Although it is mostly true that you get what you pay for, celebrity hairdressers like Sally Herschberger or Orlando Pita can command and get anywhere from $600 to $800 for just a haircut.
Never fear, just as fabulous hairdressers are available that will work for a lot less. The key to finding them is to take your time and do your homework.
Tips For Finding Great But Affordable Stylists
The best ways to find an affordably priced stylist includes the following tips:
1. Check out national hairstyling training academies like John Paul Mitchell The Schools, Graham Webb or Toni & Guy where highly trained educators supervise every hair service provided. According to Barbara Lhotan, Premiere John Paul Mitchell educator and Elie.Elie Salon Partner "some of the John Paul Mitchell schools have special days that are open to the public for appointments".
Other schools that are run by companies like Toni & Guy (TIGI), Graham Web or similar national chains, will take appointments from the public on a regular ongoing basis. Contact the high end schools in your area for rates and details. Be sure to inquire about the level of expertise of the stylist working on your hair. If you are unsure, request that a master educator supervise the services.
2. At a high end salon request an apprentice to a master hairdresser. Famous stylists like Sally and Orlando had to start out somewhere. Barbara explained that "all great stylists usually have at least one and sometimes several apprentices that have exceptional training and skills". The difference? Their charges can be as much as 50% less than the master hairdresser would charge. When you book with a master’s apprentice you can be sure you will get high quality hair design at an affordable price.
3. Contact salons to sign up for to be a training model. Many famous salons in New York City and other large cities schedule training nights for their stylists. Barbara Lhotan suggested that "if you are willing to be hair model, you can receive pricey services for major discounts". The down side to signing up to be a model is that you will usually have to agree to let the stylist do whatever they wish to your hair for the purposes of the training. While this may be negotiable, be sure to ask before you commit. If you are open to anything, doing time as a hair model can be a great experience for little or no charge to you.
4. Search for hairdressers that work for top end spas, rather than at dedicated hair salons. Spas will often offer various package deals that allow you to get frequent visitor discounts or even some free services when you buy a number of services upfront. Other spas may not offer frequent visitor hair packages but might offer back end discounts on products.
Barbara Lhotan pointed out that "most salons do not offer service discounts but that they may, under the right circumstances, offer discounts on salon products".
5. Check local papers for announcements of new salons. Many times salons will offer grand opening specials on products and services. Stop by the new salon and evaluate the quality of hair styles leaving the door. Ask to book with the salons most seasoned stylist or with a stylist that specializes in your specific hair needs.
6. Locate expert stylists that are “booth renters’ rather than salon employees. Booth renters are self-employed, set their own rates for services and may be willing to negotiate a package deal. Some independent stylists will also give discounts for ongoing referrals. Others will trade a complimentary haircut for a certain number of new clients that you refer.
7. Inquire about bundling services together. Some salons will offer a discount on products or services if you book all of your services together such as having hair highlighted, cut and styled at one appointment. Other salons offer “early bird” specials to encourage clients to book appointments during slow periods.
8. Surf the Internet and ask friends, family and acquaintances for recommendations of “affordable” stylists. It pays to keep your eyes and ears open because you never know when you will make a real hairdresser find.
While some of the biggest names in the hair styling industry can command big price tags for their personal service, it doesn't mean that you can't find a fabulous stylist at a price that works for your budget. The key is to take your time, evaluate all the options and figure out what is the best deal for you.