How Much Does Your Hair Cost?

Three years ago this week, I bought my last box of home hair dye.

I started dying my hair in my early 20s - just my natural color, but I wanted to cover up the grays that seemed to be taking over my head prematurely. I had given up on maintaining highlights or a cut I couldn’t style in 15 minutes, as well as anything that required paying $40+ every six weeks.

On the day in question, I used the same brand and color of hair dye I’d always used. I put it on, wrapped my hair in a towel, and checked my email while I waited for the color to set. When I flipped my head over the tub to rinse the dye out, I noticed that the dye looked almost purple instead of the usual reddish brown. That’s weird, I thought.

When I finished and looked in the mirror, I nearly screamed. My hair was jet black. Like, emo black. Apparently someone had switched the boxes or made a mistake - this was NOT the color I’d used for years.

Frantically I put my hair in a bun, threw on a hat, and went to the drugstore to buy hair bleach and another box of dye. I wanted to get all the horrid black out of my hair before anyone saw me, and hair bleach would remove all traces of it.

Except it didn’t. After the bleach, I still had jet black hair. With the new, added bonus of 2 inches of clown-orange roots.

I called my hair lady, who worked me in for an emergency appointment. After she laughed for about an hour, she determined that the only way to fix the problem would be to return my roots to black, then highlight over it to mimic my natural color until the dyed hair grew out.

After three attempts to dye my roots black, she gave up. The orange really liked my hair, and she was afraid that doing anything else to it would cause it to break off in chunks. I walked around looking like a washed-out crackhead for a month before we felt it was safe to apply highlights and get my hair back to normal.

What Did I Learn?

That nightmare experience cost me over $100. Between the boxes of hair bleach and hair dye, professional color, and going back for professional highlights, I was practically digging for change in the couch cushions. All because I tried to save money by dying my hair myself.

Once my hair started feeling like hair again instead of straw, I decided I was done playing mad scientist in my bathroom. No more dye or highlights. No more wasting money.

Now, when I go to my hair lady for a trim, she always talks about how healthy my hair feels. It’s amazing how much better behaved it is now that I’m not pumping it full of smelly chemicals every month! The grays have progressed to snow white, which is pretty obvious against dark brown hair, but I don’t care. I’m going to embrace my early old ladyhood and just let it happen. I spend about $100 a year getting my hair cut - a vast improvement if you ask me.

How Much Does Your Hair Cost?

What do you do to your hair? Any disaster stories? How much do you spend in a year? Do you ever feel like throwing all your products away and living the simple life?

  • Alottalettuce

    Funny you ask, as I just tallied it up the other day. Yes, I maintain a separate line item in Mint for Dude and I’s haircare. Just because.

    In 2011, I spent $220 on haircuts - $55 each, for 4 hair cuts - one every 12 weeks or so. Dude spent $280. For some reason, I take immense joy in the fact that he spends more on his hair than I do. Ha!

    That said, I’ve always done my own highlights and have never had any trouble. However, I DID try to dye my hair darker once - back to my natural mousy dark-blond color - and it turned out greenish-grey. I’d made the classic mistake of choosing a cool dye to use on hair that had already been processed multiple times, and it picked up all of the “ash” tones. I should have used a warm color. I paid something like $150 to have it fixed, and even then, it still had a sort of greenish-grey tint in certain lights for a few months.

    I don’t spend much at all on products, especially since I cut out shampooing on a regular basis. Since mid-October, I think I’ve shampoo’d maybe 5 times total, and instead just condition every day. The result has been AMAZING. I’ve also decided to try to go down to 2 professional cuts per year, and have given myself 2 trims in the past few months without fucking it up.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Okay, talk to me a little more about this no-shampoo thing. I’ve read about it before, but how long do you have to walk around with stringy, greasy hair before it recovers and starts looking decent again? What techniques do you use? I haven’t washed my hair since Thursday and it feels DISGUSTING right now - I’m scared to try it!

      • Alottalettuce

        The key is to go about your day-to-day routine normally - take a shower, wet your hair, do everything you usually would EXCEPT…skip the shampoo. You’ll never have greasy hair this way. The water and the act of “lathering up” with just conditioner is sufficient to get your hair clean for weeks on end. Seriously, try it for 2 weeks, it totally works. I recently used a “normal” shampoo (one that isn’t sulfate free) on accident and my hair felt like absolute shit all day. It was a total eye opener.

        • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

          How often you do condition your hair? Will it make my hair really greasy?

          • Alottalettuce

            Every single day. And nope, in my experience, it doesn’t make it greasy at all. It actually CLEANS the hair. And I have VERY fine hair that is prone to greasiness.

          • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

            Okay, I’m totally going to try it next week. I will report back and let you know how it goes!

          • eemusings

            I have very COARSE hair that’s prone to dandruff and greasiness. The no-shampoo thing didn’t work for me, sadly - I gave it a go, I really did, but like most things, it’s not for absolutely everyone.

          • AmericanDebtProject

            I can’t do no shampoo either, sounds awesome but I have really thick hair and I wash it about 3 times a week or less. I try to go longer because otherwise my hair gets really dry and fluffy!

  • MLISunderstanding

    I have low-maintenance hair… my interest is in growing it as long as I can (to make up for a few overzealous “trims”) and minimizing split ends — two contradictory goals! But I do enjoy the freedom I have in my job, where a bunch of us have wacky hair color. I’ve been streaking mine purple for 4 years.

    I started seeing silver hairs in my early twenties; I’m now 27, and have noticed a big streak of silver coming in up front. I actually like that. I also like that when I apply purple dye (I go to about every six months and order one tub of Punky Colour in Violet and one in Plum, and then re-apply at home every six weeks or so), the silver takes the dye fine but then loses it sooner than my brown hair does. So I end up with dark brown hair, bright purple streaks, and silver highlights! For about $40/year.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I’d love to try a wild color in my hair. I could never do it when I worked for someone else, but now that I’m self-employed I can do what I want! (Funny how they never minded my nose piercing but pink or blue hair was out of the question.) Somehow I think my son would hate it, though - he’s embarrassed if I pick him up from school looking like anything but a boring mom. $40 a year is awesome though!!

  • Bryan

    I have pretty low-cost hair since I shave my head 1-2 a week. Razors and shaving cream get expensive though.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      When I was younger I used to wish I was a guy so I could shave my head. All this hair is unbearable in the summer!

    • Carrie Smith

      @twitter-331178141:disqus Sometimes I’d love to shave my head and be done with it! Imagine how much time/money for products I could save…

  • Jeena Cho

    Funny you bring this up. I’ve been having the dye or no dye debate for a couple of years now. I want low maintenance hair and it feels like by coloring it will inevitably make it high maintenance. Plus, I am always worried about exposing myself too much chemicals. So, I get a good cut 2x year and I use shampoo + conditioner. This year, I’ll try to find a good organic shampoo + conditioner and maybe even transition to the no-poo movement. (I’ve been doing this once a month followed by regular shampoo and conditioner and I like the way it makes my hair feel.)

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Since I stopped dying my hair, I’ve noticed it’s changing from stick-straight my whole life to wavy. My hair lady says sometimes that happens with hormones/age, but that it could also be my hair rejoicing from a break from all the abuse. So I’ve quit flat ironing my hair most of the time and just scrunch it with some hairspray. It’s so weird how different things can have a drastic effect on hair!

  • Bridget Gibson

    I don’t dye my hair. I’ve made peace with my natural colour for the the most part (occasionally I start to think it looks dull but I really don’t want to commit to the maintenance of streaking or dying it. I did have it dark brown a few years ago and it looked AMAZING but I eventually just let it grow out (awkward) and haven’t done anything since. Haircuts are about $70 twice per year, but I’m giving those up this year and I’m just going to cut my hair myself.

    As for the no shampooing thing, I’ve started that recently as well and it works great. Your hair definitely gets clean if you do it right — I can’t tell any difference from shampoo to conditioner only washing except my hair is in better condition. What you have to do is this:

    - get your hair really wet with hot water
    - dump a ton of conditioner on it and massage it into your roots & scalp (aggressively! this is what’s going to get your hair clean!) for about 5 minutes.
    - put conditioner along the length of the rest of your hair.
    - then I usually put my hair up so I can wash the rest of me, shave my legs, etc.
    - lastly, rinse your hair in cold water for 3-5 minutes. It’s really important to rinse for a long time so you don’t leave conditioner on your scalp. I usually turn on the jet setting of my shower head and target my whole scalp. This way your scalp gets clean and the conditioner runs down the entire length of your hair.

    I use only conditioner for washing the whole week, except on Saturdays when I work out and then I just mix a small amount of shampoo with the conditioner and follow the same process above. That might be an easy way for you to transition too.. just use a small amount of shampoo and then a ton of conditioner.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Interesting! I have oily hair - won’t the conditioner make it disgusting? Or is that the point of all the rinsing? I may give it a try this week on a day I don’t have to go anywhere - just to make sure I don’t end up with a grease pit on my head in public. I’d really like to try it, though. The progress pictures I’ve seen online just blow my mind. Once it gets past the awkward stage, people seem to end up with AMAZING hair.

  • Afistfulodollars

    That is the WORST home dye story I’ve ever heard, I can’t believe it wouldn’t come out!

    I used to get my hair cut and coloured every 8 weeks, but I’ve cut back a LOT since then. Getting my hair done here is always a pain because it’s just so damned expensive, and I’d rather put that money in my EF, to be honest. I’ve cut back to getting my hair done about three times a year, and when I go, I make sure the colour is really close to my own and the highlights are subtle (I also have a bit of a gray problem). That being said, hair products are my weakness. Especially ones that bring out the curl in my hair - I have to sit on my hands to resist busting out my wallet when I see a new product that promises to give me sexy beach waves! It’s a good thing I cut back on getting it done or my hair spending would be through the roof, I’m sure.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I’m always shocked by the amounts people pay to get their hair done. My hair lady charges $15 for a cut and $40 for color, and I think that’s outrageous! But a friend of mine in a bigger city pays like $150 to get hers done. I’m all for hairdressers/stylists/barbers making a living, but WOW!

  • The Single Saver

    OMG, what an experience! I have had grey hairs since I was 16. Now at 3-cough-cough-years old I have a lot more. Frankly, I am just too lazy and cheap to start coloring it. Plus, I am afraid if I start i won’t ever be able to stop without looking like a skunk while the color grows out and the white grows in. Luckily, the brown still outweighs the white and for now I can live with that. So, I spent just $54 every 8 weeks for a cut, plus a minimal amount on shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray. My hair is relatively ceap to maintain, I think.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Sounds about like mine. You know, I’ve always wondered how people transition to gray or white when they get sick of covering it with dye. Do they just let it grow out and look awful, or is there a way to dye it gray/white? I see people all the time with like 4 inches of gray and I can’t figure out if they need a touchup or they’re giving up on coloring their hair.

  • Newlywedsonabudget

    I spend about $80 every 2 months…that’s a big improvement from before though. and i love getting my hair done…
    maybe one day i’ll just go back to plain brown but i like it for now

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      That’s really not too bad if you’re having color professionally done. I’m just so awful at doing stuff with my hair - I pretty much leave it hanging or put it in a ponytail. Doesn’t make sense to have cute hair if I’m not going to do cute things with it.

  • Captain Sweatpants

    Let me think… I get a haircut about every 3-4 months for about $25, I use some hair stuff which cost $20 a tub but again that lasts me 3-4 months. I don’t use conditioner, and buy generic shampoo at like $5, which I don’t always use, cause sometimes I just use soap. So I guess.. $50 every 3 months say, which would make it $200 a year… damn that’s a lot of money…

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I didn’t even think about what I spend on products… I buy cheap shampoo and conditioner ($2 each) and they last me about a month, so I’m only out $50 or so a year. But when I add that to what I spend on haircuts, it’s still enough to make me cry a little.

      Guys are lucky - you can just shave your heads! Or rock a buzz cut.

  • Kylie Ofiu

    For $40 in Aus you would be lucky to get a hair cut, let alone anything else. Many people I know spend $250+ every 6 weeks for colour/highlights + cut.

    Me, I am a hairdresser so my hair is pretty cheap, I don’t have disasters and if I did I could fix them. I actually buy the professional products from a hairdressing warehouse and my stuff lasts me a year or so, cut my own hair etc.

    If I wasn’t a hairdresser, I would go all natural.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      So, what you’re saying is, you’d like to bring your scissors next time you’re in the US and do something cool to my hair? =D

  • CommonCents

    Hair dressers scare me. I have had long hair since 8th grade and every time I go to one they want to do all kinds of things to it layers, styles ect. But never consider the fact that I am the one that has to deal with it on a daily basis! And when I say 1 inch some home 4 always get taken off! I also HATE paying for something I can do myself. I make myself go now once a year, feb 2010 was the last time so I am coming due (sigh). To combat the hairdressers and their crazy ideas, I wash and blow dry my hair before going and request a dry cut. My work is part of the Work Perks Program so I get 10% off on hair cuts at First Choice. I now go there. If I spend anymore then 20$ on a hair cut I feel sick to my stomach. My mom and sister spend up wards of 250$ on their hair between cut and highlights every time they go. And often when my mom comes out it looks really bad (IMO). As for products shampoo was on sale 2.99$ for a bottle of Life brand antidandruff last time I ran out. I bought 2 bottles that will last me 6 months. I was my hair 1-2 times a week and I have hair down to the small of my back.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I go through stages… Right now mine is longer than it’s been in ages, probably since high school. Then I’ll get mad at it (right about the time it gets hot outside) and chop it off. I’ll keep that for awhile, then grow it back out. I do like the longer time between trims when it’s long, though.

  • Bogofdebt

    Let’s see.I dye my hair myself but don’t do it all that regularly as I don’t do anything drastic. (Maybe 1 or 2 times a year?) I try to do the hair cut every 5 months but don’t pay more than $30 with tip. As for horrendous stories..I have two. The first time my hair was ever “dyed” was because I was 17 and my dad bleached the well without telling me (we only used the water for showers or washing clothes) about 1 minute before I showered. Not the greatest of times (my eyes were burning from what I thought was shampoo so I washed them out with the water….fun times) and I did notice a smell but assumed that my someone hadn’t capped the bleach (it was sitting on a shelf next to the shower) as that had happened a few times before. The second horror story was when I got my hair cut about a year and a half ago. I’d never had anyone use buzzers on me before and they were trimming my neckline and cut my neck all the way around. I didn’t notice until I got home and it was shown to me. Needless to say, I do not go back to that place.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      WOW. I don’t know which horror story is worse! Did the bleach water totally ruin your hair? How did you fix it?!?!

      • Bogofdebt

        Actually, my hair was fine. I was very, very blonde but the color actually worked for me. I got lucky that my hair didn’t go coarse-it stayed soft and healthy. I thought it would be dead but nope. Not something I would ever do on purpose or recommend to someone though.

  • Carrie Smith

    I started dyeing my hair when I graduated high school. I’ve been anti-blonde my whole life, but I love to experiment with other colors. I’ve had red, light brown, black, purple, brown and pink and more recently dark brown hair. I think once I had blue streaks too, but I didn’t like it as much.

    I spend WAY too much on my hair, but this past year I decided to be more low maintenance about it. I only get a trim every 10 weeks and a maintenance hair color “rinse”. It dyes my hair a little darker to cover grays but it doesn’t contain all the chemicals. It also makes my hair shinier and healthier.

    I also do the conditioner method that @c2b0bfe65acc83afcc8cf22c0f0d5bfd:disqus suggests.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Someone suggested rinses to me once, but it didn’t seem like something I could easily do at home. I might have to look into that if my white starts taking over…

  • Smart sorority girl

    I’m actually really low maintenance when it comes to my hair. I have natural red hair so I have never highlighted or dyed it in my entire life. I’m also lazy when it comes to hair cuts- I usually go once every six months- bad I know…so I probably spend 40 a year on hair cuts including tip. I also just get a big bottles of tressemme shampoo and conditioner and only need to replace it once every 2-3 months. Occasionally i use hairspray but a can usually lasts for at least half a year if not a year, same with mousse.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      My products last forever because I use them so rarely. I’m still using a bottle of hairspray I had when I was married to my ex - it’s at LEAST 3 years old. Still works though!

  • Michelle

    I don’t really ever color my hair, but I do spend a decent amount on my hair. Only because if my hair looks bad, then I don’t feel like myself.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      That’s a good point - I have a certain idea in my head of what I’m supposed to look like, and if my hair is a hot mess, that clashes with my mental image of myself. Makes it easier to justify spending on hair treatments/products.

  • eemusings

    Oh man, you just reminded me that for most of my childhood I was obsessed with sitting out in the sun in an attempt to lighten my hair! I didn’t really want to actually dye it (nor did I have the $), but pretty much nobody Asian at the time sported their natural full black colour.

    Anyway, I’ve still never coloured my hair to this day, which I’m quite proud of. I’m keen to keep it that way because its frugal and, more importantly, means I have pretty healthy hair naturally. It’s the only thing hairdressers praise me for…

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I’m kind of cracking up at the thought because I used to do the same thing! My hair was much lighter brown when I was a kid, and in the summer it would lighten up a lot. I remember sitting outside with sweat running down my head because I wanted those blondish highlights. Too funny!

  • Ashley @ Money Talks

    I spend a lot to get my hair “done” but then I spend basically nothing inbetween since i don’t use any product in my hair. I just brush it. My big fancy “do” is to blow dry it.

    But I spend $160 to get it cut and colored, including tip. I love my hairdresser and she always does a great job. She gives me cuts that don’t require any syling but that I still like. And she does the color so that when it grows out it still looks good. Cause she knows that I only get my hair done every 3 or 4 months… or longer.

    She did just move to a new salon that she said is cheaper. I haven’t been over there yet so I don’t know what my new price will be.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Wow, I am clutching at my heart like an old lady over here. I know it’s just a cost of living difference, but one haircut for you is two years’ worth for me! I will say, your highlights are very subtle and look good, though. More like “nice hair” than “nice highlights” - way too many people don’t understand that difference.

  • Kay Lynn

    I never started coloring my hair once the greys started showing up exactly because I didn’t want to deal with maintaining it. Not only is it expensive, but having to keep it up is hard.

    I pay $55 for each hair cut about every 8 weeks. A nice cut goes a long way in how your hair looks (it’s expensive here in San Diego).

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I didn’t notice any grays at FINCON, so I definitely think that decision has worked out for you.

      • Kay Lynn

        If we ever went outside in the sun, you would have definitely noticed. It’s working out for me but I must admit it’s a matter of luck. My mom has less grey hair than I do at age 73 and she doesn’t dye it.

  • JT

    This story is awesome. I want to be the quality control guy at *whatever product you used.* Can you imagine the reality of knowing that by design 1 out of every some extraordinary number of people will have an experience like this? It’s kind of funny having never experienced it myself, but I can’t think of a single thing that would get under more people’s skin than orange-y black hair as brittle as uncooked spaghetti noodles. Sounds awful!

    I pay like…$4 a week*52 weeks a year, so $208 a year - I guess - to get my hair cut. Then again, I’m a dude, and I don’t buy all that hair care stuff. That’s just for a cut.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I’d love to know how often things like that happen. Someone in a factory somewhere is probably laughing his/her ass off, going “Well, this one’s a bad day for some woman!”

  • Katie

    Before I cut my long hair off, I spent $0 per year on hair care. My shampoo is free (courtesy of a gigantic bottle of shampoo gifted to us every Christmas by David’s stylist aunt), and I never got cuts.

    Now that it’s short, I bought a $16 bottle of volumizing mousse (free with an Amazon GC) and a round brush. Plus, I’ll need to go in for a cut every 4-6 weeks ($28, not including tip). Though I used to only donate plasma because I needed money to eat, I’m seriously considering going back to fund my hair habits. Taking $35 out of my budget every month just for a haircut seems… Wrong. #elcheapo

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Wait a minute. You’re thinking about donating plasma to avoid paying for haircuts? I would pay $35 a month for you NOT to do that! I understand because I hate spending money on my hair, but that’s an extreme plan. There must be a better way!

  • World of Finance

    I don’t spend much on my hair and always made sure to keep a simple style to keep the time involved minimal and expense low. I have heard of many girls spending hundreds of dollars at the salon… it really adds up.

  • AmericanDebtProject

    I have so many hair stories I don’t know where to start! I have a huge, thick head of hair. Everyone seems to love it but me, I have no idea what to do with it! I’ve only rarely gotten expensive haircuts, but I have spent a LOT on hair straightening…japanese or thermal straightening lasts about a year and I’ve done it 3 times since age 19 for a cost of $250-275 each time. I dye my hair at the salon for $35 (and she’s great) but when that’s too expensive I do it at-home for $8. I get my haircuts only twice a year, mostly because I am lazy. I have at times spent a lot on hair dryers and straighteners, but the pretty cheap shampoos and conditioners work fine, Suave or whatever. I buy argan oil ($8) for softening. And as for the grays, I’ve had them since I was young too!! But they drive me crazy so I usually dye my hair once I start noticing them again, about every 2 months. When I let them grow out, I get very self-conscious!

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      My hair used to be really super thick, like 3 times the normal amount of hair. People always talked about how great it was but they didn’t have to deal with it! As I’ve gotten older, it has thinned down to a manageable amount and I’m thrilled. Just hope I don’t go bald!

  • Anonymous

    I have naturally dirty blonde hair that I used to get highlighted. It cost $200 per appointment! I now dye it myself and I never pay more than $3.50 per box of hair dye. Going from a highlighted blonde to a self-single-process blonde is one of the best decisions I’ve made.

    When I get a haircut, the person always tries to tell me I shouldn’t do my hair at home or that I need some BS conditioning treatment. Whatever. I think it looks awesome.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      My hair lady used to say the same thing - “You really shouldn’t do this yourself!” And I laughed at her in my head until I ruined my hair. As long as you never have a mishap like mine, it does make a lot more sense to color at home.

  • Cash Flow Mantra

    Oh my, what a funny story! I am a guy so my hair is pretty cheap. I can go to GreatClips with a coupon and get it cut for about $12 four times per year. I usually get it cut kind of short and let it grow a few inches before repeating the process.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      My son hates haircuts, so he does the same thing. He goes from practically a crew cut to the Justin Beiber look every few months before I can convince him to go get it cut. It’s cheaper that way, though, so I can’t really say much!

  • Kacie

    GEEZ! That sucks. My hair is fairly cheap. I get it cut at the beauty school for around $5, and use basic cheapo shampoos. No colors or anything fancy, though I should step it up.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I had bangs cut at a beauty school when I was a kid - not a great experience. But for basic cuts or trims, that’s a good idea that I always forget about. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Super Frugalette

    Last year I spend ~$550. It included 2 hair cuts, and six times color for new growth. I use a combination of Ebates, and Spafinder discount gift codes to purchase discount Spafinders gift certificates. I go to an Aveda salon which would account for the high prices as well.

  • Onefamily

    I’ve always had low maintenance hair. Shoulder length, long layers so easy to go a couple months in between trims. I do color it on my own about every 10-12 weeks and thankfully have never had it go wrong. I think if that happened I’d just go straight to my hairdresser to have it fixed, I know I’d just make it worse if I tried on my own! My hairdresser is a lady with a shop in her home and she is cheap - $12 for a trim, so I just round it up and give her $15 -every 2 months. Hair color I usually get on sale and with a coupons, so a few dollars there, so a little over a $100 a year spent on my hair.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      That’s super cheap! Glad you’ve never had a hair disaster; hopefully you’ll never have to deal with it.

  • Debgemologist

    I confess, I spend a lot on my hair. I don’t color it (the roots would make me absolutely crazy and I would be coloring it every two weeks!!!) but I get it chemically relaxed and cut 4 times a year for $250 a pop, which includes tip.

    But for me it makes sense. My hair is VERY curly when it is not relaxed and requires A LOT of time and product for upkeep and to look nice. And I would have to do it every day, but my hair can’t handled being washed daily. Bad hair at my job is NOT an option. So if I didn’t relax it, I would be spending a lot of time, and money on product, and my hair would be in terrible condition, which would then mean more maintenance.

    So even considering the $1K a year I spend, I think I am coming out ahead. I think I would spend well over that in product alone. And the time savings of being able to wash, brush, and go, and have supermodel hair? Priceless. I’m not kidding about the supermodel hair, BTW.

    I feel I should defend hairdressers. Yes, my guy costs me $250.00 a pop, but this is what I am paying for:
    #1. The straightening product, which is expensive. I know because I checked.
    #2. To not have jacked up hair. I have tried a lot of chemical relaxers with my hair guy. Some of them are very nasty. We’re talking chemical burns or worse. I want him watching my hair like a hawk while it’s cooking, to make sure it doesn’t break off or something crazy, to make sure I don’t get hurt, and to make sure he doesn’t get hurt either. At $250.00, I don’t feel guilty demanding that kind of attention.
    #3. Have you ever considered the risks of their job? They are exposed to all kinds of crazy chemicals, hair dust (and worse), sharp implements, and heat styling tools all day long. That Brazilian blowout? You might get it done a couple of times a year, but the hairdresser could have been doing several a day, and initially those hair treatments had high levels of formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. That’s just one example of their risks.
    #4. Good hair color is almost like art, especially when you get the fancy highlights or ombre color. No one gets that kind of expertise overnight. There is a lot of practice, experimenting, and trial and error. Color correction is even more of an art. So if you are walking out of the hair salon with a completely different color on your hair, and highlights, and you look like a million bucks, think of all the years it took your hairdresser to be able to do that. Expertise has a price and many times you get what you pay for.

    I am not saying that everyone should start a stampede to go spend buckets of money to get their hair done. That is an individual question that must be answered by your priorities. Personally, I would eat Ramen noodles everyday before not getting my hair done, but I have my reasons. But I don’t think it is entirely fair to be saying that the prices of a hairdresser are outrageous without seeing what kind of work they can do, and having an idea of their overhead, etc, and what it took for them to get to that level of skill.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Great points, especially re: hairdresser pay! They are on their feet creating beautiful hair all day long and I agree that they deserve to be compensated for it. I’m just always amazed at the geographic differences in pricing for the same service.

      • Debgemologist

        I live inTexas. The big cities are cosmopolitan but cost of living is low. That being said, I have seem comparable prices at salons when I was living in CA and CO.

  • Serendipity Savings

    I spend way too much money on my hair. Last year, and the year before, I had an amazing hair stylist. She still is amazing and one of the only ones not to screw my hair up in years. However, hair in Las Vegas is super expensive. She would charge be easily 140-150 for a cut and color. I also get my eyebrows done and by the time we’re done adding a tip, that’s a 200 bill. And that’s every 8-12 weeks. I was using money from my blog to fund it though. I’ve recently found a cheaper hair stylist and I’ve gone darker so now I only get gold highlights put in. I’m probably only going to need to go back every 10-12 weeks which is much more manageable and she only charged me $75. I also spend, on average, $20 a month on hair products. I use certain shampoos and conditioners because I like the way my hair feels with them. I know I spend too much but I always get compliments on my hair from complete strangers and people are always demanding business cards from me to get their hair done. I also like spending on my hair because I feel like its nice and I like having nice hair. i’m not saying no one else has nice hair or anything, but I just like the way my hair makes me feel, thats all.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I’m just in awe at the prices… Sometimes I want to move to a bigger city, but things like that stop me in my tracks. I do know what you mean about enjoying a good hairstyle; mine looks like crap lately because I don’t do anything to it, but when it’s short and people compliment me, it’s a great self-esteem boost.

  • Restlessbbwoman

    I don’t have a horror story, but I thought maybe the blondes out there could save some $….After being a natural blonde for 45 years, my hair finally started to turn a very dingy dishwater color with lots of gray mixed in. I didn’t have a clue how to color my hair (I’d never done that before) and I was reluctant to invest in going to a hairdresser because that would mean $ that I’ve never spent before either. On a lark of buying “blonde shampoos,” I tried a product right next my blonde shampoos & conditioner (I don’t know if I can mention brand names on here), it’s in a bright yellow box and is a “controlled lightening spray” for blondes only. You spray it on your hair and it’s activated by heat —- 2-3 blow dries, 2-3 flat irons, 2-3 weeks later — and I am now blonde once again! I’ve been using it about 9mths now and when the roots start growing out, I spray it on the roots again. The only problem I’ve encountered is that it gets lighter and lighter. Someone at work suggested to try using a Qtip on the roots and maybe that would keep the over spray from lightening even more. So far so good — I suspect this has saved me a ton in trips to the hairdresser!

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Not a blonde, but I’m sure blondes reading this will appreciate the tip! If you want to share the product name, that’s fine. I’d like to know in case my sister (blonde) needs something like that!

  • Melissa

    I used to dye my hair all the time when I was a teenager, just for fun or whatever, but I haven’t in years, until just a couple of months ago. I used a home dye kit to dye my hair just a shade darker than my natural colour, because I was starting to get grays too! And it REALLY showed up in my dark hair. Ugh. Now I’m afraid I’m stuck doing this forever. Yeesh.

    But I’ve definitely learned a lesson from you, though: Don’t mess with bleach. Ever.

    In other costs, I don’t really want to tell you how infrequently I get my hair cut. Well OK, I’ll tell you. The last time was, I think, in August. I have no idea what was the time before that. Possibly a year earlier. I’m horrible. So, the last 12 months of haircare have cost approximately $37 — and my mom even paid for my haircut!

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I’m pretty bad about it too, when my hair is long. Until my split ends get really bad, I usually pretend I don’t need trims.

  • Carrie

    i have sort of an opposite experience. i used to be super insanely low maintenance, wash and air dry get it cut maybe once or twice a year. and then i lost all my hair to chemo. and now it’s growing back and i appreciate having hair so much more (and growing it out from nothing is an ugly process) so i’m spending a lot more time and money at the hair salon. after about 1.5 years it’s just getting to chin length and i’ll be moving from trims every 4 weeks to keep a short haircut in line to trimming every 10 weeks so i can get it through the weird between short and long lengths.