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Better Bangs for Your Buck

Savings Experiment: Haircuts

Getting a great hair cut is like winning a vacation, and luckily, there are ways to trim down the cost of the haircut, at least. Besides, you can spend a lot of money and still end up with a lousy haircut. (Trust me, this happens.) So why not cut costs?

Cut to the Chase (and Ask Around)

To get the most bangs for your buck -- err, bang for your buck, ask folks you trust where they get their hair cut. Talk to friends with hairstyles and (ideally) budgets similar to yours. You can learn a lot about the general vibe of a salon, its cleanliness, and even pick up tips for other friends and family members. Of course, you can always check out community crowd-sourcing and social networking websites to see what people in your neighborhood think, such as Yelp, Citysearch, and even Facebook.

Be a Hair Model

how to save on haircutsIf you're set on going to a high-end salon, see if it offers training days for schools and institutes, as they need hair models. It's even possible to get your hair cut for free from name brand salons, such as Aveda, Bumble & Bumble, and Frederic Fekkai, if you volunteer as a hair model. Plus, how flattering is it to be considered a model? (You don't have to divulge that just anyone qualifies...)

Deals on 'Dos

There are a growing number of websites with deals, coupons, and cost-cutting options. If you're willing to wait or go last minute, then check out sites like Groupon. Also, chains like The Hair Cuttery often offer deals as well.

Senior Styling from Junior Stylists

Just because someone is relatively young in their career doesn't mean they can't be good at what they do. In fact, junior stylists may be hungrier career-wise, since they're building up clientele. So if you're admiring your boss's slick pageboy or your sister-in-law's fringe bangs, it's worth asking where they get their hair cut and if there are junior stylists working there. If it's a close friend, you can even ask how much guidance and supervision the junior stylists get. At certain barbershops, stylists simply rent space, but higher-end salons tend to offer training and mentorship.

Haircutting is an art form, but it's also a skill. That's why Damaris, a junior stylist at Miwa and Alex, a boutique salon in New York, credits her boss Miwa for giving mentorship and guidance. While Miwa, who served as the Creative Director of Vidal Sassoon at its height and went on to co-found her own salon in 1996, has since passed on, her stylists continue her legacy. Loyalty is also a great recommendation.

I 'Do

Regardless of who does your hair, remember it's your 'do. Always communicate to the stylist what you want. Just a trim, or five inches off the bottom? Do you wash-and-go or use a hair dryer?

Some stylists like it when a client brings in pictures of celebrities, or just cuts and styles one might want. During the cut, keep your feet flat on the ground, to help keep your body movement to a minimum. You can also skip out on thumbing through a fashion or gossip rag and watch how your hair is being cut and styled. You may pick up some pointers, which means you can look like you just walked out of a salon every day.

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