Review: The London Hair Academy NVQ Level 2

Girls with hair that needs attention—here I come—I can be your “hairy” godmother!

This year, by far, has been epic. It started with me joining a team in this boutique salon tucked away in Shoreditch and finished with me booking and completing my course at the The London Hair Academy. Wait, what? I DID IT. I finally saved up enough money to do my course! All of those long, draining shifts at ZARA dealing with customer returns and, sometimes, incompetent staff members proved to be worth it in the end.

There were many bumps and falls, like always, but in the end with the support of my beloved one I can finally say that my dreams of becoming a recognised hair stylist is gradually coming true. The feeling I get when I see happy faces after colouring, cutting and blowdrying my client’s hair makes the hard work and longer years of saving so worth the trouble. It’s moment like these when I realise that this is exactly what I want to do with my life.

About the course

Let’s cut to the chase—the course was well worth the money. Thankfully, the groups are small (up to 7 people) so we get plenty of one to one tutoring and opportunities to practice our theory work. We only worked on the dolly heads once a week and, for the rest, we would do 1 to 2 clients in a day. Since it’s all squashed into three very short months, it’s incredibly fast paced with lots of intense practical learning. Yes, you read that right, 3 months! How much did I pay? Around £6100 because I signed up during the Christmas offers. Do I think it’s better than going to college for 2 years? You bet!

I know a stylist that did a college course for 2 years in a group of 30 people and felt she learned very little at all. Although they do have the advantage of growing their confidence using the techniques at their own pace because at The London Hair Academy you have to pick things up as fast as you can. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you’re keen to put in the extra hours, but you have to be able to keep up with the intensity. Luckily, the academy provides an ITEC qualification which is recognised worldwide.

Subjects that I covered in the course:

Develop and Maintain Effectiveness at Work

  • Team work
  • Productivity
  • Personal developement

Style and Finish Hair

  • Using different products for different finished looks
  • Straight, body, curly, bouncy blowdries

Set and Dress Hair

  • Up-dos
  • Hot rollers
  • Wet rollers
  • Pin curls
  • Heated equipment

Cut Hair Using Basic Techniques

  • One length
  • Long graduation
  • Short graduation
  • Uniform layers

Colour and Lighten Hair

  • Re-growth application
  • All over colours and toning
  • T-section & half head highlights

Advise and Consult with Clients

  • Factors that Limit or Affect Services
  • Hair Characteristics
  • Hair Classification
  • Advice and Recommendations

Shampoo, Condition and Treat the Hair and Scalp

  • Hair Condition
  • Scalp Condition
  • Shampooing Massage Techniques
  • Conditioning Products
  • Conditioning Massage Techniques
  • Advice and Recommendations

(NEW) Perm and Neutralise Hair

  • Products
  • Tests
  • Factors
  • Sectioning Techniques

My tutor was Paula and I can only say good things about her way of teaching. She always pushed us beyond our comfort zone so we could make mistakes on our dolly heads before we went on to cut people’s hair. The most common mistake for all of us in the group would be over-directing, which often got us crying out aloud “we can’t find out guide!” Believe me, you will understand the pain when you start studying hairdressing. Paula would come over and swiftly pick up the guide, show it to us, then drop it—making us try to find it again. It brought frustration to all of us but that’s how we learn right?

At the beginning of the three months, Paula warned us that there would be plenty of blood, sweat and tears during the course and most of us just laughed it off. Of course she knew better and probably at least 5 out of 7 of us cried at some point. We definitely all bled from nipping ourselves with the scissors. I cried myself from frustration, but mostly out of exhaustion and confusion while trying to figure out colour theory. It’s certainly not easy and there will be times where you might be pushed to your limits.

The most memorable quote from the group:  “You know that lady I had today, with the, with the… you know… McDonald’s thing,” while pointing towards the hairline. She was trying to describe a very deep widow’s peak but that’s what happens at the end of a long day on an intense course.

The funniest memory: a client falling asleep in the middle of a pixie haircut.

The best moment: being nominated for the Hairdressing British Student of the Year awards.

Right now, I feel like I am confident enough to go out and cut, colour and style people’s hair and I’m so happy with the progress. Three days before the end of the course I already had clients in my salon and they couldn’t believe that I was just about to graduate. I guess that’s why I would recommend this London Hair Academy course to others out there looking for an entry point in hairdressing. You need a strong head, lots of energy and a good attitude towards learning but, stick with it, and you could be a stylist in three months too.