Consider Beauty Students

I got married last week! Yay! Thank you for bearing with me through my dearth of posts as I’m slowly returning to, “real life,” post-madness.

Early on, I knew I didn’t want an elaborate updo. I have a ton of hair (which you can see in my shine treatment post) and an updo would take too long, require approximately 3.46 cans of hairspray and roughly 27,483 bobby pins. I opted for a curled style with the sides pulled back slightly into a waterfall braid across the back. Woo! I cannot do this myself, however, so I knew I needed help. Here’s what I was going for, originally:

Consider Beauty StudentsConsider Beauty Students

A friend of the family was a stylist, and there was pressure to ask her if she would be able to do it. I did, she said she would do it free BUT she couldn’t do the braid. Well…okay. The braid wasn’t that important. We settled the day and all that stuff, all was well. Two weeks later she called back saying oh, no, I didn’t realize the date, sorry, can’t do it.


I then start looking into other options. On-site hair wasn’t a requirement for me, and frankly I was happy to save the money by going, “to them.” My now-husband actually found a Paul Mitchell partner school in our area and suggested I look into it and consider beauty students. At first I thought, “Do I really want to trust my hair to students? I know everyone has to learn somehow, but I take pride in my hair and would hate to have it messed up due to a novice’s mistake.”

Then I thought, “Well, you haven’t having it cut, colored, or otherwise chemically processed, so why not?” I found that their rates were substantially cheaper than those of regular salons (whose eyes, I’m afraid, seem to light up with dollar signs when they learn it is for a wedding – even though they might do the same style for any other occasion…or no occasion at all), and it wasn’t terribly far away. They were willing to do a trial (not included, but the price + stylist tip it was still FAR cheaper than what it would’ve been for juts the day-of bridal style at a regular salon, let alone for a trial and day-of, let alone on-site).

I went for my trial in June and brought in the above photo for reference for my stylist. It took a while – nearly two hours – for her to curl my hair, lightly tease the roots, and to call another stylist over to do the waterfall braid. I asked what the barrel size of the curling wand was, as it looked like 1″ and my hair looks a lot better in 1.25″. She wasn’t sure; I later confirmed myself that it is a 1″. When I left initially, I was satisfied, but as the night progressed I found things about the way she and the other stylist (who did the braid) interpreted the style that I didn’t like. In a technical sense, they weren’t incorrect – but having done this was good so I can say, “Hey, I’d like this but let’s make sure we X, Y, and Z.” For example, my trial style, like I said, had 1″ curls, and they were all curled the same direction. This caused them to merge together to form larger sections of comically large curls. I had to keep separating it, and that was annoying. The sides in the front were pulled too close to my head, and the braid instead of being like the above picture started near my ears and then dipped low around the base of my skull. Everything was very flat to my head, which I don’t find particularly flattering on myself.

That is, after all, why we have trials.

When we returned the day of, I had a different stylist. I explained what I was looking for and attempted to hold my hair in place the way I wanted it secured. It took a long time, again, but not as long as it did in the trial. This time, I was clear that I wanted a 1.25″ barrel and curls in alternating directions of curls so it would look a little less intentional and that I wanted more volume up top (not crazy pageant hair, just a little lift since my hair utterly lacks body). I actually decided to nix the waterfall braid and opted for twisted sides instead, being concerned about time and also not wanting to make things harder than they had to be.

She delivered! I got exactly what I was looking for and I was happy. My bridesmaids seemed happy with their hair, too, though I was not privy to the process because we weren’t all nearby the whole time. I have not yet received my photos, though, so I don’t have any awesome hair pictures of my own.

Basically, if you don’t have a super complex style in mind and/or you can live with not getting exactly what the picture offers (esp. if you’re on a tight schedule – if you have more flexibility, you can have them redo it until you’re happy, consider beauty students from a beauty school for special event styling. It helps them learn their trade and gain experience with the added benefit of saving you money. On top of those things, students are generally not cocky like some stylists can be (Stylists! Do no take offense. I know not all of you are like this, but I also know we’ve all worked with, “that one,” who thought her vision was superior to what the customer requested, and just did her own thing without making suggestions/seeing it if it was OK first, and then we’re unhappy.) – they know they’re still learning and many of them openly ask, “Is this okay? Do you like it this way, or do you want it higher/curled tighter/more voluminous etc.” I heard those questions not only from my stylist(s) but from those around me to their clients, as well. Developing good client communication skills is important, and I was happy to participate in that process.

One thing I would like to note, however, is my bridesmaids’ experience with makeup. Unlike hair, I am competent with cosmetics, so I opted to do my own. My ‘maids flew, however, and didn’t want to fuss with it, so they wanted to have it done there. Oddly, day of the event – of 3-4 kits they keep in their beauty clinic, they only had one available as the others were traveling for a trade show or something. My friend who was seated next to me sat while her artist called 4-5 people over to, “consult,” on the makeup (I’m not sure how many were called over for my other friend, as she was seated out of eyesight). Despite the consult, they didn’t quite nail her color-match. My out-of-sight friend requested a gold smokey eye and instead got a purple smokey eye with huge, thick, uneven black wings accented with metallic purple – what? They also evidently overdid her blush and instead of blending it out with a clean brush, they added more foundation on top of it – what?! Ack. Fortunately, they were able to fix it when we got back to our hotel, but I’m definitely I followed my intuition on the cosmetic side of things.

If you want your makeup done, invest in an experienced professional whose portfolio you can check out. If you don’t have complicated hair requests, consider beauty students – they can likely accommodate you just fine.