sites.
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