I’m just going to kick off this blog post by saying that getting free haircuts probably isn’t for everyone, so if you’re short of time, are at work on weekdays or are quite particular about your hair – turn back now!
Still here? Cool, let me show you how I get my hair cut and coloured for free, and how I once was even PAID £15 to get it done.
Why is it free?
It’s free because I’m a model, a hair model that is.
Don’t think you’re model material? If you have hair, then you are. Trust me.
Jokes aside, you’re getting your haircut for free in exchange for the fact that the person cutting your hair is either training for a hairdressing qualification, or is a qualified stylist who is learning new techniques.
So, am I going to leave the salon with a bald patch and a wonky fringe?
I promise you. I’ve had some bad haircuts in my time, but none of them were when I was hair modelling. As a general rule, this sort of haircut is only undertaken under strict supervision of an experienced tutor, and they aren’t afraid to say that something isn’t good enough, they’re trying to teach your stylist the right way to do things, and they won’t let you leave with something that looks terrible.
In the past I’ve had to go back to a salon that charged me £50 for a man to cut my hair when he was visibly drunk (!!!), and ask them to fix the unsurprisingly horrible result. My free haircuts are always perfect, because the hairdressers are on their best behaviour when they’re trying to pass their course.
By the time a hairdressing student gets to cut a live head of hair (potentially yours), they will have closely watched demonstrations, learned cutting techniques and given a trim to plenty of polystyrene heads. So don’t worry! (There’s also a hairdresser that’s good enough to teach hairdressers on hand to sort out anything that might go wrong.)
What are the downsides?
The main “catch” of getting a free haircut is that it takes a really long time. Now, I recommend you leave at least 3 or 4 hours for your appointment, as in my experience it easily takes that long. The main reason for this is that there’s usually a whole room of hairdressers with clients and only one or two tutors, so there’s a lot of waiting around to get each layer checked.
It’s a good thing in the end, because you know any mistakes will be corrected. I recommend bringing a book or magazine to your appointment as well as a drink and maybe even some snacks.
Just another general point about timings, is that all the academy appointments I’ve been able to book have been mid-week. So it might not be possible to get appointments that suit a Monday-Friday job.
A second possible downside you might notice is that you don’t get the type of hairdresser banter you’d normally expect, although some of you might consider that a bonus!
The students are quite quiet in their work, and usually talk to their instructor with questions instead of you, and then the tutor might ask you if you like it, or if the length is okay. They also tend to talk about your hair like you aren’t there, which is pretty weird! This might not be universal, but it’s definitely been my experience – it’s probably just nerves.
Did I like my haircut?
Yes! I promise. The type of haircut you can get for free is totally up to you – I’ve had “classic” cuts which was essentially only a trim, as well as a creative cut and colour which was a cool but wearable asymmetric long bob with highlights in my fringe that were toned peach.
That particular cut was when I was paid £15 for it – and it wasn’t too “out there” – although some of the other girls there were getting some really edgy colours done, so if you wanted to try purple ends or you want to bleach your hair white, this could be your chance.
Where can you get it done?
I found out about where I get my free haircuts in a Facebook ad for a special offer for the Sassoon Academy in London. That link shows cuts from £3 (which is still a massive bargain) but I get notified of my free cuts in the Sassoon Academy Facebook group. Just a note that the admin in the group Emily is really nice and can answer any questions you have if you message her.
This particular academy is not too far from Victoria station in London.
If you’re in a smaller town most busy salons have a trainee or two that also needs practice, so look out for posters in windows looking for hair models.
Pretty much all colleges run hairdressing courses, and more often than not have an on site salon where you can get free or really cheap hair and beauty treatments – have a quick Google!
The final way to find free haircuts is to look online – often students struggle to find someone to be examined creating a certain type of haircut on and there are loads of ads on Gumtree looking for models. The same goes for Facebook Marketplace too – just pop “free haircut” into the search bar.
Some of my friends have also had free cuts/colours from ads posted on the Instagram pages of salons – so keep an eye out there too.
What do you think? Are you up for a free haircut? Let me know in the comments.