By Taylor Provost, Assistant News Editor
There are three types of college students: those who leave town for haircuts, those who go to dormitory bathrooms for haircuts, and those who cut hair in the dormitory bathrooms. Moving away from Mom is hard, but moving away from your regular hairstylist is harder.
Nate Allen, Olivet sophomore, began cutting hair for students “as a favor, not a business,” last year when friends noticed him cutting his own hair in the Chapman bathroom.
“[They] asked if I would cut their [hair] too; I said I had no training, but sure, why not?” Allen said. “I must have done a good job, because more and more of my friends started asking me to [cut their hair].”
Allen learned how to cut men’s hair “by just paying attention” to how stylists cut his hair at shops. After deciding it looked easy, he started cutting his own hair.
“Haircuts for guys are so simple, so I might as well go the cheap route,” he said.
Saving money on haircuts has proved high priority for other students also. Students only pay Allen a couple dollars per visit to help him breakeven on the clippers he purchased.
“I considered going to a salon but the price is always an issue,” sophomore Thomas Siscoe said. “The convenience of Nate Allen’s hair cutting service is ideal. It’s literally right there [in the dorm] and it’s two bucks. He cut it and I was happy and I’ve been going to him ever since.”
While some salons in town are cheaper than others, prices exceed a couple of dollars for professional hairstylists even when servicing college students.
Great Clips, located in Bradley near Kohl’s, offers a free haircut on the 10th visit with the use of a free punch card. However, typically a haircut without a wash is $13. A haircut with a wash is $16.
Allen explained that the overall convenience he offers to students is why they prefer him to salon services. Allen now cuts hair in the 3rd floor bathroom of Hills, which he says saves students a trip to a salon.
“I’ve had guys come to me 20 minutes before a date wanting a haircut,” he said. “Most of my ‘appointments’ are after 11 p.m., just because people are busy all day. A real salon may only be open while students have class.”
Allen said that friendship also plays an important role in cutting hair.
“[Friendship] eliminates the potentially awkward experience of having a stranger cut your hair while trying to make small talk,” he said. “It’s much easier to critique a person you know well, which is nice because you can get exactly what you want [in a haircut].”