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A good hair day

May 7, 2010
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Hair can be almost as vital in your appearance as what clothes and accessories you wear. A good hair cut can boost your confidence, while a bad one can make you wear a hat, headband, or whatever for weeks. I’ve dabbled with a whole range of haircuts in my lifetime. When I lived in Chicago, I went to my mom’s salon. During my time in Georgia and Virginia, I hit up various Great Clips and Hair Cuttery locations. While I never found fault with those budget hair cuts, I have now stumbled upon what is quite possible the best fusion of a high-end salon and a cheap trim.

If you live near a big city, chances are there is a hair cutting school near you. These schools are full of young and eager students that are available for high quality, yet low priced salon services. Thanks to the recommendation of my roommate, I’ve been getting my hair done at the Paul Mitchell School in Tysons Corner, Virginia for the last year or so. There is an Aveda Institute in D.C. as well, which offers the same services, but I’m a Paul Mitchell convert for the moment.

Pretty much any salon service you want, you can get at one of these schools. Whether it’s a hair cut, dye job, highlights, or perm, these students get the job done — at a fraction of the price. A haircut is 12 bucks. Yes, you read that right. 12 bucks. When these students get done with school, that same haircut will be at least four times that amount.

Now, I was wary at first about letting a salon student cut my hair. Would I let a med student do a discounted surgery on me? Eh, probably not. But the comforting fact is that they don’t even put a scissor near your hair until they get the OK from the teachers that lurk around. These learning leaders as they are called are always within arms reach for questions or concerns, so I feel safe entrusting my tresses to the novice stylists. Heck, I had enough faith in them I let them highlight my hair a week before I was in my good friend’s wedding (Bonus: It cost only 50 bucks. Win). They make you sign a waiver when you first get there for your appointment saying a teacher will fix your hair if it is wrong, but a lot of my friends go there and no one has ever had a problem.

There is one downside, however, of these place. It takes foooooorever so keep that in mind when scheduling an appointment. I think a regular hair cut for me took about 90 minutes from start to finish (granted, I do have a lot of hair) while the coloring and cut took more than four hours. But it is worth it, and I can’t see myself ever going someplace else. You get a salon experience without the price tag.

So use your Google machine and look up to see if there is a school near you. Your wallet (and hair) will thanks you.

Oh and here’s a pic of the highlights for reference (if you can tell). My hair was pretty dark before I got them.

No joke, the girl who did my hair apparently did so good on my highlights she got promoted to the next “grade” after only being at the school for a month or so. I’m glad I could help.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 16, 2010 9:38 am

    Really, I am SO glad you posted this! People so often forget about upscale schools with lower prices than upscale salons! I’m currently a student at a Hair Design school (exclusively hair, not all cosmetology) and in about a month I will be going on the floor to practice my skills on real clients. The great thing about our schools (Paul Mitchell, Aveda, where I am now and the like) is that we receive very intense training in cuts, color, styling, etc before we ever go on the floor. And even when we go on the floor, we will still be taking courses and learning from the best in the industry every morning. And while I’m sure there are horror stories, I can count at least a few of my own horror stories from professional stylists who’ve been working for years. Many people might be put at rest that we do have to test out in order to take clients. 🙂 After all, we are the people who will be working in those upscale salons so, especially if you get a student in a higher phase, you are getting professional service for a fraction of the price

    Your hair looks great – thanks for supporting students!

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