Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Marca College Hair Cut Experience

Yeah, those layers didn't turn out
I've been lucky when it comes to hair cuts. I've never had a truly bad cut and the ones I have had that I didn't love were the result of me either requesting something that turned out not to be flattering on me or because I didn't speak up and say, "Hey, let's not do that." Unfortunately that streak ended on Saturday.

Husband and I had to run some errands Saturday morning at Dufferin Mall and while we were there I figured that I'd get a long overdue hair cut. I decided to try my luck at Marca College, a hair and esthetics school located right there in the mall.

I know, I know, what I did sounds crazy but I've had my hair cut before by students at the Aveda Institute and I've always been happy with the results. Yeah, it took twice as long as a regular hair cut but it also cost way less. Marca turned out to be even cheaper: A woman's cut was a mere $12 plus tax.

I've been told that I have really easy hair to work with. It's not too fine, not too thick and it's naturally straight. My cut of choice is also super basic: Long with sleek, face-framing layers. So for all of those reasons, I figured I'd be fine with a trip to Marca.

Unlike Aveda, Marca is walk-in only. But my wait on Saturday was quite short and soon I was telling my stylist about what I wanted. I needed a good amount taken off my ends and I used my fingers to indicated where she needed to cut. Then I explained that I wanted my existing layers cleaned up and shortened. My stylist nodded and seemed to understand.

She was slow, methodical and very gentle. After washing my hair, she trimmed the ends and I got want I wanted. So far, so good.

Then she moved onto the layers. A couple minutes into this phase, I stopped her because it didn't look like she was adding them in properly. I re-explained what I wanted and she said she was doing that, it just looked like she wasn't because she was taking such small sections (which was true). After a few more snips, the one side of my hair did look close to what I wanted.

Unfortunately, something went very wrong on the other side. The stylist went too deep and blunt with the first layer, giving me this shaggy look that you might have seen on an '80s hair metal fan.

Again, I stopped her and re-explained what I wanted. She tweaked that side some more but the damage was done. She ended up getting her instructor to come over to help out and he quickly figured out where things went wrong: My stylist had used the wrong technique to cut my layers; it turns out that she didn't know how to give me the cut I wanted.

The instructor tried to fix things up by making my layers look less shaggy and more gradual and blended. But of course he couldn't fix the section that was too short. He did trim up the opposing side a bit so that things looked less uneven but it's still far from perfect. Thankfully, my hair is still long enough to pull back so I can hide the mess until it grows out.

I realize that I was seeing a student who was still learning but I (stupidly) assumed that she would know how to cut layers; it's a super-common hair cut after all. That she didn't know what she was doing, and that instead of asking for help she just tried to figure it out on her own, doesn't make me think highly of Marca.

I'm also not impressed that the only time an instructor came over to my chair was when the stylist went and got him. At Aveda, an instructor went over the cut with the student before the scissors ever touched my hair and then stopped by throughout the process. Yes, those visits lengthened the appointment but the results were well worth the extra time.

The extra expenses of an Aveda Institute hair cut are also worth it. At $20-something, a cut at Aveda is double (or more) the cost of a Marca hair cut but for that higher price, you get towels that aren't stained, a makeup touch-up and just a more pleasant atmosphere (I know, I went to a hair school in Dufferin Mall, what was I really expecting).

But I will say this for Marca: Once the instructor was pulled into my appointment, he did use it as a learning opportunity. He thoroughly went over each step he was taking, showing my stylist and another girl exactly what to do. Prior to helping me out, I watched him teach another stylist how to cut a child's hair and heard him working with another student on a difficult cut and colour consultation. I have no doubt that my stylist got a lot out of her appointment with me; I just wish I could say the same.

Will I try this place again: No.

Should you try this place: If all you need is a basic (and I mean basic) trim, give it a shot. Otherwise, if you're looking for a cheap haircut, make your way over to the Aveda Institute.

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