Cheaper than a Free Lunch: Budget Beauty

| December 13, 2011

Beauty — a subject debated ad nauseum since the beginning of time. Everything from the removal of body hair to changing hair color, length, and style. For men — to ‘stach or not to ‘stach? Should they wear beards, goatees, that little annoying triangle of hair below the lip (a soul patch)?  Enhancing one’s beauty with makeup, skin treatments, & polished nails is the norm. Americans are obsessed with beauty. Whether your beauty ideals consist of cutting your hair once a year, moisturizing your face daily, or trimming your facial hair — it’s all in the name of beautification! Since grooming seems to be an essential for most people, I decided to discuss the less-costly options around New York City.

Sure you can grab a pair of scissors and your nearest friend for your bi-annual haircut — but do you really want to? Unless your buddy has an uncanny ability to cut a straight line or is an actual stylist, I wouldn’t recommend it! Yes, hair grows back, but your friendship may not make it.

When I need to spruce up the ol’  hairdo, I check out the training schools in my area. Bumble & Bumble, Paul Mitchell, Aveda, TIGI, & Empire Beauty Schools all have training programs in NYC. You can simply visit their websites to see what days/times/locations offer free to reduced-cost guest services. Newly trained students, often overseen by a professional, provide a variety of hair/skin/nail/spa beauty services (i.e. haircuts, color, highlights, deep conditioning treatments, barber services, hair removal, facials, manicures, pedicures, makeup application, hair styles and extensions). I have had amazing haircuts/treatments at Paul Mitchell training schools. A complete haircut with blowout is only $15.00! Sometimes, these schools advertise free services for specific hair types, cuts, or lengths as well.

Beauticians new to a salon often offer their services free-of-charge via (under ‘free’ in the ‘for sale’ section). Also, new salons opening up in NYC want to showcase their talents by offering free services to the public. They often do so on Craigslist as well.

If you prefer a professional beautician, you can get amazing deals at salons or spas on one the many sites out there — Groupon, Lifebooker, Living Social, etc. The one thing to remember is to read the fine print, check out reviews on Yelp or another user-rating site before purchase, and be cognizant of the expiration date! Some of the offers expire rather quickly, but oftentimes you can use the face value of the coupon toward a service even after its expiration date.

To further your hair knowledge, here are a few books in the Columbia Library Stacks:

Author: Sherrow, Victoria.

Title: Encyclopedia of hair: a cultural history / Victoria Sherrow.

Published: Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2006.

Location 1: Barnard Reference (Non-Circulating)

Call Number: TT957 .S46 2006

Location 2: Butler Reference, 301 Butler (Non-Circulating)

Call Number: R391.5 Sh57

Author:Keyes, Jean.

Title: A history of women’s hairstyles, 1500-1965.

Published: London, Methuen, 1967.

Location: Offsite <Avery> (Non-Circulating) Place Request for delivery

Call Number: AK4870 K52

Author: Niemoeller, A. F. (Adolph Fredrick), 1903-

Title: Superfluous hair and its removal, by A. F. Niemoeller … with a foreword by M. H. Marton, M. D.

Published: New York, Harvest house [c1938] 1939.

Location: Offsite – Place Request for delivery within 2 business days

Call Number: RL91 .N4 1938