Find a stylist you love. I know you're going to want to keep going to them time and time again, but when trying to save money it just isn't feasible. So I go see my favorite stylist 3-4 times per year, usually just for a cut. He knows exactly what I like and he does a fantastic job. My hair appointment today with a brow wax, cut and blow dry took about an hour total and really made me feel special and pampered. It's worth paying to get that feeling every so often and having a stylist who pays meticulous attention to detail because it makes a world of difference.
In between visits to him, I go to a high volume salon such as Great Clips, Cost Cutters or Master Cuts. They usually have coupons you can get in the mail for $8 haircuts or less. I've found a Great Clips I like and am comfortable with no matter which stylist I get. When I'm seated with the stylist I tell them very clearly and specifically that I just want a trim, I specify the amount I want cut off (usually 1 inch) and I tell them I like the cut I have now but I just want it "cleaned up." These stylists cut so much hair in a day, they're not going to mess up a simple trim. Just be clear on what you want. They've done a really great job at following the master.
After a wash, cut and style from the master
He used Onesta Smooth & Shine Straightening Creme, a round brush and a blow dryer, that's it!
2. Stick close to your natural color
Boring, I know! But it works and your natural color is your natural color for a reason. To keep maintenance down, I dye my hair one color and stay away from highlights and low lights. I pick a nice medium rich brown similar to my natural color but switch up if I want some golden, copper or red tones to keep it fresh and get a different look. If you still want to get your hair colored at the salon, picking one all over color is still going to save you money over having 2-3 different colors in your hair.
There are a lot of decent boxed dyes out there and that's what I've been using for a long time. There are often sales where you can get a box for $3-5. I watch for the sales and buy the product then and use at a later time. I'm a person that likes to change up my hair a lot and experiment with color, but I've really found with all these steps that I truly don't get bored because I realize my hair always looks pretty good. No more dealing with ugly roots or washed out color. Plus with the change of the seasons I can actually see my natural highlights coming out and blending in well with the dyed "natural" looking color. I think a good goal to have it to look like your hair isn't dyed at all.
3. Invest in quality conditioner and styling products
I never said you're going to get great hair for free. You're still going to have to invest some money into hair products. I recommend buying products for your hair type whether you have color treated hair, damaged hair, fine hair, etc. Experiment to see which types of products work best on you. I have naturally curly hair and for the most part lines targeted to curls don't work the best on me (with some exceptions like Ouidad) and I've found that moisturizing or repairative products work much better on me. You don't have to spend a fortune, but you will probably have to spend some money. You can also use oils such as Coconut Oil, Olive Oil and Vitamin E to create hair masks. Luckily, there is also a great range of product available at a lot of price points. I've listed a few of my favorite brands below.
Cheap: Organix, Herbal Essences
Pricier: Biolage, TIGI Resurrection, UNITE, S Factor, Onesta
How often do you visit a salon? What is your favorite savings tip? Comment and let me know!