How To Half-Ass Your Hair: Tricks For Saving Time And Money At Home And In The Salon

I realize there are plenty of times that you’d be more than happy to go to the salon and leave the work to somebody else, but it requires more bank than you have to spend. There are ways to meet in the middle.
Publish date:
September 29, 2013
lush, saving money, DIY, clean hair, salon, m-rated

Hair and beauty stuff can totally be fun. Other times, it can feel like work/maintenance/fuck-it-I-don’t-HAVE-to-shave-society-just-WANTS-me-to-shave bullshit. But through a combination of laziness and/or resourcefulness there are some ways that you can just put in a portion of the effort you’d normally need to and still get a semblance of the results you want.

I realize there are also plenty of times that you’d be more than happy to go to the salon and leave the work to somebody else, but it requires more bank than you have to spend. There are ways to meet in the middle in that sense, too.

In the salon, when I’m doing a blowdry on someone, a lot of people sigh and tell me they could never do this at home. And I almost always counter back that I can’t do to my own hair what someone else can do to it, because it’s true! You just don’t have the same angle and overheard perspective on yourself as someone else standing over you with a blowdryer does, let alone the patience with yourself to go through the whole shebang and smooth your hair out section by section.

So most people who like their hair blown out straight tell me that when they try at home they start out kind of strong, but end up losing patience and going for broke with their hands just trying to get their hair dry by the end. And for a lot of people “by the end” means the top sections of your hair -- which are actually the sections that need your attention the most, if not the only sections that really need it.

So to halfass a smooth blowdry on yourself, flip flop those steps. Towel dry your hair well and run any product that you like through. Section your hair a couple of inches from either side of your part and secure with a hair band, a Chip Clip, whatever you’ve got handy. Then, if you have the time. let your hair dry naturally for a bit -- or skip ahead and just start “rough drying” the rest of your hair with your hands.

Rough drying is pretty much what it sounds like -- get in there and just get it done. If you like your hair on the sleeker, flatter side, do this upright with the nozzle of the dryer pointing downward. Or if you like to have more volume, flip upside down and go to town.

Once you’re pretty much dry, it’s time to put some focus on the hair you’d previously sectioned out. Using whatever you’re comfortable with, ideally a round brush for volume or a paddle brush for sleek hair, get out the elbow grease and use some tension on this part of your hair by gripping it in the brush you’re using and following it with the blowdryer, over and over until it’s totally dry. Leaving it even a little wet will attract moisture from the air and cause frizz, which I don’t think is necessarily the enemy people make it out to be but isn’t usually the goal here.

Once those sections are dry and pretty, just double check that you sectioned out enough so the top layers of your hair are falling over and hiding everything that you rough-dried, and go over spots with the brush and blow dryer if need be (you may want to check your hairline for any little curlies), then go out there and be somebody!

Remember, the goal here is not to be perfect, but to give yourself a totally satisfactory blowout without sweating and having your arms kill and freaking out about what the back of your head looks like. You look great! The rest of us are all too busy worrying about our own weird bangs to notice yours anyway.

Another way to cheat a little and maximize your time doing other things is to use dry shampoo on days where you thiiink you should probably wash your hair but you don’t feel like it. I know this has already become a staple for a lot of people, but judging from clients I talk to in the salon, an equal amount of people are a little confused as to how to apply dry shampoo, and are worried that it’s going to leave a tell-tale powdered wig-y cast to their hair.

I feel like the most “Ohhh, I get it” moments for people happen when I grab a can and demonstrate on myself, so I made a little video to show you guys how I use dry shampoo, which I do constantly. I’m sorry that you can hear my dog crying at one point; he wanted some dry shampoo for himself. I took care of it when I was done and now he doesn’t have to wash his hair before work tomorrow.

Now in the salon, I find that issues of money and time come up a lot, and there are ways to work around those and still basically get what you want. Again, I’m talking about ways that you can compromise, so something has to be sacrificed. It might mean you can’t get as many highlights as you want this month but the bottom line is, you’re still getting professional highlights. I’m going to roll with that analogy right into my first point.

Let’s say that you’d like to get partial highlights, which traditionally means the top of your head along the part and down either side of the hairline, but it’s not in your budget right now. Ask your stylist if they could just put in a few highlights, perhaps just along your hairline and at the front of your part, and let them know what your budget is. A lot of salons have a set price per single foil, and let’s say that it’s $5. If you tell them that you have $30 to spend, 6 foils are certainly enough to brighten up your face.

It can feel awkward talking about money with your stylist since a lot of people are so used to just settling up with the receptionist -- it feels like the business is up front, and the chair is for personal stuff. But at the end of the day, what you’re paying up front is a direct result of what your stylist does, so feel free to speak to them clearly about money.

From personal experience, I’d much rather make sure I’m on the same page with a client money-wise rather than to say goodbye to them and find out they were surprised by the price from the receptionist. Just make sure that you and your stylist discuss this before you make your appointment so that the timing gets booked correctly. I totally understand scheduling a partial and figuring that if you come in and decide you just want a few highlights that it’s fine because they’ll have plenty of time, but running significantly early like that can mess up our schedule just as much as running late does.

Another way to cut corners on time and money is potentially blowdrying your hair yourself after a color service as opposed to having your stylist do a blowout on you, provided your salon allows it of course. A lot of salons offer their services a la carte, meaning that color services are their own category and have their own prices separate from styling (blowdry, curling, ironing, etc.) services. You have the option to pay for a blowdry after your color or, more importantly for the purposes of this article, not to.

In my salon if you decide that you’d rather just blowdry your hair yourself after color, an assistant will set you up at a free station with any products that you want, or that you ask us to recommend, and a blowdryer, brushes, whatever you need. If you’d like to just run a comb through your hair and run because you’ve got a busy day that’s totally fine, too. A lot of clients who come in frequently for regrowth touchups decide to save the fancy blowdries for their haircuts (which should almost always be included, because 9 times out of 10 your hair needs tweaking after it’s dry) because they’re in every 3-4 weeks and that would definitely add up.

Something that happens much, much less frequently but is worth mentioning -- and again, as with everything that I’m referencing as happening in-salon, talk to your stylist first and make sure this is something the salon is willing to offer -- is getting just a partial touchup on root color. I think I’ve only done it on 2 clients because it’s not super ideal and it ends up catching up with you. But if you’re in love with your hair color but can’t afford to get it touched it up as often as you need to, your stylist may be able to just apply color to the super obvious areas, like your part and all around your hairline, for a reduced cost.

You’ll eventually need to get a full touchup again because at a certain point you’re going to have crazy regrowth you can’t hide anymore when your hair moves, and your stylist may have to charge extra for needing to mix more color than usual -- which is what I mean by this eventually catching up with you. But if you just can’t afford it this month and you have something coming up that you’d really like to look fresh for, it’s worth asking about.

Do you guys have any other ways that you’ve been able to save some time or money on appearance-based nonsense? I’ve been using the coagulated foundation that collects at the top of the bottle as concealer under my eyes instead of hunting for a new one, which I’ve convinced myself is genius and not gross.