The Color Bar

Should I Get My Hair Colored

At A School?

That’s a tough one because it really depends on the school. If you decide to get a color service at a school I suggest finding a well-known/highly rated institution.

You can do this by checking out ratings online or stopping by the school to see the students in action before you come in for a color service.

If you notice a lot of energy, excitement, interaction between students and instructors, etc. then you will know that it’s probably a good place to go. If there isn’t a lot going on, then you might want to keep looking!

For example:

In my area there are 3-4 beauty schools within a 50 mile radius and neither of them are alike.

One is exceptional (Paul Mitchell), and another is known for it’s poor reputation. There was a girl at my school who spent a few months at the low-end institution and switched to Paul Mitchell despite the fact that she would lose a lot of money and have to start over completely. That says a lot!

Our school taught forward thinking and was always introducing us to new trends while making sure that our techniques stayed solid and consistent.

This is important because some schools don’t have a solid program to ensure that students are well-balanced in their abilities.

Our school had a set schedule that included: theory, technique classes, “floor time”(for client appointments), mini classes (in-between clients), etc. We were always learning something and we were never allowed to pass off a service that we were uncomfortable with.

Here’s a list of services that are offered at Rudy & Kelly Academy Paul Mitchell Partner School in Virginia Beach, VA. Services and prices may vary at different locations.

For example:

Foiling was to be done that way it was taught and we could not change it. This assured that everyone was doing quality work all the time.

I remember trying to foil hair another way because I felt that it was more comfortable and provided the same results. I was “caught in the act” and told that I would get written up if they saw me steering away from the Paul Mitchell foiling technique again.

It sounds harsh, but it’s better for helping students develop to their potential. Consistent learning is essential as a base in any trade school, and once techniques are mastered it’s okay to change them along the way.

Another thing to consider is that instructors may want students to learn from their mistakes. Every color service(at a good school) is consulted with an instructor present and overseen during the process. Instructors usually have to approve the service before the student can proceed.

Remember, just because there is an instructor helping out doesn’t mean you’re going to get the results you hope for. There are several ways to get the same results with color, and some are better than others. There are also several ways to interpret what a client wants and some stylists will have a different vision for you than others.

For example:

An instructor will let a student lead the consultation and rarely says anything unless the student is really struggling with asking the proper questions. They want the students to figure it out themselves and be confident in their decisions. Unless the student is headed for an absolute disaster, the instructor will let them proceed with minor suggestions.

You may also want to consider the institutions strong points before you decide where to go for your color service.

Large chain schools are more likely to have a very structured and well-rounded program whereas smaller privately owned schools may be more laid back with their curriculum.

Also, larger schools are more likely to require their instructors to take classes as well. If the instructors are constantly learning, then the students are definitely getting more out of their education.

For example:

Paul Mitchell is known for their emphasis on color and teaching a variety of color techniques, but teaches 9 basic haircuts that the student will mix-and-match to create different looks. They are great cuts, but cutting is not focused on as much as color.

They also teach block and dimensional coloring techniques very early on and push students to think “outside the box”. Doing this breaks a students fear of using formulas and patterns than an early stylist would normally feel uncomfortable using. Breaking out of the comfort zone with color also helps Paul Mitchell students to understand color better than others.

RUSK is known for their in-depth cutting techniques and one-of-a-kind haircuts, but they are not as strong in the color department. Some of my favorite haircuts are taught at RUSK Institutions and I’ve never seen them done anywhere else.

They also require all students to purchase several different types of texturizing shears, which are imperative to perfecting their haircuts. These one-of-a-kind shears are not available elsewhere and are nearly impossible to mimic with regular shears.



Lastly, if you’re unsure about it you can ask if there are advanced students available.

At my school they were called “Phase 2” and had to audition as well as pass several tests(hands-on and written) in order to qualify for the Phase 2 program. There was also an hour requirement, so you know that the advanced students are close to graduating and are the best of their class!

Like any salon experience…use your judgement and if you don’t feel comfortable just wait. You can also schedule a consultation and come back for your color. I’ve had clients do that from time to time and they come prepared with questions for me. It’s my job to prove to them that I am qualified to do their hair to their liking.

Again, if a stylist doesn’t have the skills then you’ll know and you can try someone else!

About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

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