Former Pop Princess Figures Out Frugal? Go Bald!



I think every woman should shave her head once in her life. I can say this, because I've already done it, so I'm off the hook now. It's a very liberating experience, feels really neat when you shower, and gives you a fresh start with brand-new, stress-free strands. Also, it saves you a bundle on styling products, because you really don't need anything, save a few tuques or baseball caps to stay warm. It's something that a lot of women do to support friends who are going through chemotherapy, and it can be quite the bonding experience for the shavees.

And of course, there's always the memory of the soulful, wailing Irish balladeer who made the look acceptable to begin with. Could Sinead rock that look or what? So, I lend my wholehearted support of chopping off one's locks and sporting a fuzzy noggin. It's a sort of rebirth for a lot of people. In fact, in many Asian cultures, you are encouraged not to cut your hair following the New Year Celebration — something about not cutting off the luck of the New Year.

Britney Goes Bald

Now, there are plenty of theories out there as to why Britney Spears shaved her head. K-Fed was threatening to test her locks for traces of illegal substances. She was going bald already because of all the terrible chemicals, weaves, braids, glue and whatnot she had been piling on her scalp for the last few months. That stuff can really destroy hair follicles. Maybe she's having a nervous breakdown — who knows?

Or maybe, just maybe, she wanted to save some dough.

A bald head has so many implications that it's tough to know what to make of Brit's Baldness. The military shears off recruit's locks during basic training, mostly for the purpose of creating an atmosphere in which none of the new arrivals is visibly superior to the others (hopefully enhancing a sense of community and subordinance). Head shaving has often historically been a method of punishment (The Inquisition and The Holocaust are two good examples of forced head shaving), or a way to prevent headlice, or both. In an ironic move, Neo-Nazis throughout Europe adopted the look in the 1970s, and bald heads still send mixed messages today.

Spending at the Salon

According to the British Daily Mail, the average British woman spends, over the course of her lifetime, £36,903.75 and 650 days on hair care. I've estimated that I spent over $5,000 on my hair over the past 6 six . A blog poll puts the number of women who spend between $100-$200 on a cut and color at 35% (as of February 21, 2007). I went on a date a few years ago with a man who was a bit older than me, made more money than me, and spent more on his colorist every month than I did on my rent. One date was all her got.

Blogger Fabulous Single Ma thinks that she can save $100 a month by doing the following:

1. Reduce salon visits from weekly to bi-weekly.
2. Consider new hairstyle or cut that requires less maintenance.
3. Extend touch up from six weeks to eight weeks.
4. Let hi-lites grow out.

Weekly to bi-weekly? A salon visit every week? I like FSM and all, but weekly visits to the salon are bloody insane! I'm not a great saver, and I'm not yet even close to frugal, but I never went to a salon on a weekly basis.

Women's Health magazine offered a breakdown on American hair spending that makes ME want to breakdown:

  • Percentage of women who don't own a blow-dryer: 5%
  • Amount spent on hairstyling appliances in 2005: $941 million
  • Price the American woman pays for a haircut: $42
  • How often she gets a trim: every five to nine weeks
  • Percentage of women who've never dyed their hair: 16
  • Most popular dye job: brunette

Aha, but there's more:

Number of women who've considered shaving their head: 1 in 5

So, it's not that unusual after all. One in five! That's 20% of the population. I'll bet it's higher than that, too.

According to a hilarious Time Magazine article from 1950(!):

American women is damaged by too much pampering, tinting and shampooing (all the things the beauty shops do to it). "The hair of European women is like a well-manured garden," explained one of the Fleischers solemnly. "The quality is good, but sometimes it doesn't smell too well."

There are even videos out there to help you figure out how it's done.

Doesn't that just make you want to take it all off? Even if you're not checking into rehab after months of stupid public behavior, you too can going fabulously follicle free! Let's all follow Britney's example (minus the drugs, divorce, and child neglect) and lop off our locks.

Well, the rest of you. I did that in college, and let me tell you, I have a really strangely shaped skull.

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Paul Michael's picture

...I know I've saved a ton of cash on hair care products, barber shop visits and all that jazz. But being a guy, it's a lot easier to pull off, especially as shaved heads on guys are in it seems. If a lady turned up for a job interview with a shaved head, and I was hiring, she'd get bonus points for being bold and original. And Natalie Portman looked cute as a button bald. 

Will Chen's picture

But I get a haircut for like $14.  =)

Andrea Karim's picture

You can rub all you want, Will, but I get mine for $10. It's just that it's probably not the same caliber as the kinds of haircuts that I used to pay for.

And imagine how much money you'd save over a lifetime if you were bald, eh? That's $8400 over 50 years. So, nyah.

Paul - I don't think it's a look I could get away regularly if I wanted to stay employed in my current industry. Then again, when I did it before, everyone agreed that I looked awful purty.

Guest's picture

The association with racist groups deterred me. Once it became more mainstream I shaved it. Not that I have to follow trends, but I wouldn't want to be associated with skinheads.

Many women have told me they wish they could shave their head. My answer, of course, is "what's stopping you?"

Maybe Britney is paving the way for common sense.

Some notes...

When I get out of bed in the morning, my hair looks fine.

If I get caught in the rain... looks fine.

Windy day... fine.

I can take a bath just before bedtime and not have to worry about going to bed with wet hair.

I can finally wear hats (before, if I put on a hat, I had to keep it on for the rest of the day because of "hat hair").

Hard to find a downside, except cold weather (which is mitigated by the above-mentioned hats).

Tannaz Sassooni's picture

i never thought i'd see those words.

Andrea Karim's picture

Most women I know love to rub a shaved head. I don't know if it would work the same for women, though. If I shaved my head again, I think most people would recoil from me. Somehow, a 22 year old gal can pull it off easier than a 30 year old one.

Jessica Okon's picture

I highly recommend this look for men who are hanging on to the last strands of hair.


Guest's picture

..... "I've already done it" .....

Are you saying you have already shaved your head!

Do tells us more .....

Andrea Karim's picture

I did. In college. No big deal.

Actually, it was the result of a horrible hair experiment gone wrong. The only thing left to do was shave it all off. I have a bumpy skull, it turns out.