(£8.50 = US$11 or €10.)
I was back in England recently, and one thing I find hard when I’m in a new place is to find a good hairdresser. I’ve had some real hair disasters the past few years as I’ve moved around a lot. I wasn’t going anywhere near my ‘go-to’ hairdresser in England on this trip, so I looked up an old hairdresser from my second stop, a city where I worked for many years.
He’s now a salon manager (he’s done well, good for him!) but a cut and blow dry with him would cost over £70. Yikes!
Having dismissed that as being way beyond my budget I then decided to have a look for a hairdresser in the first town where I would be staying, a place I had never visited before. Looking around Google maps at the town, I spotted a Further Education college. (For readers across the Pond I think you call them community colleges, but I may be wrong. In Britain that’s where you can go at 16 to study vocational subjects like catering, construction trades and hairdressing.) So I had a look at the college’s website – they do hairdressing and have a salon!
I fixed up an appointment; a cut and blow dry is £8.50 with a Level 2 student, and £10 for Level 3. I was very limited in the range of appointments as there are only a limited number of lessons in the salon – this is after all a teaching environment where students get to practice their skills on real clients.
I went along there on my appointment day and it was a nicely designed salon. I think that the 18 year old Level 2 student who cut my hair will do well in her career; she was friendly and outgoing, but applied great care and attention to the task in hand. As with other FE college appointments I’ve had in the past it took an hour and a half, longer than high street salon appointments, but these students are learning so you do need to allow extra time and have some patience.
The tutor listened in to what I told the student about what I wanted done, and she made sure that the student knew exactly what she needed to do. At regular stages in the cut, the progress was checked by the tutor. In addition to a cut, I asked if I could have my hair texturised to take out some volume; this is an advanced technique so once my hair was dry, the tutor did the texturising and it gave the student a tutorial in advanced cutting.
The final result was brilliant! It’s win-win all round – I got a great cut, the student got real-life practice and the college got some extra income.
High street salons are a lovely environment, but so expensive. If you need to cut back your budget it is worthwhile to consider a college for your hairdressing; I have never been disappointed with a college cut. Many colleges do beauty as well as hair, so if you feel that you have to give up your manicures or back massages, you could consider your local college for an occasional treat. Colleges that run catering courses often have restaurants too, where you can get a meal for a very reasonable price – though maybe not at weekends. Do check out your local college for what they offer, you might be surprised.
If there isn’t a college near you, there are many competent hairdressers who work from home, many do so as they have caring responsibilities for children or other relatives. My go-to hairdresser was a senior stylist at a top salon but she created a salon at home after having her youngest child, and her technical expertise is first class. A cut and blow-dry with her costs £25 – her cuts in the salon used to be about £70. No contest.