Location: Chicago, Illinois
Format: Theory and practical
Awarded: ABC Cutting Diploma
Duration: 3 days
Cost: $1,320
Student to teacher ratio: 8 to 1
Skill level recommended: Any licensed
cosmetologist who wants to learn the Sassoon cutting philosophies.
Upcoming classes: Call 888-757-5100 for dates and locations.
Tools to bring: Blow dryer, flatiron, shears, cutting combs, styling brushes, spray bottle

MODERN’s Advanced Academy Tour begins at Chicago’s Sassoon Academy, where educators merge science with the art of cutting.

The theory portion that begins the 3-day advanced education cutting course at the Sassoon Academy in Chicago, Illinois, is intense— students, whose skills range from new graduates to seasoned stylists, begin with an introduction on the history of Vidal Sassoon, followed by lectures on the ABC cutting principles. “We don’t teach hair cuts, rather we teach how to cut hair,” says Don Haidl, creative director for Chicago’s academy. Haidl stresses that the fundamental techniques are lines, graduation and layering—and how and when to combine the techniques to create an infinite number of possibilities customized for your clients.

During theory, the educator conducts a demonstration on a live model—applying the technique combinations, while allowing students to get involved with questions, combing through the model’s hair, and analyzing the hair.

A student at the Academy can expect to have approximately three live models, whose hair length, texture, growth pattern, density, color and more are analyzed during a thorough consultation, in addition to head shape, bone structure and, of course, the client’s end result desired.

Students are encouraged to take their time with clients, as the educator walks from chair to chair repeatedly throughout the hands-on portion.

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned is how to get away from overly texturizing hair, which is a clutch a lot of hairdressers rely on to get rid of weight,” says Ashley Franklin, a stylist at Aniu in Middleton, Wisconsin. “The most valuable thing I’ve learned is how to bevel the hair while I’m cutting so it lays correctly, versus overly styling and overly texturizing the hair.”

Alison’s Overview:

“This threeday cutting class was very intense, yet somehow completely unintimidating. Educators Don Haidl and Vikie Mason take a scientific approach to cutting hair—putting a strong emphasis on the client’s individual bone structure and head shape, merged with a thorough analysis of the hair’s growth pattern, density, texture and length.”

While attending beauty school, MODERN and First Chair Editor Alison Shipley documented her experience in her Beauty School Diary blog. Throughout 2012, she will tour advanced academies, using her license to participate in and report on education and certification programs across the country.

Have you attended an academy you think should be audited in the new Alison’s Academy Tour series? E-mail your suggestions at ashipley@ While Alison’s experience in class are a good representation of what you can expect to learn from these courses, some information is subject to change based on location, educator preferences and other variables. Please be sure to check with individual academies for complete details.

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