Friday, January 8, 2010

Does She or Doesn't She? (know how to save money on hair care)

January is a great month for resolutions and what better resolution could you have than to find new ways to save money for travel? This month's articles will focus on ways to help you conserve cash for that trip you'd like to take when the weather warms up.

Saving money is not the least bit painful; there's no discomfort because you will not have to make any sacrifices. Conserving your dollars involves spending intelligently, rather than haphazardly, so you can live below your means and bank the rest of your income for travel. You won't scrimp. It is possible to live well, even luxuriously, on far less than you might think.


I'm a natural blond. Honest. But ever since my late teens, I've found it necessary to help Mother Nature along a little bit, and that help hasn't always come cheap.

In my twenties, I was a do-it-yourself-er, and judging by the number of times I accidentally turned my hair green, I single-handedly kept Clairol in business for at least ten years. Eventually either their products or my skill improved, and I convinced myself that “only my hairdresser knew for sure” what color my hair really was. Heaven knows I didn't!

A couple decades later, a friend told me I should go for a “correction” at her upscale salon. Ruth said Pierre, who drove a silver Jaguar, was a genius with color.
When he charged me close to $200, I understood why he was driving a $60,000 car. Even worse than his exorbitant fee, his genius wasn't apparent the day I was there: I didn't like my hair color any better than when I did it myself.

And so, after Pierre, it was back to my own touch-ups and haircuts at no-appointment-needed walk-in salons. I have tried, twice, other upscale salons for haircuts but all that incense burning, low lighting and scalp massaging didn't compensate for those $65 and $80 cuts that didn't look any better than the no-frills cheap cuts.

But everything changed when I spent four years in Mexico. I became accustomed to the luxury of salon touch-ups and haircuts, to say nothing of pedicures, that cost less than $20.

I was determined, when I returned to the States, to find reasonably priced salon care, and you'll be delighted to know that I have! Cosmetology schools offer bargain-priced services and competent beauticians. All work is done by students who are supervised by licensed instructors. Most importantly, the prices cannot be beat.

A haircut at Supercuts is $18.95 (for men or women) or, at two other salons in my town, between $50-85 ($35-55 for men). At the College of Beauty Cosmetology School, haircuts are $5 for both men and women. Touch-ups are between $60-85 in my town whether the salon is Supercuts or one where an appointment is necessary. At The College of Beauty, a touch-up is $15. Supercuts does not offer perms, but the salons charge $125-145 compared to $30 at the College.

My last visit was this past Tuesday. I told Kathy, the appointment secretary, that I was writing this article, and asked her what happened if a customer were ever displeased by a service. Kathy said that her school, as well as any other school in the country, would do everything possible to make sure the client was satisfied, even if it took another visit or two. They depend on customers for their students to gain experience, and it was in the school's best interests for all customers to be completely happy.

If you'd like to save hundreds of hair-care-dollars a year, enough for a round-trip flight to Europe, look on-line or in the yellow pages of your phone book for your local cosmetology school. When you make your first appointment, let the appointment secretary know you're a little nervous and ask for the best and most experienced beautician. The beautician who helps you the first time will probably soon be graduating, but you can ask her for a recommendation for future visits. Using this approach, always asking for a recommendation when “your” stylist is about to graduate, ensures you will always receive the most talented beauticians.

And those talented beauticians will make sure that your crowning glory doesn't cost the price of a crown to help you look your best. A cosmetology school's rates will allow you to look great while saving considerable amounts of money for what you'd really like to be doing—traveling the world.

Practicalities -

Cosmetology schools also offer all the skin care and mail care services you would find at any upscale salon.

Massage Therapy Schools also offer cut-rate treatment at low prices.

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