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,