When it comes to haircuts, I’m incredibly British. I always pick something very reserved (‘a bit of a trim, please, not too much’) and when I’m in the seat, I’m far too polite. On many, many occassions, I have paid and even tipped for a haircut that’s not quite right – before heading home to re-cut it myself.

But today I had the first ever haircut that didn’t send me reaching for the scissors the minute I got home. Not only that, it was a bargain.

I headed to the Butterfly Studio Salon on Fifth Avenue to become a hair model. It’s a widespread practice in New York and other cities; the ‘models’ – people who want their hair cut – give trainee hairdressers a chance to try out new styles before they’re ready to take on their own clients. And don’t expect a nightmare outcome; the stylists at Butterfly are only given model days once they’re deemed up to par. It basically means that you get a salon-level hairstyle for a cut-down price.

I went to have my hair cut by Jenn – Ryan’s brother’s fiancee – who has been an assistant at the salon for about two years. I was happy that she immediately took charge during our consultation by giving me honest suggestions for what would work with my quality of hair, lifestyle and face shape.

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<< my gross hair pre-cut

Then we got to work – washing, parting, snipping and layering. The experience was no different from going to a normal hairdresser – Jenn was chatty and confident, which made me feel confident about the whole thing, too.

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On a couple of occasions, one of the educators came over briefly to check on her progress. There were positive noises and a few tips before we were left to our chatter. Jenn continued to snip away at my hair, giving me a light fringe (that won’t grow back in to my eyes next week) and cutting in layers to finally give my pretty boring barnet some shape.

Then, after the blow drying and a last few snips to my fringe, we were done.

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I loved it. She’d nudged me away from my safety zone by making it a bit shorter, which is ideal for the summer. I had admitted that I rarely have the time to dry my hair before catching the 6.30am subway, and she assured me this style would look good after an air dry too. Hurrah!

Going to a model day makes so much sense in a city known for its steep prices. At Jenn’s salon, a haircut usually costs $105, whereas a cut on a model day will set you back just $25. It just seems like such a practical option in New York for people who like to look alright but don’t want to break the bank making it happen.

Plus the salon (which provides other treatments from skin peels to waxing) is a beauty – and home to two very friendly fish.

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If you fancy checking it out, Jenn’s model day is a Tuesday, but you can get in touch with her to discuss what suits you. Reach her at jenn.giannone@gmail.com. Alternatively, call Butterfly Studio Salon at 212.253.2100 to ask for her availability or for other model days.

Thanks, Jenn!

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