I paid a visit to Hairspray an entire sim made up of different hair stores. There is one whole store made up entirely of free and nearly free items.
The hairstyle on my left is from Sinsation one of the stores in residence. They have a few boxes of inexpensive items in here also. The 'do' on my left is from a box of items fro L$1. The box contains 8 different hairstyles in a bunch of different colors.
A word about free hair. Quite often, not always, but often, free hair is from an older style or the beta version of a style that has since been improved. So although getting free hair is a good reason to start at a store, it is worth it to splurge on some brand new hair once in awhile because the techniques for making it improve dramatically.
I am brushing out yet another lovely hair from the sinsation box. The bikini is from a freebie box found on the main hairspray freebie store.