About four months ago, I got my hair cut and colored by the best stylist I’ve found in Orange County so far. And as the adage goes, you get what you pay for. It was a great haircut and hair color job that I really loved. But here’s the thing - I just can’t stomach the cost of getting my hair cut and colored every 8 to 12 weeks. Instead, I've figured out how to extend the life of a haircut so I only have to get my hair colored twice a year and cut 2-3 times a year. I’ve learned my lesson about trying to skimp on my hair maintenance. In an effort to save money on hair cuts and coloring in the past, I’ve opted to go to cheaper salons or the junior stylists instead of the more seasoned pros. I’ve paid for those decisions in the past with questionable haircuts and streaky highlights. Ick. These bad decisions generally meant I had to spend more anyway to fix the error. If you are like me and the sticker shock of high-end salons gets to you, I’ve figured out how to not sacrifice quality, but to extend the life of a haircut and hair color. Here are the tips I follow. Six Tips to Extend the Life of a Haircut and Hair Color 1. Pick a Pro Don’t waste your money on a $10 quick clips place or endless boxes of hair color. You won’t be very happy with the results, so you just threw that money away. Instead, invest in your hairstyle a couple times a year by choosing an experienced hair stylist who uses high quality products and color. Yes, you may experience sticker shock, but you will like the results so much more and the money you spend overall on a couple good haircuts each year will be about the same as a bunch of bad ones and wasted money on products you don’t like. 2. Choose a Simple Cut Choose a cut that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep to look fresh. Stick to bobs, blunt cuts or subtle layers that don’t require a lot of maintenance. Pixie cuts are adorable, but will require regular cuts and maintenance. 3. Go Shorter I'm not talking super short, but consider something chin-length to shoulder-length. Going shorter with the length is a good option because then the months in-between cuts your hair won't look too long or droopy. Plus, if your hair is shorter, you’ve gotten rid of the hair that's more damaged, which naturally happens as it gets longer. 4. Match Your Color Choose a color that is one to two shades darker or lighter than your natural shade and have your stylist do highlights/lowlights. If you choose a color that is too far away from your natural color, you will see a lot of outgrowth and roots. Highlights/lowlights work better than all-over color because they blend better and will show less roots. My stylist used a special technique where he colored my part my natural color and highlighted underneath where the top layer of natural-colored hair would fall. This way, even four months later, I have no roots, but still have the dimensionality of highlights that peek through. 5. Use a Gloss If you start seeing grays or you want to help blend your color, try a glaze or gloss. I like this gloss by John Frieda. It helps add a subtle richness to my color, blends previous color, and adds a crazy amount of shine. 6. Protect and Repair with Products If you have salon color, you should use a shampoo and conditioner formulated to protect hair color. For those of you who have dry or damaged hair, I suggest that you use a heat protectant when you blow dry and use styling tools on your hair. Once a week (or more often) use a deep conditioning product to help restore moisture to your hair. I also use a hair oil if my hair seems extra dry. With these tips, I went into my hair appointment with a plan that would extend the life of my haircut and color, and my stylist even pitched in with some suggestions. I’m really excited that over four months since my haircut, I still love the cut and color. I love how well the chin-length bob grows out and I’m so happy that my color isn't giving me any roots, like in the past. I hope these tips help you save money and make your hairstyle last. In case you missed it, here are my tips on getting the style you want. What are your favorite tips for extending the life of a haircut and hair color?