How to look good for less

Don’t get shaved on your haircuts

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CALGARY, AB Jul 8, 2015/ Troy Media/ – I remember it well. Back when I was flush with cash – or wanted the world to think I was – I forked out $125 every six weeks just to get my hair lit up with caramel and ginger. To keep my multiple coloured locks looking top-notch, I walked away from most appointments with another $50 in colour fast shampoo and exotic oils, hoping they would keep chinook winds from turning my silky locks to straw.

In those days, I’d cast distain toward the $9 hair cut place when I passed it. I bought the line that I couldn’t get those caramel and ginger lights out of a $10 box of dye, hook, line and sinker. I was wrong.

The truth is, we can all look good for less. While we’re not up to cutting our bangs or getting our cuts at the local walk-in clippery for ourselves, we probably already take our kids to the bargain basement salon when its $9 haircut sales are on. And we’re not surprised when the kids hop out of the chair, looking great and smiling sassily while they smooth down their new locks.

Follow these rules to look good for less

Still, many adults won’t put themselves in the salon chair unless that chair is in an upper end salon that serves coffee and tea while the stylist turns our head into a work of art. The key to cutting costs on haircuts, however, is to keep your cut and colour simple.

Any competent stylist can give you a basic bob, and most people won’t notice if you suddenly show up with homemade highlights as long as you follow a few common sense rules to prevent your budget cut and do it yourself colour from becoming an expensive mistake you’ve only imagined in your nightmares.

When you get in line at the nearest budget cut outfit, ask for a basic bob or short haircut. Skip any add-ons the salon offers, especially colour and highlights, that can bring your bill up to near posh salon prices. Then head to the pharmacy across the street to pick up your boxes of dye and highlights.

If you’ve ever been to a high-priced stylist, you’ve probably sat through horror stories about how ‘if you try this at home, your hair will fall out or go green.’ Like most legends, these stories are based on the rare true story of a consumer who wandered beyond the realm of common sense into the forest of green hair and fried ends. But if you are smart enough not to wander out of your natural colour family, not leave the peroxide in too long, or go too dark or too light for your skin tone, you’ll be fine. Stay within three shades of your natural colour, and because you know that the colour on the box is always lighter than what it actually turns out to be on your head, always pick the lightest shade within that range.

Look good for less to fit your budget

As a cutting corners consumer, you’ll also look for the best price on the colour fast conditioners and styling aids to keep your hair from turning into a mousy windblown rat’s nest. There’s no need to restrict yourself to dollar store shampoo and conditioners to save money. Higher end products often go on sale in salons and pharmacies. Shop around. Scan those fliers in your mail box for coupons and special offers. Stock up when your favourite hair products are on sale!

Sure, we could all save even more money by cutting our own hair, letting those greys show, buying made in China shampoo from the dollar store, and letting the wind be our stylist. But cutting corners isn’t about depriving yourself of those little luxuries that make life better. It’s not about buying products you’re not confident will do the job. It’s about making those little luxuries, like a fresh cut and a bright new look, fit our budget.

Jane Harris-Zsovan offers her readers practical money advice for the real world. Jane is the author of Eugenics and the Firewall: Why Alberta’s UFA/Social Credit Legacy Matters to 21st Century Canadians.

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