Skip the blow dry or wash your hair in advance to save on salon costs

TORONTO — When women visit Amy Stollmeyer at the salon they're often fixated on colouring, styling or cutting their locks, but there's something else the senior hair stylist says consumers can trim: the price.

It's easy to find a strip-mall salon that will charge between $16 and $30 for a cut, but Stollmeyer has noticed millennials flocking to locations that offer a more robust range of services and will often charge closer to $100 for a cut. Adding colour, deep conditioning, scalp treatments or more elaborate styling only escalates the price from there.

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One of Stollmeyer's best tips for keeping the cost of a hair appointment down is skipping a blow dry — an option she is noticing many salons offer.

"They'll do what's called a rough dry, where they'll just brush to get your hair dry and even use their hands to get the head dry," says Stollmeyer, who also owns Toronto-based hair product company Design.Me Hair. "You can ask them to, when your hair is down, have it twisted up and put into a bun or a simple braid ...that could usually reduce the additional blow dry charge."

Depending on the salon, she estimates you can save up to $45 by not having your hair dried and styled.

The price can also be reduced by asking for a "dry cut," which requires customers to wash their hair the night before or day of their salon visit. Stollmeyer estimates a dry cut can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

"There's no blow dry. There's no shampooing. There's no washing, so there's a difference in product usage and stylist time," she says.

"If they're usually paying anywhere between $80 to $85 for...a wash, hair cut and blow dry at a downtown salon that is considered nice, premium, a dry cut might be in the $45 to $50 range."

But the dry cut isn't for everyone, Stollmeyer warns. It's not conducive for certain kinds of curls, for example, so she recommends asking about whether your hair is a good candidate before heading in for a hair appointment.

Colour procedures, she says, can also eat up cash quickly, especially when you're working with blonde hair, which requires bleaching.

The solution to saving with colouring isn't to leave more time between salon visits, she says. If you do that, the colour grows out and you'll require a colour correction, which ends up costing more money than regular touch-up appointments.

Stollmeyer knows this lesson well because she has long, thick hair and her salon visits for a colour, cut and blow dry take five hours on average.

"It's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, but it's been like that for a decade," she says. "What I do now is instead of doing my whole head every time I go, I do maybe the top in what is called a surface highlight or I'll do a partial highlight, which is the top and the side."

It works well because it doesn't focus on the underneath of your hair, which is barely seen. Stollmeyer saves the whole head colour for twice a year and does the partial one about three times.

"It just gives it a refresh and you save," she says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2020.

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