How to save money on having your hair done | Consumer

Switch hairdresser

The cost of looking after your hair can add up to hundreds of pounds a year, with prices for women averaging about £50 for a cut, £35 for a blow-dry and more than £80 for highlights, according to recent figures from the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (Habia).

But like any service, you can shop around for the best deal. There are thousands of hairdressers to choose from, and a small, local salon may offer a much cheaper rate than a chain.

Compare prices and ask for cheaper recommendations in your neighbourhood on sites such as Nextdoor and your local Facebook and WhatsApp groups.

Many hairdressers also offer new customers money off their first cut – perhaps 25% – so you can try out different salons and get a discount.

Meanwhile, during the current cost of living crisis, some hairdressers have been offering “pay what you can afford” and even free haircuts to struggling customers.

Downgrade your stylist

Ask for a junior, as they are usually a much cheaper option than a senior stylist with years of experience.

The difference in price can be hundreds of pounds, depending on what you have done. These stylists are fully trained and usually eager to do a good job, and more experienced hairdressers will typically check that they don’t make any big mistakes.

Joan Scott, chief executive of Habia, says: “Look at the treatment and service menu, and see if there’s a more affordable option. If you’re not sure, ask your salon what options are available within your budget.”

Be flexible

If you are able to get your hair done on weekday, for example, or on a particular evening, you may save a small fortune.

Hairdressers often run discount days or offer cheaper prices during quieter times such as mid-morning.

When you are making an appointment, ask when their cheaper times are, and what they suggest for the best deal.

If you are really flexible, leave it to the last minute and a hairdresser may be able to offer a hefty discount for a vacant appointment.

Discounts and cashback

Search Groupon for salons offering discounts. Go to the website, enter your area and search for the service you are after. There are usually lots of deals on offer.

This week when we looked, a deal on Groupon offered balayage (a hair colouring technique) with a wash, cut and blow-dry for £39 instead of £125 at a central London salon.

You could also try Wowcher, which works in a similar way and was this week offering deals such as savings of up to 79% on a keratin hair treatment.

Cashback sites, such as TopCashback, are a go-to when it comes to hair products, offering money back on well-known brands such as Sephora, Boots and Superdrug.

As with any product, compare prices in discount stores, supermarkets and pharmacies to make sure you get the lowest price.

Be a model

Search for salons that need models for their trainee hairdressers. An experienced stylist will be present for the process to avoid any disastrous mistakes.

For example, Toni & Guy often wants volunteers at its London and Manchester salons to get a cheap cut from its supervised academy students.

You could get your hair cut from as little as £10 in a top salon this way.

You can sign up to be a cut and colour model at the Vidal Sassoon teaching academy in London, but be aware that you are asked to leave a minimum of three hours for the appointment.

When we looked, the London Hairdressing Academy was offering a range of discounted services, such as a wash, cut and finish for £11, or £35 for a full head of highlights, if you are booking with one of its students. However, perhaps not surprisingly in the current cost of living crisis, the model slots often get booked up quickly.

You may also find that your area has a local beauty college that offers cheap cuts.

Loyalty schemes

Some salons, such as Headmasters, run loyalty schemes, and plenty are offering discounts to help customers during the cost of living crisis.

You can sign up online and get a Headmasters card offering 25% off all services from Monday to Friday (9am-4pm), and 10% at other times. It also has a refer-a-friend scheme, offering 40% off a cut and style for you and your friend.

If you are already a regular at a particular salon, check you are signed up to any loyalty scheme it offers.

There may be other discounts, too, such as complimentary blow-dry appointments to try the service before you book.

Do it yourself

You may have already tried cutting or colouring your hair at home during the pandemic lockdowns, when hairdressers shut up shop. If you did, you will probably have discovered it’s not as easy as it looks. However, if you want to give it a go, there are plenty of videos online such as this one that guide you through the hair-cutting process.

You can order professional hairdressing scissors online, which are specially angled for a sharper cut.

Also, if you spend a lot on hair products or pay for conditioning treatments at the salon, get creative and make your own. You can make an effective hair mask out of egg, avocado and olive oil. Search online for inspiration.

A mobile hairdresser

Plenty of self-employed hairdressers have set up a mobile service, or work in their own homes for a fraction of salon prices. As they don’t have to pay salon overheads, they are usually substantially cheaper.

They can also be useful if you struggle to find time to go the hairdresser and want a more convenient and relaxing experience.

Many offer appointments outside salon hours, too, such as on Sundays or after 6pm. Search for your local mobile hairdresser at Your Local Hairdresser.

Hairdressers often try to sell you styling products or special conditioning treatments when you are at the salon. But these typically add a lot to your bill, so make sure to opt out if you are asked, and double-check that you are not being charged for extras at the till.

You could also ditch your regular extras to cut costs. If you usually have a blow-dry, for example, go without. Go for a damp cut and dry your hair at home.