Friday, May 15, 2009

Hair. Don't ignore it; it doesn't have to be expensive.

I'm speaking more to myself than any of you, I think--I have hair paranoia and a very small budget. I've had one too many bad cut over the years, so I'm instantly suspicious of every new stylist I go to--which is unfair to the stylist (mostly).

For me, it's like going to the dentist, but without all the pain (oh, but the pain will come later--I'm always sure of it). I dread the price tag, I dread getting a stylist who gives me a blank look and just nods a lot when I try to explain what I want--even as I'm pointing to the picture I brought with me. I dread the possibility of getting a stylist in a bad mood. Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit if your stylist seems grumpy--trust me on this. I dread the bad cut that I probably won't get, but that I'm afraid I will get--truly, I do have hair paranoia. I like my hair. I have pretty nice hair. I'm picky about my hair--probably too picky. And I don't want anybody to mess it up.

There's a not-small part of me that's a little like the Stuart character on the old Mad TV skit. On the inside, I'm all "LET ME DO IT!" And that's not terribly helpful, so I'm working on that.

So why this discussion of my personal hair psychosis? Well, it's a lead in, of course. I need my hair trimmed and my layers spiffed up. Honestly, I needed it done a few months ago. The situation is rapidly approaching "dire." Split ends? I'd rather not talk about that, thank you very much. As I mope around trying to decide exactly when and where to submit myself to the shears, I realize I'm probably not alone in wanting the best value for my money when it comes to salon services. That part I'm not paranoid about at all--there are some marvelous options out there that some of you may not be aware of.

We all know the budget-priced salons such as Fantastic Sam's and SuperCuts and Great Clips--get a cut and style for around $20, not including tip (yes, you DO have to tip--20 percent is the norm).

But there are other, better options. Pull out your yellow pages or go to of the greatest consumer review sites on the web, especially for restaurants, but hair salons will be covered, too--and search for beauty schools. Just about everybody has a beauty school in their town, or at least fairly close by, and they all offer extremely inexpensive styling services.

Don't recoil at the idea if you haven't tried before--they won't be turning Edward Scissorhands loose on you unsupervised. The stylists you get for these cuts will be advanced students at the end of their training (only then are they turned loose on real, live heads), all of whom are closely supervised by licensed instructors. It's probably one of the safest places to go for a haircut and feel confident that you'll come out with a great cut.

The prices for these services will range from $1o-20, and be prepared to spend a little time in the chair. The student is going to be extra-careful to get that cut just right, and will consult frequently with their instructor during the process. This is a good thing--just be patient and enjoy the ride.

As paranoid as I am about my hair (hey, I never said it was rational), I'm at least smart enough to know that I have one of the best stylists' schools in the country just down the road from me--the Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica is one of the most prestigious beauty academies in the nation, and I'll be sitting my fanny down for the 2- to 3-hour experience next weekend. It's a little more expensive there, so I'll be out around $25 (plus tip), but that's still a huge savings over the fancy salons here in Los Angeles.

Many of these schools offer a full range of salon services, so you can also get a great deal on highlights, color, perms--even facials and manicures in most cases. Call them up, ask about their schedule and pricing, and give it a try.

1 comment:

  1. Cool! I haven't thought of those beauty schools where one can get affordable but great haircut. And yes I wouldn't mind getting a great deal too with color and highlights. I'll browse online for help in finding those beauty schools nearby. Thanks for the brilliant idea!

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