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13 ways to trim the cost of haircuts

You want your hair to look healthy and also shaped in a way that flatters your face. But that doesn't mean you have to spend big bucks.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 11:57AM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyUnless you desire waist-long tresses, you'll eventually need a haircut.

For some, this could mean spending anywhere from a handful dollars to more than $100, depending on the stylist and where you live. But you don't have to break the bank to maintain the appearance of your mane. In fact, there are many ways to remain stylish on a budget.

1. Find a cosmetology school

You can save 50 percent or more on the cost of a haircut at a local cosmetology or barber school.

Horrified by the thought of a student experimenting with your hair? Don't be. These students are well-supervised. Cosmetology students must follow a rigorous curriculum in preparation to be licensed in their state. For instance, Illinois requires 1,500 hours of training at a licensed school before students can take the state licensing examination.

For a comprehensive directory of cosmetology schools nationwide, visit

2. Visit a barber

Sporting a stylish but simple haircut? Skip the hair salon and visit a barber instead because they often charge much less.

3. Find coupons

If you're loyal to a particular chain of salons, visit its website to locate coupons to offset the cost of your next visit. If you don't see any, give them a call and ask.

Also, inquire about customer loyalty rewards programs, which can save you a nice sum of cash if you are a regular client.

4. Look for promotional offers

Take advantage of special pricing or discounts typically offered during busier periods. Back-to-school season is here, and many salons are offering reduced-price haircuts, which can reduce the overall costs incurred by parents for back-to-school necessities. The holiday season is another hot period when customers can save big on haircuts.

5. Ask about group discounts

Ask your barber or stylist about group discounts that may apply if multiple members of your family go to the same shop. In this case, even a small discount can work wonders.

6. Seek out freelancers

Are you pals with a professional or retired stylist? Perhaps they'd be willing to cut your hair at their home for a much reduced rate.

7. Choose a low-maintenance style

Instead of aiming for an edgy style like that worn by your favorite celebrity, try one that requires minimal trimming. Ask your cosmetologist about hair styles that maintain a sleek appearance even when they begin to grow out. You could save hundreds of dollars in a single year on maintenance.

8. Scrap the loyalty

New beauty shops, as well as new stylists fresh out of cosmetology school, definitely want to create a buzz in the community, so they may offer discounts to entice potential regular customers to stop by. And they sometimes have food and beverages; you can't beat that.

Also, consider going to a shop that charges less than your normal stylist for routine maintenance between major style changes or colorings.

9. Reduce blow drying

Improperly using styling tools like blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons can damage your hair, requiring more visits to your hair care professional than you would otherwise need. WebMD provides tips for correctly using these styling tools.

Prevention has this advice for blow drying:

First, let your hair dry naturally, about 70 to 80 percent of the way dry. Then, with your dryer on the coolest setting (don't touch that hot setting!), blow your hair dry, keeping the dryer about 6 inches away from hair at all times and moving it around continuously. Voilà: gorgeous, healthy hair, without the heat.

10. Strut your stuff

Is a photo shoot or hair show on the calendar for your salon? Sign up to display your stylist's talents and take advantage of the steeply discounted, if not free, services.

 Woman in salon © inmagineasia/age fotostock11. Do it yourself

Many people cut their own hair or the hair of family members. This can involve routine maintenance like trimming off split ends or shortening bangs, or even more extensive cutting. For guys, going with the bald or nearly bald option may look good.

This article has some tips from professionals on how to cut your own hair. You'll also find plenty of help on YouTube.

12. Be charitable

In exchange for donating your mane to a charity, such as Locks of Love, some salons will offer you a free haircut.

13. Spend wisely on hair care products

Don't use cheap scissors if you trim your own hair, and don’t buy the cheapest blow dryer and other tools if you want to maintain your hair's health.

What about shampoo, conditioner and other products you apply to your hair? Lifehacker advises that you avoid certain harsh chemicals. But you don't need to pay top dollar to get the best results. It said:

The benefit of paying more is pretty minor, in that pricier products generally include higher-quality ingredients. Pricier brands also tend to include essential oils, plant or fruit extracts, and botanicals (where cheaper brands do not). The hair care professionals we spoke to believe that these ingredients may only play a small role in the health of your hair. Instead, they felt you'll find a more personal benefit in the texture and scent they provide. For example, a shampoo might use mint which smells nice and can help perk you up a little in the morning.

What tricks have you used to save on haircuts? 

More from Money Talks News

Aug 11, 2014 3:55PM
This article is all about getting a cheap haircut, not a GOOD haircut, big difference. If you are fortunate to find a really skilled hair cutter that cuts your hair as you like it and to your satisfaction, you stick with them and don't shop around by price. Especially if you have problem hair or super thin hair, then you will understand the reasons that the cheap chop shops or students or someone who never saw you before is not a risk you should take. You usually get what you pay for and the few dollars difference is not worth a "hack job" that you have to live with for months after.
Aug 11, 2014 2:51PM

Going bald isn't so bad, never have to comb or wash my hair, trimming what's left is a quick 2 minutes a week done myself.

Aug 12, 2014 11:45AM
Nobody so far has blamed the haircut crisis on Obama?  My bad.
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