The Aveda Institute: My Experience

Thanks Google Images!
Thanks Google Images!

Since I’m still unemployed (hire me!), I’m trying to cut back my spending as much as possible. Last week, that meant that I went to the Aveda Institute to get my hair cut by a first-year hairdressing school student.

I should add in here that I have the easiest hair in the world to cut (I even had a hairdresser once tell me that). It’s not overly thin or thick, it has no curl to it and I style it in simple, long waves. Because of that, I’ve always felt annoyed at paying $50 or $60 to get the layers cleaned up and a couple inches taken off the ends. While getting a student to cut your hair definitely isn’t for everyone, I did feel that my easy hair was a suitable candidate.

I made my appointment for last Friday afternoon and was told by the girl on the phone to allow 2.5 to three hours for my cut. That sounded insane to me and thankfully turned out not to be true. In total, my cut took an hour-and-a-half, or about 30 minutes longer than a typical hair cut.

The Aveda Institute is located at Church and King, in a nice, old building. The ground floor looks just like any other hair salon though one with a rather large product section. However, the ground floor is where the second year, or institute students, and instructors, do hair. The first-year students are all located upstairs so up I went.

The second is not quite as nice the first floor and is more crowded but in full honesty, I’ve been in professional salons that were rougher looking. This space at least had properly heating and ventilation, which can’t be said for every small beauty shop out there.

My cut was done by Natalya, a Brampton local who while young, presented herself confidently and professionally. She took my coat, offered me a drink, gave me magazines, really, it was impressive how customer service-oriented she was.

She also really listened to me and when I told her that I wanted two inches cut off the end, she asked me show her what I thought two inches meant. I thought this was a great question because it made sure that we were on the same page.

Once she knew what I wanted, she gave me Aveda’s signature neck-and-head massage, washed my hair and then started cutting. Throughout the cutting process, we chatted in a very natural way. A couple of times, Natalya also brought her instructor over to review her work and every time her instructor approved of what she was doing.

At the end of the cut, she once again went off to grab her instructor. While she did that, I carefully examined the cut myself. I noticed that the shortest layer on my left side wasn’t quite as short as I wanted. Then I looked on the left side and discovered that it was cut properly over there but that of course that meant that my layers were uneven. I did point this out when Natalya and her instructor returned and the instructor fixed things up. After that, my haircut was perfect.

The blow dry job was another. To be fair, it was partially my fault because I didn’t really give specific instructions. I simply told Natalya to use a round brush, add in some but not too much volume and wave and to otherwise do whatever looked best. But her version of what looked best looked kind of blah. It wasn’t bad, and it was better than what I could do with a round brush but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Thankfully, an uninspiring blow dry job can easily be washed out

Products used on my hair
Products used on my hair

At the end of appointment, Natalya touched up my lip gloss and then escorted me back downstairs where she highlighted some of Aveda’s holiday gift packs. She’d actually been pushing Aveda products all throughout our session and while it sometimes came off as a little forced, I get why it was happening. While she did a pretty good job of explaining the products that were used on me, and how the gift packs saved money, I didn’t pick anything up because, well, I’m unemployed.

In total, my haircut cost $21 (and yep, that’s with tax). Compared to what I was previously paying, the Aveda Institute was an out-and-out bargain. Sure, it wasn’t a perfect experience but in the end, the results were great and my wallet was a lot happier. The next time I need a trim, I will definitely be heading to the Aveda Institute.

I also highlight my hair but I’m not quite ready to get that done at a beauty school. True, it does only cost $40-something as opposed to $100-something but there are some areas of my life that I’m ready to cut back on yet and that’s one of them.

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