• That’s totally the price, Holly! My husband used to cut his hair there, but he’d always just get a buzz. Now, he does it at home. Usually outside. Or there’s too much vacuuming involved.

      • Aly

        Outside is the best place for haircuts! I cut my husband’s hair and since it’s easier/cleaner to cut it outside, his hair gets pretty long in the winter 😉 Just stumbled on your blog and I’m loving your writing style! I’m about to dive in to the rest!

    • Stylist

      True what a deal…. To bad they over work stylist… With minimum wage no health benefits …… Send you home wen it slow… Means no money for the professional stylist who paid 20,000 for school plus supplies… Enjoy your cheap cut

      • I’m not a stylist, obviously, but from what I understand (both from people I’ve asked and Glassdoor), it depends on the franchise owner . My colorist (not at Great Clips) charges $100+ for highlights, and she doesn’t get benefits because of how that salon does their staffing. So…

        I don’t like the idea of anyone being mistreated, which is why I always try to tip generously. $7 haircut, and I left an $8 tip. I wasn’t even in the seat for 20 minutes. I think she was pretty happy.

  1. Bahahaha the responses I get when I tell people I cut my own hair are the best. My favourite one was the woman at work who openly pitied me, and told me her hair dresser is “really affordable” with the saddest look on her face.

    Meanwhile I’m over here, proud as hell about my mad hair-cutting skillz, and thrilled that a) when I decide I need a haircut, I just do it instead of scheduling an appointment, and b) I never have to have a stranger touch my head again. (I’m weird about that.)

    • Self-cutting? That is bad ass! Do you have eyes in the back of your head? Your hair looks pretty normal in the photos. Mad respect! 🙂

      My dad used to cut my hair with a clipper set from about middle school through high school, but I couldn’t ask him to keep doing that.

        • I’ve seen the videos, Pellrider! They appear to be made for people who don’t trip on flat surfaces or routinely pour tea down the side of their faces. I don’t think I have their skillset. Though, I sometimes wonder if I could teach my husband.

      • I used to cut my husband’s hair, TJ. Now he does it himself. He’s braver than I am! I was always so worried I was going to shave off his ear or scalp him somehow.

    • Des, I am in awe of your skills. I know we’ve had this convo before, but I won’t pop for scissors since I only go once or twice a year. And I’m highly uncoordinated (see: the rest of the awkward series). Also, the only thing I miss about nice haircuts is the scalp massage.

  2. I am about ready for a haircut too. It has gotten crazy long. But for the last 8 years I’ve cut my own hair. Which is also a bit awkward when people compliment me. They act like I jump threw rings of fire as a hobby.

    • RIGHT?! People are BAFFLED.

      (On the other hand, I loooooove telling people and my dream is to someday have the following interaction:
      “Is your hair different?”
      “Yeah, I cut it last night!”
      “You mean you HAD it cut last night” <—- them being a smartass

      …I like to think I dream big, and yet.)

    • If they have my coordination, that’s because IT IS like throwing rings of fire. It’s amazing. Most days, I can’t clear the edge of the kitchen table.

  3. Ha, great story! Some people just won’t get it. I’m glad I finally figured it out for myself and began getting my haircut at home with a clippers, granted a guy’s haircut is easier. But I got tired of sitting in the chair thinking to myself how easy it would be to cut my hair, so simple, so very simple! But it is awkward if people ever notice…they would of course think how unusually weird of me to get it cut at home! Oh bother…

  4. Congrads on your new ‘do!
    There are no guarantees with haircuts–even nice salons seem compelled to experiment on my head without permission,–and I’ve ended up in tears with a mullet on more than one occasion. Great Clips is probably much, much less likely to do anything crazy to your head without at least asking first.

    Have you tried the Crea Clip? It’s better for maintenance than totally new styles, though we got the Amazon version and a new pair of really sharp scissors, and my hubby has been giving me trims lately. It’s so nice and convenient with no more appointments and no more driving to get it done.

  5. I’ve paid for an expensive haircut once and didn’t find it to be any better. I don’t run into the issue of people’s reaction to getting a cheap haircut because my mom does it (and, you know, she went to cosmetology school 40 some odd years ago, so surely she knows what she’s doing 🙂 ).

  6. For years, I got my hair cut 3-4 times a year…by my mom. It was terrific, and terrifically frugal. (and as someone with thick, straight hair, I don’t think it needed a lot of expertise.)

    But…I went gray and developed a hair dye allergy (really bad with home dyes). Now I pay almost $100 every 6-8 weeks for cut, color and tip. I wish I felt I could go back to my old system. So own that hair, Penny! If it looks good, and feels good, it’s all good.

    • Oh I feel for you! My mom had the same thing happen. She has jet black hair, so the gray shows up fast. What was once a $6 box of dye (with coupon) is now very pricey. But at 50, she isn’t willing to give in to the gray! I started going grey at 24, and now at 33 I will have to start dying it soon. I really hope I don’t develop an allergy too!

      • I’ve thought about using a box, Ms. Montana, to go darker. But once I used a box to go lighter and that was catastrophic. I looked more like Bozo than Heather Locklear…but it was definitely her picture on the box! 😉

        • Ditto – just got home from the hair color/cut. $65 with a good tip because my hair dresser is just the best and has done my hair for 20+ years. I went gray in my 20’s too – not giving in yet (and I’ll be 50 sooner than Emily!) My husband cuts his own hair and my kids both go to Great Clips. I would too – but it’s the one thing I do actually spend money on.

    • Thanks, Emily! I can’t imagine the struggle of that. But it sounds like you have something that works for you now, too. Pricey is better than allergic reactions!

      • Denise

        Hell’s bells. Embrace the grey hair.

        I refuse to allow Society’s diktats about youthfulness and grey hair and “fading attractiveness” to force me into wasting time and money on chemicals which can get into your system.

        Enjoy yourself as you are!

  7. Hahahaha, this was the best Monday morning laugh I never knew I needed. I have the longest hair in the world, mostly because I refuse to pay for a haircut more than once a year. At that point I do splurge for the $100 haircut, because I need some major damage control done to my split ends haha. Maybe it would be better to find a Great Clips and go regularly.

    My worst haircut experience was when I got the locks died black and chopped shoulder length. I hated it, cried, and all the kids at school called me Jackie Chan for a few weeks. Kids are mean.

  8. I used to get my hair cut at Great Clips, Cost Cutters, or Fantastic Sam’s but, like others have mentioned, I cut it myself now. With the internet, it’s easy to find techniques for whatever style you like. For me it’s about the time savings, rather than the financial savings. You should definitely give it a try!

    I have to admit that I’ve only told a few people since it definitely goes against the norm. My friends are intrigued by it and the one coworker who knows said that she used to cut her hair as well (but now goes somewhere since she colors it). The style is the same as it’s always been so most people haven’t noticed a change. Or they’re too nice to say anything 🙂

    How odd that people would suggest that you spend MORE on your next haircut after complimenting you on your current cut. Crazy.

  9. I also will typically go the hair cut place with the cheapest coupon…I stopped getting coupons though. What’s your secret?

    Barring a coupon, I usually go to the closest one.

    There was a point in time where I had a “regular hairstylist” at the local Fantastic Sams, and I skipped a few months because I had coupons, I told her “hey, I had a coupon for $7.99. I’m not paying an extra $12 for a wash. Ia can wash my own hair”

    Would love to start getting coupons again.

    • The grocery store in the same plaza usually has coupons printed on the back of the receipt. I’m also not above emailing companies and letting them know how much I appreciated their coupons in the past. I’ve only done that a few times, but I’ve always gotten another coupon!

  10. I can definitely relate to this story, as I started cutting my own hair within the last year or two. I made the mistake of responding to a comment about my hair with “Yes, I cut it,” instead of “I got it cut.” My friend was completely perplexed and didn’t know how to respond.

    My husband and little boys also get at-home haircuts. The people who know are accustomed to it now, but they don’t really like to discuss it. I think it makes them uncomfortable – like they just can’t process the failure to spend money on something “normal” like haircuts.

    But if they start off by saying that your hair looks nice, throw it back at them, remind them that they said they liked the haircut. Were you lying to me?

  11. I’ve actually been able to bond a little with coworkers – I’ve so far discovered two that also cut their own hair!

    Best awkward story: I enlist the help of my husband, Fergus, to help me cut my hair in the back. I have a medium-long cut normally that lies just below my shoulders. I wet my hair, section my hair into a bottom and top layer, and instruct him to just cut straight across on the exposed bottom layer, a few inches below shoulder height. He starts, and all seems to be according to plan until I feel the scissors against my back at the top of my shoulder on the other side.

    “Fergus? That feels really high – are you sure you’re doing okay back there?”
    “I’m just following the line – it’s fine.”

    A few moments later…he did cut in a line, it was just a line that tilted upwards, curving around to the point that one side was about 5-6 inches shorter than the other…I take the top half of my hair out of the messy bun and look in the mirror and cannot help but burst out laughing. Fergus looks terrified.

    He asks, “What are we going to do?”
    My expression turned grave, “We’re going to fix it,” I said, staring him down.

    And we did. And I got compliments all the next day at work. 🙂

    • What a story, Felicity! I’ve only ever taken to my hair with regular scissors. If I cut my hair more than once or twice a year, I might invest in learning to do it myself. Sounds like you’re got the skills…and the right attitude. I love it. Yay team!

      • I have no skills – Only hard-earned experience now from trial and error!

        Medium length hair and shorter is a bit tricky – but not beyond the realm of mortal understanding. I’m planning a post eventually that details my strategy – I’m going to enlist the help of a friend of mine who used to cut and color the hair of her rich friends as a side-gig in college to make sure it’s legit (and then detail how to instruct clueless significant others). 😀

  12. Great Clips and me do not get along. I like the price (and I tip well, so a 12$ haircut becomes 20$, and I have no problem with that), but the quality of the cut is great…at the time. While I’m in the store. Then I get out, get home, actually do things…and it’s never what I wanted. Even though I had pictures to show!
    The one time I got an expensive haircut (wash and cut and all that gloriousness, for 55$) I loved it. Because my hair turned out exactly how I wanted it to.
    Haven’t done it since, though. Because now I just cut my hair at home (I figured out how to do layers, kind of!) and while it takes three times as long, I’m in the comfort of pajamas, and it’s free. But no more Great Clips or Super Cuts or whatever for me. They done did me wrong too many times, ha.
    But to all the people who are telling you (or even suggesting to you) that getting a hair cut there when it works out well for you can shove off! There’s no reason to spend more on something you don’t need to spend more on!

    • I’m sorry you didn’t have a great experience, but it sounds like your plan worked out even better than the cheap chains! I can totally see it depending on where you’re located and what they’re used to. TBH, I think they mostly do buzz cuts all day!

  13. I’ve never coloured my hair and really glad now that I hear colleagues talk about how much it costs them! Enough to fund a holiday every year…

    The cheapest places here are generally around the $20 mark (though we don’t have tipping). I prefer my hair shorter – way less maintenance and styling required with my type of hair. But still push it to like 6 months or more. Grew up going to cheap Asian places, still prefer them as they understand Asian hair. These days I think the place I go to is $25 or $30 (so a steal by our prices). T pays I think $15 at the barber?

    • Yes, hair coloring is so pricey. I can usually squeak by with going twice a year. But that’s still $150! Once, I tried to do the box thing myself. I didn’t know that color orange existed until that day.

  14. I definitely use Great Clips or whoever has a coupon and I’m always satisfied. My wife, on the other hand, is coloring the grey she says she has at the salon she’s been going to for decades and it costs a ton. We have a budget line just for her hair and that doesn’t include all the products she uses! But it makes her happy. As for you Penny, I say if you can get a nice cut for $8 or do it yourself, why would you spend more?

  15. It’s crazy how some people will think you’re the crazy one for simply wanting to spend less especially on something where the end result is the same! I have some friends actually who don’t understand why I would rather spend less money on some things. I just don’t get it.

  16. You have so many comments on this post, but I will add my own. I have been cutting my own hair for the last 4 months. Before that, I went to Great Clips. Around here, if you don’t go to Great Clips, you’re paying upwards of $50. CAN YOU IMAGINE!? I have short hair, so it has to be cut frequently… It would be $50 every six weeks if I went to “nice” places. Cannot afford it. I only splurge on highlights. When I want a full head of color, I use John Frieda Foam. (I know… Total splurge. haha)

  17. No Great Clips for me. My mop (what’s left of it) doesn’t deserve anything so fancy. But I can’t help but feel sorry for women. Not only can haircuts get ridiculously expensive for them, but so can make-up, clothes, dry-cleaning, and shoes. So thanks for spreading the word that you can go low-rent and still look and feel great.

  18. I went to a Supercuts (like Great Clips, just a different brand name) for the first time about a year ago, and I’ve been going back ever since. I haven’t noticed any difference in getting haircuts there than I did at the expensive salons I frequented for years, and I’m happy to be spending a LOT less money (although I also stopped dyeing my hair last year…that’s one thing I wouldn’t get done at Supercuts because there is a level of proficiency in pricier salons which I wouldn’t trust at my current place).

  19. But Fantastic Sam’s is only a hair more expensive ( Like $12 with coupon) and you can get the fancy head massage!! I love the head massage. I haven’t seriously considered cutting my own hair bc I love the head massage so much.

    I actually had the opposite encounter happen. I chopped off my hair to my chin and got a compliment from one of the higher ups at my company. Her and I are friendly, so I was honest about where I got it cut (FS!) when she asked. Instead of the snarky “spend more to get your haircut” response, she revealed she goes to Great Clips! She probably makes $200k/year!

  20. Were you like an obnoxious billionaire in a previous life? Don’t let me give you a complex – but you’ve got the weirdest karma, ever, when it comes to people saying the most stupid shi*t right to your face. Since you’re not verbally very confrontational, I would love to see you wear a T-shirt for an entire day that says in big, bold letters – “F**k Off”.

    • Hahahaha, Mrs. G. You’re the best. If I was a billionaire, I’d like to think I’d have way better stuff to blog about. Maybe I just don’t remember my last life? 🙂

    • Denise

      Gosh I laughed at your post, Mrs G. Start selling those t-shirts and I’ll be your first customer! Would love to have a wrap over cardigan on top and just do “the slow reveal” to those who need to be told to eff off. There is much to be said for intentionality, in these things. I’d hate to be accused of being crass…

    • That’s amazing. My husband offered to cut my hair. But saving $8 for a divorce seemed like a not great trade 😉 Maybe I will let him try one time. At the start of summer. When there’s lots of time for it to grow out.

  21. Erin

    I am in the same boat with you! I recently did the exact same thing, during a drive home I was finally fed up with my (what I call) obscenely long hair that I drove to our local discount hair salon (a place called Quick Clips) and asked them to chop of about 5 inches. It wasn’t as cheap as yours, mine was a grand total of $13, but it was probably one of the best haircuts I’ve ever received.

    No shame in a cheap haircut! As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.

  22. My old salon used to charge an arm and a leg, and did a poor job on my hair. I went to a more affordable salon and they do a better job and the new hairstylist fixed a lot of my hair problems the the pricey salon messed up on.

  23. Oh man, folks are so darn rude.

    My family required me to have hair down my back for most of my life. It was awful. My hair is super thick and heavy. I also just did not know how to style it. It was too much. One of the first things I did in college was to shave it down to shiny-bald wonderfulness. I had never seen my scalp. This did not go over well with my family. I let it grow back and by the time I moved to a new city it was half-way down my back, but I knew a little better how to handle it.

    One summer, after I came out, it was 100 degrees for the second day in a row at 11 am. I was in an intense course and just was not doing it anymore. I went to my normal $17 place and showed them a pixie cut picture (we don’t share a language) and then had to argue to get it from them. We argued a lot. They kept lamenting that I would look like a boy. I told them that I wouldn’t and that it wouldn’t be a problem in my community anyway. I eventually got them to do it. A few cuts later, they shyly told me that I was right and that I look so darn good with this.

    Fastforward to my aunt’s funeral. I go even though she was virulently homophobic because I love her son. I am the only one appropriately dressed for a funeral. There are men in gym shorts. My hair is still a very distinctive pixie. Another aunt who has not seen me in a decade comes up to me and does not even say hello. She begins with “Your hair. It’s… so… short. But I guess it’s ok.” Yes, Aunt. The short hair was intentional. “Do you even feel like a woman?” Yes, aunt. Super womanly.

    Her hair did not even looked brushed. But it was appropriately long. With her work jeans on at a church for a funeral. But the mean old atheist dyke wearing a dress with short hair is the inappropriate one.

    Most people’s opinions should remain in their head. A shut mouth is such a blessing.

    • A shut mouth is an incredible blessing, ZJ. I have a coworker whose hair is “shorter than her husband’s” as she puts it. And she rocks it so hard. Every time she gets it cut or styles it a teeny bit different, I am all sorts of tempted. Short hair is beautiful!

      And as for family and their comments, well…that’s a whole ‘nother word besides awkward.

  24. I pretty much exclusively go to Great Clips or Super Cuts, whichever one does the online check-in, mainly because it’s cheap and 5 minutes from the house. I’ve rarely gotten a bad cut from there. When I deviated and went to a higher proced place because I was dramatically changing my hairstyle, um, well I was back at Great Clips the next time I needed it cut. 🙂

    Mrs. SSC cut her own hair until she went with the pixie cut. Even then she started at a stylist but gravitated towards the Great Clips and just found someone there she liked. She cuts our kids hair at home and has cut my hair once, just once. I had square blocky ears and it was an overall train wreck (she’s good with her hair, mine not so much). Maybe after i quit working and don’t have to be in meetings I’ll let her try again. She has gotten a lot of practice with our son, but it was SO bad the first time, I’m not brave enough to try it again until I quit working, lol.

  25. Love this story! Isn’t it funny how people act uppity about things like this? I’ve been cutting my own hair for about 20 years now. I taught myself and the only thing is is that I can’t tell anyone that or they ask me to cut theirs! That is way too much pressure. When I do my own, sometimes it takes me 3 days to get it just right. You are a gem Penny! What a great post! 🙂

  26. Cheryl

    I think it is odd that people obsess about how much or little they paid, like it is a badge of honor to overspend, like you should congratulate them or something. I am on the extremely low end of the scale, my husband cuts my hair for me and has done so for me since we first started dating. I had a terrible experience at the salon about eight months before I met him and I mentioned my dread for salons, and he said he cut cut my hair for me. I figured he couldn’t do any worse than the salon and it would be free. I did have a little apprehension when he put the towel around my shoulders and I really enjoyed him combing my hair. He sectioned it, pinned up the top sections and then trimmed each layer in succession only taking off about an inch, I told him it needed there to four off, he told me let’s start with just trimming the ends. Well after he finished I checked the dust pan to see how much I lost, not much, good. Then I dashed to the bathroom to check the mirror, he gave me a hand mirror so I could see the back. He did a great job. I was impressed and thankful it came out great. I had to work later that night and one or my coworkers asked the date went. I told her it went fantastic and that he even gave me a haircut. She looked shocked, you let him cut your hair? she said. Yes I told her, it is the best haircut I can remember getting. He has been cutting it ever since and when I saw the greys poking through, I told him he would be my colorist as well. I use henna because both the box and salon dyes are loaded with carcinogenic substances that destroy your hair as well. I get compliments on my hair all the time. My best friend spent over $300 and they destroyed her hair with the color at the salon. It was breaking off. So as it starting growing back, my friend asked what I do to keep mine looking so good and I told her. She wasn’t freaked out, she asked if he could help. So my husband now cuts her hair for her, and he did the henna as well. She received a lot of compliments and wasn’t sure how to answer that her best friend’s husband did it in their dining room and it was free. He gave me and my best friend haircuts yesterday and then he tried to get us to apply the henna for each other, but we told him no, he does a great job. Later that evening I saw a friend at the restaurant and she noticed our hair and complimented how good we looked. When she asked who did it, I told her my husband did both. She then turned to him and asked when she could get a session with him to do her hair.
    So I spend about $15 for henna that lasts three months between full application and root touch up midway. So I pay $60 a year for color and haircuts are free. And I get compliments and requests from friends for him to cut their hair. He doesn’t have a license, he picked it up along the way because he said it seemed that girls were always asking him to trim their hair, and he just got better with practice. So I am very frugal with the costs of keeping my hair looking great and make no apologies for not wasting money.

  27. Bonnie

    My husband is a hair stylist for a living, so I always feel the need to post on hair cutting posts on the PF blogs. 🙂 I feel that his level of skill and expertise and specialized knowledge of his clients’ hair (not to mention their lives!) is worth it for those who can afford it. (I, of course, get free cuts and color…but I’m usually at the bottom of the list b/c I’m not a paying customer! Ha.) I can’t tell you how many of my friends saw him and loved what he did but then went to Great Clips or similar place the next time and then cried about how bad it was. He has some clients who come in once a month and others who come in once a year. His clients range from very wealthy socialites to a woman who cleans houses for a living. I am sure some of them have chosen to forego other little luxuries for the privilege of seeing him!

    • I’m so glad you commented, Bonnie! I trust the stylists at Great Clips for my simple cut. But when you find a good colorist (and you’re a blonde!), there’s no going back. And one do-it-myself box job was enough to look Bozo orange. No, thanks!

  28. Cheryl

    It’s odd that when I told a friend that is a stylist that hubby does my hair, she was all upset, said he shouldn’t be doing it, she paid a lot of money for beauty school and he is not a professional, etc. but my friend who is in the home remodeling business saw how well my husband installed a hardwood floor in our den complimented his work and told him he doesn’t want too many people doing it as it would put him out of a job. My husband told him it was hard work and he had no intention of being his competition. There are home centers like Home Depot and lowes that cater to the DIY crowd, and websites that give ideas on how to paint your living room, install a ceiling fan, fix a plumbing leak, or tile your floor. Aren’t they taking business away from someone who does that for a living? Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians have to earn a living too. If I save money in one area, I have it to spend in an other. So if someone can save some money skipping a trip to the salon or barbershop, why take offense, the plumber doesn’t get upset when you plunge your own toilet. My grandparents were DIY, carpentry, plumbing, growing fruits, vegetables, canning and other stuff for themselves. They never thought of it as cheating someone else who wanted to get paid for it. If it is your career and you have plenty of business, well great! I hope that if you do a great job, have happy customers, that you do have a successful business. If you don’t have customers, well then you need to look at what you are doing and figure out why you don’t have repeat business and new customers, not be angry at someone who is a DIYer.

    • Bonnie

      Cheryl, no one is angry at DIYers. As someone who has been laid off twice in my working life so far, I think a LOT about how my spending/labor/etc. actions affect the current and future employment of others, especially in a rapidly changing world. For instance, I can get a book I really want cheaper on Amazon, but I will buy a full-price book from my local independent store a few times a year, at least, because I want to support that. Small businesses (many hair stylists included) need support. Also, plumbers, carpenters, etc. will usually have jobs for larger companies, etc. in addition to individuals who don’t DIY. Hair stylists, unless you’re in LA, maybe, usually aren’t going to have that option. Also, hair stylists depend on tips for a huge part of their income–plumbers don’t. Not trying to troll–just putting it out there that every choice comes with a consequence, intended or not.

  29. You’ve inspired me. I still go to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin to get my haircut because she cut it good one time. Granted, I only get it cut once or twice a year but my junior stylist is now an actual stylist and the price has gone from $20 to $40 plus tip! No discount for loyalty? Anywho, my hair never looks amazing…probably because it is curly and needs some “help” to look normal. But I am a wash and wear girl. Those fancy scissors she is cutting with will do no better than the ones at Great Clips. I’m taking this mane to the nearest discount shop next time around…like, 5 months from now. 🙂

    Oh, and on a note on behalf of my frugal boyfriends…he cuts his own hair. With a FlowBee. Yes. A FlowBee. 🙂

  30. I just got my hair cut at greatclips… I had some time to kill before a conference and it’s been a year and my hair was getting ratty and there was one near the hotel. The woman did such a great job compared to my last more expensive haircut that I gave her a $10 tip, which still came out to much less than the last cut.

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