If you’ve ever tried cutting your own hair, you’ll know the value of a decent hairdresser. But, a trip to a hair salon in London can cost upwards of £100.00, especially if you’re having any kind of additional treatments or colours. But before you reach for the clippers and YouTube hair tutorials – check our guide to cheap haircuts in London.

Hair modelling opportunities

The best way to get a top-salon hair without the top tier price tag is to sign up to be a hair model. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to stand up and show off your new do in front of an audience (although some people still do live hair modelling). These days, you just need to put your head in the hands of a newbie.

Several top salons have training academies or hair model schemes which will save you a lot of money. And if you’re nervous about trusting your locks to a trainee, don’t be. Hair modelling cuts are checked and supervised by senior stylists.

Depending on what you’re doing, you may need to set aside 3-4 hrs for your appointment, so it’s a good thing to do on a day off. You’ll usually need to send a headshot ahead of your appointment too, and check out each salon’s advice on doing a patch test if you’re getting colours done.

Salons that offer cheap haircuts in London include:

Toni & Guy Hair Academy, New Oxford Street

Hair appointments at international hairdressing salon Toni & Guy usually start from £55.00. But, if you sign up to be a hair model at its London hair academy, you can get a haircut for as little as £10.00 and full highlights for £40.00. Appointments are available at either 9:30 or 1:45 Mondays to Fridays. Book an appointment on their website.

Vidal Sassoon Academy, City of London

Another of the major London hair academies, Vidal Sasoon also offers cuts and colours at a fraction of its regular prices. It costs over £100.00 for a Sassoon cut & finish with one of its top stylists, so it’s worth taking a punt at Sassoon Salon City if you have a few hours to spare on a weekday. Like Toni & Guy, times are also 9:45 or 1:34, the price list starts from as low as £3.00 (for men, possibly because they’re looking for more male hair models). Otherwise it offers concessions for students or nurses with valid ID at a cost of £5.00, then it’s upwards of £15.00, but highlights and lowlight (half head) will only set you back £40.00.

hair dresser trainees
The glamour of being a hair dresser model | Photo by Getty Images

Hob Academy, Camden

Hob Academy has two training schools with model slots. The apprentice academy offers a more pared down menu, but it’s ideal if you just want a basic tidy up, root touch up or overall colour treatment. For anything else including balayage, bleach, ombre, highlights etc then it’s better to book in with the Hob Graduate Appointment.

It’s also currently the cheapest place in London to be a hair model. Haircuts and blow dries are free, and only £20.00 for colours. Hob Apprentice Academy appointments are available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9:30am or 1:30pm, and Hob Graduate Academy appointments on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at 9:30am, 11:30am or 1:30 pm. Visit the website for more information and to book an appointment.

Hari’s, Chelsea

King’s Road salon Hari’s also has a training academy, where you can get your hair done for a snip. Hair model cut and blow dry prices are £7.00 for men’s haircuts or £10.00 and full head highlights cost £35.00 and you can make an appointment via an online form. Appointments tend to book quickly, and timings depend on the junior stylists’ availability.

Try a barber instead of a hair salon

Aside from the incredibly frustrating cost difference between men and women’s haircuts, hair salons are typically more expensive than barber shops. But, depending on the hair style you’re after, choosing a barber could save you a few quid. You’re more likely to be able to have a dry cut at a barber’s too, so you can save money (and time) by skipping the wash and blowdry part. They’re better suited to shorter, simple cuts, but it’s not all just men’s short-back-and sides and a lathery shave. London has a growing number of gender neutral barbers, including these:

Barber Streisand, Farringdon

As well as razor-sharp pun skills, unisex barbers offer up dry cuts for affordable prices. That said, the Farringdon barber is only really cheap if you’re going for a buzz cut, which can be done in 15 minutes for £13.00. Standard, traditional cuts will set you back £29.00 and a ‘hefty haircut’ – defined as skin fades, longer hair cuts or a restyle costs £38.00.

Open Barbers, Islington

Open Barbers offers a good range of hair services, is queer and trans friendly and has a decent pricing structure. It offers a lot of the same services as a traditional hair salon, including colours and Afro-textured hair styling. As it’s also a social enterprise, prices are on a sliding scale and includes a Pay-What-You-Can option, but the cheapest standard price is £15.00 for a 30 minute haircut.

Barbarette, Hackney

Gender neutral Barbaberette is a little closer to a hair salon, than a traditional barbers in that you can get a wash and blow dry and see a stylist. The price list is rather extensive, but broken down by hair length and styling requirements i.e long to short, past the shoulders, mid length. The cheaper options are for Junior stylists, but senior appointments are around £40.00£50.00, which is still less than most salons. Barbarette also regularly looks for hair models, and appointments are available for a donation of £5.00.

Deal and voucher websites

Another way to get cheap haircuts in London is to check out online deal and voucher sites like LivingSocial, Groupon or Treatwell. Treatwell is more tailored to hair and beauty treatments as opposed to general deals and vouchers. The easiest way to find a low-cost hair appointment is by downloading the app, and you can filter by location, date, price and discounts. There are lots of deals in central London, but you should be able to find deals in your local area too. Vouchers can save you between 15% and 75% of the standard salon price depending on the deal.

Change up your hair salon for new customer offers

This one can be tricky, if you find a hairdresser you like, it’s hard to go elsewhere. But, if you’re willing to mix things up every now and then, you may be rewarded. Many salons offer a new customer (or new client) discount, where you can save between 10% and 50% off on your first visit.

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