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Making Do: Hair Color


So I’ve decided to really try to stick to bare-minimums of all non-essential purchases for the rest of this year and see how much traction we can gain on our debt situation (after a full year of blogging – March 2015 – I’ll probably slow down on debt-repayment a bit. See more in my post about life balance).

Last time I shared a “making do” story it was about my desk chair. By the way, this month is not looking good for getting either a desk chair or a new-to-us dining table. With our lower-than-average income, all non-essentials have been slashed. I’m still religiously checking out freecyle and the “free” section of craigslist, but so far no luck. We really don’t have the funds to buy anything this month though (even for very cheap second-hand stuff).

Well, another area that I’ve been “making do” with is my hair care. The last time I got my hair professionally done was back in March just before I started blogging here, and it was a disaster.

At first, I was just not getting my hair done because it didn’t need it – it had just been done! Then I wasn’t getting it done because I couldn’t justify the expense to you all (oh you, always keeping me accountable!). Eventually, I wasn’t getting it done because it had already been so long, it had almost become a thing of personal pride. Look at me and how long I’ve gone without getting my hair professionally cut and colored (6 months….but whose counting? ; ))


Fun photo of my current hair situation – you can clearly see my roots and new growth here. It’s about 3 inches!

And, since I’m all gung-ho and really trying to do the minimalistic thing for at least a year (which would take us to March 2015, at which point I’ll hopefully have the car fully paid off!!!!), I’ve decided that’s it. NO PROFESSIONAL HAIR CARE FOR A YEAR. This was not something I started out thinking would happen, but this is where we are now and I’m committed to the cause!

And so I started waiting, oh so patiently, for some hair color coupons. We do not pay for the newspaper, but our community does papers on Wednesdays for free (I think because all the ads are in the Wednesday paper). Sometimes (not always) there are coupons in the Wednesday paper. And so for the past month I have been waiting and checking, Wednesday after Wednesday, for a coupon for hair color.

And finally it has come! (And just this second I realized I probably could have googled a coupon – DOH!!! – oh well, this has been a lesson in patience).

And this week I will add an inexpensive hair color to my grocery cart while at the store. I will color my own hair and will continue to do so for the rest of the year (again – meaning until March 2015, not the end of the calendar year).

My next task shall be learning to cut my own hair. I’m a little scary-excited about it and have already been googling all types of youtube videos and how-to articles. Let it be known, I will NOT attempt to do anything fancy/crazy. I’m talking about doing a simple trim to keep my hair healthy and the split ends away. So don’t worry about me showing up with a completely botched hair-job. I will invest in actual hair-cutting scissors but, aside from that, no other financial investment will go into my hair cuts.

I’m pretty excited to do this myself and (a) see if anyone even notices anything different and (b) save all the $$$ that would otherwise be going to hair care expenses!

I have to admit – doing this makes me feel pretty hard-core. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back! ; )

Do you cut and color your own hair? If so, any tips you can offer and/or good how-to websites or videos I should check out???


  • Reply Jackie |

    I don’t cut my own hair. My hair is very curly with longer layers so I would have a hard time cutting it. I do trim my bangs occasionally. I only get it trimmed about 3 times a year. Now I do color my own hair and have been for a few years. It’s so easy and I get the same results as I do at a salon. I use to go to the salon but where I dye it a reddish color it fades really fast. Honestly the color fades the same if I do it at home or the salon. So i figured instead of paying $80 to get it done now I pay $8. I did have to play around with brands though–not all are equal.

  • Reply KK |

    I cut my own hair! I typically only pay for a hair cut when it is something drastic (like last year when I cut 12″ off) or if I’m wanting a new style (something like bangs, layers, etc). I take very good care of my hair. I seldom use a blow dryer, straightener, or curler on my hair so there is little damage from things like that.
    My hair is wavy/curly, so a perfect straight across haircut is not something I am concerned with. I usually cut my hair when it is wet, I find it easier to deal with. I separate it into two sections and bring the 2 in front of my shoulders. Then I trim them up until they look even, and voila, an at-home haircut! Clearly this is not an exact method and won’t work for everyone, but I’ve never had anyone tell me my hair looked bad or like I just hacked away at it in my bathroom, lol!

  • Reply scarr |

    I am a big DIY’er so naturally, I cut my own hair and have for years. I stopped dying my hair last summer after years of blonde abuse 😉 . I can’t believe how healthy my hair looks and feels now! The key to great looking hair is not necessarily the cut or color, it is a healthy scalp!

    There are some great how-to videos on youtube.

  • Reply Tracy |

    I pay the $ for the salon. I like the highlights and not having to deal with the mess.
    When I was in debt pay down mode though I did the color at home. It is not the same. The color from the salon last longer & looks so much nicer. My hair is short and gets cut every 5 weeks.

    • Reply Ashley |

      I agree. I definitely prefer the look of salon highlights/lowlights over at home all-over color. BUT, its a big enough savings that I feel good about the decision right now. Short term sacrifice to hopefully get out of debt that much quicker!

  • Reply Tania |

    I pay for my cuts (though I need to start doing them myself…), but I can’t have it dried at any place. Every time, I walk out very grumpy, unhappy, and looking like a lion’s mane during humid season. Not cool. I do my hair once a week, and it is very healthy in my opinion! I’ve heard you shouldn’t wash it every day, more like every 3rd day.

  • Reply Morgan |

    I cut and color my own hair. I use the John Freida Color Foam and have for about 4-5 years now, and won’t use anything else. Its truly goof-proof, and does a salon quality job. Its much easier to apply the foam and rub it like shampoo than to use the paint style application of other products. I don’t have any splotchy-ness or missed spots now. Its about $12 in my area at the grocery store/Target, so its not the cheapest option on the self, but soooo worth the few extra bucks! When I cut my hair I do the main trim with my hair piled into a high pony, then take it down, shake it all out and spot check then ends as needed. Nothing fancy, and I don’t think I missed my calling a hair dresser, but I do okay.

    Good luck! The first time is scary, but then it becomes routine and easy!

  • Reply Den |

    I color my hair and have for years to cover the gray. Preference by L’Oreal is my favorite as it includes a great conditioner you use for weeks after coloring. You’ll have to experiment with the color, but that’s kind of fun……and you can usually find a $2 or $3 coupon on coupons.com

    Great job being hard core! Good luck!

  • Reply Angella |

    I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I honestly just don’t care about my hair enough to spend $100s on it in the first place. My last haircut was 2 years ago. I tend to let it grow for a long time, then chop it all off pixie-style, and donate the ponytail. I haven’t dyed my hair in years and the last time I did, 2009 to be exact, it was hot pink. 😉 Hair cuts/styles, manicures, pedicures, and those types of things just don’t interest me, I guess that’s good for my budget lol.

    • Reply Ashley |

      It’s so funny because I didn’t think they interested me either….until I started blogging! I really never do the “spa” thing, but when I stopped going entirely, I realized that I probably get a pedicure 2-3 times a year, and a massage 1-2 times a year. Its infrequent enough to not feel like I go often or that I’m a big “spa person”, but when I started blogging and really tracking every penny being spent, I was really surprised to see how much went toward this type of stuff!

  • Reply Helene |

    I color my own but I don’t cut it myself. If I could, I would. I only get my hair cut about 4x a year. Should probably get it done more but I just can’t find the time. Including tip, which is always generous as I appreciate my stylist fitting me in on short notice, it’s a total of $55 each time.

    FWIW, I also do my own manicures and pedicures. I have since high school. I just can’t fathom paying what people pay to get their nails done.

  • Reply ECD |

    I actually just experimented with cutting my own hair. I am a little self conscious of my large-to-me forehead and have always considered bangs. A friend had just gone to the salon and I loved her bangs so I decided then and there I was going to cut my bangs. I watched a couple youtube videos for side swept bangs. My first try, I purposefully cut my bangs about an inch longer than I actually wanted them. This was to allow room to correct any mistakes. 🙂 Everything looked good so I repeated by at the correct length. Everyone commented at work the next day that they loved my new haircut. No one knows that all that was different was my bangs and that I did them myself. Inner self high five!!

    • Reply hannah |

      ECD I’m glad your bangs turned out for you! I don’t know how many times I screwed up my little sister’s bangs when I was a young teen. Ugh. Boy haircuts are so much easier!

      My hair is wavy/curly and has a natural growth stop point, so I never cut it – I wish it would grow longer! The last time I went to a hair stylist was 3 years ago before a big event, and it was just for a trim. I do need to get the husband to trim the ends occasionally though, just never bother.

  • Reply Jean |

    Remember that post where you talked about that ‘one thing’ that you couldn’t give up? For me, it’s my haircut. My ‘balance’ for that is that I color my own hair. Not only is it cheaper, but I can do it on my own time & do other things around the house while it ‘cooks’ instead of sitting in a salon for that time. I use Garnier Fructisse and it’s so close to my own hair color that you can’t really tell when I get lazy & let it go a little too long. I went a little ‘crazy’ (ha!) last year and went to a different color that had just a shade more red in it – this was after talking to my hairdresser about it. She has even complimented me on the color, so I must be doing okay! If you can go that next step and cut your own hair, then props to you!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Cool! Garnier Fructisse is the brand I got, too! I haven’t done it yet, but I’m glad to hear you like the brand. I’m going a similar route and got a color closest to my natural. I figured as my hair grows out a similar-looking color will hide the growth best and allow me more time between colors. I used to dye my hair a very dark brown, but I had to do touch ups every couple weeks since the new growth was so obvious. Ain’t nobody got time for that! ; )

  • Reply Cheryl |

    I started seeing the grays appearing so I begrudging started to color my hair. Used the box dye the first time and bought some at Sally’s, what was recommended by the sales girl when I asked for something natural. Well the natural hair dye had peroxide in it and PPD as well. So I bought henna online and found there was no ammonia, peroxide, metallic salts, or PPD in it. I needed two packages as my hair is nearly to my elbows. I have been growing it out, having my guy trim the ends every other month to just remove the splits and keep the ends even. He helped my mix up the mud and I took a seat on the patio wearing an old shirt while he applied the mud to my hair and starting at the top he formed a bun and kept adding sections of hair to it as he coated my hair. It was a little messy, the henna does smell earthy, but the color came out fantastic. No monotone color, great shine and my hair felt so soft afterwards. I received a lot of compliments on the color and a lady who owns a salon told me it looked fabulous. Told me she would hire my guy in her shop if he had a license. She tried to give me her card to schedule a haircut, but I told her he cuts my hair as well. She grumbled that is not something he should be doing, he is not a pro, blah, blah, blah. So for me I will take the savings doing my color at home as well as getting my haircuts there as well by my guy, and look good without the hassles of going to the salon. After all a “professional” told me my hair color looked great and my guy has never given me a bad haircut, so DIY is the way to go for me ????

So, what do you think ?