If you have ever contemplated getting hair extensions, you might have made it one step into the process before you realized they were waaaay out of budget. And if you never have, well, they’re EXPENSIVE, like, thousands of dollars a year expensive.
For content creator Bryn Elise, one appointment for three rows of 22-inch hand-tied extensions cost $4,450 at her US salon.
After realizing it’d cost $4,450 to get her “dream hair,” Bryn did some research and found it would actually be cheaper to travel to Turkey to get extensions put in — airfare, hotel, and service included — than for just the service in the United States. Now, in a viral video, which has been viewed over 10 million times, Bryn is showing people why she does it.
“This all started last year when I received an email from my US salon letting me know that they were raising the prices of the extensions I get to $4,450. So, I decided to do a little shopping around and realized a lot of the hair inspo photos I’d saved on Instagram were from this absolutely world-class stylist who lived in Turkey… I slid into his DMs to get a quote, and tell me why this man said he would do my dream hair for $500.”
Of course, I was a bit skeptical that an entire European vacation including a hair extension service would be less than just getting extensions done at a local US salon, but Bryn broke it allll down. She said, “If I am strategic with my travel dates, I can find roundtrip tickets to Istanbul for around $700–$800. You can get gorgeous apartments in Istanbul for less than $350 a week on Airbnb, so that’s what I’ve done the last couple of times. Food prices can vary, but you can get a meal in a nice restaurant for under $10!”
In the comment section of Bryn’s video, many were quick to point out that extensions require more maintenance than just the initial install. And they’re not wrong — when hair grows, extensions either need to be moved up or replaced, which requires visits to the salon every 3–4 months. This means Bryn has to visit Turkey about three times a year, which amounts to roughly $5,250 a year.
Now, people in the comments are taking notes for their next hair appointments and vacations:
Commenters even laid out other places that offer cheaper beauty services, like knotless braids that purportedly only cost $20–$30 in Guyana:
Most people are probably not spending this much on hair, but Bryn’s video has led to a greater conversation about the concept of “beauty tourism,” whereby people travel to countries where their dollar goes farther for cosmetic services like hair, skincare, dental work, and tattoos. Other TikTokers have shared their experiences with skin clinics in South Korea, and Bryn has also documented her trips to Thailand for dental work. Now, she’s proposing group beauty tourism trips for those who’d like to potentially travel and save on accommodations together.
Even so, Bryn still had a few reminders for people thinking about beauty tourism. “The most important thing to remember when booking services abroad is to do your research. Whether you get these services in the US or abroad, there is always going to be some risk. Read as many reviews as you can, reach out to providers for virtual consultations, and always make sure you have travel insurance.”
What are your thoughts on beauty tourism? Would you ever go abroad for your haircare or beauty services? Let me know in the comments below!