Great colour, less cash: Beauty schools rule

I used to drop $115 for a monthly salon hair colour, including tax and tip. That's mid-price for a downtown salon in my big city. Inertia and fear of a bad job kept me from scouting cheaper places.

Then I had lunch with Colleen, a glamorous honey-blonde. She told me she had her highlights done at the school of the local Aveda Institute for $55, "but it's going up... to $60" she mourned.
What? My friend Amanda drops $225 for hers.

Didn't I just get myself booked into the Institute's school (yes that sounds redundant, but there is a full price salon on the ground floor), where an earnest young woman made me red again for $31.25 including tax and tip. (They consider my service a root touch up though they pull the colour through to the ends as a final step.)

The quality of the haircolour is fantastic. I'm a rich, shiny redder-than-auburn and I plan to stay that way till I can't get up those stairs. Aveda Educators check the work with eagle eyes.

After five visits, I'm prepared to say I have more attentive, precise service from the students than I did from the bored club kid who applied my goo in the Salon That Shall Go Nameless.

My visit might take 30 minutes longer, while the Educator gently quizzes the student on the colour formulation, training her eye, and for the hand massage- fine with me.

If you don't have an Aveda Institute, try any hairstyling school or salon chain that trains stylists. I don't think there's much risk if you
have the colour you want them to replicate, or can bring a photo.

Next, I'm considering the
cut. I checked out the clients today, and they look fab. The Educator's on it, right there to be sure you're pleased. I'm dithering, because I will spend anything for a great cut, and a lousy one inflicts months of pain and self-recrimination.

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