HOW OFTEN have you asked yourself, as you leave the hairdresser, why did I spend so much money? and, how long will it take for the haircut to grow out? You could avoid at least one of these questions - possibly both - by going to the hairdresser on model night, or to a stylists' training school.

Hairdressing salons use model nights to give experience to their trainees, ranging from beginners practising their washing, blow drying and trimming techniques to more advanced trainees who can handle complete restyles and technical work. Training schools run courses for hairdressers wanting to learn new techniques as well as for beginners, and they are always looking for guinea pigs.

The advantage of going to a training night (apart from the very low prices) is that you will get plenty of attention; there are possible disadvantages, but all salons and schools say their trainees are closely supervised.

There are plenty of places, with costs ranging from nothing to pounds 30; those listed here are all well known, but it is worth inquiring locally, too. And importantly, always allow plenty of time for the session.


Trevor Sorbie, 10 Russell Street, London WC2 (071-836 5985). Monday and Tuesday evenings from 7pm. Services include cuts, colouring and perms. They want people prepared to have the particular cuts they are practising. No charge for cuts, no age limit. Booking essential, well in advance for colour and perms.

Zoo, 74 Upper Street, London N1 (071- 226 1865) and 80 Long Acre, London WC2 (071-379 7710). Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 6.30pm to 9pm. Cut, blow dry and sets at N1 branch on Mondays, WC2 on Tuesdays. Colour and perms at both on Wednesdays. No age limit, cuts pounds 5, perms and highlights pounds 15. Booking necessary, well in advance.

Michaeljohn, 25 Albemarle St, London W1 (071-499 9985). Tuesdays from 6.30pm. The whole range of hairdressing treatments, cuts, colours and perms is available. Sessions are conducted like a proper consultation. No age limit, no charges. Booking essential.

Molton Brown, 58 South Molton Street, London W1 (071-499 2429). Cuts on Monday evenings, no appointment necessary (although you may be turned away if too many models turn up). Also during the day Monday to Friday, when appointments are necessary (there are very few for colour and perms, one a month on average). Sessions are conducted like a salon consultation, trainees are at various levels. Cuts pounds 5, highlights from pounds 15, perms pounds 10-15, hennas pounds 8-10. No age limit.

Daniel Field, 8-12 Broadwick Street, London W1 (071-439 8223). Wednesday nights from 6pm. Models are only accepted after coming in for a consultation; those seeking cuts (rather than colour or perm) preferred. Particular styles will be favoured, but the salon will discuss models' ideas if they are in keeping with what the trainees are practising. Cuts pounds 3.50 approx, colour and perms pounds 15.

John Frieda, 4 Aldford Street, London W1 (071-493 2693). Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm. Models generally speak first over the phone with the person who will do their hair, to tell them what sort of style they want. There are long waiting lists for colour and perms, but not for cuts. They try to create a salon atmosphere with trainees from several branches coming together for model nights. You are able to choose your own style, unless the supervisor thinks it is wrong for you. Cuts from pounds 5, highlights and perms from pounds 10. Booking essential.


London Academy, 1/9 Harbour Yard, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (071- 351 5799). Runs three-day training courses for established hairdressers. Model days Monday to Friday when courses are running; allow a full half- day. Complete restyles (not trims), perms using all techniques, including spirals, highlighting and tints. They want models between 50 and 60 for basic tints and perms, or between 16 and 50 for other techniques. The receptionist normally asks detailed questions about hair beforehand. All styles pounds 5. Booking essential.

Toni & Guy Academy, 33 St Christopher's Place, London W1 (071-486 4733). Courses run Monday to Friday each week, for beginners through to advanced stylists. Cuts only, including trims or restyles. You discuss style, they make suggestions. Allow two hours. Age range 18 to 40. No charge if you come armed with an advert (from freebie mags such as Ms London); others pounds 2.50. Booking essential.

Vidal Sassoon Schools: Academy, 17 Queen Street, London W1 (071-499 5808); School/Advanced Training Centre, 56 Davies Mews, London W1 (071- 629 4635/1752). The Academy is for the more adventurous, offering up-to-the- minute fashion cutting with optional colour. Monday to Thursday, from 1.45pm. Allow at least two hours for cuts. Age range 15 to 35.

The School/Advanced Training Centre offers more conventional services, including women's cuts, men's barbering, colour and perms, tailored to suit the individual. By appointment Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm. A few Saturday appointments available. Trainees are people on courses. No age limit.

There is also a limited numer of appointments for cuts, colour, tints and perms within the salon's own staff training department, ring 071-355 3820 for details.

Cut and finish at the Academy or the School/Advanced Training Centre pounds 8.50, colour from pounds 10.50. Charges are higher at the staff training department: for example, cut and finish pounds 16. Cuts at half price for unwaged, students and service personnel.

Vidal Sassoon also runs a Manchester school, for details ring 061-834 6803.

Jingles International, 84 Lambs Conduit Street, London WC1. Tel 071-242 5057. Training sessions run from Monday to Friday, beginners and refresher courses. Cuts and styling, colour, tints, highlights, perms, long-hair dressing and braiding or simple shampoo and style. All ages from 13 upwards. Style is up to you but help is on hand with suggestions; you may view a class and have a consultation before you commit yourself. Allow plenty of time for the session. Charges, for example, cut and blow, or long-hair dressing pounds 4.95, cut and tint 15.95, cut and highlights 17.95, cut and perm from 16.95. Student reductions pounds 1 or more with ID.

Wella, Euro Studio, 93 Mortimer Street, London W1 (071-637 7172). Courses of one to three days for established hairdressers. Allow a full half- day. They prefer models who are open- minded and want substantial change, but final decision is up to you. Cuts, perms, colours, highlights, semi-permanent rinses, colour flashes. Models with long hair wanted for special wedding and evening styles. No age limit but cuts tend to be trendy. Perm pounds 6, colour pounds 6, and cuts pounds 4. Models for colours must register first and will be given a skin test.

Wella studios also in Manchester (ring 061-834 2645 for details) and Solihull (021-733 2874).

L'Oreal, 30 Kensington Church St, London W8 (071-937 3314). Hairdressers on training courses from UK and abroad. All types of colour and perms; some cuts - only restyles. Prefers ages 15 to 30ish. Allow a half-day. Consultation, advice and analysis beforehand, in a salon environment. Colours pounds 10, perms pounds 12 (or demi-wave pounds 6), cuts pounds 7.