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You know it's bad when the L.A. hair salon is hurting

January 10, 2009 |  8:51 am

More women are giving up pricey treatments and putting off hair and nail touch-ups in favor of cheaper at-home maintenance.

Even in fashion-obsessed L.A., hair salons and nail salons are hurting in these bad economic times. The Times' Monica Corcoran reports:

"The weave is gone. Forget about it," says Rebecca Opong, as she leans on the counter of African Image Beauty Supply & Salon on Western Avenue. She sighs. "The economy is bad. Now, they all want half-wigs."

On this recent Saturday afternoon, the chairs in the corner hair salon of Opong's shop are empty, but a steady flow of customers slip in and head for a wall of Black Pearl and Magic Touch synthetic wigs and ponytails that run from $9.99 to $23.99. (A weave -- a process in which human or synthetic tresses are woven into natural hair -- usually costs upward of $200 and lasts about three months.) A teenage girl wearing a Fendi scarf on her head browses wigs with her mom. Both closely compare price tags. "See?" Opong says. "She's not getting a weave anymore."

Costly weaves aren't the only beauty fixes on the endangered treatments list in this bedraggled economy. Women who pruned and primped their appearances as precisely as orchid growers are suddenly overlooking their overgrowth. Bikini waxes? Ha. Weekly mani-pedis? The latest do-it-yourself hobby.

Photo: Irfan Khan/ Los Angeles Times (Beckielou Brown, left, and Nadia El Kholti Pettigreen pick out nail polish at Larchmont Beauty Center.)

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