London's best free haircuts

Ten hair salons that'll lop your locks free of charge

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Long of hair and short of money? We know the feeling. Fortunately, there are many cutters in the capital who are happy to give you a free or very cheap styling session from one of their trainees.

These appointments are not as scary as they sound – they are always supervised by a senior stylist, and come with a blow-dry to boot. It's the perfect way to get a hair cut in luxury surroundings without having to shell out – and proof that sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch. Or at least, a free short back and sides.

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  • Hari's

    The lively King’s Road branch of this smart west London salon chain is looking for models on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm every week. Haircuts are free but there’s a small charge to cover the cost of colouring. It’s recommended that you book in a couple of weeks in advance.

    233 King's Rd, SW3 5EJ. Sloane Square tube

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    Hari's
  • Andrew Barton Salon

    This buzzy Covent Garden salon offers model hair cuts every Monday from 11am-7pm, apart from bank holidays. There’s a £10 charge to cover costs – this is a snip when you consider a cut, colour and finish with celebrity stylist Mr Barton will set you back a cool £510.

    25 Henrietta St, WC2E 8NA. Covent Garden tube

    Read more about Andrew Barton Salon

    Andrew Barton Salon
  • Brooks and Brooks

    This award-winning salon in Bloomsbury offers free haircuts, colour and restyling on Mondays and Tuesdays. Haircuts are done by trainees, but as with all professional salons, they will be fully supervised by top stylists. Call to register your requirements and you’ll be called up as and when you are needed.

    13-15 Sicilian Avenue, WC1A 2QH. Holborn tube

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    Brooks and Brooks
  • Stuart Philips

    If you want a cut or colour at this laid-back but ultra-professional salon book in for a free haircut and £20 colour. The salon doesn’t have set model nights as such so just call to see when they have a slot with a junior available.

    25 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9DD. Covent Garden tube

    Read more about Stuart Philips 

    Stuart Philips
  • Windle & Moodie

    No need to be intimidated by the A-lister clientele and cool minimalist decor of this salon – it’s ultra friendly and you can get your haircut free with one of the assistant stylists (colour with a junior will set you back £15-£20). Just register your needs with a receptionist and a junior stylist will get back to you to sort out an appointment.

    41-45 Short's Gardens, WC2H 9AP. Covent Garden tube

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    Windle & Moodie
  • Toni and Guy Academy

    A long-time favourite with hard-up students looking for a good hair cut on the cheap, the Toni and Guy Academy delivers cuts and colours by trainees from Monday to Friday at 9.30am and 1.45pm. Allow three hours for a cut and four hours for colour. Haircuts cost £5 and colour from £20 to cover costs.

    71-75 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DG. Tottenham Court Road tube

    Read more about Toni and Guy Academy

    Toni and Guy Academy
  • Vidal Sassoon Academy

    This vast hairdressing school on Brook Street has been training top snippers for decades. You can book in for a model appointment between Mondays and Fridays at 9.30am and 1.30pm. Allow three hours for your cut. The services isn’t quite free – as with other training schools, there’s a small cost to cover fees with cuts from £5 and colour from £13.

    48 Brook St, W1K 5DR. Bond St tube

    Read more about Vidal Sassoon Academy

    Vidal Sassoon Academy
  • Percy and Reed

    Model night is Tuesday from 5pm at the Marylebone branch of this excellent, independent hair boutique but you need to call and register your requirements – a trainee will call you back when they need your barnet to test their skills. Book in with the Great Portland Street branch (020 7637 4634).

    1 Fournier St, E1 6QE. Liverpool St tube

    Read more about Percy and Reed 

    Percy and Reed
  • Jo Hansford

    London’s best-reputed colourist hosts training school two nights a week – colour is on Wednesday nights and styling on Thursdays, while they are not technically free of charge – a colour will cost between £20 - £35 and a cut will be £10 – this service is heavily discounted. Those wanting colour will need to have a patch test at least 48 hours before.

    48 South Audley St, W1K 2QB. Marble Arch tube

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    Jo Hansford
  • Richard Ward

    This award-winning super salon (famed for cutting Kate Middletons locks) in the heart of Chelsea offers free blowdry's, haircuts, colour and technical work on Tuesdays evenings from 4.30 pm onwards. You will be asked to make a donation to the hairdressing charity HAAB; £1 per cut or blow dry and £3 for any technical service. Haircuts are done by apprentices but  will be supervised by members of the Richard Ward Artistic Team. Call on 02077301222 for the reception team to register your requirements or email the manager gavin@richardward.com and you will be contacted back with a date and time.
     

    Richard Ward

Hari's

The lively King’s Road branch of this smart west London salon chain is looking for models on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm every week. Haircuts are free but there’s a small charge to cover the cost of colouring. It’s recommended that you book in a couple of weeks in advance.

233 King's Rd, SW3 5EJ. Sloane Square tube

Read more about Hari's

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Users say

7 comments
Beba R
Beba R

I've just come back from Vidal Sassoon Academy In Brook Street where I had an appointment for 9.45am. After turning up at 9.30 and waiting for 45 minutes I was told that they didn't have enough students and couldn't cut my hair! They offered me an afternoon appointment or a free cut some other time, neither of which is convenient. When I asked what sort sort of criteria they used to allocate people to hairdressers - was it the type of hair they had? - I was told that it wasn't. Well, it wasn't the order in which we arrived either as I was one of the first ones there. So, don't count on having a haircut even after making an appointment, spending money on that super-expensive public transport system we have (peak time), paying and waiting patiently for 45 minutes. My money was refunded and I was given a voucher for a free cut but what a waste of time! Maybe it's for the best though - last time I had a cut there the hairdresser was clueless and the tutor didn't see, to care much. I used to go there regularly 25 years ago and it used to be much better. I will definitely never go again. Very disappointing.

Sylvia Hughes
Sylvia Hughes

Great article. Just rang Richard Ward and they were very helpful and courteous. They have a model evening on Tuesdays so I was put in the book to be called for a future appointment.

Sophie
Sophie

Why is TREVOR SORBIE not on here? They are amazing and me and all my friends have been models there! Sometimes u can get a more senior stylist who is re - training there which is really good and they always take into account your ideas - and its free!

Michael
Michael

Looking for a free haircut? If you would like your hair cut above shoulders or shorter this is for you. Stylist with over 8 years experience you are guaranteed a cut of the highest standard. Training will be taking place from the 13th of january 2014 at Vidal Sassoon in covent garden. For more information or to book please contact Michael. michael.pitsillides@gmail.com

Dinah
Dinah

Re: Windle & Moodle I know I probably shouldn't complain about a free cut (you get what you pay for etc) but I was given a completely different haircut to the one I asked for, and I do feel that the least I could expect was what I wanted - even if it took ages and isn't brilliant. I had asked for a wavy layered bob with a side parting, brought a picture, and gave some instructions as I once worked in a salon and know some of the terminology. I was given a straightened asymmetrical bob with a centre parting, no layers and no consideration of how it would look wavy (my hair is naturally wavy and I don't want to use straightening irons). Basically I came out with a Victoria Beckham haircut, which was not what I wanted at all, and nearly cried. Washed my hair the minute I got home and tried to make something good out of it. A few weeks later it's grown out a bit, and my hair being plentiful, fine and wavy, I now have a fuzzy triangular thing going on as I have no layers to temper the madness - so annoying when I specifically asked for them. Personally I think that one of the basic things a trainee should be taught is to give a customer what they ask for. The trainee's supervisor didn't look at the picture I showed, which I think was the problem as the trainee just asked him where to start with a bob. Try this place if you like (on the plus side, they're very friendly and it's a lovely environment), but make sure that the supervisor sees/hears exactly what you want

michael
michael

@Michael this offer is not valid.