The bond that most women share with their hairstylist wasn’t built in a day. The comfort and trust factor grows over time and it initially stems from your assessment of their credentials—great recommendations, a well-rounded portfolio and licensing that lets you know they’re qualified to style your hair. But in a sense, your initial visit to them was a risk. You didn’t know how they would deliver on your hair but because you heard great things about their work or saw a style that you liked, you decided to go for it. If you could get those same results for a fraction of the price or even for free, would you consider it? Even at the hands of a student in salon school?

There are several salon schools that offer the opportunity for you to be a model for training sessions or who offer very low rates if you allow students to style your hair as a part of a workshop. There as many horror stories as there are great experiences from people who frequent salon schools so be sure to do your research and make sure you’re comfortable before trying it out.

Check out this advice to help you along the way if you go to a salon school for your next ‘do:


Don’t stray away from Google when it comes to the process. Research local salon schools to figure out who teaches the classes and how they operate. Also, be sure to keep an open line of communication. Make it clear if you just want a trim or if you want a certain hue hair of hair dye used on your tresses.

Get referrals

Ask friends and others who have been to the beauty school for a hair visit for referrals. The first time I considered going to a salon school for a dye, I was accompanied by a friend who had gone several times before. She was able to walk me through the process and referred me to a very talented student stylist.

Be flexible

The length of the training sessions varies. Some could be a couple of hours long hile other can last up to a full day. Appointment times could also be changed at the last minute depending on the schedules of other models. If you’re not participating in a training session and just want a style, make sure you follow-up with the school to make sure you’re appointment time hasn’t changed.

Ask lots of questions

When you set up your appointment, ask questions over the phone. Ask about the process and see if what you’re told syncs up with the research that you’ve already done. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the student stylist about their experience as a stylist and how many training sessions they’ve done. It helps to build a level of comfort for both of you.

Where to go

Aveda, Paul Mitchell, Bumble and Bumble, Vidal Sassoon and several other major salons have schools throughout the nation and are always looking for models. An added plus is that they usually employ professional stylists who train the up-and-coming stylists on-site.

Would you ever get your hair done at a salon school? If you have, what was your experience like? What tips would you offer someone considering it for the first time?

-Margaret Francois

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