When to Get Your Hair Cut at a Beauty College

Is the Discount Worth It?

Photo by Sharon Dominick/Getty Images

Every beauty professional started out in beauty school. We all nervously permed our first curls, highlighted our first streaks, and chopped our first locks under the watchful eye of an instructor. Most of us were nervous, and with good reason. As a former beauty school student, I always appreciated the brave souls that let us "practice" our infant skills on their hair. Without beauty school clients, I would have never gained the practical experience required to be a professional cosmetologist.

I whole heartedly support the idea of going to a college for a haircut. Besides saving some money, the experience you lend to the students learning is priceless. Here are some things you should know when choosing a beauty college for your next haircut, color, or perm:

  • Cost Savings. Yes. You will likely save money by going to a beauty school. Prices can be significantly reduced at a beauty school. You may want to do some price checking to understand how much money you will actually save, however, and determine if the savings will be worth it to your pocketbook.
  • Time Considerations. Be prepared to spend significantly more time at a hair college than you would at a professional salon. Students are learning. The learning process takes time. Your student will spend more time evaluating your situation, choosing a style or color, and going over these decisions with their instructor(s). The process of performing your service will take more time with a student than with a professional. It takes time to get fast at cutting and coloring hair. If your haircut normally takes a half-hour, be prepared to be at the college for an hour. If your color service typically takes two hours at your salon, don't be surprised when you are still in the chair three hours later. It's all a part of the learning experience.
  • Mistakes Happen. We have all been a student at one time or another. Mistakes can happen. No one wants to make a mistake, and trust me, your student will take it to heart if he or she doesn't give you exactly what you are looking for. Be patient and kind. Remember, part of learning to do great hair is learning to fix mistakes. If you are not happy with your service, or are uncomfortable with the way your service is going, speak to your student and/or their instructor right away and find a solution. Don't wait until your "trim" turns into a disaster. Be calm, yet assertive. Everyone wants you to leave the student salon happy.
  • Be Flexible. If you are really really fussy with your hair and expect perfection, a student salon may not be the right place for you. Bring a photo of your desired result. Communicate effectively. Remember, your student is new at this profession and you may have to experience some trial and error before you get your exact result.
  • Advanced Students. If the idea of a fresh student makes you nervous, ask for an advanced student when you make your appointment. These students have more experience in the student salon and will likely be more comfortable performing your service.
  • Ask Questions. If you're unsure what your student is doing, or you have questions about the procedures or products being used, ask. It will help you and your student feel more comfortable during the process.
  • Above All: Be Kind. I can't tell you how many times I cried in a corner at beauty school. There's a lot of pressure in making someone happy with their hair, and when your experience doesn't quite measure up to your burning desire, it can be very stressful. Let them know what you like, and if there is something that you're just not happy with, be kind when sharing your thoughts. It will help your student learn and become a great professional.


My student salon experience at Capri College of Cosmetology in Cedar Rapids, Iowa was one I will never forget. I enjoyed each of my clients, and have had the pleasure of continuing to perform hair services on them even after graduation. I learned to build relationships, and have made great friends that started right on the student salon floor. But, it is important to understand that getting a hair service at a student salon is not for every head of hair. Know what you're getting into and enjoy the experience.

How to Schedule a Beauty School Appointment
Typically an appointment can be scheduled at a beauty school by calling the school directly. Ask for the student salon and the receptionist can assist you in scheduling your appointment.