Slash Costs at the Salon . . . The Skinny from a City Stylist

Hey Skint pals,

Remember that post I promised you full of insider tips from a hair stylist on keeping down the cost of salon visits? Well, drum roll, please – the time has come!

A couple of weeks ago, after a cut and colour at a city centre salon, I nearly fainted when presented with the bill. I guess city prices were to be expected but yikes. £130? And my hair is short! I’d had my hair done at this place before, but not for ages and prices had clearly gone though the roof since then. I let out a yelp folks, the stylist laughed and said ,’More than you were expecting, eh?’ save money on hair beauty salon sign

‘Yep. Way more.’

‘Hmm. Well, prices have gone up since you were last here. Let me see what happens if I take the price rise off.’

Just like that! It got me wondering how much discretion salons have in discounting the bill. If one yelp got me £22 off, what would a scream have got? The cut and colour still cost me £108, but that’s better. So, Tip 1: yelp at the bill! (Or just ask straight out for a discount of you’re not the yelping kind . . .)

So, after shelling out the cash, the stylist asked if I wanted to make my next appointment. ‘Umm, no,’ I said. ‘To be honest I just can’t afford it.’

Now, I don’t know what sort of commission stylists are on for getting repeat customers. I do remember one stylist telling me years ago that a key decider in whether a stylist gets promoted is whether he/she has built up a good list of repeat customers. Anyway, this lovely stylist wasn’t letting me go easily. She printed off my bill with a full breakdown, (not just the total which you usually get), and went through it with me, showing where I could save money on hair cuts and colours in future.

‘Next time,’ she said, ‘you tell me at the start what your budget is and we’ll work out from there what you can get.’  Bonanza! Tip 2: tell the stylist your budget at the outset and agree the price and what you get for it to avoid shocks at the end. If the stylist knows you’re budget conscious it’s bound to go in your favour.

So, the stylist spent a few minutes going through the bill and pointing out where I could save. The cut had cost £51 – yikes – and the obvious way to lessen this would be to go for a more junior stylist. But I liked the way she cut, so I’d be tempted to stick with her. The vast bulk of the savings are to be made on the colour anyway. That had cost £73.50. Turns out that it was so expensive for two main reasons:

1 – A ‘colour technician’ rather than the stylist applied it. This is done automatically at my salon, unless you ask for the same person to do both. Tip 3: Unless you’re going for something fancy, get your stylist to apply the colour rather than a special colourist. I can see why you’d want a colour specialist if you’re going from black to blonde but mine is a straightforward repeat job, so I’m happy with one person, thanks!

2 – I got some ‘slices’ of other colour in my hair. Not particularly noticeable really. The colourist suggested some slices of a brighter red through the undersides of the hair to ‘brighten it up.’ I, who like to be bright, said ‘okay’ Ca-ching, bang goes £18. Tip 4: be aware that every extra shade will ramp up that bill and keep your colour to one shade if you can. Do you really need ‘slices’ in the undersides of your hair?  

The last item on the bill was a conditioning treatment (which I hadn’t asked for but which is done automatically after colour) had cost £8.50.  Tip 5: before the stylist applies a conditioning treatment, ask if it’ll cost you!

Now, I’m not actually annoyed at the salon; I figure that’s just the way the industry works. But it was brilliant to see a breakdown of the bill and get to discuss it with a stylist. If I do go back I’ll be setting a budget with her upfront. I’m hoping it’ll be a while before I need to go back though. The stylist also gave me some brilliant (and rather bizarre!) tips on disguising roots and extending the life of my colour, which I’ll share with you next time. (This post’s at risk of becoming a novel, you see . . .)

Confessions Of A Beauty Editor book also has tips on how to save money on all sorts of beauty stuff – I’ve learned a few things from it.

What about you, Skint pals? Got any great tips for slashing salon costs?

Skint x



About Skint in the City

Skint in the City provides stylish, practical tips and advice on how to live the high life on a shoestring budget.

4 thoughts on “Slash Costs at the Salon . . . The Skinny from a City Stylist

  1. Meg

    Always find out if there’s a discount for repeat booking. My salon gives a 10% discount for bookings taken up to 4 months in advance. Once the booking is made I can change the date, time, stylist and what I have done and still get the discount. They also have a loyalty scheme and for every six visits you save about £30.

    • Absolutely, Meg! Great point. My salon offers a loyalty card with points adding up on every visit – thanks for reminding me of this. I’ll mention you in my next post!

  2. Do hair treatments at home! Some stylists will advice that your hair (especially if damaged) requires regular treatments, to keep it in good condition and stop further damage.

    To save money ask your stylist what they use and do it at home.

    There are loads of high quality conditioning hair masks on the market now. Natural oils such as coconut or high quality olive oil are easily available and last ages as less is more.

    Doing this has saved me £100s!

    • Thanks Virginia. I use olive oil on my daughter’s hair as hers is curly and rather dry – you’re right it works so much better than shop-bought conditioners! And I’m all for getting the lowdown from the stylist then doing it at home too . . .

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