American Morning

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March 17th, 2009
01:00 PM ET

Bad hair days

The roots are growing in. The extensions are coming out. And the era of super-expensive haircuts is now like your 401K—a thing of the past. This immutable reality has salon owners across the country biting their nails as more and more clients decide to skimp on beauty treatments.

“We haven’t seen it this bad in the 22-years we have been,” said the owner of the J.Sisters, a high-end salon in Manhattan, where hair extensions will run you anywhere from $1500 to $3000 and Brazilian bikini waxes (their specialty) are $75.

“People are scared.” It’s no better on the West Coast, according to stylist-to-the-stars Jose Eber. “I’ve been in Beverly Hills for 30 years and it’s never been this bad.”

Salon owners say that clients are stretching the weeks between treatments. “They don’t come as often,” said Eber. “Instead of 4-6 weeks, it’s 10-12 weeks.” And they’re cutting back on everything from blowouts to hairweaves.

“To save money instead of getting a full weave, now women are getting a few tracks put in,” said Yasmine Cumberbatch, a Brooklyn-based stylist. No surprise then that the do-it-yourself hair care products have also seen a bump in sales.

“You’ve seen growth in these categories in the five, six percent range as of late,” said Ali Dibadj, an analyst for Sanford Bernstein.

In an effort to pump up business, some proprietors are slashing prices. The J-Sisters have offered loyal customers discounts of up to 20 percent. At Ted Gibson salon a haircut can cost as much as $950 (crazy!), but on “Recessionista Tuesdays” cuts only cost $75. I am guessing you can do the math.

Filed under: Economy • Pop Culture
soundoff (One Response)
  1. LFS

    Gee, you mean people have figured out that the way they look pales in comparison to doing without food. Very interesting that this is even a topic. Get real folks, wash your own hair, let it grow long if you want it long and stop being so vain. This is a luxury that is long gone for most people already.

    March 18, 2009 at 8:19 am |