SJC: From fantastic looks to facials, future beauticians are strutting about

Working in the beauty industry for 17 years and owning multiple salons should count for something. But for Cyndi Williams, that meant time to step up her game.

The beauty entrepreneur turned to San Jacinto College for further training.

“San Jacinto was the school I had seen producing the best candidates for my businesses,” Williams said, “so I decided that’s where I wanted to go.”

After completing an eyelash extension program, she enrolled in the facial specialist / beautician program at the North Campus.

In April, Williams and other full-time aesthetic students strutted around on their final projects, performing facials, microdermabrasion, makeup and brow henna on classmates turned models.

In the new North Campus Cosmetology and Culinary Center, the aesthetics laboratory offers a real environment to practice skills.

For facials and other skin care, recliners and sinks flank opposite sides of the room. In the center is a row of back-to-back vanity mirrors and counters with salon chairs for makeup art.

While some students provided the services and others served as role models, they collaborated in choosing their themes and creating digital portfolios for their final projects.

Working near one of those mirrors, awash in warm light, Williams transforms her model into a fairy-like ice queen. She uses thin brushstrokes to glide a frosty, shimmering blue eyeshadow over her lids. Next, to define the eyes, she draws black eyeliner over the model’s lashes, curling into sharp tips at the outer edges.

“I wanted to stretch out and do something a little bit outside of the beauty and go more in the direction of the fantasy,” Williams said.

On another vanity mirror, Melba Smith creates a bold glamorous and fantastical look to offset her model’s soft-spoken personality.

Smith frames her eyes with a metallic sky blue shadow, magenta accents on it, and plumps her lashes with navy mascara. The model wears a gold necklace and hair styled in long, loose curls.

“I know she’s on a treatment program with her skin, so we wanted to… make her look bold and dramatic,” Smith said. “The aesthetic is all about hiding imperfections. So we were able to cover up those stains and give it a flawless application.”

Also a graduate of the Eyelash Extensions program, Smith took aesthetic classes to add facial and brow services to her business, Mysterious Lashes.

Across the room, another student performs an eyebrow henna procedure, tinting the skin under her model’s eyebrows to shape and define them.

In the next rotated recliner, another model receives back treatment with hot stone massage, exfoliation, steaming, extraction, and hydrating and clarifying masks.

According to cosmetology professor Oletha Brown, these final projects allow students to test their skills. Students worked in groups to create glam looks with fancy or bridal makeup or to perform spa treatments.

“We’ve been working on this project for about two to three weeks, so they’re going to be creating a portfolio, taking pictures and just having fun,” Brown said. “They will describe the category, why they chose it and how it relates to skin care.”

After creating the final looks of the models, future beauticians will present their projects using flipbooks, PowerPoints and videos.

Brown and other aesthetics professors teach advanced techniques that pay off in the salon and spa industry – from microdermabrasion, henna eyebrows, and brow tinting to tinting and lash lifting.

Full-time students can complete the program in two semesters and part-time evening students in three. After obtaining their certificates and passing the state licensing exam, students have a variety of skills to offer to salon clients or their own businesses.

“We like to make sure that when they’re on the pitch they’re really marketable,” Brown said.

Williams enjoyed her experience learning advanced techniques so much that she plans to pursue the cosmetology instructor program following.

“I want to help develop the next generation of cosmetology professionals to excel and stand out from the average graduate,” she said.

This press release was prepared by San Jacinto College. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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