Salon Budget Survival Guide


In the modern and ever evolving 21st century, value is everything to us. Whether we are in our 20’s and working hard building a strong financial foundation for our future endeavors, or are into retirement and enjoying the finer things in life, our money matters to us. Not because we are hoarders, or cheap or greedy, but because making good decisions is really important to us. Knowing we are making smart investments makes us feel happy and like we are on the right track.

The Professional Beauty Industry is one that can really freak out our budget. We know that feeling confident makes us perform better at work and have more fun in our personal lives, but we also know that there has to be a balance somewhere.

Behind the chair, it is not unusual to have that one client who is always remarking on the price of everything. “Well why do I have to pay for a blowdry, shouldn’t that just be included?” or “My friend Sally gets the exact same things I do and only pays half of the cost.” And I’m sure that even though I only have one client who is voicing these concerns, that it is on the mind of many others.

So what are you really paying for?

+ Access to a wide variety of product choices.

Every head of hair is unique and everyone’s style is special. The only way to keep up with the great value of providing customized haircolor and styling is to keep in stock a wide range of products on backbar that can handle any look that you’re craving. Plus, you get immediate access to brand new products- I know how much you love being the first to try the latest thing.

+ Education.

Redken Elite salons are held to very high standards when it comes to education. And while the term “education” is used very loosely these days with access to unlimited youtube tutorials, a lot of salons pay for the top educators in the world to do in-salon training days. These artists can cost anywhere from $800-$2,000 for one day, and Redken Elite salons typically have artists come at least 5 times a year. This means that your stylist is getting up close and personal information on the latest industry trends and techniques. So a haircut is not just a haircut, color not just color, and a style not just a style- but an up to date- ultra customized look for YOU. Talk about value.

+ Time is money.

Hair stylists earning potential depends completely on demand of time and charging accurately for their time. A blow-dry, for example, is a service which is the most physically demanding and time consuming service of a stylists day which is why there is a charge for it. I can guarantee you that if a salon says that they aren’t charging for it- then they have broken it down and included it in the cost of other services you are getting.

+ You get what you pay for.

Reputation is earned. If you want to go to the best salon in town and the stylist that everyone can’t stop talking about- keep your expectations realistic. Would you walk into a Michelin Star restaurant and ask for a discount?

Here are my tips for surviving the salon and getting the greatest value out of your experience.

Budget Survival Guide

Embrace gift card promotions.

Most salons offer gift card promotions at least once a year where you can purchase a specified amount, and receive a complimentary gift card on the side. At my salon, when the client purchases the highest dollar amount they receive up to $150 for free. Taking advantage of this opportunity and planning out your salon budget through this can save you a lot of money in the long term. Yes, it’s an up front investment but then you can rest at ease knowing it’s taken care of.

Split up your services.

Suffering from sticker shock? Consider splitting up your color and haircut appointments. Yes, you will be at the salon more frequently, but by splitting up the cost it can work out better in your budget. This works especially well for those of us who have hard time devoting multiple hours to sitting at the salon. Freedom and budget flexibility.

Weekly style referral.

If you’re a client who loves having your hair styled once a week, consider asking your normal stylist to refer you to someone that they trust who is a lower level (and therefore a lower price point) for those services. Your stylist can coach the lower level stylist on your particular preferences and you may end up saving at least $10 a week. For busy stylists, this typically works well because they will have a little more room to work in their color and haircut clients.

At home care.

Have you ever caught yourself wondering, “With as much hard earned money as I invest in my radiant color- it should come with some kind of an insurance policy.” Well, it can. Typically, one of the first places people will cut costs, is with professional shampoo’s conditioners and styling products. This could actually be causing additional fading or split ends and costing you even more at the salon. Most salons offer at least 2 different product price points. Can’t afford Pureology? Try the Redken Shampoo instead. And start small. You don’t have to buy every single thing at one time. Split up your purchases to prevent sticker shock. AND take advantage of every retail promotion- especially the box sets- you will save in the long term.

Go one more week.

My fellow stylists may kill me on this one, but the truth is if you can go one more week- 5 weeks instead of 4- you can have big savings over the course of a year. Use mini color wands to cover your grays (they go on just like mascara) for the last week and wear your hair in some pretty updo’s- braids, classy ponytails and big buns will get you through the awkward stage.

What not to do.

Skip the blowdry.

Especially when it comes to getting your haircut.

What some people don’t realize is that the true customization part of your haircut comes when your hair is dry. This means removing “bulk” and “weight” and double checking that everything is falling evenly. Cowlicks and uneven wave patterns are only evident when dry- and can play a role in the overall look of your haircut, if the stylist is not able to see these things- it is hard to guarantee that it is just what you want. The added cost is typically only $8-$13 for knowing that your haircut is going to be perfect- PLUS you look and feel like a million bucks when you leave. Priceless.

Skip the conditioning treatment.

For $15 (in most areas) you are getting deeply penetrated moisture, UVA and UVB sun protection and shine sweet shine. This is definitely vital when coloring hair or when trying to grow your hair out. It seals split ends and locks in color by balancing PH levels. Plus, who doesn’t want that extra long scalp massage?

Have your own way of making the most of your salon budget? I’d love to hear it!

The truth is, you CAN have it all. You can have the services you want in a way that you can afford.

At the end of the day, how you feel is the most important part and that’s why I’m here to help you find the value in the everyday affordable luxuries of life.

Cheers my lovelies.


One comment

  1. peeledwellness · March 12, 2015

    these are such good tips! I went through a phase where I was at-home highlighting and using sauve basic shampoo in college. I paid the price on that one!
    xoxo K


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