Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Today is my last official day at NBU. I visited financial aid yesterday asked how many hours I had left. The fin aid lady smiled and said, "9 hours to go! Congratulations!" I felt a lump in my throat. I clock out at 9PM tonight and my hours are complete. I can hardly believe it. I’m reflecting, but refusing to get weepy-eyed.

I keep thinking back over the past 10 months and wondering where all the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday I sat in the lobby of NBU and marveled at what a sexy place it seemed to be - -everyone all in black, tattoos and piercings proudly accepted, fun music blaring. Now I’ve seen a little behind the curtain and understand a lot more about the beauty industry - - good and bad.

 I still love it.

 Last night I looked around at my classmates and thought about the amazing time we’ve had. Something reminded me of the HBO series Band of Brothers. Ok, so this is hardly a war - - even I realize that. But there is something magical about accomplishing what we’ve accomplished together. We’re all working  a day job, paying for class ourselves, managing relationships and families. It was apparent to me - - there’s  something special that develops when you trust someone to put peroxide chemicals on your eyelashes. You begin to break it down and talk about a family member’s cancer diagnosis, alcoholism, or a spouse's unfaithfulness. There’s something about the beautification process that’s way more significant than the actual “improvement” to the outside appearance.

I’ve heard people talk about how this industry gets in your blood. I get that now. Despite the long hours and the weekend work, I can’t imagine not working in it in some capacity. This brings me to my new beauty venture, which makes me smile. I call it TANtaleyes. Without going into too much detail here, I’ll give you the website –

I’m excited and I've been singing a line from the only song I know by Semisonic. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Yeah...” –Closing Time (Circa 1999)

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

For your enjoyment - a few more pics from my beauty school memoirs that didn't make the cut to a blog... 

The first man wax in our class. It was only arms, but we were still excited.

Clearly I was excited about receiving my Smashbox Pro card. Not sure  I've even used it more than one or twice!

The night I broke my purple leopard print phone case. What's beauty school without some kind of animal print?

When the temp got below 60 degrees, we resorted to spa robes to keep warm. 

I meant to do a blog on these things - - the new Kiss lashes with application strings. I wasn't a fan, but I've already adopted my technique. If you've had trouble with applying lashes in the past - - you might want to try them. They are super cheap and at the drug store. 

One of my fave pics of school. My teacher had just had a Jessner's chemical peel. Her skin was coming off in sheets! 

My final state board exam kit. Complete with sheets, a tunic, paper towels, sanitizer, tweezers, mock wax, the list could go on and on.... 

Everything has to be labeled in the state board kit. 

The six "smaller" kits I have to use for state board to test out for things like, steaming someone's face, using a face vac, brushes, waxing eyebrows, etc. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


For the past 10 months I’ve had to keep track of EVERY service I’ve done at school.  Herding cats - - that’s what it’s been like.

Now it’s time for me to make sure all these services are accounted for on a ton of worksheets for the state board.  It basically proves that I’ve done the minimum requirements to test for my license.  

Yesterday I finally completed all of my worksheets. If I had the physical dexterity, I would have done back hand springs.  

According to my calculations, I’ve successfully completed the following:
  • 52 Massage Treatments
  • 39 Facials with Machines
  • 50 Facials without machines
  • 16 Back Treatments
  • 15 Standard Makeup Applications
  • 15 Corrective Makeup Applications
  • 21 Eye brow arches (I know this one is an understatement)
  • 31 Waxing/Hair Removal Sessions
  • 15 Lash and Brow Tints
  • 74 Sanitation Procedures
The state board doesn’t ask about the stuff we've enjoy the most (like microderm, lashes, and chemical peels). I guess they know we’re a lot more likely to practice applying false lashes than suffer through bikini waxes. 

So, I've finished 725 hours of my required 750, and I've made roughly $327 in tips in beauty school to date (of which I spent about $300 or so during my break for dinner... or Starbucks).

Now I’m busy running around getting all the “initials” I need to receive my paperwork to schedule my state board exams. I have just a few more services to finish out my week. Next Tuesday I will do a mock demonstration of my state board exam, and Wednesday the 6th is scheduled to be my final clock-out at Nashvegas Beauty U.

I’m gonna miss this beautifully insane place.

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Like coffee? Me too. So does your skin.

I got this bag from a spa pantry... but you can use plain old Joe from the
grocery store... same thing!
Fresh coffee grounds in your body wash. It’s simple as that. Take your favorite body wash, open up the lid, and add a few teaspoons of fresh coffee grounds (I never have been good at moderation, so for me it ends up being about ½ cup). Shake it up and smooth it on during your next shower for an inexpensive treatment with lots of benefits. You can also add them to a body scrub or just have them in a small jar in the shower.

Here’s what you’ll get by bringing the cafĂ© to the bath:
  • It just smells great, especially first thing in the morning.
  • A great mechanical exfoliation to the skin (just rub the grounds on your skin the same way you would use a body scrub).
  • The topical benefits of caffeine on the skin. Here’s a little “good news/bad news” for this one. I’m sure you’ve seen those cellulite reducing lotions and creams at the drug store. Tempting, I know… especially with a coupon. Here’s the bad news - you’ll only see success with these creams if you use them daily, and even then, the “reduction in the appearance of cellulite” is temporary. That is, when you stop using the creams, the wobble will reconvene on your thighs. Sigh…. BUT…  here’s the good news - you can get your daily cellulite reducing caffeine fix from your coffee infused body wash, and not a pricey lotion (and it’s not an extra step in your bathing rituals to remember).
Adding a "little" coffee to my sugar scrub. 

  • Coffee doesn't "melt away" while you're exfoliating with it like salts and sugar scrubs. (The down side, you’ll probably see some of it on your shower floor when you’re done, and it will turn your body wash a bit of a brown color).
  • Antioxidants - I've talked about those enough... you know what they are!
FYI – Before writing this blog I decided to see if I could re-purpose the coffee grounds left over from my morning coffee. You can try it - - but honestly, it’s just not the same as fresh coffee grounds on the skin. It’s a little mushier and just not as good an exfoliation. Remember that the goal with exfoliation is to stimulate the skin and increase cellular turnover, so a little “abrasion” is a good thing!

Here’s a hint I’ve learned in school. When you’re using a scrub, try using it in the shower BEFORE you turn on the water. This is how professional  exfoliations are done by estheticians at the spa. Applying the product before you’re wet allows you to truly get a chance to “scrub” before the water washes your product away. Once you’ve scrubbed yourself down, turn on the water and wash away the product.

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Thursday, June 16, 2011


As I think about the short time I have left in beauty school (3 weeks), I can’t help but reflect on one of the best things about beauty school - - the clients. Most of them are the everyday gal - - just looking for a good cheap facial or microderm. Others, well… they were unique. In particular, I’d like to take the time to reflect on the ones we students have dubbed the “All Star Client Team”.

Some individuals just make it all worthwhile.They give us day-changing  challenges that make us want to throw our tweezers across the room. Some have made us laugh, while others just left us perplexed and confused. Either way, they were memorable. Isn’t that what we all want in the end anyway?

Like the old Bud Light “Real Men of Genius” commercials, here’s to you - - The All Star Client Team. May you forever live in beauty school infamy.
  • Pink Panty Man Wax – You came in for a leg wax, and wowed us with how unashamed you were to pull your tunic up and show us your hot pink panties. You were one of the first members of the All Star Team.
  • Text Message Queen – I was unable to ignore your ability to multi-task during your facial with  constant text messaging. Even during the massage portion, you managed to hold your phone above your head so that you did not miss responding to one critical message. Congrats, and welcome to the All Star Team.
  • Silent Chemical Peel Lady – You amazed me with your silence. Even when I asked you about your “tingle factor” between each layer of your chemical peel, you refused to answer. I was confused and challenged. Was this a good sign, or a bad sign? Should I continue? I took your silence as affirmation and applied all four layers and a booster to your peel. I have not seen you since. I hope your face is ok.
  • Wonder Woman – Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Whenever I want to complain about how much laundry there is to fold at NBU, I think of you and I smile. You proudly exited the dressing room with the tunic around your neck like a cape and no pants. It was awesome. That’s all I can say.
  •  Ticklish Birthday Girl and Mom – Your mother gifted you with a back treatment for your 15th birthday. You were more ticklish than any person I’ve ever seen. You gifted the rest of NBU’s relaxed clients (and me) your contagious laughter every time I touched your back. Your mother wasn't happy, but it was one of my favorite services.
  • Ingrown Hair Trauma Lady – After your sister waxed the nape of your neck, most of the hair came back ingrown. You came in desperate. Even though it wasn’t on our menu of services, we used needlepoint tweezers and picked out every one of those suckers. We were not sure what to charge you. We ended up settling on a $5 brow wax fee. You got a deal and we got quite an experience. Thank you!
  • To all the clients over 55 – A special salute to you. You get services for 50% off the already super cheap beauty school prices. We LOVE you. You come in and let us do any services we want to you. You get a facial, a brown wax, lip wax, and a hand treatment and walk out spending less than $20. Ok. Maybe we really love you because you usually make up the difference of your discount to us in tips. Come again, please!  
  • 3x a Week Brow Wax Lady – You came, you waxed, you waxed again, and then… you waxed again. All in one week. Wow. When we had nothing left to wax, we just pretended. 

Honestly, these were just a few of the All Stars. There are just so many. In all sincerity, their quirks and fun have earned a special place in my heart and have made this experience all the richer.

I raise my bottle of Deer Park water to you today, All Star Client Team. May your quest for beauty never cease, and may your oddities and fearlessness continue on to bless the next beauty school drop-in!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I’ve been on the beauty school sidelines this week, which has afforded me the opportunity to do many things that I can’t typically fit into my schedule. First I’ll tell you about the sidelining situation then we’ll move on to my time-passers.  

THE SIDELINE - I did one of those stupid moves where you try to touch the center of your frozen pizza while it’s still in the oven to see if it’s done. As my hand exited the oven, I caught the underside of the top heating coil and…

I haven’t been able to stand anything other than cool water on it. And since very little treatments in esthetics involve cool water, I haven’t been able to do a facial all week. It’s been sad to see my classmates have to take several of my “regulars” (although I do admit it felt good when Ms. Tammy threw a very polite fit when I had to pass her signature facial treatment off to Becky).

In the meantime, I'm still attending school... I'm just draping facial beds and waxing (the two things I probably enjoy the least about esthetics, but I’m sure probably build the most “character”). J

The week has presented me with a few extras to pass the time.
  • Singing Will Smith’s “Summertime”. I can’t get the lyrics out of my head - - I even tried singing the entire last verse aloud and then doing a bow. Nothing seems to work.
  • Watching National Geographic’s special on “The Skin” (which I don’t really recommend unless you enjoy watching “scarification” rituals from third world countries).
  • Shopping for all my state board exam goodies - - I will definitely blog about this one. You won’t believe all the stuff I had to buy just to use to take my exam.
  • Learning about LASHDIP.  It’s the new craze for people that don’t want lash extensions, but would like to have a semi-permanent “AMP-UP” to their lashes. Check it out at  (to ruin the suspense… it’s a semi-permanent mascara that coats every single lash individually – very cool stuff.)
  • Cleaning the wax pots with acetone. (yeah. I saved the best for last.)

So, here is a look at my burn today - - yes, it looks nasty still. But I’m really hoping to be off the sidelines next week - - otherwise it might be another week of me, Will, and Jazzy Jeff:

“Adjust the base and let the alpine blast… pop in my cd and let me run a rhyme… and put your car on cruise and lay back cause this is summertime…”  (summa…summa… summa-time…)

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Behind the Scenes

Yeah. In case you were wondering, it is as glamorous as it looks - - lots of stainless steel, plastic containers,  and white sheets.

I recently went around NBU and took a few "behind the scenes" pics. If you've ever wondered what things look like behind all the warm ambience and sexiness of a spa, enjoy!

Now for a peek behind the curtain...

The oh-so-sexy tupperware tubs where we pull our sponges,
facial brushes, and other implements for client services.

The Back Bar - This is the term used for the area housing all the
products used on clients for facials, microderm, etc. This is usually where we disappear
to when we say, "I'll be right back..." (aka - I forgot something.)

The biggest container of Barbicide you've ever seen.
Pretty much everything we use on a client has to be washed
and then soaked in this solution for a minimum of 10 minutes. 

Pretty maids... all in a row. Few clients actually get to see the "clinic floor" in full lighting.
I made this pic after we had draped every bed on the clinic floor for a busy night. 

I couldn't resist. Beauty School LOVES some culture training. I think #2 is still my fave. 
FYI - Only 7 weeks of beauty school left for this drop-in!

Gettin' Beauty Schooled,

Friday, May 6, 2011

To California and Back with Shellac

I couldn’t decide this week. Would I write an update on Shellac? or my west coast adventure? I decided I’d figure out how to merge the two.

I spent the better part of the last two weeks in California. In fact, my hubby and I started out in the Napa Valley and drove our way down to LA. How’s that for testing out a manicure?

The purpose of our trip…  a little vacation and a little business (and a lot of “are you sure we’re on the right road?”)

This trip included what I consider to be one of the most significant trainings of my “beauty school” career.

Here’s the back story. I’ve been closet spray tanning people for months now.  After some initial training, I start digging into the theory of DHA (the stuff that makes you “tan”) - - how it works, how to optimize it, and the always important - how NOT to turn people orange (you've seen the Lindsay Lo pictures).  I attempted my first few sprays and I hit a reality.  This isn’t easy. Doing custom spray tanning takes A LOT of practice, and while it can provide the most impressive sunless tan you’ve ever laid eyes on - -  the truth is, your tan is only as good as the person applying it. Tanning becomes a masterpiece when you learn to use artistry techniques and can provide the really beautiful stuff - - body slimming, toning, muscle definition, etc.

I’ve found myself lying in bed contemplating the best way to blend wrist color out towards the hand. I have little sticky notes at my desk that ask incomplete thoughts like, “How to conceal stretch marks?” Then there’s body contouring. Someone needs to bring body contouring to the people!!

So, if you want to be an actor, you go to Hollywood, right? And if you want to train for the hottest tan this side of Brazil, I figured…  you go to California.

I got the opportunity to work with a CA spray tan artist. I was pretty impressed with her resume. She’s the official spray tan artist for the Miss. California Pageant, pro football cheerleading teams, celebrities, and even has a national body building contract. I’ll spare you the details, but the training was great.  

Since I got home, I’ve been spraying anyone I can get my Shellacked hands on (no…. I haven’t forgotten about your Shellac update). Last night, I actually offered to spray tan the check out girl at Kroger because she had such great cheek bones I wanted to contour. So, if you’re in the Nashville area and you want a tan like you’ve never had before, feel free to reach out to me – all body types, all skin types.

Ok –now for the Shellac update! I went a full two weeks WITHOUT a chip! On day 14, I saw my first one - - at the tip of pointer finger.
This chip was a long time coming... 14 days to be exact. 
A FULL TWO WEEKS! That was through lots of water, endless hand sanitizer, and lugging my bags around California. They were as shiny on the last day as the first. The only give away evidence that it wasn’t a new manicure was the fact that my nails grew in two weeks… and bright red did me no favors there. It was easy to see where the Shellac polish met the new growth.

The day after I got back, I marched right back into the salon to have my red Shellac removed (which set me back $15 and 10 minutes) and I decided to go French Manicure Shellac. I dare say this girl is addicted. 

FYI – If you want to save a few bucks, you can remove your Shellac at home! Just get a small bottle of 100% acetone at the beauty supply store and soak for about 7 minutes. You can take an orange stick (or a cuticle pusher) and push away the old Shellac. I recommend having it removed at the salon the first time to get the hang of it - - then DIY!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Finally Got "Shellacked"

Shiny, red, and "shellacked"

I had given up on my nails. Since I started school, I have my hands in water all the time. According to my classmate (and licensed nail technician), natural nails will never keep polish with the number of facials we’re doing each week. After the first month, I decided it was time to wave my white flag in the air and accept defeat  - - after all, who has time to repaint their nails every other day?

Then I heard about SHELLAC. We’ve been chatting about it at school since the cosmetology side decided to start offering the Shellac service a couple weeks ago. Shellac is like a hybrid of regular nail polish and gel. It’s also been dubbed the “no-chip manicure”. Shellac boasts to offer two weeks of chip free polish, even for hands in the aquatic conditions of the esthetic industry.

For about $35-$40, you can get your natural nails “shellacked” by your nail salon. If you’re looking for a deal, try Shellac at your local beauty school for a hefty discount. We’re offering it at NBU for a mere $18.

I’m getting ready to go on an extended “working vacation” so I decided to try Shellac and see if all the hype is true. I went with a true red, so that I’d be able to wear whatever I want without color clash. If red is not your color, you could always go with a neutral color, or even the always popular French Manicure Shellac….. (or go all out and do the black and white reverse French Manicure... love it!)
Chip free for now.
The process was super easy. They did the standard cuticle pushing and clipping, and then a quick buffing of my natural nails, followed by a base coat of Shellac, two color coats, and a special Shellac top coat. In between each coat, I had to “cure” my nails in under a UV light for about 2 minutes. Once you’re done with the top coat, the last step is for the technician to wipe down each nail with alcohol. You’re left with the shiniest “natural” nails you’ve ever seen. Once I’m over the color, I’m told that Shellac can be removed with about five minutes of soaking in acetone (compared to 20+ minutes with acrylic nails).
My initial thoughts – I love it. I could see myself buying a UV lamp and the Shellac polish and attempting this at home. My nails feel totally natural, but very strong. Now I’ll see how my nails do over the two week time frame. I’ll post follow up pics for so you can see any chips or problems that occur, and I’ll definitely post a final pic before I have it removed so we can scrutinize the results!

Gettin' Beauty Schooled,


PS - If you're thinking about a Shellac pedicure, just be sure you love the color. I've heard that Shellac can stay on your toes for up to five months! For me that's about as captivating as a lifetime warranty on a purse. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's here! MTFW!

It's here! No, not my back-ordered Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palette. (Really? how long can an item be back-ordered before people forget that they even wanted it?)

Middle Tennessee Fashion Week is here! Events begin Tuesday (April 12th) and I can't wait for Saturday's fashion shows. I've loved doing makeup at shows in the past, but this week I get to experience something new - - working in a children's fashion show in the AM on Saturday!

To get up to date details on Middle TN Fashion Week, you can check out their Facebook page.  I'm already loving the fashion trivia questions! You can also check out the MTFW website to learn more about the featured designers!

I'll try to take as many pics as I can and repost for your enjoyment!

Gettin' Beauty Schooled,


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Being the “Mature” One at Beauty School

Maturely spraying on blue lips after airbrush class. I guess the magenta eyeshadow just wasn't enough.

So, I’ve been in school since last September - - it seems like months:  7 to be exact. Funny, because that’s about the same number of times that I’ve been called “mature” by patrons of NBU.

Here’s the deal, I enjoy being called mature. In most situations, we all do, right? At beauty school however, I’ve found that “mature” is used in a little differently than the typical context.  It’s kind of the  same context as it was used when I went to the popular second hand store Plato’s Closet, and tried to sell back a bunch of my clothes (which I consider to be good stuff - - mostly name brand and even some designer stuff). Guess what I heard after two hours of rummaging through my four tubs of wardrobe sacrifice?

 “Thanks so much for bringing your clothes in… we found that your brands a little mature for our shoppers.”

What? Too mature? You sayin’ I’m old?

They were - -nicely, of course. J

I thought it would be fun to share a few one liners I received from my loving clients at NBU. I know I’ve got a few years on most beauty school students (they say the average is 22… I’m the ripe age of 32).
Here are a few gems my precious beauty seeking clients weren’t afraid to point it out:
  • “You’re probably old enough to remember what I’m talking about…”  (From a lip wax client that was telling a story… clearly I was the only one in the room old enough to identify.)
  • “Are you an instructor? You seem…. mature....... um. It’s probably just how professionally you dress.” (BTW – we all wear black. Black leggings and giant shirts most of the time. I’m guessing the latter statement was out of remorse once she realized how the first one sounded.)
  • “So, I’m guessing this isn’t going to be your real job, right? I mean, somebody your age knows how much the beauty industry pays.”
  • “You’re doing good keeping up with these trendy young gals! How old are you anyway?”

Ahhh… the bliss of being mature. As one client said to me a few days ago, “You just keep hanging out here… these girls will keep you young!”

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Monday, March 21, 2011

I got Versa "freckled"

Becoming a skin student has cramped my style with regard to the sun. I haven’t felt it much until these recent sunny days, and I’m finding myself eager to claim a summer glow. Since the sun is fairly off limits for me (I keep reminding myself… a tan is a scar…), I’m dedicated to finding the perfect solution for sunless tanning - - hold the orange please.
Back in my sun-worshiping days. (ok, so it wasn't so long ago)
Sunless tanning solutions have come a LONG way - - take it from a girl who has been using them since 7th grade. I’ve been every shade of orange, brown, and brorange. I’ve tried drug store brands, high end cosmetic counter brands, and everything in between.

A recent Groupon allowed me the opportunity to try out the “oh-so-luxurious” Versa spa. For those of you unfamiliar with the Versa Spa, it’s considered the upscale sunless tanning machine. You basically strip down, climb into a booth, and get sprayed with sunless solution by a set of jets. Remember that hilarious Friends episode when Ross got sprayed over and over in the front and ended up wanting “four twos, all on the back!” (check out the clip here and relive the funny moment)
The Versa Spa "odometer" - I got a "2" like Ross!
Back to the Versa Spa – here’s how it all went down.

I go in with my Groupon, fill out my waiver form and answer questions about my “Fitzpatrick level” (this level helps skin people make decisions about skin treatments for you, including tanning decisions.

Girl behind the counter: “What do you want? Do you want to be light, medium, or dark?”
Me: “Well, what would you recommend for my Fitzpatrick level?”
Girl: “What?”
Me: “What would you recommend for my Fitzpatrick level?”
Girl: “I don’t know you mean. We just need to know if you want to be light, medium or dark.”
Me: “Well, that’s not really how it works. Do you know what percent of DHA is in your solutions? Because if I go too high for my Fitzpatrick, then I’ll turn orange. What percent of DHA is in your medium?”
Girl: “Sorry, but that’s over my head. Do you want medium?”
Me: (exhausted) “Yes. I’ll take medium.”  (Oh… and if you haven’t read my blog on people who don’t give a crap and are working in the beauty industry… now might be a good time.)

I walk back to the Versa Spa, and I happen to catch a young girl cleaning it before I go in, so I asked her to show me how to use it. She gives me the positions, tells me to stand at the red line, and I get undressed, and slathered on barrier cream in all the right spots (knees, feet, etc.).  I was going to follow all the rules. I was not going to be a Ross. I was determined.

Rules or not, the outcome was still less than desirable.  I liked the color from the Versa Spa, but the application was disappointing - - the worst part was the speckles over my arms and hands (which I have since learned is known as the “Versa freckle”). Thank God I spend so much time with my hands in water - - hopefully they will fade within a few days.
My arm - right after my spray (none of these dot are real freckles)

My arm, the day after
Contrast this experience with the one I had only three weeks ago. I walked into a tanning spa and was hand airbrushed by a tanning artist there. The tan was flawless - no orange feet, no crazy positions to stand in, no streaks, and certainly no strange freckles. I’m convinced that there’s just nothing like a beautiful, customized airbrush tan - - sprayed by hand with love by some stranger while you stand in the nude (or the optional dark swimsuit). 

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,  


Thursday, March 10, 2011

A "Cos" and a "Skinny" Unite - Bring on the Beauty School Perks

One of the great things about esthetics school is that it’s usually adjoined with a cosmetology school. What does this mean for students? Well, if you’re on the esthetics side (like me), you make it a personal mission to befriend a “cos” student (short for cosmetology student). And if you’re a cos, you set your sights on a “skinny” (slang for skin student).

Repeat after me….. Cheap trade of services.  Now, before you get all green with envy, just remember that I had to pay 8000+ smackers to go to skin school. (I keep telling myself that the free services will break even with my tuition eventually.) But let’s not dwell on the past - - that’s what my student loans are for.

Lucky for me, I actually met an AWESOME cos student in the lobby of a beauty school while we were both on a tour. We’ve been friends ever since.   We ended up in school together in different programs, but it’s a match made in heaven.  I give her the best “oh, you’re gonna sleep good tonight” facials and she rocks my deep conditioning treatment world.

I’m no hair expert (unless it’s being waxed), but I’m pretty sure that these before and after pictures are hair progress for me.

That’s right. That’s my scraggly mop on the left before (yes, it had been twisted in a knot to keep it out of my face), and my silky shiny mane on the right after. After what?  A Keratin treatment (and a trim). I’m told it’s like a mini version of the Brazilian Blowout – similar results, but doesn’t last nearly as long. I don’t care – my favorite cos student says I can get one of these babies every six weeks. I decided to do my calculations. I’ve got about 3 ½ months left of school, so I'm thinking that the breaking even with the cost of tuition thing might have been a bit optimistic. Oh well, I'll take my perks where I can get them. Let the keratin rivers flow. 

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Waxing the 15 Year Old Freshman Queen

I knew this would be an interesting case when I walked out to the lobby and saw a young girl sitting in one of the wax chairs. Ashley came in with her mother.  She was there for a lip and cheek wax. Ashley - - not her mother.

“She’s the freshman queen at a school ball on Saturday. We need to get rid of this five o’clock shadow she’s got going on… and the mustache too. Ashley, do you want her to pull some of this hair around your hairline? You know how hairy you are… ”

Mom said all of this before I could get a word out.

I wanted to tell mom that she was way out of line. I wanted to whirl the wax chair around, put Ashley’s face in my hands and tell her was going to be a beautiful freshman queen.  I wanted to school mom in a lesson from which I have no real practical experience - - being a mom.  

I kept my mouth closed and pretty much let out a long hum. “Hmmmmmmmm….”

I collected myself. I'm no prophet, but I wondered how this poor girl would ever grow up with the confidence to look someone in the face and not be concerned with facial hair. And honestly, Ashley’s hair wasn’t even that bad. I talked mom out of waxing the tiny vellus hair on the sides of Ashley’s face. I was sure it would end up in a breakout similar to the one a classmate had after we waxed her cheeks. We ended up doing a lip wax, and with nice results - -  but it was tainted with mom’s bad vibes. I'm sure she meant well, but I couldn’t even feel good about handing Ashley the mirror. If only we had the power to wax away some of the terrible thoughts that are ingrained in us about the way we look. 

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Nose Wax Disaster

One of my NBU classmates displays her successful nose wax results.
 I blame Nashvegas Beauty U for finally having the heat fixed. 

The heat has always been jacked-up in the esthetics area at NBU. We’ve worn gloves while taking exams, huddled for warmth on the clinic floor, and given advanced warning to clients before getting undressed for facials. One thing you can rely on at NBU - -you'll always shivering - - unless you’re in the warmth of the wax room.

The private wax room is where we take clients for body waxes. Between the warmth of three wax pots, the small size of the room, and the intensity of having or giving a body wax, you’re guaranteed to be warm in the wax room. We even have an oscillating fan in the corner to help cool things off. 

On Monday, we came into school and our instructor proudly told us that the heat had been fixed, and that we could finally leave our winter coats at home. We were thrilled.

On Tuesday, one of our clients came in for a lip and chin wax. It was Ms. Smith, an attractive, professional business woman. Since a chin wax is much easier when someone is reclined, I showed Ms. Smith to the private wax room and laid her back in a facial chair. We engaged in the typical small talk, and she commented on how “nice and warm” the wax room was. I replied, “Yes, the wax room is always warmer than anywhere else. I guess it’s the heat from these wax pots.”

As I was finishing up her lip wax, Ms. Smith made a comment about a few bothersome hairs she had growing out of her nose. I took a look and said, “Oh that’s no big deal, we can wax those and you won’t have to worry about them for weeks.” Ms. Smith had the typical response, “You mean you can wax nose hair? How?”

“We use hard wax.” I said.

FYI - Hard wax is different than strip wax, in fact, it doesn’t use strips at all. It begins to set as soon as it is applied, and it becomes hard within seconds. To remove it, you just flick up a tiny piece at the end, grab it and give it a quick pull. It comes off in one nice hard piece, with the nasty hair in tow. The great thing about hard wax is that it’s easy to use in small places where you can’t get a wax strip. Hard wax is perfect for the nose…

After explaining things to Ms. Smith, she decided she’d try the nose wax. We talked briefly again about how warm the room was getting, so I walked over to the oscillating fan and turned it on high. Her first nostril wax went fabulous! When I removed the wax, we both briefly examined it and Ms. Smith let out a squeal of delight at how much hair was removed from the edge of her nostril. I gave her the mirror and she marveled, “That is amazing! Wait till I tell the girls at the office about this!”

Then came the second nostril. By this time, I was so warm that I could feel the perspiration starting to develop on my forehead. I knew Ms. Smith was uncomfortable too, because she told me it would be ok to crack the door.

I laid down the wax as I’ve done a hundred times before in that little room, and then I waited for it to set.  I grasped the edge of the hard wax and gave it a quick pull. Instead of a hard hairy wax glob, the wax pulled out in a string like a piece of chewed gum stuck to your shoe on a hot day. Yikes -half of the wax was still inside Ms. Smith’s nose.

I felt the heat creep up the back of my neck.

“Well, that’s something. The wax didn’t set. Let’s give it another minute and try again.” I said calmly. We waited another minute. I tried my best to grasp the wax with the tiny bit that was outside of her nose, but it was useless.  Every time I got a grip, it was the gum on the shoe incident all over again. Ms. Smith and I were both getting antsy.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, so I decided to try a different approach. “Ms. Smith, I’ve going to grab some tweezers and see if I can get a grip on the wax.” She nodded. I relentlessly tried to grab the wax with my tweezers. It was a careful balance between getting a grip on the wax and pushing it further up her nose. The tweezers didn’t work either.

By this time, we were both crazy hot. I knew what I had to do.  I handed Ms. Smith the hand mirror and said, “Ms. Smith, I think we’re going to need to pick it out. I’m happy to do it, or you can.” She looked at me and said, “You hold the mirror.”

So I did. It took about another three minutes before victory. And yes, victory was sweet. That was one funky wax ball by the time we got it out.

As we left the wax room, Ms. Smith and I laughed. We couldn’t help but find it all funny. It wasn’t until we felt the cooler air of the clinical floor that it dawned on us that her skin had finally gotten so warm that the wax wouldn’t set. It was the classic beauty school disaster. I didn’t charge her for the botched “nose job” - - and believe it or not, she actually rebooked with me in four weeks.  

I guess this is what NBU would call a “discovery”.

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Odd Things You Do at Beauty School

My day changes drastically from 4PM to 5PM.

I go from:
  • Rubbing 9 hours of computer fatigue out of my eyes to... bumping into the back of a mohawk while standing in line to clock-in at school.
  • Hearing “We're gonna need legal to look at this one more time” to... “Did you see Jersey Shore last night?? Oh no she didn’t!”
  • Conference calls to.. finger painting.
There are a few beauty school activities that I am a little cynical about. I have a mental list that I affectionately refer to as my “For the love of all things decent and holy, why do we have to do this at beauty school?” list. My top two activities on the list are playing hide and seek (yes, we actually did this one night at school) and musical chairs. I have to remind this hardened cerebrum of mine that beauty school culture embraces fun, creativity, and breaking out of the norm - - after all, these were part of the reasons that I was so drawn to the beauty industry to begin with. Still, there are times when I just want to stand up and say, "Playing musical chairs does not support my personal goals and it's not going to make you a better hair dresser either!" Instead, I collect myself and try to avoid being called out for an unconscious eye roll.

When Miss. Kellie said that we would be finger painting for color theory this week, I was a little skeptical.

Why finger painting? Well, in some cases makeup artists may have a limited number of colors available to them. Exceptional makeup artists have to understand how to blend colors and mix textures to achieve a desired look. Color theory seems simple when you read about it in the Milady’s textbook, but using it in real life is a little more challenging.

Our task seemed pretty basic. We were given three finger paints in primary colors – red, blue, and yellow. Using only these colors, we were asked to create secondary and tertiary colors that matched specific objects (for example, creating a brown that matched the exact color of a Whoppers candy). When one of us achieved a desired shade, we all rejoiced. I’m sure some of our successes were just dumb luck, but others times you could actually see the “artist’s eye” at work. 

Before I knew it, this silly-activity-cynic was finger painting…. and loving every minute of it.

Perhaps there is something to these crazy beauty school activities after all (and now I can paint myself in camouflage for the next round of hide and seek).  

Gettin' Beauty Schooled,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eye Lining at It's Best... and CHEAPEST!

I had a girl’s get-a-way weekend in Charlotte, NC a couple weekends ago. We bought out the “license –only" salon supply store, slathered ourselves with beauty products, and I left two of my girls behind shedding their "stratum corneum" after their first chemical peels. 

On Saturday we headed to the craft store so I could help them pick out a few makeup brushes (a little tip here… if you’re not ready to spend the $ for professional makeup brushes, the art/craft store can offer some very capable alternatives at a fraction of the price). My brush arsenal is doing pretty well, but I couldn’t help but notice a tiny oil and acrylic paint brush. It was very similar to my more expensive pro eyeliner brushes - - and was perfectly stiff and flexible at the same time. I pictured using it to apply those gel eyeliners that create a gorgeous graphic eye. And hey, it was 50% off, which made it less than $3. What did I have to lose?

Gel liners
If you’ve ever purchased gel eyeliner, you know that most of them come with a ridiculous two inch long eyeliner brush. It’s a nightmare. I don’t understand why they even include them in the sale. Detail work like this needs a longer steady handle, especially if you’re just starting to use gel liners.
The freebie that comes with most gel liners. Maybe ok as a brow fill-in, but eyes.... no.

So, I'm sharing the details of my score with you! I’ve used the eyeliner brush for the past week and loved it. It is ridiculously tiny, so if you want something more natural you can create a very fine line at your lashes just to darken your lash line AND it’s also flexible enough to glide on that cat-eyed liner if you decide to channel your inner Marilyn (see tips below).  FOR LESS THAN $3.00!
The superstar this week.
 Here’s a few more pics to assist in case you want to find one near you – 
The packaging for my new lining love... "Master's Touch"

Remember that gel liners are water resistant, so it’s a good idea rinse your brush after you use it, or the leftover liner will set and dry in your brush. No biggie if you forget… it just takes a tiny bit of antibacterial soap to wash it out (and for $3, I’m considering having about three on hand).

*****Gel liner tips******
 For a more natural eye, gently place your finger on top of your eyelid and lift the skin lightly. Working right on the lash line makes a big difference. Take your liner brush and make tiny “dots” in your lash line all the way across your eye. Now go back and connect them with a few small stroke - - you'll have a beautiful smooth defined lash line.
 For a more dramatic cat eye, try starting your eye liner at the outside of your eye. Begin with short thin strokes and slowly move towards the inside about halfway. Now take your brush and begin making a line on the inside corner of the eye (don't "redip" your brush in the liner, it will have less liner on it and will keep you from smudging up the inside corner). Continue with small strokes until you connect the two lines. Widen the line as desired.  

Good luck!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,