Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Oh, MAN! Science PhD Mom busted me!

I bet I know why the whole "new cut" that works with your hair won't work. It's the frugal thing, isn't it? As a woman who gets her hair cut maybe twice a year, I just can't stand paying $50 a pop for a decent haircut. And the thought of doing so every six to eight weeks gives me the heebie-jeebies! 'Fess up, that's you too, isn't it Tama? Don't worry, there are lots of us out there--women who start with a new short haircut and make it last in a passable style until it's shoulder length. You're not alone!

Yeah…my hair is one of many victims of my frugality thing. There was a brief period when I thought I should pay the extra money and get, you know, a style-style. Something that fit my then-psychotic work/school/mommy schedule and all.

Basically, it cost $110 a month for cut and color (welcome to San Francisco, please leave your common sense in your home state…) and didn’t really save me much. It would start out low/no maintenance, but pretty quickly I’d find myself going from just mousse and round brush to mousse, round brush and hair dryer…then mousse, round brush, hair dryer and hair spray…then mousse, round brush, hair dryer, curling iron, hair spray…crap, still not right, OK, so, mousse, round brush, hair dryer, steam curlers, hair spray…

Even when I started going to cheaper salons (welcome to the Central Valley, you can have part of your common sense shipped to you now), it was still $50 to $65 for just a cut (…but not all your common sense…) and hello…still with the having to futz around within days of getting the “no maintenance” cut.

And to add insult to injury, I couldn’t “fudge” on the length without looking like a scarecrow! It was every four weeks, or POOF! Scarecrow Hair!

Supercuts costs me $15 every six weeks, including tip. Most times, I just get it “neatened” and the bangs trimmed back. Every so often, I’ll loiter around until my favorite stylist is available and have her re-style it…again, $15, and she fixes any of the lopsided or heavy issues that have come up in the meantime.

The current so-called style is actually very versatile. Most days, the whole routine involves brushing it out, and picking out a hair tie to keep it out of my face (I loathe having hair in my face…drives me insane!). It doesn’t look good, exactly, but it’s presentable.

When I want to doll it up, I can. And even there, I have a whole spectrum of choices…I can put it in a braid or bun and have it look good with just a couple extra minutes, or do a quick hit with the curlers and look nice, or I can go whole-hog with letting the curlers fully heat and then let them set the full five minutes and use the hair spray and all and have it look fabulous.

And in terms of relative costs…an allegedly low/no daily styling needs haircut costs about $50 and needs maintenance every four week. That’s $600 a year, right?

The Supercuts route every six weeks is $135 annually. That’s $465 in savings for me, which in my mind is easy money. Suitable for use elsewhere, or investing…at 6% annual return and given twenty years to grow, that’s an extra $15,600-ish in my pocket. Sweet!

(Tightwaddery…it has so many uses…)


gartlande said...

Ugh! I'm in that inbetween stage of growing my hair out after a few years of the short, low maintenence that take a lot of work hair cuts! I also cannot stand hair in my face , and right now, I look like a 5 year old with clips and/or barrettes to hold it back. I am so looking forward to a nice simple ponytail!

Nicole said...

are there any hair schools nearby?
as a hairstyling student, having the general public come in for practice is a life saver... you may not be able to get EXACTLY what you want, but the students are supervised, so it wouldnt be like letting one of the kids attack your hair with safety scissors.

and its often free.

Christi said...

I'm not too proud to beg for more details. Please please please! ;) What does the Supercuts style look like? My Sis talked me into a $50 haircut for my birthday last year (my usual is $20 plus tip), and I decided to grow out my bangs too. I've been in Hair Hell for 10 months now. I can either do a ponytail, a clip, or a really crappy-looking braid. And all three options have scraggly bits of half-grown bangs sproinging out. It's actually less versatile than my old all-one-length hair, because I can't even French-braid it now.

Oh, and it won't curl. I gave up trying years ago. Mom made me sleep on sponge rollers for years, trying to get some curls in my school pics. Didn't happen. If I braid it, wet it, and let it dry, I get wave, but curls don't happen.

Anyway, care to share some illustrations? Or a how-to-do-a-bun post? I can French-braid my own hair (impressed a few people with that skill) but the whole bun thing stumps me. As does most hair styling, apparently. My sister sighs about the aftermath of her birthday idea.

Yarnhog said...

I had waist-long hair for more than 20 years. It was great, because I only got it trimmed a couple of times a year and cut the bangs myself. But at some point, waist-long hair stops working and you just look--as my mother put it--like an old hag. I got mine cut to shoulder length a year ago and I LOVE it! I pay $35 bucks (with tip) every 6-8 weeks. I "style" it by washing it before I go to bed and pulling it back in a rubber band before I go to sleep. When I get up, I take out the rubber band and run a comb through it. If it's too curly, I spend two minutes with a flat iron. And that's it! (I should probably mention, though, that my hair is thick and fairly curly when it's short, so I don't have a problem getting "volume".)

Science PhD Mom said...

LOL! Sorry to expose you to the least you know you're not alone! I go for the all one length style myself, have it chopped to chin length with a bit of layering at the back for interest, and then let it grow, grow, grow for about six (ok well the last time it was eight months) and go back to get it cut again. It's a bit too short for ponytails the first month but I am ready for a "change" when it's first cut so it doesn't bother me. And I can impose curlers on it if I desire, as well as look reasonably decent with "I just leapt out of bed and DD has to be at preschool in ten minutes" hair. *shrug* You do what works for you!

Rena said...

Getting my hair done is the one thing I splurge on. Plus I like short hair which means it MUST be cut at least every two months. My clothes come from Goodwill and I don't take trips. My face cream is from Rite Aid, my shoes from Payless, and my shampoo is whatever is on sale at the grocery store. But a haircut somehow keeps the world organized. If my hair looks good, I feel like I can tackle anything life throws at me. Plus it helps I live in a place where a great hair cut is only $20.00.