Hair care

How to Get Great Hair on Any Budget

Haircuts, color processes, styling products — the cost of hair maintenance can take a big chunk out of your beauty budget. So the million dollar question is: Do you really have to spend big bucks for every salon service and hair product? Can you scrimp on some things and still look like you splurged?

I have found, as I tell my clients who are on a budget, that there are ways to extend the all-important beauty dollar. Here are some tips from my team at the Mark Garrison salon that will keep you on a budget plan that both your hair and your wallet can live with.

Color Cost-Cutters

  1. High-maintenance colors — like light blond or red — require too frequent, read expensive, touchups. The saver’s strategy is to stay as close to your natural color as possible.
  2. Use less expensive processes, like a natural single process or a red gloss, to change tonality. Ask your colorist to be sure to change only the tonality and not the level of your color.
  3. Get the rich highlights effect, not the high cost, by getting highlights placed just around your face. Extend your highlights while preserving great color by asking for a flash between your highlighting appointments.
  4. For at-home color, try mixing two formulas to achieve a richer looking color with depth. Use the lighter formula in the front of your head, a slightly darker formula in the back.

Dollar-Wise Advice

  1. Your haircut should be your big-ticket item. The right cut nets you a beauty bonanza as it expresses your personality, can balance your face, accent your figure, and highlight your entire look. And no matter where you go and how much you spend, it will always be less expensive than most jewelry and designer duds!
  2. Think good salon, good stylist, and a simple cut. Explain to the stylist that you need something low maintenance because of financial restrictions. Ask for a cut that will be easy to maintain and require infrequent salon visits.
  3. One of the least expensive, sometimes free, ways to get a great cut at a top-rated salon is to arrange to be a hair model. Most good salons host model nights where up-and-coming stylists are overseen by master stylists as they practice their cut and color magic. Don’t buy into the misconception that you won’t have any control over your style or color. Call the good salons in your area and ask about their specific policies and how you can get on their model night list.

Add to Your Market List

  1. Next time you’re at the market, check out the values in the hair-care section. A little-known industry secret is that some of the more expensive lines usually have cheaper versions. Look to lines like L’Oreal and Aveda for reasonably priced but effective products.
  2. Splurge on shampoo but skimp on conditioner. A good shampoo leaves out the detergent ingredients that strip hair. Conditioners are pretty much universal in their hair-smoothing offerings.
  3. A great, efficient blow-dryer — we like the T3 Tourmaline dryer — does away with the need for extra hairstyling tools like curling and flat irons.