I cut and colour my own hair for three reasons. To save money, to save time and to save myself the hair related anguish I’ve had over the years.
Over my adult life I’ve had a mixed selection of hair salon experiences. I’ve had the skilled, lovely and friendly kind of hairdressers that took care of my hair for a sensible amount of money. With time, life took us to different places. I moved, they moved. I’ll miss them forever as for me hairdressing goes hand in hand with people you have a good chat with and are part of your social circle.
On the other hand, a ton of bad experiences in three different countries taught me to think differently. From being charged more than what was stated on the price menu, to having things done to my hair that I did not ask for, have made me very hesitant to venture into an establishment that might literally charge me a lot more than what I bargained for.
But let me be practical and explain. I live in London. There are places where I could have my hair cut for £10 but I’ll have to use the public transport to get there. That means at least £4.80 on top of the £10 haircut price. If you add to that the two hours needed for commuting back and forth, plus waiting time at the salon, plus the actual cutting, it’s better to stay at home and do the job myself.
As I have long and thick hair, it also means that it takes at least eight minutes to dry them fully with a hairdryer, time hairdressers do not waste on me for a tenner. So cutting my own hair makes perfect sense.
Doing it yourself is not difficult. What it requires however, is a certain amount of confidence, courage and appetite for I-don’t-care-anymore-what-it-looks-like-and-what-others-think when I’m done.
This moulding of courage started when I was a child. My mum was cutting my hair and I was never conscious about what I looked like. The thing was, I thought that your mother cutting your hair was something that happened only to poor people. We were poor and everybody knew we were poor. I had this nagging insecurity that everyone had to know that I had been to the hairdresser and to which one at that, like the other kids would specify.
Together with so many other things my mum was keeping household, I was ashamed of her cutting my hair. It was, OMG! People know I’m poor! It’s the end of the world! Of course it was stupid of me, because it doesn’t matter what others think. But during that time, the need of belonging and status was so strong that I could not see the obvious.
Then in my early teens I cut it once myself and it looked good. Only there was something extremely addictive with those scissors and the following week I took it to the next level and it looked awful. I told my mother to fix it and make it nice. Poor woman didn’t know how to cut hair nicely so she literally chopped all of my hair off at irregular lines and I looked horrible. It didn’t dawn on me that my understanding with scissors was better to that of hers. Nor I understood what symmetry was, or even the necessity of a mirror. I had only bothered to use a window reflection.
Going to a professional to fix the horror was out of the question. Here we didn’t have money for food let alone a haircut. The problem was it was summer but the schools were still not out and I looked like a joke.
What I’m trying to say is whatever I decide to do now with my hair will never be as bad as back then. And I am no longer afraid to be hair-embarrassed.
Of course, after that horrendous experience, my hair grew back thick, strong and fearless. As an adult, the hair salon visits that followed over the years weren’t always successful. On no less than three occasions I swore to stay away from hairdressers.
Then in 2010, I watched a tutorial online and cut my hair in a straight line. I did it slowly and it looked fine. A few months later went back to a hair salon. It was fine. Then, just my luck, I had again a few professional hair hiccups. Finally, January 2015, was the last straw. Now I’m thinking, why ever go to a hairdresser’s again?
As for that silly notion that going to the hairdresser’s means I’m a worthy member of society it’s gone since long . I’m as much as valuable as before, only now I’m money and time wise. And I know what suits my head best.
In the future, if I make friends with a hairdresser again, I might go to have my hair cut. For the time being I’m treating my hair, my wallet and my sanity with kindness.
TIME SAVED on hair in 2016:
I’ve cut my hair only twice because I was lazy, and coloured my hair only twice because I contemplated to stop colouring my hair altogether. In total, 4 separate occasions.
That is 4 x 3 hours = 12 hours of my life. Plus the hours I would have worked to pay for the said services. (Commuting, waiting, having the job done. The shower goes towards my biweekly washing-hair time routine. I’d have spent more than 3.5hours for a professional cut. Minus the 0.5 hour it takes me to brush and cut my own hair and store away the scissors, that is 3 hours per occasion)
MONEY SAVED on hair in 2016:
2 X £14.80 = £29.60 (if I were lucky to go to the cheapest salon in London)
2 x €20 = €40 (if I were lucky to have the cheapest colouring service in Greece) That is £33.85 or $42.27 minus what I’ve spent £21 (2xbottles of dye in the total of £9 + 1xbottle of organic dye at £12 = £21
It means I saved £12.85 (£33.85-£21=£12.85), or €15.20 (€40-€24.80=€15.20) or $21.06 ($42.27-$21.21=$21.06)
My time is precious and I love life. Life is beautiful.