Every job comes with perks—maybe it’s status, money-saving discounts, training in unique skills, or introductions to prominent people in an industry. Some of the most fun perks I received were from a part-time mall job at Aveda.
Along with a substantial discount on as many hair products as I could carry, local Aveda salons offered complimentary haircuts and discounts on hair color services. I once figured that, in haircuts and color alone, I saved close to $1,200 per year. Because of these perks, I religiously got a cut and color every six weeks.
That was four years ago. My, how times have changed.
Due to scheduling and changing full-time jobs, I didn’t have any space in my life for a part time job. So, I left Aveda and the free haircuts behind.
In the past four years, I’ve become a beauty school expert, navigating aesthetics newbies and hair color know-it-alls alike.
I’ve learned a few things about saving money and getting good service for the standard beauty treatments.
- Ask how students are ranked. You’ll need to know what you’re talking about, so when you call up an unfamiliar-to-you school, ask how they rank students. Are they level one, two, or three? Or is it juniors and seniors, or even year ones and twos? Once you know how students are ranked, you can ask for what you want. And you want a late level two or a level three. These are students who’ve had some training and have worked on a few clients or fellow students, so you won’t be their first guinea pig.
- Call for an appointment at least seven days in advance. Other people want to save money too. So, they’re probably nabbing the appointments you want. Call in advance. For specialized schools, like massage school (especially really good ones), you’ll want to call about two weeks in advance.
- Prepare yourself for inexperience. You’re at a school, not the spa at the Ritz Carlton. These are students, so be prepared for services to take twice as long as they take at a salon—you’ll need to factor this in when making an appointment. Also, expect instructors to pop in and observe services. Instructors may even show a technique to the student by using you. You have to be flexible and remember you’re getting a haircut, leg wax or facial for a fraction of what you’d normally pay.
- Kissing frogs. There’s no other way to put this: You’re probably going to have to see several different students before you find the one that you want to request each time. Once you find him or her, congratulations! Now, you know you’ll have decent service for the next few months . . . until that student graduates. At that time, you’ll be forced to try a few more students until you find one that fits with you.
- Give feedback. One way to give feedback is to tip. Some schools don’t allow gratuities. But some do. Know the policies and plan accordingly by having cash on hand. Take advantage of voicing your opinion through any surveys the school provides. In session, don’t be afraid to speak up for what is or isn’t comfortable for you—students need this feedback so they can go on and be excellent aestheticians, or stylists once they graduate.
It’s not easy handing over a point of physical pride to a young, inexperienced clinician. Staying flexible, managing appropriate expectations and giving in-the-moment feedback will help you and the student to have an enjoyable experience together.
Have you ever gotten a haircut, massage or facial from a student at a beauty school? Why or why not? If you have, how did it go?
©2014 Jennifer Wilder. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.