The Waxahachie High School cosmetology department opened its doors on Monday for the second Beauty Night of the school year, allowing students to practice their skills on real clients.

The seniors provided waxes, facials, haircuts, updos, manicures and pedicures while the junior students acted as assistants and operated the reception area, cleaned up, rotated laundry and helped mix color.

On the first Beauty Night, the WHS cosmetology salon saw approximately 50 clients. About the same number of people received services Monday night. Both the students and the teachers admitted the salon operated much smoother, even though Monday seemed more intense.

“This one [Beauty Night] there is more color – chemicals, longer services," said Renetta Key, a cosmetology teacher. "We do have issues that all salons do like no-shows, you saw me up there having to move people around."

The salon replicates a real-world experience with the same issues and benefits.

There are a lot of emotions the students go through during Beauty Night. When a student performs a consultation with a client, he or she might feel nervous and doubt they can successfully complete the task. In the end, the students are mostly pleased with themselves and are assured their skills have improved.

“That’s the greatest reward,” said Debbie Gantt, another cosmetology teacher. “When I see the end, and they have mastered it. Some of them are surprised they did it, and think, ‘that was not as bad or difficult.’

The state board exam is in April, and once the students have completed 1,000 hours, they are eligible to take the test. As soon as they turn 18, the students can apply for a license. All 1,000 hours are obtained in school and the Beauty Night is logged through the state as tutorial time.

“For college students in Navarro, they need 1,500 hours. So it really is wise for a student in high school,” Gantt explained. “The reason is that the state has realized the academic work the students do and credit 500 credits for being a concurrent high school student.”

In a night’s work, the students are not compensated hourly because they work under the school and WHS cosmetology license. Legally, the students cannot charge their own prices but can accept tips.

In the main section of the salon was WHS senior Jensen Lambert. She gave a full highlight, which consists of 180 foils. As she applied the color on top of the hair, she felt confident in her work. “Before I do, I feel a little anxiety, but once you get into it, it’s super easy and becomes fun,” Lambert expressed.

With the new facility, the students are allotted more chances to practice with better equipment, which makes the harsh aspects of the job a little easier.

“It’s actually helped us a lot,” Lambert said about the facility. “Sometimes we would have to bring our own stuff and would forget combs and equipment, but here they have everything provided which makes it so much easier.”

The salon environment alone gives the students a boost of confidence. The state-of-the-art facility also provides the real-world experience so when the students work their first job they are comfortable around professional equipment.

“It kind of gives you a real-life salon experience so when we do have to go out it’s not as ‘I’ve never done this or had the salon experience,’” Lambert added.

After she takes the state board exam, Lambert plans to work at her aunt’s salon and then enroll into college to obtain a degree in business so she can establish her own studio.

“The second Beauty Night is a lot more busy than the first one, but I feel like everything is put together and there’s not a lot of stress,” Lambert disclosed. “I think everyone has their nerves together.”

In the chair was WHS sophomore Hailey Zboral. She initially had her hair worked on by juniors in class and went to the Beauty Night to finish the job. She admitted that it could be nerve-wracking to sit in the chair and have the students practice on her. “Dying  — I’m more freely to let them, but cutting, that’s where I stop,” explained Zboral.

Zboral paid a total of $20 where a full highlight service can cost from $120 to $165.

“Usually when you get your hair highlighted its much more expensive,” she explained. “It’s awesome to be a student and be part of it because you get it cheaper and get to be around people you know. I think it’s way better.”

WHS senior Bianca Kountz cut her boyfriend’s hair, Zachary Schueler, who is a senior as well. It was his second Beauty Night to attend. Both times he received a trim.

“For one, she’s my girlfriend, and I’m supporting the cosmetology team, and I like getting my hair done for really cheap,” Schueler said.

“She’s very good, and she knows what she’s doing. Cosmetology has done her good,” he added.

Kountz grew up around the industry, as her mother has been a nail technician all of her life. “I kind of got a leg up and interned at Simplicity for two years because my mom worked there, and I’ve always enjoyed the general atmosphere of being in a salon,” Kountz said.

Even though she grew up in a salon, Kountz admitted the WHS facility was the nicest. On the first Beauty Night, she had four clients and two of them were walk-ins. Kountz really enjoyed the real-life salon feel.

WHS senior Nancy Silva worked on her former teacher’s pedicure, Donna Shepherd, who teaches human growth and development. This was her first time to receive services at Beauty Night and admitted that she might fall asleep. “This is the third one that I’ve had my whole life,” Shepherd said.

She saw Silva work on another client and trusted her former student to work on her own feet.

“I feel like you can give a lot to the community like a haircut. It also offers a lot of branches out into the field, so you don’t have to do hair. It’s really fun, and you get to learn a lot of stuff and meet new people and can travel," said Silva, who enjoys the feeling her clients have when they walk out the door. She wants to transform her clients with an updo or makeup.

She currently is enrolled in dual credit with Navarro College and will graduate as a level one in cosmetology. Upon graduation, she plans to work at a salon or Ulta or Sephora to better understand sales and the industry.

The next Beauty Night has not been established yet, but do usually occur on a monthly basis. To book an appointment, email Debbie Gantt at degantt@wisd.org, or Renetta Key at rkey@wisd.org.ONLY cash and check is accepted.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450