Almost every beauty professional started out in beauty school. They all nervously permed their first curls, highlighted their first streaks, and chopped their first locks under the watchful eye of an instructor. Most of them are nervous, and with good reason. Beauty school students have always appreciated the brave souls that let them "practice" their infant skills on their hair. Without beauty school clients, students would never gain the experience required to be a professional cosmetologist, and that's a really important thing.
It's a great idea to go to a beauty school for a haircut. Besides saving some (or a lot of) money, the experience you lend to the students learning is priceless. But it's definitely a bit of a different experience, and there are some things you should know when choosing a beauty college for your next haircut, color, or perm. Still, it's great how much you save money by going to a beauty school. Prices are almost always significantly reduced. You may want to do some price checking, though, to understand how much money you will actually save and determine if the savings will be worth it to your pocketbook.
One reason for this is that you should be prepared to spend significantly more time at a hair college than you would at a professional salon. Students are learning. Things take more time. Your student will spend more time evaluating your situation, choosing a style or color, and going over these decisions with their instructor. If your haircut normally takes a half-hour, be prepared to be at the college for an hour. If your color service typically takes two hours at your salon, don't be surprised when you're still in the chair three hours later. It's just kind of how it has to be when someone's learning.
If you're unsure what your student is actually doing, or you have questions about the procedures and products being used, ask. It will help both you and your student feel more comfortable during the process, because odds are they want this to go well even more than you do. If the idea of a fresh student makes you nervous, ask for an advanced student when you make your appointment. These students have more experience in the student salon, and will probably be more comfortable performing your service.
Still, if you're really really fussy with your hair and expect absolute perfection, a student salon may not be the right place for you. Bring a photo of your desired result. Communicate effectively. Remember, your student is new at this profession—they don't know everything yet. We've all been a student at one time or another. Mistakes can happen. But no one wants to make a mistake, and you should know that your student will take it to heart if they don't give you exactly what you are looking for. Be patient and kind. Part of learning to do great hair is learning to fix mistakes. If you're not happy with your service, or are uncomfortable with the way your service is going, speak to your student and/or their instructor and find a solution. Don't just sit in silence until your "trim" turns into a disaster. Be calm. Everyone wants you to leave the student salon happy.
There's a lot of pressure in making someone happy with their hair, and when your experience doesn't quite measure up to your burning desire, it can be stressful for everyone. Let them know what you like, and if there is something that you're just not happy with, be kind when sharing your thoughts. It'll help your student learn and become a great professional.