Ugly times for beauty

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Stacy Hill isn't seeing her regular clients as often as she did. Once a week has turned into every other week for the stylist at Famous Hair on Washington Road.

On a regular basis, clients tell her they are struggling financially. They must choose among getting their hair done, putting gasoline into their car and buying a gallon of milk, she said.

"It can't be like this forever. For me, it has to be a walk of faith," Ms. Hill said.

At Moon Nails on Washington Road, employees were doing one anothers' nails to pass the time.

"It's slow. People don't want to pay anymore because gas is so high," said manager Tina Ha.

Traffic started slowing down three months ago, she said, and the customers who are coming in are seeking cheaper services -- manicures instead of acrylic nails.

"People don't tip anymore," said supervisor Danny Nguyen. "They tip less or not at all."

The business is also getting hit with increasing supply prices. Prices have doubled because of rising transportation costs and are expected to increase again next month, Ms. Ha said.

Teniesha Joyner now visits her hair stylist's home because the stylist could no longer afford the chair rental at an Olive Road salon. She has found a way to keep up appearances and save some money.

"I started buying my own perms instead of using professional perms. That way, she doesn't charge as much," Ms. Joyner said.

On average, she pays $40 to $60 a visit.

"Although times are hard, I continue to go to my hairdresser because I support her," she said.

Mi Johnson's Hair World on Furys Ferry Road is surviving on bargain prices.

She considers "how much her clients can spend and be comfortable." A regular cut with a shampoo is $12; children pay $9.

"Even though some people have the money, people are scared to spend their money," Ms. Johnson said.

Marie and Juan Vargas, the owners of Styles on Washington Road, have also noticed that business is "somewhat slower."

"Some younger guys go buy clippers and cut their own hair," Ms. Vargas said. "Some people are stretching things out. They come when their hair is longer."

It isn't ugly everywhere in the metro area.

Halo, a salon and spa on Broad Street, has seen a steady increase in business.

"People still want to be aesthetically pleasing even though we're going through this slump," said owner Sarah Boyett.

Miranda Fox, a stylist at Modish on Broad Street, said some clients are willing to sacrifice in order to maintain their appearance.

"You would expect it to slow down because of the economy, but it really hasn't," Ms. Fox said. "I think that, for some people, it's part of their livelihood -- the way they look. They want to hold on to that as much as they can, if they have to not spend money somewhere else."

Hair stylists normally have slow weeks, but business is steady because "people want to feel pretty," she said.

"In this industry, it's normally slower in the summer. People are on vacation, so it's hard to say if it's from the economy," said stylist Sandy Moody, who works at His and Her Salon on Washington Road.

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or latina.emerson@augustachronicle.com.


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