Review: Sassoon Academy Streaming Video

It’s been a long time coming, but finally, Sassoon have jumped full tilt into the world of online streaming availability for their education videos. This is something I was very excited about, as having the collections on instant ‘video on demand’ rather than DVDs is something that apppeals to me greatly and Sassoon videos tend to get me all hot and bothered too, so it’s a match made in heavern surely? Well, read on and we’ll get into the thick of it.

First up, a small introduction for anyone unfamiliar. In the past, Sassoon Academy released their Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer collections alongside training videos on DVDs that showed how each look in the collection was cut and coloured. These DVDs would usually maintain a top tier price tag as you would expect and were not always readily available or easy to pick up. With the introduction of having the videos as streaming content on their Academy website, Sassoon Academy have boosted their content in two very excellent ways for the consumer. Firstly, it obviously makes the availablity a moot point, if you have an internet conneciton, you can watch the videos. Secondly, and a little more interestingly, it allows each look in a collection to be bought seperately, meaning that if you wanted to see just one look in a collection, you don’t have to pay for a full price DVD just to watch 15 minutes of content. These are really big plus points in my eyes and it makes catching new Sassoon training videos a cinch, they’re very reasonably priced and available for everyone.

So onto the the meat and bones of it then. The website is clean and easy to navigate. There is not a huge amount of content currently as they have opted to not include any of their past collections. This is understandable from a fashion forward and dynamic standpoint, but I can’t help but feel like they’ve missed a trick here, as some of their old content is nigh impossible to find anymore on the open market and hasn’t lost any interest from me personally, just because it’s not this years collections. Whether or not going forwards, the newest collecitons will add to the back catalogue of streaming material or will simply replace the existing material remains to be seen, but it makes for an interesting ‘limited time only’ vibe to the videos. So what do we actually have to choose from then? They have the full ABC Classic Cut (12 videos), Classic Colour (12 videos) and Classic Men (12 videos) sets available, as well as the collections, which are currently Autumn/Winter 2016 ‘utopia’ (3 videos) and ‘Poetica’ (5 videos). Utopia is labelled under ‘Salon’ and has more commercial looks, with Poetica under ‘Academy’ and is the more out there, creative pieces. The pricing is incredibly fair in my eyes, with single videos being available to stream for 7 days, 3 months or 6 months and priced at £3, £6 and £10 or $5, $10 and $16 respectively. Somewhat strangely, they offer bundle discounts that don’t actually give you any discount. Four videos for £12 is simply 4×3, whoever worked this one out either made something of a mistake or is trying to pull a bit of a fast one with their marketing. It’s a minor observation, but legit bundle discounts would’ve been fantastic. Buying was easy and quick as you’d expect, and once bought the videos can be viewed on the same pages that you go to buy them on, rather than a single account page This is not super user friendly, and a centralised ‘your videos’ page or something would have been nice to see, but it’s again a minor quibble and perhaps something which could be worked on in the future. The videos you bought do get marked with a little ‘Purchased’ tag, so it’s a passable operation as is.

Sassoon academy streaming utopia

So let’s move on to the actual content. I purchased two videos form the Utopia range, Amanda, which is a long layered look and Kat, a short classsic bob vibe. I also snagged one from the Poetica range, Egle, which is a short androgynous pixy look. As far as presentation goes, they’re all high quality videos, the player can automatically change the download quality based on your connection and are captured clean and crisply as you might expect. If you have seen the ABC videos before, we get the same narration over the top of the videos and each video includes both the cut and colour of each look. That, you might think is an awful lot for £3. Well, it is, however this does present some problems. Balancing value with content and framing the videos for what they are is a tough one.

Firstly lets talk about the cutting sections of the videos. The work on display is impeccable as you’d imagine, it is so clean and this definitely helps following along and is an inspiration in itself. Repeated steps in the cut are often edited out, this is not an immediate problem and keeps the video moving along at a solid pace, however, this does mean that with the edits, you’re constantly trying to play catch up in your mind as you watch. Things are not always explained that clearly or shown that thoroughly before we’re moving on again and with so many edits, you’re often left trying to connect the dots between what you’ve just seen and what you’re watching now. The narration also leaves a little to be desired, with some things clearly explained and others seemingly ignored, this can again present challenges. I understand why these decisions were made and the videos being kept short like this do make them very watchable and you never feel like you need to skip along a bit, but the flipside of that is that things are not always as transparent as you might like or need them to be. Again, the narrator will often say “notice how…” and as a watcher you’re left sort of feeling like, well, no I don’t really notice to be hoenst.

This isn’t my biggest gripe here however. That lies in the complete ommision of integral parts of a cut. The entire fringe section in Egle for example is noticably absent. This might not be a problem for the advanced cuttter, but for a student or someone with less experience, this presents a huge difficulty. I found the steps in the videos I watched from the Utopia collection to be slightly more thorough than the Poetica collection, but both moved along at a real clip, with said edits and ommisions making it a constant game of catch up. This is all looking at it purely from a students perspective, these aren’t really begginer styles in the first place and it’s important to understand that from the outset to avoid dissapointment I think.

As far as the colouring goes the work is all stunningly beautiful. It’s all very creative. All of the formulas used are given, which is excellent and you can choose the narration to give you formulas for either Sassoon Chromatology or Wella Koleston products. From here a little work either from experience or google can lead you to formulas in whatever line you use. Again here however, it tends to lean much more heavily towards the experienced as it clips along at a real pace and sectioning and technique is often left to be gleaned by the observant watcher. It’s important to remember that this is creative work, allowing you to get a grounding in the basics of their techniques and letting you run with it. And that, I would say is the value in these videos.

So all in then, what’s the story? For £3, each video is very reasonably priced. You get the cut and colour of each look in a collection, a serious amount for less than the price of a sandwhich. It is really important to understand what you’re buying though. This is all very creative and inspirational work and I’d argue that as far as educational materials go, this is what the Sassoon streaming options give you: inspiration. In a classroom environment or to a more experienced stylist, you’ll get the most out of these videos from the outset. Using them as inspiration or following along will be an interesting, exciting and fascinating affair. For the more beginner stylists however, watching these videos as a standalone experience might be something of an exercise in frustration, especially if you enter into them with a goal to follow along. For these people, I’d reccommend relaxing and watching them more as inspirational pieces with education sprinkled on top. It’s really integral, like I mentiontioned before, that these are viewed for what they are: high tier, creative works absolutely not for the feint of heart.

Ultimately, I think for the price they’re fantastic, you’ll feel inspired and they’re a great display of the Sassoon methodology, which is always exciting to watch. If you are hoping to see in-depth education however, it might be best to skip on to something else, like MHD or TheFactory.TV and come back when you’re looking to be inspired or are at a level where following along is either a seperate learning challenge in itself or something you can easily do. I already have them on DVD, so didn’t check them out today, however I have to point out here too, that the full ABC sets are also available and they present a much more complete education experience for the more beginner stylist. At the end of the day, the Sassoon Academy streaming service does make the videos affordable and available in ways they weren’t previously and that in itself is something which I feel can’t be sniffed at and commend Sassoons for doing. There is value here for everybody, you just need to buy into it with the appropriate expectations.

The Sassoon streaming site can be found here.

2017-10-25T01:26:07+00:00 March 3rd, 2017|Reviews|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Terrasa Apr 10, 2017 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you for providing such a thorough and well written review of the series. I appreciate how you expressed the need for appropriate expectations, and I also really enjoy your writing style. I came here after watching some of your wonderful avant garde hair and headdress videos!

  2. Julia cosgrove Jul 11, 2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Thank you…I was considering these and other sites like bth and masters of balayage etc which are more expensive. I would have needed the fringe on the style you mentioned so I guess im going to need to look elsewhere….the other sites I mentioned are too expensive to pay for at the moment. I have just discovered this site so am going to take a look round xx
    I have my level 2 in hair just spent time doing level 2&3 beauty wondered if it was possible to get to a great standard via online teaching as classroom teaching is basically the same…one afternoon a week shown a style then to go copy it. X

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