Expensive Holiday Hair for Less

Here, four tress traits that scream "money, money, money" — plus, how you can score them for a lot less.

model with long brown hair against a pink backdrop
(Image credit: Greg Delves)

What makes hair look expensive? We asked stylist John Barrett, whose exclusive, eponymous salon is located in Bergdorf Goodman, one of the chicest (and priciest) department stores in the world.

Here, four tress traits he says scream "money, money, money" — plus, how you can score them for a lot less.

1. High Shine

Expensive-looking hair is well-conditioned and never, ever frizzy, says Barrett. To keep his clients' strands extra-shiny, Barrett often has them come in for biweekly deep-conditioning treatments (at $60 a pop). Get similar results at home by using a daily leave-in conditioner and slathering on — then sleeping in — a deep-conditioning mask once a week.

Who's Got It: Jennifer Connelly

MC Recommends: John Barrett Bee Healed Serum Treatment Conditioning Hair Mask, $30

2. Natural-Looking Color

Now "natural-looking color" is not necessarily the hue you were born with, says Barrett. It's just a shade that looks so good on you, you should have been born with it. The secret? Keep your base within three shades of your real hue (something you can do at home with a kit). Then, if you want to really lighten, get highlights at a salon. Ditto to go red: "Brassy red [a frequent result of at-home coloring] is the enemy of chic," says Barrett.

Who's Got It:Beyoncé Knowles

MC Recommends: L'Oréal ColorSpa Moisture Actif Color Gel, $7.49

3. Simple, Chic Accessories

You'd never find a scrunchie on a socialite's strands, says Barrett. If you're going to wear your hair up or back, invest in a hair accessory that is leather, suede, or laden with jewels — materials that say, "This cost some cash." Many of Barrett's clients favor scarves from Hermès ($295 and up), but we've found less-expensive alternatives: a leather headband, a cotton printed scarf, and a (real!) croc pony wrap.

Who's Got It: Nicole Kidman

MC Recommends: Emilio Pucci cotton scarf, $45; Frédéric Fekkai genuine crocodile pony wrap, $80

4. A Classic Cut

Rich-girl hair is not overly trendy (a woman with expensive strands is unlikely to copy a sitcom star's much-coveted cut). Rather, moneyed locks are usually close to one length — but with a twist, like bangs or long layers. Also, since split ends would be a travesty, six-week trims are a must, says Barrett. To offset the cost, visit your regular stylist every 12 weeks, then pop by a chain salon for a tiny trim in between. It shouldn't set you back more than $20.

Who's Got It: Julianne Moore