Thursday, April 24, 2014

Would You Pay RM100 For A Haircut?

[As published on HERE]
How much would you pay for a haircut? RM15? RM35? RM50? RM100? Or even north of RM300, just to have a renowned hairstylist run his or her fingers through your hair?
With inflation on the rise, nothing is sacred anymore. We find ourselves forking out more money than we can afford. Prices increase, but our salary stays the same.
My beauty routine isn’t high-maintenance. I’d say it’s average – I try not to spend unnecessarily on novelty products or trends that don’t last. Partly because I’ve tried lots of products that don’t do what they promise, and partly because I don’t have that much to spare. Same goes for my hair. I cut it twice a year at most, and my hair colouring process usually involves roping in a volunteer who’s willing to spread icky-smelling foam colourant over my locks. Truth be told, I’ve been colouring my hair with DIY dyes for years now, and I don’t see any significant difference between the boxed versions and the salon versions.
Ever since I transitioned from long hair to a bob that’s a good 8 inches shorter, my haircare routine has been a breeze. But before you brush off this rant with a huff and think ‘pfffft what does she know, she has short hair!’, I would like to share my thoughts. My previous hairstyle took up quite a fair bit of my time and my financial resources. I was lucky to work in an industry that allowed me to try certain services for free from time to time, but finding a hairstylist who was willing to go the extra mile and make sure YOU liked the hairstyle instead of trying to force what THEY liked on you – it didn’t always come with the job.
My opinion is that it’s okay to pay a larger sum of money (say, RM75) for a good cut, but it’s definitely not okay to pay the same amount of money for sub-par skills disguised as a flashy package that’s been deliberately designed to mislead you.
There’s only a handful of experts whom I fully trust with my hair (seriously,I can count them with one hand). These guys are low-profile, down-to-earth and so amazingly awesome, I worship the ground they walk on. They’re not the high-flying ones who make it their life goal to rub shoulders with celebrities at every single event in town. They don’t put on airs and dress like goth-punk androids in leather jackets and skintight skinny jeans (and nope, they don’t wear eyeliner like the K-pop dudes).
I’m probably the worst customer on earth (because I only visit them twice a year), but I know a good cut when I see one. A good cut is supposed to look good from the get-go. It falls in place when you get up in the morning even when your hair’s all crazy and mussed up. All your need do to is run a comb (or your fingers) through it and you’re good to go. A good cut doesn’t go beserk on you after your first post-salon shampoo at home.  A good cut lasts longer than three months. Even when your hair is in dire need of a trim, the silhouette of the cut should still be there.
The painful truth is that if every customer was like me, and if every hairstylist was as worship-worthy as the ones I trust, then we’d have a major crisis on our hands. Hairstylists would only manage to earn a meagre sum of $$, because honestly – how many times can one have her hair cut in a year? That’s why some places train their stylists to give you great-looking cuts with a catch: they only last for 1 month, tops. You have to keep going back to maintain the shape, because when the magical first three weeks are up, your hair (excuse my honesty) looks like someone ran over it with a lawn mower.
I’ve heard horror stories about supposedly top-rated salons in town with a team of imported talent. Their services don’t come cheap; a basic cut costs about RM100, and a cut-colour-treatment package is RM600 (!!!!) If that’s not daylight robbery, I don’t know what it is. Most importantly, customers have complained that the haircuts are so badly done, they leave you looking half-bald because most of your hair’s been shorn off for an ‘airy, lightweight’ look that’s commonly seen in magazines. There are places that offer lucrative first-time promotions, and give you great discounts if you bring a friend. But at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, if they’re pushing for quantity over quality, are you getting your money’s worth? Does the level of skills tally with what you’re paying? Or is it just a ‘jump on the bandwagon’ thing because it’s THE place to have your hair done, regardless of how good/bad it’s going to look?

My point is: always be clear of what you’re paying for. Don’t fall prey to promotional packages that sound too good to be true. You might end up paying for extra add-ons and services that you don’t need, just because an unethical hairstylist needs to clock the numbers and push a sale. Know your hair well and be sure of what you want. Always do your research (and not just from the internet, because people can be paid to say good things with free services nowadays) and ask friends who aren’t afraid to be honest about their opinions.
Be a smart consumer.


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