7 Ways to Save Money at the Salon

Save a lot -- and still look hot -- the next time you get your hair done

Salon treatments can be pricey, but there are many ways to cut corners and save yourself a bundle. I spoke to Jill Lanza, a stylist at Boston's trendy Fringe salon, who gave her best budget-wise insider tips for savvy salon-goers.

7. Skip the blow-dry. "This is very simple way to save a good chunk of money," says Lanza. Especially if you're not having anything new done -- just a standard maintenance cut that you already know how to style -- leaving the salon with still-damp, freshly cut hair can have anywhere from 20 to 40 percent off your bill.

6. Arrive already shampooed. By that same token, coming to your appointment with freshly washed and combed hair means you'll save money on standard salon hair washing. Expect to pocket anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars off your service -- plus the $2 to $10 you now won't have to tip the shampooing assistant.

5. Use color-extend products in between treatments. Lanza recommends that anyone who color-treats their hair use specially designed shampoos, conditioners, and styling products at home. "Any product that says 'sulfate-free' is designed to protect your hair color or highlights from fading," she says, which will mean less-frequent touch-ups.

4. Have your hair cut at every other visit. If you typically have your hair cut and colored every six weeks, try switching to getting a cut only every other time. You can save hundreds of dollar a year, and -- unless you have a short, elaborate cut that needs frequent trimming -- no one but you will notice the difference.

3. Watch for specials. New salons will sometimes offer major discounts, but there are ways to save even at your regular spot. Refer-a-friend coupons may be available, or there may be savings involved if you agree to work with a newer stylist (with the more experienced, trusted employees around to supervise).

2. Keep an eye on the calendar. If you're having a major or expensive process -- such as a keratin straightening or conditioning gloss treatment -- aim to have it in August or September, when most salons offer back-to-school deals. The worst time of year to visit a salon, says Lanza, is right before any major holiday or smack in the middle of wedding season; prices will be at their highest.

1. Volunteer yourself for beauty school nights. Most salons have one-night-a-week classes, where senior stylists teach group of a newer employees a certain skill. If you volunteer to be a "model" for a class, you could find yourself getting a haircut, dye job, highlights, or even extensions for absolutely free. And if you bounce around and do this at a handful of a salons, you can go a whole year without ever having to pay for a haircut.

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