Sunday, July 3, 2022 Jul 3, 2022
85° F Dallas, TX

The Aveda Institute: a Trial by Haircut

How did I enjoy my two-and-a-half hours of trimming and styling?
By Krista Nightengale |
illustration by Chris Pyle

Was your service provider’s station clean and organized?

Yes, her station was spotless, save for the homemade scrapbook of magazine clippings of beautiful people’s beautiful hair surrounded by pink and yellow stars. But I’d hardly call that clutter. I might call it nostalgia for seventh grade.

Did your service provider offer you some Comforting Tea?

Indeed she did. And I was comforted.

Did your service provider discuss your hair with you, mainly any problems or concerns you have with it?

Here’s the thing. I don’t come here for the outstanding service. I don’t even come here for the ridiculously low price of $15 for a haircut. I come here because I care. I want to help your students prepare for their careers. Some people donate plasma or read to the blind. Others see a homeless guy on a street corner with a sign that says he needs food, so they go to McDonald’s and buy a few Big Macs, only to be met with disdain, and that warms the cockles of their masochistic hearts. Me, I come to the Aveda Institute, where I sit in a chair and let students learn with my hair. It’s tough. I have to pretend to like every haircut I get. But no one ever said that educating young stylists was going to be easy.

Did your service provider offer products based on your hair’s needs?

One way I help students learn is by teaching them that there are people with awesome hair who are not interested in products. My service provider struggled with this part of her lesson. Just like that gal over there is struggling to explain to the college student why he should purchase your $24 Pure-Formance Exfoliating Shampoo rather than the $1.39 green apple-infused shampoo he currently uses.

Did your service provider try to connect with you?

She tried. And since I’m here to help others, I really tried, too. For the first 30 minutes, I was fine with the Q&A session we had going. “Krista, do you rollerblade? Have you watched any good movies lately? Have you been to any Broadway shows?” An hour and a half in, though, I started getting a little annoyed. “Krista, do you have a dog? Do you like ice cream?” When we passed the two-hour mark, and I had already hinted several times that it was Friday night and I had plans and maybe she should focus on her haircut rather than her questions, I decided the best lesson I could teach her was to know when to shut up. So I stopped “connecting.”

What do you think your service provider could improve on?

Because I care so much about the education of your service providers, on each visit, I assume a different “client type.” Tonight I played the role of the obsessive-compulsive, completely unreasonable client who prefers to part her hair on the left side, as she has done for years, rather than down the middle. I told my service provider several times to part my hair on the left—not down the middle. When she picked up the blow-dryer and the brush, with my hair parted down the middle, I ripped the brush from her hands and yelled, “I won’t let you make me look like Alfalfa!” So I’d say my service provider could improve on paying attention to detail.

Were you offered a stress-relieving ritual to calm and balance you?

Yes. Two hours and 25 minutes into the haircut. I refused the offer.

Did you enjoy your time at the Aveda Institute of Dallas?

I would have enjoyed less of it. I understand I’m helping others learn. And lessons can take awhile. But I like to teach for 30 minutes, maybe an hour at the most. Two and a half hours of teaching and caring fell short of enjoyable.

Did your service provider hand you three business cards and tell you that you look amazing and ask you to spread the word about her to a ton of your amazing-looking friends?

She did. But I have only two amazing-looking friends. I hope that’s not a problem.

Will you be returning to see us?

It was a two-and-a-half-hour haircut, and my husband didn’t even notice a difference. Your service provider ruined my Friday night plans. But of course I’ll return to see you. I fear others are not prepared to make the same sacrifice I have. It is my calling. And, to be clear, next time you’ll still charge me $15, right?

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