Beauty school haircuts are one of the easiest ways to save on haircut costs. My regular stylist charges $60 total, including tip, for a wash, cut, and blow-dry. In the past, I've tried to stretch out the time in between cuts, but I realized that my hair looks much neater and healthier when I get a cut every three months. At $60 a pop, the expenses add up quickly. Fortunately, I have realized that I can get something similar for just a fraction of the cost at a beauty school.
At the beauty school I went to, a cut is $12 by first-year students and $15 by second-year students. My cut took about an hour and a half, including a very relaxing wash, the actual cut and then the styling at the end. A teacher walks around the salon and supervises the students. My stylist was a chatty petite lady who apparently was a very good student - when she asked the instructor to examine my layers, the instructor measured my hair on both sides and made sure they were even, but she didn't have to fix anything.
At the end, I gave my stylist a $3 tip, bringing the total cost of my haircut to $15, or a quarter of what it had cost at the salon I used to go to. I really love my cut, and to be honest, I couldn't tell a difference in the result between what the student did and what my very talented stylist had done.
Still, beauty school haircuts aren't for everyone. If you go, you should:
Know Thyself You can get a bad haircut anywhere, but at beauty schools the chances are greater. Even though students may be well-trained, they are still less experienced than stylists working in salons. If the prospect of a less-than-perfect haircut makes you feel sick to your stomach, then beauty school haircuts aren't worth the stress.
Be clear about how you want your hair to look. If you don't communicate what you want, the student may exercise his or her right to be creative.
Have a flexible schedule. Most schools only cut during school hours (i.e. during the work day), although some schools have night-time classes. If night sessions are offered, they may fill up quickly.
Understand you can't have a specific student. If you go to a school once and you love your stylist, that student can very well have graduated by the time you come back for another cut.
Have patience. My cut was straight-forward: simple round layers and two inches to trim off the ends. It still took an hour and a half from start to finish. Many times the student has to wait for instructor approval before he/she can move on to the next layer. If the beauty school had been busier, it may have taken even longer.
Be realistic. If your hair is very curly, very damaged, or has a texture that stylists have not cut well in the past, don't risk beauty school haircuts. Go to a trusted stylist.
Relax (at least a little). In the end, it's just hair! As long as they don't burn it off or give you a drastic bowl haircut, a bad cut can always be fixed. Enjoy the process - and the savings!
$7 beauty school haircut [Sense to Save]
Get your free haircut [Living the Cheap Life]
Saving money on haircuts [Saving Cents with Sense]