Is Long Hair the Answer?

| 6/9/2010 3:48:00 PM

Tags: question to readers,

When my brother was two years old (1956), my mother took him to the barber for his first hair cut. She came home swearing that she was going to cut his hair from that day forward – I guess David wasn’t very cooperative and the barber suggested where Mom could buy her own electric clippers! In 1968 when I was married, my mother handed over the scissors and clippers, and suggested I might want to learn to cut my new husband’s hair! For about 15 years I cut Steve’s hair, until he reached a management position where looking good was an asset to the company and his future!

So, for a collective 25 years, at the current rate of $15 a cut once a month (for a man), our family saved $4,500 from our household budgets by acting as our own barbers. And during the wild days of hippies and back-to-the-landers, just not cutting hair at all was one way to save money.

Depending on your job and your personal neatness factor, you can still live on less by eschewing barbers and hairdressers, and making hair cutting a family affair. This 1970 article in MOTHER EARTH NEWS MAGAZINE, Getting Into the Tao of Hair, offers some pointers on cutting men’s and women’s hair. (You might want to consider practicing on a youngster who isn’t too picky yet about his/her looks.)

We’re all trying to find ways to save money these days, is cutting your own or your family’s hair one way you cut costs? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below.

jacqueline jakle
6/30/2010 12:23:27 PM

I still work and face many people every day, so it's important for me to look professional. It's not about vanity. I save money on haircuts by getting one every three months instead of every six weeks, and my hairdresser, who is reasonable with pricing, gives free bang trims. She's a single mother, and I know she's reduced her prices so she can stay employed. I've trimmed my own hair, and have helped friends with trims over the years, but that isn't as popular in my circle of friends as going to a professional. Some places have coupons or specials all the time, and many salons here have reduced prices during these tough economic times.

charles j_3
6/21/2010 10:41:21 PM

Gee I guess I keep going to the local barber because I believe in supporting the local economy. Once a month of $15 plus a (generous) tip doesn't hurt me and I know I am spending it locally which will in turn be spent locally. Geesh people do you want everyone to end up penniless? We have to support some professions, especially one as sacred and traditional as the local barber or we'll have nothing of quality left over. I'd like to see local house visiting doctors come back.

6/18/2010 9:46:09 PM

Yes I am one of the many who had to give up haircuts last year. I am just waiting for it to get long enough for a ponytail. I did get a baseball cap to keep it out of my eyes when outside.

6/18/2010 7:41:47 AM

My hair can grow past my hips, so I do cut it. When my daughter was about 7 years old, i bought a book Cut You Own or Anyone Else's Hair--or something about like that. My daughter got really good at cutting her own hair and I learned how I like mine. I like long hair so I can tie it back: braid; bun with various clasps; divide the hair into three zones, putting the top part into a pony-tail and using the sides to wrap around the stretch-band holding the top tail. A couple of hairpins hold the wraps. This way I can stay cool in the Summer, keep it tidy while working, and if I get cold, I let it down and drape it around my neck and shoulders. To cut, usually, I brush my hair into a high pony-tail and trim off the end of the pony-tail. This creates a fake layered-style that is perfect for my naturally wavy hair; I don't need curlers or an iron--just some good rain water, or some natural shampoo if I don't have rain water. This works well for my life-style.

6/17/2010 11:56:36 PM

I haven't been to a professional to have a haircut in forever. That was one of the first things cut from the budget. I have naturally curly hair so you can only tell it's messed up if it is messed up really bad. Besides, I decided to let it grow long anyway:) I am not allowed to play with sharp instruments (I'm accident prone:)so my husband has the neighbor buzz cut his hair. My daughter has long straight hair that the neighbor usually cuts in a bob. Saves us a ton of money and when harvest time comes we send some veggies over to the neighbor. I think it's a good deal.

karen s_1
6/17/2010 1:32:42 PM

I have been cutting my own hair off and on since I was 14. I have wavy hair and it seems that when I have someone else cut it, it just doesnt turn out well at all! Also, to save money I have once again started to cut my own hair. I have gotten many complements(even from a friend who is a stylist), I cut my hair in layers, but I am presently letting it grow out so that I can wear it up!!! I too do not color my hair, I am beginning to get some grey, but have friends who do not color their hair and it looks so pretty the way it is!!!!

6/17/2010 1:27:40 PM

If you must save money, either one can be your answer. If you can afford to have your hair cut, you may help save a job in the USA!

dan j_2
6/16/2010 7:57:10 PM

Why cut it? It stops by itself! I haven`t had a hair cut since `75, and don`t miss them a bit.

6/16/2010 7:45:40 PM

My mother always cut our hair when we were growning up. Now I have taken over as the family stylist. I cut my own hair (and often get compliments on the style), my mom's, dad's husband's and sister-in-law's. I remember when I was young, my grandmother always cut hair outside, and we found a nest lined with hair in a bush behind her house.

6/16/2010 6:29:41 PM

When I was young, my mom always cut my hair short every summer. She said it was to keep me cool. My hair stuck too my neck and forehead and I was miserable. When I got older, I grew it out and was able to put in braids and pony tails to get it off my neck and forehead and was a lot cooler. Now in my mid forties, I have hair past my waist. I put it up in braids or a bun when gardening or riding on the back ok my husband's motorcycle (he has long hair too). I've also quit coloring it and love the natural white streak in the front. I've earned it. Long hair is easy, versatile and cheap; and I LOVE it!

6/16/2010 5:01:21 PM

People can do what they want, how they want, and where they want. If some one stops buying from my store I will not stop using their services. That's just petty, and unfortunately the way too many people feel. Times get tough, and tips are helpful, but if you don't get the services you want from a business then it's time to move on. Either to another business or another method. Cutting hair at home is great, my son gets buzzed about 3 or 4 times a year. We've done it inside, but I've found that if I cut it outside the clean up is easier. My husband cuts his own hair and I trim his neck and ears. I wish he would go somewhere occasionally to look super nice, he's on the biannual plan. My youngest son has a big head and red hair, most places make him look funny, so he goes to the same lady every time. Personally I go whenever I get the urge to change my style, getting easy to manage, low maintenance cuts.

sandra dyer
6/16/2010 4:54:50 PM

I began cutting my husband and 3 sons hair 25 years ago out of economic necessity. Now they enjoy not having to wait in a salon and I can't get them to go to one! On the few occasions that I took the boys out for a "professional" cut I usually ended up having to come home and trim stray hairs and crooked cuts anyway. It's not for everyone- I tried having my husband trim my long hair and found I could get it straighter than he could without even being able to see what I was doing! I used to cut my father-in-laws hair after he got to the point of not being physically able to go out for a haircut. It saved a lot of wear and tear on him and us and it kept him feeling good about his appearance.

jim johnson_1
6/16/2010 4:09:34 PM

I use to get my hair cut about 2 - 3 times a year and now I'm having a race with my self to see how long it will get before it all falls out :-) haven't cut it now in about 5 years, what I would like to know is what I have saved over the 25 + years that I haven't shaved in hot water, shaving cream and blades I keep my beard trimmed with a scissors I bought years ago for maybe 5 bucks, so I know that is more then "paid for"

6/16/2010 4:08:10 PM

My husband began to cut his own hair about a year ago, after years of getting cuts that I just didnt' like. He looks great and like others here said, every time he cuts it (and he cuts it REALLY short) everyone asks if he's lost weight! And he is complemented on his cut all the time. He loves saying he did it himself! (I do a little trim for him in the back and behind the ears)

6/16/2010 12:30:05 PM

I have been cutting my own hair for 30+ years after giving up on salons where the operator would always say, "Oh, I think it would look darling like this!" I usually went home in tears! As the saying goes the difference between a bad haircut and a good one is about 3-4 days. LOL Everyone asks me WHERE I get mine cut, and I do a lot of haircuts for women who've had the same problem I use to - one in particular wanted her hair SHORT (1/4-1/2 in all over!) and NO ONE (she tried 15 different places!) would do it for her. When I did what she wanted (and she looks DARLING with it!) she returned to one local shop and when the owner saw her she said: "Oh, you looking DARLING!! But I would never do that for you..." Huh? LOL She still insists on paying me each time she returns (cause it grows so fast!) because she says I'm the only one that will do what SHE wants - hairdresser should take notice of that!

susan lancto
6/16/2010 11:53:39 AM

Long hair is my passion, next to Gardening! It is so easy, AND ECONOMICAL.. if you know a few good pearls. If you are trying to grow beautiful long hair.. * Treat your hair like it is made of "spun glass". *Cover your hair from the sun as much as possible. *I use a wide toothed comb, not a brush. Comb your hair very gently. *Try not to shampoo every day. *When you are done shampooing and conditioning..wrap the towel around your hair and BLOT it, THEN wrap the towel around your head to absorb more moisture. *Wear your hair up as much as protects your hair from breakage and getting split ends. Save the times you wear your hair down for "special occasions". * consider taking vitamins that will prevent your hair from falling out. I take Ultra Hair by Nature's Plus. I buy it online at * I use Hair Sticks called Mei Fa's, that I buy from Shaune Bazner. If you google her name, you will find her website. All you need are a couple of her natural wood hair sticks, and it will hold your long hair. Trust me. I started using them when my hair was mid-thigh, and was still able to use them when my hair grew to my ankles. Long hair is not hard to have, but it IS a lesson in patience.When I am not working in the hospital, I am able to be out on our farm all day, with my hair up in a bun covered with a kerchief and a crownless hat. I have photos at Yahoo's FLHC2 under Lady Grace. Kind Regards to all of you.

6/16/2010 11:30:56 AM

As per Rick from Florida's comment. Not everyone can spend the money at the barber shop and they shouldn't if they feel comfortable with doing it themselves. It's a complete waste of money to spend on something that you can do yourself. I make my own bread. I'll never buy store bought again, but I can't worry about the baker. I sew and the department store gets less of my money. It's about frugility. You cannot be so concerned about hurting someone's business when trying to be self sufficent. Paula, Louisiana

6/16/2010 11:01:02 AM

We bought the much-maligned Flo-Bee 5 years ago. I've cut my own hair for years, because I could never get the haircut I wanted. I have used it for my husband and myself, with many compliments on the cuts. Last year I decided to have one last go at long hair, but I still cut hubby's hair every month. Since the Flo-Bee was on sale ($60), it has more than paid for itself!

6/16/2010 10:33:44 AM

Go natural! My decision to leave my hair in its natural grey state was the best! I save tons of cash and I feel super. Coloring it didn't seem to fit with my way of life even though 40 may be young to have a full head of grey (Take a look around you - not many women have grey hair, no matter their age). I still get it cut every 6-8 weeks but the cost is so much less.

annette riley_3
6/16/2010 10:17:18 AM

I save quite a bit of money. I use to spend a fortune on hair appointments. I go twice a year now, on my birthday in August and Valentines day. I always wore it short. Now it's my crown of glory. So much easier to fix and so many more options on styling. I've seen very attractive men with long hair and I'm sure they save a bundle too!

george works
6/16/2010 9:12:51 AM

I began cutting my own hair 20 years ago when I lived aboard a sailboat in places where barbers were not often available, and have been doing it since. I just use a small pair of barber shears, also good for trimming a beard and handy for many other things. It may look a little strange the first few times but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. The biggest advantage for me wasn't the thousands of dollars I've saved, but rather the hundreds of hours going to barber shops.

6/16/2010 9:01:33 AM

I've been cutting hair for over 30 years now. Even before I got married, I could never get a stylist to understand how I wanted my hair cut. They always did it wrong and I would have to go home and fit it. I finally gave up and just cut my own hair. I always start out cutting longer than I want and by the time I get it even on all sides I've got it the perfect length. When I first got married, money was tight and we had to find ways to make the cash stretch. My husband said it was only hair and it would grow back so, I tackled his hair. After a couple of haircuts my husband said it looked as good as the barber shop could do. When our kids came along i began cutting their hair from the start. Our oldest is now 26, still single and no longer lives at home. I still get a call from him about once a month saying, "Mom, have you got time to cut my hair?" My mother always cut my father's hair and when her health failed and she couldn't do it anymore, I took over the cutting of his hair as well. He is now 84 and I still cut his hair. I haven't even tried to add up all the money we've saved. It's now just a way of life. It's a simple thing to tackle with hugh rewards to the pocketbook. I started out using a book to learn but now with the internet it's easy to find a video on how to do most anything. Like my husband said, It's only will grow back.

6/16/2010 8:42:17 AM

Hi, As a hairdresser, I'm surprised that someone hasn't mentioned that what goes around, comes around: You stop going to the shop for a cut and I can't patronize your business. I give sensible advice to people all the time on how to economize in these hard times by doing different services or changing styles to keep visits to a minimum. We also trim bangs and necklines for free for our regular customers, which also saves them money and keeps their hair looking professionally done. Remember that one of the first things people notice is a good cut and shined shoes. Looking "home made" in this instance is just sad. By all means, do what you can to conserve but let's remember that we're all in this together. And, Yes, I keep a plunger by my toilet but I'll call the plumber for what he does best. Thanks for all the great ideas over the years, Sincerely, Rick Peerboom Florida

6/16/2010 7:47:45 AM

I started cutting hair at around 12. Seem to have a natural eye for how hair will lay when cut. My mother was a hair dresser I suspect she inspired me. I have been cutting hair for about 40 years now. Not only my own but many of my family and friends as well. Now this does not help the economy but it does help all of our pocket books. At around $12 per child, $15 per men and $25 + for the ladies I figure we have saved many thousands of $ on hair cuts in this family. Truly cutting hair is not difficult there are hundreds of books out there that you can borrow from your local library or purchase at a book store even go on line to help inspire and encourage you. A good pair of scissors, clippers and beard clippers are the key. I find doing this little bit of self sufficiency for my family and friends very rewording. Take a chance give it a try. Start simple and work up to the more complicated cuts. Each cut has a trick behind it. Take the time and you will be rewarded. Roset

patti wigington_1
6/12/2010 11:09:59 AM

I began cutting my husband's hair when we first got together fifteen years ago. Our younger children are ten, and I've always cut theirs -- in fact, my son just went from serious Bieber-hair to his "summer cut", and his twin sister got her split ends tidied up yesterday. My teenager, who just finished high school, has always let me cut her hair, up until about a year ago when she wanted a more styled cut and I honestly wasn't sure how to do it without messing up -- so she saved her money and went to a stylist. The result was one I could probably have done :) My own hair grows thick and fast, so I periodically trim off the frizzies in the mirror. Right now I'm trying to grow it out from a shorter cut to a longer style, so there's not a lot of trimming going on these days. I figure we've saved about $6000 on haircuts for the five of us so far.

6/11/2010 11:34:51 PM

I've cut my own hair for almost 30 years... Buy a good pair of barber's shears (you will not find these for less than ten dollars), and a decent electric set (I usually buy middle of the road Wahl sets)... Much easier for me than going to the barber, quicker, and more satisfied with it. I have a mirror on my bathroom door so I can angle it with my medicine cabinet mirror and see the back.... No one would guess I cut it myself... The savings after 3 decades is massive...

denise l_2
6/11/2010 2:52:49 PM

I started cutting my husband's hair about 20 years ago. We purchased the kit with clippers, scissors, etc. The kit cost around the price of one haircut (if I remember correctly) and it is still working fine). Figuring at least 6 haircuts a year (or more) at $15 each for 20 years works out to $1800. What a deal.

s knapp
6/11/2010 1:03:30 PM

I started cutting my husband's hair 13 years ago and then my two boys when they were born. I went to our local library and got out a video on how to cut hair. Then I went and bought a haircutting kit with clippers and good scissors (that I keep just in the kit to keep them sharp). The males in my life all get the same haircut, but no one seems to mind. My husband also will straighten the back of my hair when it gets straggley. At $15 a piece that is $60 each time we need a haircut. It sure helps make the budget work out for this homeschool family!

6/11/2010 12:57:39 PM

I've been cutting my husband's hair with clippers and scissors for years. He had a job interview, so I sent him to a 'professional' to get a nicer cut. It was so horrible (we paid $30 for it, too) that I had to fix it up myself with my own scissors.

sarah _2
6/11/2010 12:19:49 PM

My husband has been bald since we got married, so we just use clippers on his hair (the stuff he has left) :-). We had a little boy, so now I cut his hair using clippers too. We've just had a baby girl, so I'm going to have to learn how to cut girl's hair as soon as it gets long enough. The only drawback is that I wouldn't trust my husband or anyone without training to cut my hair as it's really thick and slightly wavy. A bad hair cut really shows. However, I only go for a hair cut about twice or three times a year, so we really don't spend that much on hair cuts. It's a great savings, especially as our family grows.

6/10/2010 2:00:56 PM

My husband is in the military and long hair is not an option. Instead, we invested in a Wahl electric clipper and shave his head. We finish with his electric shaver. Since the military requires hair to not touch the ears and my husband's hair seemed to always be touching his ears, this is saving us $15 a week, or $780 a year! Not to mention that as soon as we started shaving his head, people commented on him being more muscular and having lost weight, when the only thing that changed was the hair.

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