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The $15 Haircut


California, like many places across the county, has moved into the Purple Tier.  Frankly, I think the color spectrum could be improved.  How am I supposed to know that Purple is worse than Red?  Can we just do Red, Orange, Yellow, Green please?  I feel like those are all colors we understand…but I digress.


We have moved to the tier that shuts down restaurants, gyms, churches, and…*gasp* hair salons.  Despite the fact that we kinda knew the numbers weren’t good and ‘purple’ (whatever that means) was in our future, I didn’t see my stylist.  My husband has actually been coloring my hair every 8 weeks or so since the pandemic.  Colorist? Yes.  Stylist capable of cutting hair? No.  He is not.  So now, we hit ‘purple’ and my normal stylist is shut down.  I cried.  A lot.


Outdoor hair cutting is permitted but the only ones available right now are the discount chains.  Yup.  Supercuts and Great Clips.  Queens and Kings of the $15 haircuts.  I’ve never been anywhere other than salons but desperate times call for desperate measures.  My daughter also needed her first haircut.  Yes friends, I know she she’s 5.  We’re always a little late to the game.  Brushing her hair has been like brushing a dollar store doll.  Horrific knots and jagged ends.


The discount hair chains don’t do appointments so I simply drove up and waited for what surely would be the most painful and traumatizing experience of my life.  I parked.  I did some deep breathing.  I put on my mask.  I signed in online.


There was no wait.  The stylist was seriously, AMAZING.  She did an AWESOME job on my daughter and an AWESOME job on my hair.  Seriously friends.  I paid $30 combined for our haircuts and they were just as good as the ones I’ve been paying a lot more to have done.  Even with a $10 tip, I was still wayyyyy under what I normally pay just for me.  It was fast.  It was painless and IT WAS UNDER BUDGET.  I may have installed the app on my phone.  I may have already calendared my next haircut.  This might by an every other haircut thing now.


I’m tired of focusing on how awful things are.  Can we take a minute to say, “Covid sucks but every once in a while, we’re going to try new things.  We’re going to make new discoveries.  We’re going to grow a little.  We’re going to do a happy dance.”


  • Reply Ann Bingham |

    Thanks for the ‘good news’ report. I have been visiting discount salons for years — even now that I could afford any salon. Personally, I have little tolerance for sitting in a chair and having someone take an hour or more trimming my very thick hair with fingernail scissors! The discount chains are usually faster, and therefore more fun for me.

  • Reply Alice |

    Dearest Beks,

    I’ve always liked you, loved reading your posts. I was thrilled when you came back. But I’m going to be honest here. This post makes you sound like an entitled brat. I didn’t notice who wrote it before I started reading, and thought it was the one whose husband is some sort of doctor. That makes more sense.

    I read most of the post with the ‘valley girl’ voice. I am shocked an offended. The use of phrases like “dollar store doll” like that is the worst thing on the planet. Some of us losers out here only have money to buy things from the dollar store. For SOME of us low down trailer trash, going to a chain *gasp* is actually an UPGRAGE from at-home hair cuts.

    That you’re shocked and amazed that someone who was trained to cut hair can do it well makes me sad. That you think a freaking haircut is worth whatever it is that you usually pay also makes me sad.

    • Reply Beks |

      Guilty as charged. The salons are all I know other than when my mom cut my hair growing up.
      Here’s the thing, I think it’s reasonable to be surprised when a person charging 10-20% of what you normally pay is doing the same quality work. I understand that makes me sound like a ‘valley girl’ but I’m learning new things. I’m sorry that rubbed you the wrong way.
      And yes, my daughter has dollar store dolls, hence the reason I know how hard their hair is to brush.

    • Reply Jen |

      Yes, there are a lot of reasons a stylist might work at a chain place. A lot of new stylists start at them because they can build a clientele pretty easily. Some want the security of a regular paycheck, even benefits (though I think those are rare). Others don’t want the stress of basically managing a small business.

      That being said, I started seeing my stylist when she was at a chain. She was there because it was one that offered benefits, and her life situation at the time necessitated that. She did go to an independent salon, and I followed her. I pay less now.

    • Reply Katie |

      I’m not going to address this other than to say that the reason I don’t frequent discount hair salons is I think stylists deserve to make more money than what they get from a $15 haircut. It’s my issue with shopping at Wal-Mart too. Low wages mean people need assistance to make ends meet. I’d rather pay more upfront so people are earning a liveable wage, rather than watch the need for Medicaid, SNAP, etc continue to grow.

      • Reply Beks |

        My haircut lasted less than 15 minutes and there was another person right behind me. That stylist brings in more per hour than my regular stylist and she gets a regular supply of tips.

      • Reply Emily N. |

        I usually go to budget salons and tip really, really well (75%+). I don’t know if this is the best solution to the issue of the low pay, but it’s what I can do with my budget.

    • Reply Drmaddog |

      I had a similar experience a couple of years ago when I was long overdue for a haircut. I didn’t have a regular stylist at a salon and felt the quality of the cut I got with the few I had tried wasn’t worth the $65 I paid as the cuts ended up uneven or styled in a way I didn’t care for. One day I stopped by a supercuts and was delighted with the result. It was also much more convenient to walk in and wait than to try to schedule an appointment. If there happen to be a bit or two that was a little longer/shorter than I care for, it wasn’t as annoying given the lower cost. If i didn’t like the blown-out style, I walk out bend over, fluff my hair and who cares. Plus, with a $30-35 cut, I can add a $20 tip that goes straight to the stylist and still pay less. Winner winner chicken dinner.

      • Reply Beks |

        Exactly. I tipped a much higher percentage because I felt I was getting a great value and she deserved that extra tip.

  • Reply Lisa |

    We don’t have any “fancy” salons here. All haircuts are 11-20.00.
    I would hate a color system for levels of shut down. We are on a three week “pause” now.

  • Reply dh |

    “This might be an every other haircut thing now.”

    If she’s that good, and that much less expensive, and she did such a great job, why wouldn’t you make her your regular stylist?!

    • Reply Beks |

      Good catch! I should have explained. My stylist is a single mom. While I can’t use her right now, I don’t want to completely walk away. I have a feeling she’s going to experience a lot of long term losses and I don’t want to be one of them.

So, what do you think ?