Category Archives: week 1

On the Subject of Touch

My 600-hour adventure in beauty school. Learn more about the project or catch up with Orientation and Week 1.

http-// “professional stage makeup box” from The Art of Stage Dancing by Ned Wayburn (1925) via Project Gutenberg.


I apply my first Daytime Face on Thursday night. Blanche is my model. We start giggling while I fuss over which foundation to use on her (Beauty U is not exactly well stocked with makeup colors for African-American women) and load product onto my disposable wedge sponge, but when I reach in to apply the first blob, I pause. Miss Lisa — our most experienced teacher, who owns her own spa and looks every bit the PTA mom until she shows you one of her tattoos — comes right over.

“It’s weird at first, right?” She says. “Don’t worry, you get used to touching people fast. Now I touch everyone all the time, even if we’re just having a conversation.”

The last time I did someone else’s makeup was at an eighth grade sleepover. Now I’m inches from another person’s freckles and eyelids and I can’t even remember her last name.

It is weird.

And it’s only going to get weirder when we move on to facials and waxing — so even if I don’t get used to it, I better get over it, I think is what Miss Lisa means.


Filed under In Class, Makeup, week 1

Miss Jenny, Queen of the Brazilians

My 600-hour adventure learning to apply makeup, excavate pores, and wax, well, see below. (Learn more about the project and catch up with Orientation and the rest of Week 1.)


Vanity Fair writer Christopher Hitchens gets a Brazilian, describes it as “like being tortured for information you do not possess.” (No, neither of those women are Miss Jenny.)

Whenever Miss Jenny is particularly pleased with the way your makeup is turning out, she says “ooh” and does a little twirl, pirouette-ing you in the revolving salon chair so the whole class can see your flirty lashes or nicely contoured cheek. This is because Miss Jenny loves her work — after nearly 20 years in an office job, she went to esthetics school when she was in her mid-30s and has never looked back, even when waking up at 6 AM on a Sunday to make up a bride for a morning wedding.

Here are some other things you need to know about Miss Jenny:

1. She does not allow profanity or gum chewing in her classroom. “We will all speak like the nice respectable ladies that we are.”

2. She speaks to the Lord every day before she begins work.

3. She tell us, proudly and right off the bat, “I am the Brazilian Queen.”

We’re months off from the waxing unit, but Miss Jenny lets us know now that a few weeks before we get there, everyone will have to start growing out all of our body hair so we can practice on each other. “And I do mean all of it!”

Technically, the Brazilian Wax is considered a Continuing Education topic — the state board exam only requires you to know eyebrow, lip, and arm waxing. (And you perform those services with honey, not actual wax, during the test.) But Miss Jenny is committed to giving us the most comprehensive and well-rounded education that she can. “I started teaching because I love what I do so much and I wanted to share that love,” she says.

I bring this up because Brazilians have been the talk of the blogosphere this week, thanks to Suzi Godson’s column in the British Times Online, where she tells one hairy reader that “like keeping one’s armpits and legs smooth, [a Brazilian wax] is now expected. If your boyfriend has been conditioned to expect a tidy Brazilian, he may genuinely find anything else very off-putting.” It’s all thanks to the porn industry, says Suzi, in her best boys-will-be-boys sigh.

“Wax for your poor, porn-addled boyfriend” may be the new “lie back and think of England,” but some of us aren’t convinced. “Huge sisterhood fail, ladies,” says Allure‘s Kate Sullivan.* Yes, indeed, and thank you. Salon’s Broadsheet has some good points too.

I have to spend 24 of my 600 hours on “superfluous hair” and will be asked to perform 10 bikini waxes before I graduate, so this is but the beginning of the waxing conversation here on Beauty Schooled. And at the moment I have to go sandblast off the ten pounds of foundation involved in tonight’s Daytime Face practice run. But let’s get the party started — where do you fall on the bush-to-Brazilian spectrum?

“Enjoy your hairless selves now, ladies,” says Miss Jenny as we pack up at the end of the night. It would not be overstating it to describe her ensuing giggle as devilish. “We’re going to get to know each other very well before you leave Beauty U.”

*Yep, that Allure, the monster beauty bible magazine. Remember that the next time you rant about women’s mags, what with their celebrity airbrushing and fad diets. (And by “you,” I mean “me.”)


Filed under In Class, Waxing, week 1

The Daytime Face

My 600-hour adventure in beauty school. Learn more about the project or catch up with Orientation and Week 1.


Miss Jenny announces that tonight, she’s doing Daytime Makeup Applications on everyone.

A Daytime Application, in case you’re wondering, should be very light, with no more than two colors of eye shadow, and minimal contouring. Miss Jenny sees a lot of people walking around with Nighttime Eyes during the day. She is not impressed by this.

She starts by stippling concealer and foundation, then applies eyeliner with short, feathery strokes. You are never supposed to line the lower lid during a Daytime Application, or most any other scenario where you might be applying makeup with at least half your functioning brain cells. Miss Jenny is clear about that.

And so, we watch everyone’s faces transform into porcelain-smooth canvases punctuated by black flutters of lashes talk about our own makeup addictions. I’m quite partial to my pink gloss. Miss Jenny confides that she’s a recovered lipstick addict herself and “it was not good for me or my look.” Now she just needs her gloss and her mascara. Meg needs her eyes and brows to always be done. Stephanie is on a quest to find the perfect under-eye concealer for a woman of color.

Blanche, a no makeup lady who later asks us to explain about Sephora, looks slightly bewildered by the entire operation. When Miss Jenny finishes her Daytime Application, she peers into the mirror while we rave about her golden, glowing skin and glossy lips. “Guess I didn’t know what I was doing,” she mumbles. I’m not sure if she means when she tried to apply makeup in the past, or when she walks around in her own makeup-free skin every other day of her life.

In our workbooks we have written that the main purpose of makeup is to “enhance desirable features and minimize imperfections.” When asked to name two other benefits makeup offers for “our inner self,” we write: “It can boost your self-esteem” and “It can make you feel more attractive.”

Sue can’t leave the house without her full face on. “Maybe if I’m just running to the store,” she muses. “The corner store.”

When Miss Jenny is finished, everyone looks fabulous.

And, somehow, exactly the same.

[Photo Credit: The Daily Mail’s Beauty Confidential column.]


Filed under In Class, Makeup, week 1

Class Participation

My 600-hour adventure learning to apply makeup, excavate pores, and wax, um, everything. Learn more about the project, or catch up with Orientation and Week 1.

Milady's Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians

The lecture portion of class is spent reading from a PowerPoint presentation loaded above us on a flat screen monitor. We go around the room, taking turns to read aloud until Miss Jenny moves to the next person. There are six of us:

Blanche, who says she always loved makeup but never learned much about it because she was such a tomboy.

Meg, who tells me “I grew up here and never left,” at break. She has a toddler and is getting a divorce.

Stephanie, who is a high school teacher and hosts cosmetics parties on the side.

Sue, who sells Mary Kay and says she loves to make people feel beautiful.

Tasha, who sells Arbonne. She’s getting ready to take her state board exam in a few weeks and just sitting in on our class for a refresher.

And me. I’m pretty sure that I’m the youngest.

Half the class struggle with phrasing and pronunciation as they read.

A lot.

I like that Miss Jenny is patient about repeating a phrase (“tertiary colors” or “assessing a client”) until they get it, but I wonder if they do.

[photo credit: Delmar Cengage Learning, Milady’s parent company]

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Filed under In Class, milady's, week 1

Career in a Bag

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

Esthetics Kit Day 1

Having parted with $400, I am now the proud owner of:

1 FantaSea Deluxed Multi-Layered Cosmetic Kit.

Yes. That is like fantasy, only aquatic. Their logo includes a swan — presumably what all us ugly ducklings can become once we explore the kit’s many layers.

1 Repechage Balancing Hydrating Mask.

1 Repechage Aqua Massage Cream

1 Repechage T-Zone Balance Cleansing Complex

1 Repechage T-Zone Balance Toning Complex

1 Repechage Opti-Cleanse Extra Gentle Non-Oily Eye Makeup Remover

1 Repechage Opti-Firm Lift Cream SPF 10

Clearly, we’ll be learning more about this Repechage business. So far, I can tell you that my cat likes the smell.

10 Makeup Brushes, assorted.

1 Eye Pencil Sharpener

1 Eyelash Curler

1 copy Milady’s Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians

1 copy Milady’s Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians Workbook

1 copy Milady’s Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians Exam Review

Milady’s has been publishing the textbooks used in almost every beauty school in the country for 80 years. (They claim to have educated “10 million beauty professionals.”) They also offer life coaching.

1 student ID card.

This entitles us to 10% off at any beauty supply store. It is a major perk. We’re encouraged to experiment with different brands, add our own favorite products to our kits. As our teacher, Miss Jenny, says, “We’re professionals and that means we only work with professional products.” (Though she does admit to a Sephora addiction.)

There is much discussion of which beauty supply stores we might visit on a class field trip. “You get excited and you want to buy everything,” Barb warns. “Some of my girls went last week and they all came back with organic everything, even organic brushes.” (Did USDA develop a certification standard for makeup brushes when I wasn’t looking?)

1 Black Duffel Bag. To carry it all back and forth! I saw one girl had upgraded to a roll-along suitcase. She seems smart.

[Photo Credit: My iPhone. Hence the poor quality.]


Filed under In Class, products, week 1