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Farewell to the Salon…


Oh how I will miss it but it is time. I haven’t actually been in about 2 months which means those pesky grays have returned! Every time I commit to just going gray I bail b/c I JUST turned 40 and I’m just not ready yet!!! I never thought I’d color my hair and didn’t start until I was 37. I have black hair so the grays arrive with what seems like trumpets and flares!  I really did try to talk myself into embracing them but…it hasn’t happened.  So,  I’ve been paying for salon coloring (of just one color…matching my natural…nothing fancy) for over 3 years.  Yea, I’m over it.  Now I need to be brave enough to do the store bought color.  Please send any tips you have.  I think I will still use the same hairdresser for my haircuts but no more blowdry and style.  That really needs to be a treat!  With hair products (which I also have an addiction to…), this was adding up to $150-225 per visit (about every 8 weeks).  GAD!  That’s awful!!!  I admit it!!  I also know this is tangible progress b/c 3 months ago I would have fought you to the mat on this issue!  I LOVE having my hair done.  I admit it.  I love it so much I was willing to spend serious money…and get into more debt…to make it happen!  A haircut alone with my guy is $30 and if color my own I can go a LONG time b/w haircuts…I should set that as a goal.  Maybe 1 cut every six months!  Don’t laugh at me!  🙂  The money saved will, of course, go to debt.

Now, I’ll be honest.  I am not going to cut my own hair and I am not going to ask my husband or any other relative to cut my hair.  Maybe one day when my vision is worse and I can’t see what has happened…but not anytime soon!  I admire those who do this but I am not there.  I also should admit that it only takes one really awful experience with a discount haircut kinda place to make a girl think twice before trying that again (think “I’d like a bang trim please” being heard by the stylist as “please make me look like Cleopatra.”  Awful. And right before my Senior prom!)  I’ll listen to your success stories though and be open minded about it all!

I’m having a funny vision….of me with really bad hair with a really bad grocery store color job…eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in Vegas.  All in the name of debt reduction!  As it should be!

Tell me some of your changes in the health and beauty department.  I’m anxious to hear!


  • Reply Poor to Rich a Day at a Time |

    I don’t think you want to hear about my changes here, hubby has called me a redneck from time to time LOL. I went gray at 25 though so now at 43 it really does not bother me and my head is solid silver baby! Middle of winter though as a homeschooling mom, I did a little lesson with the kids that I am not too old to do crazy and to show them to quit caring what other people think and WAY too much attention is giving to the meaning of hair.

    I shaved half my head and promptly took my kids to town to sport my new “look”

    It really was suppose to be a 365 Extreme project but I could not think of anything more extreme for me than that! Don’t believe me? You can view it at http://www.simplyhomeschooled.com/2011/11/hair-hair-it-is-just-hair.html

    LOL a month ago I did have hubby cut it all to a really cute short hair cut and boy does it save on shampoo! 🙂 And it really did get me to really really not care what others see me as or think, what I think of myself is all that matters and I think pretty highly of myself as a woman, mom and wife!

    As for makeup I don’t wear any and havn’t in 13 years now.

    I am sure you will hear some great comments on frugally beautiful with this post!

    • Reply connie |

      If you just do basic black it is easy! Invest in a colorist brush (you can get these at Sallys) and take your time…depending on length of your hair you may need to purchase two boxes of color.

  • Reply Claire |

    I looked and you weren’t kidding! So fun for the kids and great that you have a little competition going with your eldest. I knew I’d hear some wild and crazy ideas so I am glad you are first! I’ll put this on the mental “to do” list…when I don’t have to go to the office!

  • Reply Dragon |

    I’ve let my hair grow, from short to shoulder length. Thus saving hair gel. Not quite sure what to do with my hair yet.

    No gray hairs, so no need for coloring.

    I’ve ordered shampoo from lookfantastic.com, which is much cheaper than in my country.

    I use small amounts of shampoo, so one bottle last for a long time. I know that it’s possible to make your own shampoo, but thats to radicale for me.

  • Reply misskate |

    Hey! If you do want to try giving up coloring, this is the book that I used for help and support:
    and discussions here:
    They’re mostly on Facebook at the moment, but it is an incredible community of women. I stopped coloring my hair when I was 34 and while I do miss being a redhead, I will never go back (I’m 37 now).
    Not coloring my hair means that I can drop $110.- on a haircut twice a year (or once, depending on how I’m feeling) and not feel it in my budget. I also buy really nice shampoo and products now. (I occasionally put a hair mask on it, and if I’m blowdrying my hair, I always use a protector like CHI Keratin mist).
    When I did color my hair, I was a total L’Oreal girl and you can usually find coupons for that. I loved the color and felt that it was pretty good for my hair (all things considered).
    Good luck!

  • Reply Liz |

    I noticed this was an area I was spending too much money in also. Here are the main things I did to cut back.
    * Switched salons ($55/cut to $18/cut)
    * Reduced frequency of my haircuts
    * Switched from salon hair products to drugstore hair products (only buying when stuff was on sale and I had a coupon)
    * Switched from dept store makeup to drugstore makeup (only buying when stuff was on sale and I had a coupon)

    From time to time I still treat myself to manicures, salon highlights, and even a spray tan or two for big events.

  • Reply Marnie |

    who-hoo now you’re asking for it! this is the fun stuff 🙂

    1. try no shampoo. seriously. considering your salon habit, i’d love to see the look on your stylist’s face if you ever told 😉 see this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-394226/Could-survive-shampoo.html

    2. also, we’ve used a disposable razor sharpener for years and i can’t remember the last time we bought a new blade: http://www.lehmans.com/store/Personal___Shaving_Supplies___Disposable_Razor_Sharpener___36731#36731

    3. i use really good quality organic makeup (when i want to feel like i belong to the human race) because it lasts and it’s not icky, but i stick to only 3 or 4 things – all my makeup fits in a small jar

    4. make your own deoderant? stop laughing! Amy Karol at Angry Chicken has a great recipe: http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2008/07/homemade-deodor.html (i actually haven’t done this yet because we use Green Beaver’s deoderant because it lasts and lasts. i found the drugstore stuff was expensive and just ran out so fast!)

    5. laugh a lot – free, and best beauty aid ever 🙂

    have fun!

  • Reply Pam |

    I switched to home coloring because I really have to have it done every 4 weeks. I’m just starting to get gray, and so it seems like new ones are popping up all the time. I use John Frieda foam color, and I really like it. It goes on easily and the coverage is good. The color lasts, I just have grays pop up that weren’t there when I colored!

  • Reply Marnie |

    p.s. make friends with someone who does a good cut? what could you barter for it?

    p.p.s. we’ve cut our own hair for years – invested $80 in a good kit and away we went – but i have to say, i do have a knack for it and i know not everyone does. that being said, it’s really not that hard.

    p.p.p.s. i used to be a hair model, so i know the pain – and the freedom – of withdrawal…

    p.p.p.p.s. have also shaved my head (#4 blade) in a fit of pique with hubby – best thing ever. don’t worry, we made up.

  • Reply Meghan |

    My hair used to be black and it was literally $400 a month just to do it MYSELF because it kept fading and the red kept showing through. It cost a lot to get it back to its normal colour, but it has definitely paid for itself now. I rarely get my hair cut- I think the last time was about 10 months ago.

  • Reply ArdenLynn |

    The worst haircuts I have ever had were from a “fancy” salon. I like the walk in places. They are experienced and know what the average person is asking for. I pay $20 including tip, twice a year.
    I color my own hair. As you get more and more gray, you will have to color it more frequently. I am 45 and I have to color about every three weeks. I buy the cheapest dye in a box. I also buy Argan oil from Walmart at $6. The secret really is to not wash your hair more than you have to.
    I will probably let it go gray when I am around 50. Then again, maybe not. I don’t mind coloring it and it’s pretty cheap.

  • Reply Brian |

    Believe it or not and as stupid as it sounds my tip is this: turn your shampoo and conditioner bottles upside down when not in use. I even have a shower caddy designed to accomodate bottle necks for this purpose. It helps to squeeze very last drop out of those bottles and stretch it even further. I use this method for other liquids as well: gel, hand soap, dish soap, even laundry detergent. Sometimes you have to be creative to turn an awkwardly shaped bottle upside down (or even lean it against something). But it work. Promise.

    • Reply Thelma |

      Brian — a man after my own heart! My husband laughs at me when he goes into the laundry room and finds all the bottles upside down! That stuff just doesn’t come out of those bottles when you pour — they need time to get every last drop out!! Thank you for giving me something to show him that I’m not the only one who does this (and I do it with the shampoo and conditioner bottles as well!)

  • Reply Tammy |

    I highly suggest going to a Sally Beauty Supply (they sell the SAME hair dye used in salons) and picking up all the tools you need to dye your hair there. The basics you will need are: hair dye, developer, gloves, a bowl for the hair dye, vaseline for around your hair line. The initial cost will be more since everything isn’t included in the kit, but for your next hair dying sessions you will already have half of what you need.

    While the foam hair colors are amazing (so easy to apply!!), I do not suggest them for grey hair since these formulas usually aren’t as strong as the hair dye used in salons.

  • Reply jaye |

    After swearing never to dye my hair, I just did a semi-permanent dye for the first time–at 46. Truth is, I look and feel better. More confident. That’s something to consider, if you will be out in the workplace.

    I do have a very low maintenence style. I get my hair cut twice a year or so. I’ll have to figure out the dye thing.

    Consumer Reports rated Clairol Textures & Tones as their top pick. Though it is marketed toward women of color, CR says it is the best one for all hair types. It costs $4.99 from Drugstore.com. That sounds good! Maybe you can find a friend with some expertise in the self-dye world to walk you through your first attempt?

    I buy my hair products (non-fade shampoo and curl activator) on eBay and save a lot of money. Part of the fun is that I sell on eBay (not as a career, mind you), so I have a PayPal account with money in it. My husband calls it “funny money”. I spend it on life’s little luxuries at bargain prices. Hair gel, presents for the kids, etc. It never affects my bank account. Ever! But it does make me feel better to occassionally have a treat or to treat the ones I love. Also, it’s great to get rid of stuff we don’t need or use.

  • Reply Theresa |

    I’ve been coloring my own hair for about a year now – I had a really bad experience where I asked for highlights to hide the gray, and came out totally blonde – not a good look for me. So I started buying Clairol Nice & Easy. It often goes on sale for $5.99, and there are always coupons for $2.00 off. So when that happens, I usually stock up, and have a good supply in my basement. My hair is fairly thick, so when my hair grows out a little, I do have to use 2 boxes. I need to do it about every 5 weeks to cover the roots. My daughters (17 & 19) actually do it for me, but I’m going to have to attempt it myself soon, because they’ll both be away at school next year. As far as the discount salons, try some different ones. There are 2 that I won’t go to, but the one I go to now does a pretty good job. I don’t have a short or complicated cut, so they just trim it, and can’t do too much damage. I pay $12.95 plus tip, and can often find a coupon for $8.99.

    Also, for shampoo and conditioner, I often can get Herbal Essences or Garnier for free or $1.00 when they are at Kroger when I have a $1 coupon, which they’ll double. Also, when it gets down to the last little bit, add some water and shake, and you can get one or two more uses.

  • Reply Dream Mom |

    O.K. let’s get serious here. This may surprise you but I don’t think you should stop coloring your hair. Cutting salon visits isn’t an option in my book and here’s why. You have to keep yourself marketable. I get my color touched up every 4 weeks (I am older than you.) I started coloring my hair at 33, then went to permanent color and then went to salon to get it done. I get my hair cut every 8 weeks (would prefer every 4 but I did cut back on that). I still get the blow dry and style. In my book, you shouldn’t cut back on this, period, because you can’t go into work looking bad or like a DIY. You are a professional and you need to look professional.

    I did cut back years ago from high priced shampoos, conditioner and hair spray.

    Beauty items I won’t cut are: hair coloring, occasional highlights, cut, blow dry and style. Other beauty items are my foundation (cheap foundations just don’t cut it) and I like to do my own nails. (I did swap out department store makeup for drugstore make up years ago with the exception of foundation.)

    Earlier this year, I purchased items to do my own Shellac nails at home. It’s worked out great. For me, having well groomed hands, hair and nice makeup is about being marketable.

      • Reply Dream Mom |

        Adam, I don’t have a husband, but I don’t have any debt either. And yes, when I was married 14 years), my husband did like his wife looking good. And yes, I am still on good terms with him.

  • Reply ellen |

    I went the opposite way – I colored my hair myself for years, but in the last few years the home kits just will not cover my gray in any meaningful way. I am willing to pay to have it done, but with a good cut I don’t need it that often. Take a close look at your product expenditures – most of us really don’t use it all up, so buy carefully and use it up. Check your hair dryer for lint covering the ventilation holes every time you use it to make that last a lot longer too. I save beauty bucks by learning to thread my own mustache (look up threading on You Tube, it’s super easy) and doing my own manicures and pedicures.

  • Reply Stephanie |

    If you’re nervous about doing hair color by yourself, try a semi-permanent variety. It will wash out in about 3 weeks. You’ll probably feel more confident doing permanent after you’ve done semi permanent a few times.

  • Reply Shannon |

    I was using Bare Minerals make up but switched to E.L.F which you can buy online. MUCH cheaper, and you know what? It works just as well. Foundation from Bare Minerals is near $30, but ELF is only $5. FIVE! That mineral makeup lasts forever too, so it’s totally worth it.

    I gave up coloring hair a few years ago. I miss it, but I don’t miss the 150$ every month I was spending. I’m just now starting to notice grays, so I’m debating about what to do myself. It would be nice if i could find a place to do my hair for like $50. I could live with that.

    • Reply Gina |

      Wow, I just looked up ELF and I can not believe how inexpensive they are. Is there a catch?

      Unbelievable – thank you for the recommendation!

      • Reply Thelma |

        The ELF makeup regularly shows up on Target clearance shelves, especially after major holidays. Right around Christmas, they had beautiful eye shadow and blush sets for under $5! Made good, inexpensive gifts for the nieces!

      • Reply Shannon |

        I haven’t found a catch yet. It works great for me, and i have oily t zone areas. (even at 37 growl) However, they will bombard your email box with promotions and % off. Just buy what you need. I usually do one purchase a year and stock up, and get a 20% off or plus a free gift thingy. Look at Retailmenot.com if you want coupon codes.

    • Reply kim |

      In a similar vein, I used Everyday Minerals – just like Bare Minerals but much cheaper. They have done wonders for my skin! It’s loose or semi-matte powder so it doesn’t cake on. And has shades for us brown-skinned girls. For everything else I use drugstore.

  • Reply Lisa |

    I saw another person mentioned Sally’s and you can buy many “dupes” of shampoos, conditioners, gels, etc that you would buy at a regular salon. I like the GVP conditioning balm which is the same as the Biolage. If you use Paul Mitchell they have dupes of that as well!

  • Reply Dylan |

    I used to go to the salon to have my hair colored. The highlights and pampering was nice, but in the end, I went back to coloring my hair at home, just like I did when I was 15. I’m happy with the color from a box, and I save myself $60+ each salon visit. I’ve known my stylist for as long as I’ve been coloring my hair, and she understands.

  • Reply Jeff |

    I refuse to pay even $12 for a cut. My wife can shave it just as bald as he can, and all it cost me a few dings in the head.

  • Reply Marion |

    Don’t do it.I am the champion of all frugalistas but if you ruin your morale you’ll just blow it somewhere else.Don’t buy all the extras but keep the salon cut and color–give up something else

  • Reply Angie |

    I am *so* lucky. I have a cousin who is an excellent stylist and she’ll cut my hair at a very reasonable rate. She’ll even color/highlight it for me and only charge me the cost of products. I usually don’t get my hair colored, and I try to reciprocate by tipping her really well and otherwise help her out with stuff.

  • Reply Georgia |

    Claire~ I soooooo hear you. I miss my salon and my hair colorist! When I was in complete denial about my finances I would spend about $150 every six weeks trying to be a red head (my natural color is dark brown). I had a hard time pulling myself away from the atmosphere of that place. I finally just died my hair back to my natural color with a box color ($6) and letting my hair grow. I’ve been cutting my own bangs and it doesn’t look half bad! Kind of a Bohemian look after a year. You never know–you could end up with style you never knew you had!

  • Reply Jenna |

    I have started going to one of the local hair cutting schools – your price ends up being dependant on the level of training the student is at…. a lot cheaper than my normal salon and they do equally as good work because they are being supervised and graded.
    Similarly, I’ve been going to the aesthetics school for a couple of years – including tip my complete trip is 1/4 of the price of previous salon – and the work is equally as good.

  • Reply kim |

    I largely cut out shampoo but not because of cost. When you wash your hair, you strip it of its natural oils. So your hair gets greasy in a day or two because your head is working in overdrive to replenish the oils. You need oils for shine. It’s a vicious cycle, so I stopped. It takes 2-3 weeks for your scalp to “reset” itself. I rinse my hair every 2 days, and shampoo every few weeks. And yes, I work out 4x/week, so I shampoo every 1.5 weeks in the summer. I condition all the time, though! And every few weeks use mayonnaise which works better than anything else I’ve tried (which is everything in the store!). But don’t leave it only longer than 10 minutes or your head will smell like salad dressing!

  • Reply Tackling Our Debt |

    I did a post about this a few weeks ago. I would never cut my hair or my husband’s hair, but I will colour my own hair. I use to spend $180 three times a year for a cut and highlights. That included the tip.

    How crazy that sounds now. I have a few grey hairs and I like to dye my hair auburn.

    With my husband’s help I dye my own hair at home about every 4 months for $7.99 and I love it.

    But I have found that by spending some extra money on shampoo and conditioner that is meant for coloured hair, my colour lasts a lot longer than it use to.

  • Reply margot |

    I have 2 friends who are millionaires and color their hair at home because it’s faster and the results are the same. You can do it. I understand it just involves a little patience as you engage in trial and error with finding the color and brand that works best for you. One friends uses a drug store brand and the other buys something at a beauty supply place like Sallys.

    I save lots of money by getting all of my hair needs met at a teaching salon. Many upscale salons let people see a trainee for cheap or free. I go to an Aveda training institute. You can get single-coloring done anywhere – it’s not exactly rocket science.

  • Reply Alexandria |

    No advice on the grey (I am sure from the bottle is fine). But, for the most part I would not cut my own hair either. What I have is a very low maintenance style that is impossible to mess up. I go down to Great Clips 2-3 times per year. With a coupon. Big whoop. Great looking hair all year. It’s wash and wear. I have liked shorter styles, but I do not like the high maintenance (needs cutting every few weeks – at a salon to be done right). So I did literally choose my hairstyle from a frugal standpoint.

    I took my kids to the teaching salon for years – but personally I would not let those people touch my hair. Frankly I am not that picky. THat is the sad thing. So I’d be very cautious on that. You can pay more for the more experienced there, but then Great Clips is cheaper. Probably where I don’t see the point. Just be cautious – I am sure every school is different.

    I’d personally see this as motivation to get out of debt. The reward will be a resuming back to the salon.

  • Reply emmi |

    I let my hair grow long and hubby trims it. I have to talk him through layering the ends, but it turns out just the way I want it. Which is NOT how it goes at a salon.

  • Reply Dorothy |

    My absolute favorite product for hair coloring is from an Italian company called naturcolor – http://www.naturcolor.com/
    The product is very gentle and makes my hair feel wonderful, it fades very slowly and doesn’t smell of strong chemicals. I buy it from Whole Foods market. Also, if you put a little petroleum jelly round your hairline and ears, you don’t get color on your skin. Still use the plastic gloves supplied, though.

  • Reply Nancy |

    I don’t go to a new hair dresser without many qualms. I learned long ago to audition them. I make an appointment for a shampoo and set or blow dry. I figure they can’t do a lot of damage with that. Then I go early to the appointment so that I can watch them in action. You can tell a lot about their expertise that way. When I find one, I stick like glue, following them all over town if necessary. My current hair dresser is excellent and she’s with Great Clips, one of the chain salons.

  • Reply laura |

    I used to spend upwards of 150 -200 for my hair. I discovered a beauty school run by Paul Mitchell the whole cost 57 dollars…

    I liked it more than the more expensive highlight and lowlight cut/color combo

  • Reply resourceful |

    Have you asked any of your friends if they’re naturally good at cutting hair? It seems that I have a talent for it, so I’ve cut 5 people’s hair.

  • Reply Jim |

    I do believe I read that you don’t want to get into the whole extreme coupon scene… but at drug stores there are always great deals that you can get for little to no money at all, with just a coupon. Not extreme measures, and really easy to do.

So, what do you think ?