The vacation-filled days of summer are coming to an end, signaling a new season and a reality check on the damage done to your sun-scorched curls. Now is the time many curlies will head to the salon to renew their healthy hair vows. But this season, in a still-sputtering economy, you can't help questioning every little beauty expense. Let's face it, salon visits can be pricey and it's not easy to justify much more than a haircut. Still, you don't want to sacrifice your curls just because you have to tighten your budget. And you don't have to.
With a little patience and just a little more effort, you can indeed have it all. Here are three whopping ways to rock your curls—and save hundreds of dollars in salon visits!
The Deep Treatment
Moisture is critical for healthy hair, especially for curlies. At the end of a summer scorcher, one of the best ways to hydrate parched tresses is the deep-conditioning treatment. Nearly every salon offers this service, but in tough times it can be hard to justify the expense.
In the salon
A deep treatment can cost anywhere from $60 (in small towns) to $100 (in major cities, like New York). Treating yourself to this salon service once a month = $720 to $1,200/year.
Deep treatments are priced in the lower range of $9 (like Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery Treatment) to the mid-range of $32 (such as Curlisto's Deep Therapy Masque) to the high-end of $72 (for Wen's Re-Moist Hydrating Mask). If you use 1 ounce per deep treat, a standard 4-oz. product will provide four treats, lasting four months. If you follow a once-a-month treatment regimen, you'll still only need to buy three products over time = $27 to $216/year.
Nearly $700 to $1,000
A deep treatment at a salon will likely be more thorough than doing it yourself at home, especially if you don't have a lot of patience or you don't take the time to apply the heat source that many products need to sink in. So, remember to take as much care with your hair as your stylist does to receive all the benefits of the deep treat.
The Color Glaze
After the dull and drying after-effects of summer, there's nothing like vibrant color to renew the swagger in your spirals. You can't wait for a rich new hue to add shine and sparkle to brisk fall days—until you do the math and realize you just can't spare the cash for your colorist.
In the salon
A semi- or demi-permanent color glaze can cost anywhere from $60 to $90 and last about four weeks. Still, most curlies probably won't actually get this service every month at the salon, so let's err on the conservative side and say you might get a gloss or glaze every season (or four times a year). When you add it up, it's still big bucks when you're on a tight budget: $240 to $360/year.
You can add your own semi- or demi-permanent color glaze for $10 to $20. Considering the same seasonal regimen (four times a year) = $40 to $80. But remember, not all semi- and demi- glazes are alike. Choose wisely, and if you're not sure what to buy, talk to your stylist and be honest about your budget. Colorists interviewed by NaturallyCurly.com in the past have favored Redken Shades EQ and Schwarzkopf (both are pro brands and can be purchased online; a quick Google search will find them). Stylists will warn you, though, that you have to know what you're doing before diving into a dye. Again, ask a professional for help. Maybe even strike a deal where your stylist can offer tips for you at home, if you commit to once-in-a-while color visits in the salon.
Nearly $200 to $280/year
Always remember to practice color-saving habits like using a color-depositing shampoo and conditioner, to help your color last even longer.
The easiest way to save on blowouts? Curl purists will tell you: just don't do it! But for some curlies it's not so simple. First, reality check: Are you getting blowouts once in a while for a change of pace or is there a deeper motivation to your straightening habit? Let's say there are no hidden meanings, and you simply want to switch up your look once in a while. Not so bad, right? Until you add up the cash you're burning to enjoy a temporary style that's entirely dependent on the weather forecast.
In the salon
A blowout can cost anywhere from $40 (in small towns) to $100 or more (in major cities, like New York). Treating yourself to this salon service, say, every other month to change your look = $240 to $600/year.
It's really about a one-time investment in product and tools. The other cost is the time and patience it takes to master the blowout. Here's what you need to get started (you can spend a lot on these items if you choose to, but we found them online for cheap!): 1800-watt blow dryer with nozzle (under $30), nylon/boar bristle round brush (under $15), straightening serum/glaze (under $20) and hair clips for sectioning (under $5). One-time investment = $70
When you flatten your curls, beware of the consequences that may last longer than the few days you're enjoying the blowout. Curls take longer to bounce back after a straight 'do, and the intense heat used to stretch out your curls can cause damage.