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Last time I got my hair done I went to a Biba salon and it was a positive experience. The young hairdressers were nice to chat to, they did a great job and I walked out happy. Except it cost me around $220 for a colour, cut and blow dry. Which kind of took the gloss off the experience.
This time I went to Biba Academy of Hairdressing, Fitzroy where they train hairdressers. The young hairdressers were nice to chat to, they did a great job and I walked out happy. And it only cost me around $90 for the same services. I also felt like I got better advice because the teachers mostly had about 20 years hairdressing experience behind them.
My advice for others would be to take a good book, although you will probably find yourself chatting most of the time, and perhaps pack a snack just in case you do get caught up.
Obviously your hair style will be as good as the person you get.
The young lady who did my cut was already cutting in the salon where she worked the other days of the week, so she was fairly quick and self assured. She was also seemed to be getting graded so took a great deal of care. Similarly the colourist was equally competent and had some salon experience.
I really appreciated that I got to chat to a teacher first about my colour preference and was given some sage advice.
I have been really happy with my hair ever since and the worst thing that happened to me on my visit was someone put sugar in my complimentary tea and I was too polite to say. "Hey I don't take sugar. Make me another one."
Other people have had far worse experiences going to hairdressing schools but I live by the adage that "the difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is three weeks."
Plus there are real bonuses in going to a place like this - you can look good on a budget.
If you are going out on a hot date and want a blow-dry, then it will only cost you $20. Or $10 if you are doing it as part of a colour and cut combo.
If you are going somewhere really special like a wedding or ball, you can get your hair put up. This is something that is virtually impossible to do yourself unless you have as many arms as the Indian goddess Kali.
They won't let you leave until you are happy with your hair. So don't say you are happy unless you are. Ask for the changes you require.
Oh, and when asked in that off hand way whether you would "like a treatment" after your shampoo, I suggest you say no (unless you really do want a treatment) as these are reasonably expensive compared to everything else.
You can also check their website for the 2013 Model Call Out which is when you get your hair done for free. This is for when Biba' professional hairdressers are doing shows and they need models for stage demonstrations, photo shoots and events. If you have the looks why not go for it. You must however be prepared to have your hair cut and coloured creatively.