JAKE NAUGHTON/Herald photo

Downtown Madison residents often complain they have to spend $20 on a haircut — not true!

If you’re really on a budget, you have two options — develop sudden male pattern baldness or donate your scalp to science at Madison Area Technical College.

On the other hand, while being at the mercy of the MATC beauticians-in-training means a great free shampoo, the innumerable mannequin heads littering the room are kind of creepy. And knowing someone’s grade is on the line makes me even more passive-aggressive than usual when the mirror is held up for my approval.

This brings us back to Nogginz, the State Street chic alternative to College Barber Shop, which could definitely stand to adopt a catchier name.

Nogginz has earned its popularity by carefully walking the line between the urban boutique, with its red and black interior decor, and no-fuss comfort zone for the pajamas crowd. The wait is usually pretty short, and there are the requisite magazines in the meantime to remind you why you always get the same haircut.

The unpretentious staff will dutifully translate your vague mutterings about wanting it “short-ish” into “inches,” or whatever new-fangled measurements the kids are using these days.

One complaint: They still haven’t figured out the credit card tip line thing, thus forcing you to physically hand over the dirty dollars, like some kind of barbarian.