Literally cutting the cost

Monday, 12 December 2011

This may sound drastic but I can assure you that it is not as bad as it sounds.

I've started to cut my own hair.

It's something I've been wanting to try some quite some time actually and only a few weeks ago did I pluck up the courage and pick up the scissors.  Not that I did much on my first attempt; I maybe trimmed off a centimetre at most, but it was a start.  I washed my hair first, combed it to straighten it out and (tentatively) started snipping.

I didn't look this apprehensive - honest!
I tried to keep it reasonably straight, or at least in line with the existing ends and frankly it looked fine!  I was not aiming for it to be perfectly ruler straight and even - snipping upwards to chip little sections out to soften the line thus not too obvious that I'd actually done anything at all.

Overall I was rather pleased.  Nobody gasped in horror or even noticed that I'd had a trim.  Would have been rather surprised if anybody had considering how small a change it was, but it was quite encouraging that I hadn't made a hash of it.

So this evening I attempted another trim, taking off another centimetre or so.  This time I think I've gone a little wonky at the back (my hair is still wet - shall see how it looks once dried off) but at least it's not a drastic chop .... I'm hoping to get to that later.

My hair isn't down to my waist or anything, more mid-chest length, which is getting a little heavy for me and the split-ends are doing my head in.

And it wouldn't be a typical post from me if there weren't a saving-money thought in there somewhere, would it?

I hate getting my hair cut.  I appreciate I could be part of a minority here but I genuinely don't enjoy it.  Having someone else wash my hair and massage my head - love that, I'd love to have someone do that every time I wash my hair - but I've had so many bad experiences with hairdressers that my faith in them isn't particularly strong.

It's odd - they spend all day every day cutting and styling hair, you'd think some of them would be good at it.  Perhaps it's just the salons in my town but I've been to just about all of them in turn over the years and I've just about given up.  Once in a while I've had a marvellous haircut - miraculously restoring my sullied faith - but subsequent visits would reveal that the magnificent girl who'd previously worked magic has moved on to another salon out of the area.  Thus I'd submit to the hands of another girl who would invariably make a mess of my locks and I'd leave wishing I'd had the presence of mind to bring a hat, telling myself 'Don't fret, it'll grow out.' regretting the thirty-odd pounds I'd spent on an 'experienced' stylist.

Some years ago when my hair was very long I decided to totally change my look and get it cropped short - a spiked up, pixie-like style which actually really suited me ... at least when cut correctly.  I was somewhat put out that the stylist who I asked to cut my hair was more apprehensive than I was!  She was so hesitant and kept asking if I was sure, did I really want it short, that I almost told her that if she wasn't going to cut it then I was going to go somewhere else.  Does it really make that much of a difference cutting off an inch or 8 inches?   Same principles surely?   As it happened, she did a wonderful job of it.  I was bowled over with how good it looked and when it started getting too long to spike up properly I returned to her for a trim.

Very similar to what I previously had - shan't be attempting to recreate it myself however
She then made me look like a loo-brush!  I was mortified.  I went home and cried I was so disappointed with it.  And I didn't understand how she managed to be so hit-and-miss with subsequent visits (until she too disappeared).  Sometimes OK, others awful, but I kept hoping she'd recreate that wonderful first cut or at the very least do a decent job of it but to no avail.

Other salons weren't much help in giving me a good cut - I reached the conclusion that since so few women had hair in such short styles, preferring longer ones, that most hairdressers just didn't have enough experience with what I was asking for.   After a few years I grew my hair out - partly because of the bad haircuts I was being subjected to and partly because of the cost.  Short styles grow out fast and it was costing a small fortune to keep getting it trimmed.

I wish I'd tried to trim it myself back then - who knows, I could have mastered it by now!

Prices of haircuts are also a factor in my attempts to snip my own.  The cheapest price I can find in my town is about £14, which incidentally is at an awful salon that I will never go back to, in part for their habit of adding 'extras' without informing you - "Oh I'm just putting this gel / wax in your hair!"  and it's in your hair before you can object, adding another fiver to your bill.  At the other end of the scale, there's a salon that starts from £28 and goes right up to nearly £70 depending on who you want to cut your hair.

Personally, I think £70 for a cut and blow-dry is pretty extortionate!  Maybe if it were being styled for your wedding day, I could understand, but that's not a price tag I can even contemplate for a trim.  What are they using that the stylist charging £28 isn't?  Magic scissors?  What can they possibly do that's worth over £40 extra?  OK, you're paying for experience, maybe additional training (but how much of that training is going to be applied to what you want?) and maybe creative flair for 'special occasion' haircuts ... but all I want is a trim.  And right now, the best part of thirty pounds is too much for me.  I've not been able to justify the cost so my hair has simply been growing for about a year - split ends cut off as they appear and the occasional knot that's been beyond untangling.

Overall, I think simple trims at my local salons are over priced.  So I started asking myself, what are they doing that I can't do myself with some scissors and a mirror?  I've watched them do it enough times (cringing as I await the dreaded result) - holding the ends between their fingers and snipping sections away at a time - seriously, it's not rocket science and I know very well that there are people out there who cut their own hair without being pointed out at in the street for the mess they've made of their hair.  They go unnoticed because it's perfectly possible to do a good job of it yourself.

Practise and confidence - that's all I believe I'll need to give myself a half-decent haircut for free.  And perhaps my long utilised mantra - it'll always grow again!   (Hey, I'm anticipating making mistakes, bound to happen.)  I'm looking to cut my hair to about my collarbone - not too short and not too long.  A basic trim will do me just fine until I potentially venture into doing any kind of styling with the cut.

Youtube, wikihow and various other websites have videos and advice on cutting your own hair - a quick search will bring plenty up if anyone is interested.



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