I returned from the hairdressers yesterday feeling a little bit more glam than I had before, but £70 lighter in my bank account. The cost of a haircut never used to concern me as I always looked at it as an important investment, but nowadays I am starting to feel guilty about the money it costs.
When I first worked as a Publishers Assistant in Oxford Circus, I was just 19 and felt the need to fit in within my new, young and funky office. I only ever had my hair cut at an uber trendy hairdressers off Bond Street where I had every angled bob they invented tried out on me. To visit their salon, according to them, wasn’t just a haircut but an “uplifting experience for the soul”. I was a big fan of hair colour and once dyed my locks cinnamon pink, which I realised was a bit extreme when I walked back through Carnaby Street and a group of punks complimented the colour. But I could get away with it then and I certainly could justify the money spent on it.
However, these days a cut and colour is the same as a top-up food shop for the family. And although I can find the money for it, I don’t feel I can justify it any longer. I still think it is important to have a trendy style and I have my hair coloured regularly as a necessity to cover ‘natural highlights’ rather than to experiment with bright colours.
Women’s haircuts have always been a bit more expensive than men’s, a little unfair in my opinion but I suppose it is a lot to do with the amount of time we spend in the salon.
I consider myself fairly astute in decisions I make but for some reason when it comes to hairdressers I am the most easily led and gullible customer going. I have been told that my hair is “fine in texture but there is lots of it” and that often used phrase “if you want to grow it you need to cut it regularly”. I am no expert on hairdressing and would hate to insult the industry as I have pumped a lot of money into it, but women do seem to be the obvious target for additional costs to a haircut.
On my last visit, my hairdresser advised me that I should have a “Brazilian Blowdry” which consists of coating your hair in a magic formula then blowdrying the formula into the hair shaft to give it better condition over a number of weeks. Sounds good and can be achieved for the bargain price of £99! Amazingly, in my gullible customer mode I sat and calculated whether I could afford it, then mentally slapped myself round the face and politely declined. I fully expect on my next visit to be offered the service of having my hair stroked by a feather to help reduce frizz or my roots massaged by a monkey to avoid split ends, all of which of course I will consider no matter the cost.
My husband consistently is shocked by the cost of my haircut and will always reply with “I can get my hair cut for a tenner”. I try to point out that most men are content with a sheep shearing approach to hairdressing with the main choices being the setting on the razor and the only style offered being ‘a short, back and sides’ or ‘a little bit of texture on top’? I know this isn’t true of every barber and especially with younger men who are sporting big sweepy fringes at the moment. There is more hair styling amongst the members of One Direction then any boy group before them. And lest we forget the styles of the 80s, the mullet, the new romantic or the 90s tramlines and quiffs. Men do have their styling agendas too but at a considerably reduced price.
I am now in the process of looking for a mobile hairdresser, something I promised myself I would never do. And although I feel like I’m letting down my 19-year-old self with the multi-angled pink bob, I do think it is a good option for us now. On the plus side, the kids and hubby can have their hair cut as well so saves time, but on the down side I do not relish the thought of hanging my head over my bath to shower off my own hair dye.
Perhaps I can persuade hubby that as I will be taking this leap of faith with a mobile hairdresser in order to save money, he can make me feel that I’m not missing out on the salon experience. Perhaps by making me a cup of tea in a cup and saucer, providing me with gossip mags and talking loudly to me about my holiday plans while blaring out pumping music and keeping the hairdryer on in the background, I will feel a little less cheated?