It all started with a cliche desire to “change my hair to change my life”. The pin straight black hair that fell well below my waist started to feel more cumbersome than cool, but the $83.04 in my bank account I had cobbled together from my internship provided me little opportunity to do anything about it. As eager as I was for change, it seemed as though I was stuck with my boring old hair…
That is until I was scouted to be a hair model.
In a surprising turn of events, my long locks caught the attention of RUSK, a professional hair care and styling tool brand. They had been on the hunt for models for an upcoming demo at The International Beauty Show. In addition to getting a free cut and color from a master stylist, for each day that I modeled, they would give me an Amex gift card and a goodie bag of free products.
Just because I couldn’t drop $300 every few months at a salon didn’t mean that I couldn’t live the pampered life. Modeling for RUSK taught me that there are tons of opportunities to get your hair cut, colored, or styled for free or cheap if you’re willing to look. If you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to partake in what I believe to be one of the ultimate #lifehacks, check out my list of tried and tested ways to get salon quality services on the cheap:
1. The L’Oreal Professional Academy – Of all my hacks to get my hair colored for free, L’Oreal is my absolute favorite. They use high-quality products (L’Oreal Professionnel, Redken, Pureology, Matrix, Mizani, Kerastase, and Shu Uemura). They offer free hair color, styling, relaxer, and straightening services. You’re not really obligated to “model” your hair on a stage or runway; you simply come in and get your hair done just like a regular salon. Finally, they have the widest and most consistent hair modeling opportunities: Tuesday-Friday from 8am-4pm. The only caveat is that your hair needs to be collarbone length to get color treatments.
2. REDKEN – Though owned by L’Oreal, REDKEN has its own hair modeling program. The great thing about REDKEN is that they let you choose your location, so you’re not limited to the NYC area!
3. Bumble and Bumble – Yes, Bumble and Bumble, the high-end hair care brand that sells tiny bottles of conditioner for $32 offers free cut, color, and style services to hair models. They even give you a free product of your choice after your session.
4. Salon Apprentice – Bet you didn’t know there was a whole website dedicated to listing free salon listings! Salon Apprentice is a wonderful matchmaking site that allows stylists to post listings for their hair model needs, and people with hair to find free or heavily discounted opportunities to get their hair done. Since Salon Apprentice is open to stylists of all levels, you need be selective with who you model for. I highly suggest researching the stylist or salon before making any commitments, even if you have to ask them for pictures of their past work. This is how I discovered awesome opportunities for a haircut at Tokuyama Salon for only $25 and a free blowout at The Drybar in Tribeca.