How to Save a Small Fortune on the Cost of Hair Care …

How to Save a Small Fortune on the Cost of Haircare 001

I am regularly complimented on the shine and condition of my hair and, while I’m always surprised, I also have to giggle at the “shock” that registers on peoples’ faces when I explain how little attention I give my hair and how little it costs.

On the other hand, I have a very dear friend, who is mortified by my casual treatment of my locks and feels that my attitude is totally disrespectful to the “Hair Gods” and every hairdresser that’s ever walked the planet! She chooses the full service treatment from her hairdresser and, while I completely respect her choices, I struggle to justify that kind of expense when I‘m trying to balance the family budget. So let’s do the maths.

My friend visits the hairdresser every 6 weeks (without fail) and spends the following:

  • Haircut (including shampoo, condition and blow dry) & Semi-permanent colour (8 times/year @ $90) $720
  • Hairstyling at the hairdresser for special events/occasions (4 times/year @ $60) $240
  • Shampoo (8 bottles @ $20/bottle) $160
  • Conditioner (8 bottles @ $20/bottle) $160
  • Hairspray/Laquer (6 cans @ $11.95/can) $72
  • Hair Mousse (6 cans @ $14.95/can) $90

So to save you doing the calculations, that’s a staggering $1442 per year on one person at the hairdresser.

Here’s what I spend:

  • Haircut only (without shampoo, condition and blow dry) (5 times/year @ $25) $125
  • Hairstyling at the hairdresser for special events/occasions (I do my own hair) $0
  • Shampoo (6 bottles @ $5/bottle) $30
  • Conditioner (6 bottles @ $5/bottle) $30
  • Semi-permanent Hair Colour (6 @ $15) $90
  • Hairspray/Laquer (6 cans @ $3.95/can) $24
  • Hair Mousse (6 cans @ $1.89) $12

My total comes to $311. That’s a difference of $1131 … wow!

These are actual figures and have in no way been exaggerated. While they may seem extreme, it’s a perfect example of how we get into the habit of doing things the way we’ve always done them without challenging or changing our ideas.

So here is a list of some suggestions if you’re looking to find some savings when it comes to hair care that won’t compromise the quality of your hair care:

  • Think about the frequency of your haircuts. Although it will often be quoted to get your haircut every 6 weeks, I usually stretch that out to 8 – 10 weeks or sometimes as long as 12 weeks because a really good haircut can last that long.
  • Learn how to cut your own fringe. I purchased a pair of hairdressing scissors from a Japanese store for only a couple of dollars and they do a fantastic job. I trim my fringe (only when my hair is dry, never wet) and that helps me stretch longer between haircuts. It can be a bit daunting but it’s definitely worth a go!
  • As long as your hair has been washed in the previous 24 hours, opt out of the shampoo and condition before your hair is cut as that’s only costing you extra money. I often wash my hair on the morning of my haircut and put no extra product in it, like Hair Mousse or Hairspray, so it’s super clean. Same goes for the blow dry at the end. That only adds to the cost of your haircut, so style it yourself once you get home. I usually get my haircut after school drop off and then go straight home and do it the way I like it.
  • If you’re currently paying big bucks for your haircut, try finding a small salon in a suburban area that’s not paying the high rents of a large shopping centre, as those costs will only be passed on to you in the form of higher prices. Once you find someone you love, they’ll probably be cutting your hair for years.
  • Consider opting for a fairly simple style. Nearly all hairdressers will do a fantastic job of a simple style that has very few layers and then you’ll feel comfortable visiting a cheaper salon like Just Cuts where you may have a different hairdresser every time. Also, short hair with a precision cut needs more attention to maintain the style whereas longer hair you can get away with not cutting it as frequently. You can even resort to pulling longer hair back into a ponytail or wearing it in a bun in the final couple of weeks before having it trimmed.
  • Look for a Salon that offers discounts for children, students and pensioners or that runs some other kind of promotion.
  • Consider attending TAFE Colleges, Salons or Beauty Schools which might offer either free haircuts and treatments or serious discounts if you allow your hair to be used for training purposes. I’ve had my hair cut and coloured at TAFE numerous times and I’ve always been thrilled with the results as all trainees are fully supervised.
  • I don’t buy expensive shampoo. You can achieve a fantastic result with supermarket products. Trial a few different shampoos and conditioners until you find one that you’re happy with but be prepared to give some different brands a go. I use Tresemme and I only buy it when it’s on sale for ½ price and then stockpile a few bottles to see me through until I pick it up on sale again. I recently purchased it from Woolworths for $5.00/990 ml bottle. If you really can’t bear the thought of giving up your current shampoo and conditioner, try making savings in some other area of your beauty routine like buying a cheaper moisturiser, for example.
  • Consider watering down your shampoo and conditioner, particularly any that is going to be used by children. Kids have a tendency to over use things like shampoo and conditioner and can end up wasting a lot, which costs Mum and Dad money. If you’re unsure, try it and see if you’re happy with the result. If you are, you will be able to make both products last longer.
  • If possible, buy larger size bottles of shampoo and conditioner and then dispense into smaller bottles, which will be more practical for using in the shower. Like a lot of other products you can save money by buying in bulk. Just make sure you have sufficient storage if you decide to go this way.
  • Check out online prices. Miss 24 buys her shampoo and conditioner online and saves money even after paying for postage.
  • Limit the frequency that you use hairdryers, straighteners, curling irons, etc. as they can be very drying on your hair. The drier your hair becomes, the more damage it will be prone to and the more frequently you will need your hair trimmed or cut.
  • Shampoo once. Many shampoo products will instruct you to wash, rinse and then wash again … you will use more product than you need to and the manufacturer will sell more shampoo. Also, make sure you only use a small amount each time you shampoo otherwise you are only being wasteful which will cost you more money. Remember the old saying, “a little bit goes a long way”. Finally, make sure you really use up everything in the bottle. When you’re getting to the end of the bottle, turn it upside down and completely drain the bottle or you might want to even add a little bit of water and give it a shake to loosen up any product still stuck on the sides of the bottle.
  • Learn how to apply your own hair colour. I apply a semi-permanent approximately every 8 – 10 weeks and it was much easier than I thought. I pick up my hair colour when it’s on special and usually keep a spare in the cupboard ready for the next time.
  • Use up any shampoo or conditioner samples that you get with your favourite magazines and don’t forget to also use up the small bottles that you collect from hotels when you’ve been on holidays. Some of those can be expensive brands and, you never know, you might even find you prefer one of these products and that it’s cheaper than the brand you already use.

Most of these ideas can help you make some significant savings but it can be a bit daunting to cut or colour your own hair. There are literally hundreds of videos on youtube, so watch a few of these to boost your confidence. Alternatively, get together with a friend or family member and do each other’s hair.

So tell me, have you ever thought of using some of these tips and, if so, which one? Do you have any other tips to share that can save money on hair care?


  1. I get my hair coloured by someone else twice an year and generally do my own when I go out. I also don’t get my hair cut any more than when I get my hair coloured. Apparently being lucky that I have ‘great’ hair is an advantage in this area. I also only buy shampoo on special and use ALL the samples I get.

    • I think I’m “lucky” as well Annaleis that I can go for so long between cuts and colours … it certainly saves me a lot of money which I can then spend on something else!

  2. Great tips! I recently went to the hairdressers for the first time in 2 years and it cost me $220!! While I loved the look I have started to wish I’d spent the money on something else.

    • That is a lot, isn’t it and with family budgets so stretched sometimes, haircare is a great place to start reducing what we spend!

  3. I’ve stopped colouring my hair. I just can’t justify the money when my hair constantly does it’s own thing. I’m hoping to cut my hair bill right down. :)

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