Salons that are good for your hair and your wallet
I take my hair seriously, but not that seriously. Generally when I visit a hairdresser I'm getting a "maintenance cut" whereby my aim is to come out looking more or less like I did when I walked in, albeit a bit neater. Maybe it was the GFC, or the fact that I went back to uni and started thinking like a student again, but eventually I began to question why I was paying in excess of $120 to get a simple wash, cut and blow-dry. Thus, I embarked upon a perilous search to find Melbourne's best budget hairdressers – that happy place somewhere between the complimentary green tea and footbath, and a madman wielding a gardening tool.
After some trial-and-error and emergency hat shopping I can happily present my top three - these are not the cheap and nasty of Melbourne's hairdressing scene, they are reliably good and provide the kind of value for money that will have you returning time and again.
107 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne 9670 8770 Mon-Sat 10am-7pm
Chinatown is a great place to start when looking for a bargain anything. There are plenty of hairdressers here but a few of them had me keeping a low profile for several weeks after the visit. One place that I have confidently returned to time and again is Shine. This sleek little salon is staffed by some friendly young Koreans who are sharp cutters and very hard workers – expect a satisfying head massage. Most of the stylists speak great English, but just to be safe if you are after something complex, bring a few photos or be patient while you explain what you are after.
On my last visit it was $50 for a ladies' wash, cut and blow-wave for medium length hair. Let your stylist know how you would like your blow-wave, these guys are super diligent and go the extra mile so if you say nothing they will take it upon themselves to give you Victoria Secret waves or some luscious curls. If you want to leave with just a plain straight blow-dry make sure you let them know.
I sent my husband to Shine last year and he's never been to another salon since. It's $30 for a men's style cut or $20 for a clipper cut. They also offer a full range of colour services starting at $80 for full or half head of foils and it is a great place for treatments and permanent straightening. It seems that Shine has developed an ardent following – while it's still possible to walk in during the weekday, in the evenings and on weekends you'll need to book in advance.
Shop 11/206 Bourke St, Melbourne 9654 1091 Mon-Thur / Sat 10am-8pm, Fri 11am-9pm, Sun 12pm-6pm
Sui operates two salons in Chinatown - both are big, glamorous and usually pumping along at a frenetic pace. Walk-ins are not really an option and even with a booking this place can sometimes run a little late. It is however my first choice when I've decided to do something drastic, like go from long to super short, get a fringe or an up-do. The men and women who work here all sport amazingly cool heads of hair and you might get inspired just by looking at them.
A ladies' wash, cut and blow-wave is $45 for short to medium length hair. Men's wash and style cuts are $35. A half head of foils starts at $120. A full range of treatments are also available.
Up-do's and extensions are done via a consultation and the prices vary according to what you are doing but they are competitive and the stylists take a lot of care to understand what you are after.
3P ANZ Building, 833 Collins Street Docklands (corner of Navigation Drive) 9041 5005
Mon/Tues 11am-6pm, Wed 10am-5:30pm, Thurs 10am-7:30pm, Fri 10am-6:30pm
Located in the basement of the ANZ headquarters in the Docklands this salon has a slightly corporate look and feel and lacks the air of indulgence of some others. But the salon facilities and equipment are all brand new and staffed by some lovely and very competent hairdressers. It's a good choice if you're not overly fussed with getting the relaxing and luxuriating experience and would rather just get the job done quickly and well.
At Hair Inc you have the flexibility of having a wash and cut with an unstyled blow-dry for $45, making it ideal if you are short on time or have no need for a styled finish. A wash, cut and blow-wave is $75 for medium length hair. A half head of foils starts at $100. Men's services are $20 for a wash and clipper or $45 for a wash and style cut.
It's a popular spot for a quick lunchtime or after work haircut for office workers around the Docklands, but at other times it's normally possible to walk in without an appointment. If you find yourself at the southern end of the city or shopping at South Wharf it's worth a detour here to get your tresses into order.
Thank you for this article. I had an absolute hair nightmare over the weekend involving two salons - I won't go back to either. Silver hair with yellow roots is not a good look :(
Shine sounds awesome for a cut and Sui for a colour - I might combine them to fix up the current disaster once my hair has had time to repair ;)
It is sometimes hard to find quality with an affordable price. Thanks again for taking some of the hardwork out for the rest of us!
I went last night and Han was extremely thorough! most hair cuts these days seem to be very quick and lacking attention to detail. I found Han to be a perfectionist! Also, highly rate the wash...comfy basin rests for your neck, a head massage... Gotta thank you Porscia, I've found the place I will return to. And only $45!
I have to concur with the comments on Shine. I've been to many salons but Shine Melbourne was hands down the worst I've ever experienced so much so, I walked out. No roll brushes were used to dry my hair which was done using a cold hairdryer. Then, when my hair was still wet, a hair straighter was used up & down the hair shaft repeatedly whilst my hair started to sizzle underneath.
I tried the salons above, they're very good and cheap, I've also read an aricle here people talking about this hairdresser name D'Artanain Dior. After reading many reviews about his work I decided to go and check this guy out. What a treat, AMAZING guy, lovely man, down to earth and really listens to what you want!!! not cheap compare to the salons above... but certainly worth the money, book ahead as I had to wait for three weeks to see him. I would definitely recommend him if you guys want to try someone new. Rebekka Louiseh-Preston
I went to Shine recently, one of the main hairdressers (Andy I think his name was), did a fabulous job cutting my hair and doing a very generous half head of delicate foils. He then left me with another girl to put a toner through (I wanted ash blonde). She made my hair blue. It was hideous and took 3 weeks to wash out. Plus they tried to charge me for it. To their credit I told them I wasn't going to pay for blue hair, so they only charged me the cut and foils. Honestly, if I could get him again, I'd go back for a cut and foils- just skip the bit where they trip over the last hurdle!
A&J Hair Trendz in South Melbourne. I straight up refuse to go anywhere else because Anna (the owner) is so darn talented. Plus, her prices mean you get the highest quality attention for incredibly reasonable prices. Everyone who has taken up my recommendation refuses to go anywhere else now too.www.ajhairtrendz.com.au.
After reading it decided to give shine on little bourke a try.
The place looks professional however only 1 person spoke english.
My hair was washed twice but that was the only positive. I honestly could have cut my hair myself and had the same result. After showing them the photo of what I wanted and tried to ask questions and direct during the cut I ended with an ugly haircut which only took 10 mins. When I asked at the end and showed the picture to the manager of how I wanted it they said "oh your hair is too short"
Haven't returned since because the haircut made me angry and disappointed and won't be in future.
Bit the bullet and went to shine on little bourke. Found them a bit unprofessional - seems like only one person out of the four staff can cut hair.
There was no consultation process. Just started cutting in silence. The hairdresser then left me half way through the cut to tend to someone else. A trainee completed the rest of my haircut and looked very uncertain of what she was doing.
The haircut is terrible. I paid more than $50 for the haircut and will probably need to pay someone else to fix it. Worst thing, I got a haircut to boost my confidence after a relationship break up and now i look worse!
I wouldn't recommend shine. In my opinion, good morning hair and CATS are much better. Staff are nicer and they are more up to date with their equipment.
Vivace by Charles on bourke street in the city is good as well.
I did my permanent hair straightening there a month ago. The guy knew what he was talking about. I am loving my hair now. I straighten my hair every 6-8 months and I have had my share of bad experiences.
I used to go to Mino Saloon on Elizabeth street, but they have changed owners and now everything is shit! They ruined my hair when I went there for a hair cut.
A few years ago - I did a lot of research into organic hair hairdressers who where well priced.
I use to pay over$300 for a trim, brow dry & colour now I pay between $90-$140 depending on what I have done. I found this great salon
Haircomb near south land - staff are lovely too
Wow, these seems pretty reasonable. Another salon right in the CBD was charging $220 for a colour whereas here its $80 for permanent colour. Thanks for the reccomendation. Perhaps the rent in the CBD pushes the prices right up? Not to mention if you've got a known and star hairdresser.