The average American woman spends $44 on a haircut. Add 20% tip, the total rises to $53. If she goes to a salon the recommended 4-8 times a year, she pays $212-$424 per year on haircuts.
The average American man will spend $28 on a haircut. Add 20% tip, he will pay $34 every visit. He tends to get his hair cut every 4 weeks, so 13 times in a year. That totals $442!
Obviously these numbers vary widely depending on where you go and how often. But take a look at how much you would save after 20 years if you invested that money instead:
$212 per year grows to be $9,299
$442 per year grows to be $19,388
That is convincing motivation to ‘trim’ spending on haircuts. The most I have ever spent on a haircut was $60, when I cut off nearly fifteen inches of hair from past my shoulders down to a pixie cut. The last time I cut my own hair, I was five and wanted the match my best friend’s cute bob. We hid under the table while our dad’s chatted in the other room and she obliged by giving me a trim. Needless to say, it did not come out the way I imagined.
Last year, while I walked to the train from work, I passed by five salons every day. I kept meaning to set up an appointment, but habit took over and I ended up at home drinking tea sporting untrimmed locks. One night, finally at my wit’s end with my split ends, I put down my teacup and marched over to Boots, the local health and beauty store. I bought a little haircutting kit (something like this) and watched this tutorial video. Comforted by how easy she made it look, I cut my hair for the second time.
If I remember correctly, I followed a method where you cut at a slight diagonal, and I watched a second video on adding in some layers. A few people complimented me the next day and I was emboldened by the success.
Today, nearly 6 months later, my hair is a long, untamed mess again. I asked Mr. Mechanic to cut it and thought I could document the process in case other people are interested in how to cut hair out of their budget.
Whether you cut your own hair (it’s possible, I promise!), your significant other takes the shears, or you ask a friend, I highly recommend it as a valuable experience and a chance to bond. Before making excuses, “Oh she would never let me touch her hair,” or “He would not have the patience for it,” give your significant other / friend some credit! This was Mr. Mechanic’s first hack at it:
Cutting hair is a basic life skill every person should know how to do, like learning change your own tire or whipping up a batch of your famous crockpot chili. You get better and more efficient over time, and at the end you walk away with a new talent. In fact, Mr. Mechanic’s first words after the haircut were: “That was easier than I thought.” In my estimation, these are the most uttered words following a successful DIY-project.
- Set up is important. Make sure that you have enough light and the person is sitting up high so you do not have to keep bending over.
- Set up all the tools you need. The type of scissors is important, normal scissors wouldn’t cut it for us. Literally.
- Drape a towel or other protection around the haircutee. We skipped this step and Mr. Mechanic felt like he was going to snip my shirt by accident– it kept getting caught on the scissors.
- Start by cutting much less than you think. You can always go back and trim again, and when the hair dries it will shorten more.
- Take a deep breath. Accept that your hair is not what defines you. Realize that it will grow back if this goes poorly (which it likely won’t!)
- Do not expect perfection. In fact, prepare for the worst, and you will be pleasantly surprised by how awesome it comes out.
- Give your new hair time. Every haircut is a bit of an adjustment. It will take time to settle. I didn’t like how my cut looked once it dried, but the next morning it all looked fine.
- Be gentle. You have the most critical eye. You might notice that one section is a centimeter shorter than the rest, but no one else will.
I think fashionista said it best:
“In the end, a haircut is about one thing, and one thing only: feeling confident and badass and like a best possible version of yourself.”
So make a production out of it. Request a scalp massage. Pour your favorite beer or glass of wine. Put on some music. Man or woman, when you look in the mirror after your cut, do some sassy moves. And when it comes to saving money– know that you are a cut above the rest.
What about you?
Have you ever cut your own hair? How did it go?
Would you consider self-barbering?