Monthly Archives: October 2009

Step 1: Check Your Appearance

My 600-hour adventure learning to apply makeup, excavate pores, and wax, um, everything. Learn more about the project, or catch up with Orientation.


This is a Wakeup Call Mirror

From the “Graduation Requirements” workbook, which Barb says we should carry with us at all times:

When you’re made aware that a client is here you must:

1. Check your appearance.

2. Go out to the waiting area to greet your client.

Barb says hair and makeup should be done before we get to school. “If you don’t wear makeup, that’s okay as long as you don’t look like you just woke up, or really bad like you just left a bar or something.”

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Orientation: The Professional Must Constantly Strive for Excellence

My 600-hour adventure learning to apply makeup, excavate pores, and wax, um, everything. Read more about it here.


James VanDerZee, Beauty School Photo

Barb is the admissions director at Beauty U. She’s a whole different ball game from Sal over at Beauty College, and I’ll admit, a major reason that I chose to enroll in Beauty U’s Esthetics Program over BC’s Cosmetology Course was that when Barb called me “sweetie,” it didn’t sound gross.

Last week I received a letter reminding me to be on time to orientation and to “bring a pen to write with.” Tonight I arrive five minutes early to find the room already jam-packed, and everyone has a pen placed squarely on the desk in front of them. Everyone sits in anxious silence until the girl next to me whispers, “This is so awkward.” Her name is Tiffany and she’s taking the cosmetology course, while her mom is considering esthetics. Tiffany is 18, along with about three-quarters of the women in the room, but there are a good handful of us who are older. I spot one gray head. When Barb asks who signed up for evening classes, it’s our hands that go up, reminding me of today’s New York Times piece about community colleges being so swamped thanks to the recession that they’re offering midnight classes.

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The Interview is also a Sales Pitch.


Beauty School 1

Sal is a big guy, with the thick, golden mane of a man who knows hair is his business, and dyed eyebrows to match. His office is decorated with motivational posters that say things like “Leadership” and “Positivity,” along with photos of his daughter in a shiny blue prom dress. He has very bright blue eyes and stares straight at me when he holds for laughs. Which is often.

Beauty College is tucked into a dingy storefront on a side street off this upstate New York town’s languishing business district. There’s a crack in the glass of the front door and someone has forgotten an umbrella in the corner. It’s a big room with mirrors and fake wood-paneled walls, linoleum floors and mannequin heads scattered about.

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