I love a cheap beauty buy – when a $10 mascara does a better job than the $30 version, or the $6 lipstick is just as rad as the $40 dupe. You get this kind of smug feeling, right? Like…I look a million bucks, but it only cost me $50. I also love when you can get a $90+ beauty treatment for $20, like the haircut I got last week at the Aveda Institute. To steal a phrase my friend Ms. Critique, this is totally Stealth Wealth.
The Aveda Institute is as you expect from the name – it’s the Aveda beauty school. The students are learning how to do haircuts, colour, waxing, and facials, and they need real live guinea pigs. Now there are some things I wouldn’t let beginners do, like a brow wax, but I’m happy for a noob to give me a trim. Go to town, girlfriend.
Of course, for a $20 haircut there are some caveats. If you want a regular salon experience, this is not for you. Whilst I was enjoying my relaxing scalp massage from my lovely student hairdresser, there were two other students standing literally two feet from me talking about their raging Saturday night and how drunk they got. Not totally zen. You also get to enjoy blow back from the blow dry that’s happening next to you, the stations are that close together. Essentially, this is a classroom.
On the plus side, the teaching method leaves you feeling pretty confident. You go through what you want with the student, then a teacher comes over to confirm what you said and give any necessary instruction. As you’re being chopped, teachers are looking on. Once you’re done, a teacher comes to inspect the handiwork and make any necessary touch ups (my student didn’t need any help, bless her). And then before you head off you speak to the teacher again and fill out a form to give the thumbs up. It’s a really slow process, so clear your schedule. Just beware, the students are also taught the art of upselling – you will be escorted to the product unit and a basket will be thrust into your hands and filled with goodies. Which means it’s a good time to practice your polite thanks but no thanks.
The nitty gritty: Aveda Institute – 233 Spring St NY, NY (near the C, E, and 1)
$20 for a hair cut from a first year, $30 from a second year
Prices for all services are on their website