Thursday, December 6, 2012

Beauty: How to get Great Hair for Under $10

If you know me, you know that I like to feel good about my appearance for as little effort and money as possible. I don’t usually style my hair or wear a lot of makeup, but I’ll do the bare minimum so can feel good about the way I look. As a student especially, finding ways to make beauty cheap and quick is important to me, although not always easy!

Maite Perroni Hair Style

What I'm about to tell you might change your life. Are you ready? Are you sitting down?

Okay, good. I just wanted to make sure you were prepared.

The secret to getting great haircuts and color at a low, low price? Beauty schools. 

I know what you are thinking. How do I know if it'll turn out right? What if the student decides to shave off half my head?  Here's 4 reasons that going to a beauty school is totally worth it:

1. The Price Can't be Beat

The reason I first gave beauty school a chance was the price. A haircut can range from $6 to $15, and color, highlights, nail and skin treatments, and so on are equally cheap. That's right -- you can have an all-day spa trip if you really want to! But keep in mind, because the students are learning, the low price is sometimes balanced out by how long it takes from start to finish.

Although this price point falls in the range of some mega chains, I have found that the service is much higher quality, sometimes including free massages, and the quality of work is more consistent at the schools I've been to rather than chains. Which brings me to number two....

The Rocks Village Bizarre, XIX

2. It's Not as Risky as You Think

I was nervous my first time going to a cosmetology school rather than a salon, but every school I have been to has fairly intense requirements. First, the student practices on mannequin heads before ever touching a real human head. You will never, ever be someone's first-ever time holding a pair of shears -- and if you are, run to a different salon!

Even more important than training, each school requires the student to have the instructor check their work several times through the service. Before even touching your hair, the student will discuss with the instructor what you want, how to do it, and when to check up with the instructor. This has prevented hair disasters for me -- the teacher will sometimes take the reigns to correct a cut or show how to do a certain technique. Nearly every time I have left a cosmetology school, I have left happy with my hair.

If you are really concerned about getting the wrong person, check out some Yelp! reviews beforehand to see which stylists have rave reviews, or if a certain beauty school consistently dishes out bad results.

Another tip -- sometimes a school will have "level 2" students who are closer to graduation. At a slightly more expensive rate, you are almost guaranteed to achieve excellent results.

Most importantly, remember to discuss any issues you  have with the instructor before you leave! That way, they can offer a solution to any problem you might have.

If you are still skeptical, remember: You can get a bad haircut anywhere, no matter how high-end or expensive a salon may be. The main difference between a chain, a salon, and a beauty school is experience and, therefore, price... but experience doesn't always guarantee a successful visit. Just some food for thought!

3. You are Supporting a Small Business

A hair stylist must maintain their own clients and their income can be extremely inconsistent. Going to somebody at a beauty school can lead to a lasting customer-client relationship, which the stylist will be eternally grateful for! Even if you never go to the same stylist again, leaving a small tip is a great way to support someone who is trying to make it on their own.

Hair by Arpeggio: Hair by Amanda
My own hair done by Amanda D. at Ogle! Love it!

4. You are Not Committed to One Stylist

For some, this is a lifesaver, and for others, a deal breaker, but you are in no means required to go to the same stylist over and over again. If you ever feel awkward with small talk, find someone that you don't click with, or get a style you didn't quite like, this can be a huge relief because you are not obligated to see the same person again, whether they graduate from the school or you simply choose another stylist. Because of the nature of cosmetology school, it is unlikely for you to have the same student for years.

On the other hand, if you love your stylist, find out when they graduate and stick with them as long as possible. You  might even follow them to their first salon gig if you love their work. Win-win!

As you can see, although I haven't had perfect luck, I have loved my experiences with going to beauty school. If you're in the Dallas area, I love Aveda and Ogle (see Amanda D.!), and in the Houston area, Regency has always been good to me.

Have you ever been to a cosmetology school for a haircut or color? How did it turn out?

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