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,