How to Save Money at the Salon

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Salon visits tapping you out? New York City hairstylist Patrick Melville suggests some money-saving measures.

Master class: If you can't always afford to see a top stylist on a regular basis, book follow-up appointments with a junior person he or she has trained. The architecture of the cut will remain in place for at least six months — after that, go back to the master.

New bang theory: A fringe shaping or "dusting" (which most stylists offer for free) revives a cut, opens up the face, and can therefore help stretch out the time between appointments. An expert cut on long hair can look fresh for up to three months, but short hair is a little less forgiving.

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Try before you buy: Prior to committing to a haircut with a pricey new stylist, go for a blow-dry first. You'll get an inexpensive sample of his taste — and personality.

Skip the tip! Really. If you book a session with a salon owner, you don't need to tip him. And don't overcompensate by overtipping his assistants; $5 to $10 each should do it.

Condition yourself: Glazes, like Clairol Shine Happy, can enliven dull color between visits without changing the tone.

Color at home: Some pros send clients home with a small batch of customized color and detailed instructions for root touch-ups.

Get highlights: They're easier to maintain and, hence, cheaper overall than single-process color, particularly if you choose shades closest to your natural one.

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