Beauty schools: Dropouts or hidden gems?
We’ve all been guilty of splurging on a pricey haircut at some point — or quite often, as the case may be. Loyalty to your hairdresser, wanting the latest cut in a gorgeous, lush environment, or simply looking good for that interview are all valid reasons…. or so we tell ourselves.
I’ve been the recipient [victim?] of both the very good and the very bad, at both pricey and inexpensive establishments. I’ve even mixed my own color to hide those pesky grays via a bit of chemistry and a trip to Sally Beauty Supply. How far we go for beauty is usually a testament to how important our looks are!
So, I couldn’t resist trying out those pretty, brand-name salon schools — Aveda in Lakeview and Paul Mitchell in the South Loop/UIC ‘hood.
[Note: My Aveda experience was in 2005-6, but as these schools continually graduate new students, your results will vary regardless!]
First, my latest Paul Mitchell experience. I’m a fan of their products, and the beautiful building that stands out near the UIC auditorium. My wait was minimal, and I was greeted by a newish student. The supervising stylist suggested certain products for my hair and I had a refreshing, fragrant scalp massage along with my shampoo. It was relaxing even though the open-air plan made it buzz. The stylist went slowly, owing to his experience, I’m sure, and we had to stop the haircut repeatedly so it could be checked at each “stage.” I had a graduated, somewhat complicated cut, so this was an ongoing experience and I practically drained my almost-full phone battery to keep myself entertained! On the up side, the head stylist finished my hair and I became the “model” for the incoming students to watch while he worked his “magic.”
It ended up being a great cut, though I was somewhat worn out from sitting in an uncomfortable chair for 3 hours. The key here: It was $15 + tip! A definite steal for a great cut. Color services start at $27, which is also a steal.
Thriftista tip: Be sure to set aside a lot of time. They suggest 2 hours, but it can certainly go past that — and your parking meter! Bring a book, and make sure your phone is fully charged!