Skip to Content

Zoe and I tried a beauty school. Here’s how it went.

Beauty School Review by The Frugal Girl

In my years of frugal reading (books, blogs, articles), I’ve frequently come across the advice to get hair services done at a beauty school.

But since I usually only get my hair cut once or twice a year (I know, I know), I haven’t been super motivated to give it a try.

However, Zoe’s had a hankering to get her ends dyed purple, and because that’s very much not a necessity, we told her she could do it if she paid for it.

This was going to cost $120 or so at a regular salon, though, and I hated for her to spend her hard-earned money on that!

So, I checked to see if our local beauty school did kids’ hair, and it turned out they did.

And instead of $120, the purple dye job would only cost $60.

Zoe said yes to that idea, so I scheduled her for the dyeing and myself for just a haircut ($12).

(Because the last time I got my hair cut was last October for my Halloween costume!)

What is the beauty school like?

I’ve always kind of pictured a hair school looking something more like a high school, but the one we went to felt more like a really, really big salon.

There was a very salon-like waiting room downstairs, where Zoe and I took another selfie. Because of course.

After signing in, we got called upstairs, where there’s a huge room filled with dozens of hair stations, and a really nice hair-washing room, just like a salon.

How involved are the instructors?

At the beginning of the appointment, the instructor asked Zoe and me what we wanted (we’d brought photos), and then chatted with the stylist to come up with a game plan to fulfill our hair wishes.

After agreeing on a plan, the instructors left the stylists mostly to themselves, checking back in every now and then to correct things/offer reminders.

Is it scary to trust your hair to a student?

I think this would depend on how much you care about your hair and also on how difficult a style you are hoping for.

I’m not super picky about my hair, and I was just asking for a trim with some layers, which is not exactly a high-stakes, difficult haircut.   So my stress level was fairly low.

But if I were getting a pixie cut or some other very short hairstyle, I think I’d be more nervous.

Zoe’s bowl of purple hair dye

Zoe’s hair was also fairly low-risk, since she was getting her ends dyed. If she hated it, she could always just get a haircut!

What’s the biggest downside of a beauty school?

Things take a REALLY LONG TIME.   The students are just not nearly as fast as an experienced stylist, so my haircut took an hour and a half from start to finish.

And Zoe’s hair took 4 hours (she had to get her ends bleached before she could get the purple dye, so her hair had to be processed twice).

She got really, really tired of sitting in the chair!

Were the savings worth it?

For a haircut, I’m gonna go with no. I can get a decent haircut for about $30 and it would take less than 30 minutes.   Spending an extra hour to save $18 doesn’t feel terribly worth it to me.

There are a lot of body-less heads of hair sitting around at a beauty school!

Now, Zoe’s hair took maybe an hour or two more than it normally would have, but she saved $60.   Even if we go with the idea that it took two extra hours, that’s a savings rate equivalent to $30/hour.

So for coloring, the savings seem a little more worth it, and I think I’ll consider the beauty school when I want to color my hair.

How did your hair turn out?

I was happy with my haircut…it took a while to get it done, but I ended up with the style I requested.   So, thumbs up.

Zoe was happy with hers too. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo when the purple color was super fresh…so you’ll have to trust me when I there was more purple there initially!

We’ll touch up her color with Viral Colorwash (which I already have in purple!), so that way she can get more mileage out of her salon experience.

They bleached some of her hair, and just applied color on the brown in other areas, and the purple definitely did not stay on the unbleached areas very well.   It was really purple at first, but then it faded pretty quickly after a few showers.

Would I recommend visiting a beauty school?

If you have way more time than money, I’d definitely give this a shot.

Or, if you need a hair service that’s fairly expensive, then the 50% off could make it very worth your time.

But if you are short on time and you just need a haircut, I think a regular salon would work better for you.

If you’ve tried a beauty school service, I’d love to hear about it! Share in the comments.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Carol Mucci

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

The school is in my town so no extra travel time! Because I am a senior citizen I take advantage of their senior day. 1/2 price discounts on all services, which are already super cheap. My perm was $25 rather than $70 at a WalMart salon. It came out great. I've had mixed results with haircuts. I found that I have to be much more specific at it progresses, otherwise the student may go off in a direction I don't like.


Thursday 1st of November 2018

My daughter had her ends dyed at Ulta with an experienced stylist. Her hair is so thick that it took over 4 hours. She had to have 2 processes as well (bleach and color).


Thursday 1st of November 2018

Zoe's hair is SUPER thick too, so that could definitely have contributed to how long this process took!


Thursday 1st of November 2018

We used to have one in town and it's where my sister and I both had birthday parties. Nothing like taking 6-8 little girls in and coming out with braids and updos and beauty pageant hair (it was the late 80's, early 90's). My friends and I would go there for cheap facials and manicures in high school.

Michelle H

Tuesday 30th of October 2018

I recently responded to a request for a "hair model" a beauty school student had posted in my Facebook Moms group. I got a free haircut out of the deal, and she did a great job. It did take about 2 hours, which was a long time for a haircut, but I had plenty of time that day, and was happy to help out. The week before she had to cut a doll's hair because she couldn't get a "real" person.

I'm retired, and my hair is mostly in a ponytail anyway, so if it was a bad haircut I'd just wait for it to grow out and deal with it.


Tuesday 30th of October 2018

My husband cuts his hair, both of my sons’ hair as well as mine. It is very convenient, Intell him when the boys need haircuts, actually my younger son will tell him he is coming due and he does them about every three to four weeks. Takes him about 15 minutes total from start to finish including scissor cutting and using the clippers with different attachments to blend the longer hair on top with the shorter hair on the sides and then the peanut clipper to get the neckline and sideburns tidy for each of them. It would take me longer just to drive them to get haircuts than it takes him to do them at home. Mine he does every other month, to keep my ends neat, even and remove splits and damage. It takes him about 25-30 minutes from the time he capes me, combs out my hair sections it, letting each layer done, etc until he is finished with the very top layer being trimmed. It used to be a whole morning or afternoon wasted when I did the salon routine, plus the costs. We bought a mid grade $60 Wahl clipper set about six years ago, the shears hubby uses are the convex type that he can take apart and sharpen that he bought at a cutlery store for $70 at a half price sale, plus a couple capes, hair clips and the rat tail comb for sectioning. We easily save several hundred dollars a year, even more when you factor in transportation costs and the time it saves. Even if the salon or beauty school was free, it would still make more sense to continue with hubby as the family barber/stylist.


Tuesday 30th of October 2018

I'm so impressed that your husband cuts not only your boys' hair, but yours as well!

I don't think I'd trust Mr. FG with my hair. Ha.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.