Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The cost of a haircut

Back in May, 6 days after graduating from college, I took a leap I've been wanting to take for about 10 years.

I cut my hair off.

Not all of it.  But quite a bit, especially if you compare to the length it was in 10th grade, when I got 18 inches cut off and it still sat at my chin.  My hair has fluctuated between mid-ear length and ~shoulder length since then. But this was different.  There was no turning back from this haircut.  My longest strands were about 3-3.5 inches in May - and last Sunday's haircut left nothing longer than maybe 2 inches. 

The benefits?  I love every one:
  • I look older.  Someday, this may bother me.  Right now, (almost) nobody questions that I'm over 21 anymore.  And even if I dress a little casually, I don't look like an undergrad when I TA.
  • I only shampoo my hair every other day, so I only spend half as much on shampoo.
  • I don't use conditioner any more.  I don't need it, because my hair is too short to get frizzy like it used to.
  • Breakage isn't a problem.  My hair doesn't tangle or snag, so it doesn't break.  That means it doesn't get frizzy, either.
  • I don't need to buy product for my hair, and then remember to use it every day.
  • No blow drying! Or straightening! Granted, rarely did either, but the result was a messy mane when my hair got long.  
My point is that I like how my hair looks without the effort.
However, there are downsides:
  • I have to at least get it wet every morning.  Otherwise I look like something the cat dragged in because it goes everywhere while I sleep.
  • It dries ridiculously fast.  This is great when I've combed it and styled it before it dries.  Less so when I forget.  The day I left the house without combing it? Not. Good.
  • I pay an uncomfortable amount to get it cut.   The exact amount fluctuates; let's just say it's >$50.
The last one is where the cost-benefit analysis part of this is the hardest to deal with.  On the one hand, I could grow my hair out and get it cut straight across every few months at a cheap salon.  Maybe long layers.  (I don't trust cheap places with my short hair, because short hair makes a bad haircut more obvious, and good stylists go places they can get paid better.)  And then I could put the day-to-day effort to make it look nice.

I'm not sure whether the product to make long hair look nicer would be cheaper.  My guess is probably yes, since I have to get it cut about every 6 weeks (and that's pushing it).  So, I'm cutting it twice as often, for at least twice as much as a Hair Cuttery (for example).

For the most part, that's worth it to me.  I hate having to spend time on my hair, so having to remember to schedule (and budget for) an appointment once every 6 weeks is a blessing.  But since I'm trying to save money, I still feel a little bit guilty about what I'm paying.


  1. 1) Your hair looks really good.
    2) $50?? wow, I'd forgotten how much it costs to get a haircut.
    3) At least, when you're spending money on a cut you're giving it to a person, not spending it on stuff with packaging.
    4) But when you come back into town, let me know if you want me to hook you up with my friend TL, who does a mean haircut. For free.

    1. I never really thought about the person aspect, even though a big reason I stuck with my stylist from home throughout college (i.e. I only got my hair cut on breaks) is because I'd known her for a long time and didn't mind paying her. It's a good point - I'm helping someone make a living, rather than paying for plastic and chemicals.

      I will almost definitely take you up on that offer next time I'm back to visit. Thanks :)