Tag Archives: Miss Jenny

[2000 Dollar Wedding] Bridal Makeup is Whatever You Want it To Be.

The third and final post in my 2000 Dollar Wedding Guest Post Series is all about bridal makeup: The rules we learned at Beauty U —psst, Beauty U fans: There’s a new Miss Jenny story!—  versus what really happened with me and bridal makeup on my wedding day.

I also get to talk about the awesomeness of my friend Katherine (that would be her, hair-spraying me down, above) who is a very talented makeup artist, just by the by. (She also did Kate of Eat The Damn Cake‘s wedding makeup and was endlessly patient with both of us no-makeup types!)

Because there will be a quiz later, make sure you’ve also read Part 1: Why I Stopped Weighing Myself Before My Wedding and Part 2: Yes Your Teeth Could Be Whiter (But Why?). And check out all the other guest posting awesomeness that is happening over there right now. If any of y’all are wedding planning, 2000 Dollar Wedding is where it’s at for keeping your sanity in check. (Even if your wedding costs way more than $2000. Promise.)

Thanks so much to the wonderful Sara Cotner for including my posts in her maternity leave coverage! (PS. She’s now the proud mama of little Henry J!)


Filed under Guest Post, Makeup, Muddling Through Milady's

[Back to Beauty U] Picture Day

Back to Beauty U: An occasional series where I’ll be rolling out some never-blogged-before Beauty U moments.

Virginia Beauty U picture

It took me a few weeks to figure out about Picture Day, even though we were surrounded by evidence of it every night at Beauty U. The walls of the school’s break room and back hallways are lined with the class photos of previous years, these poster-sized grids of student headshots set against swirly blue backgrounds like spreads from a yearbook.

Maybe it was all the big hair. Maybe it was all of the feather boas and motorcycle jackets. But we just assumed that these class photos were relics from the 1980s, strange artifacts of Beauty U’s history, displayed perhaps as cautionary tales for future students against blue eyeshadow and too much cleavage.

Then Meg and I looked closer one day, and noticed that one group photo had the words, “Class of 2008.” Continue reading


Filed under Back to Beauty U, In Class

[Best of Beauty U] But Have You Considered a Recession-Proof Career in Beauty?

Ah yes, our post-Christmas slowdown. Which was followed by a brief spring/early summer speed-up and then quickly replaced by a major summer slowdown. As mentioned in my graduation post, most of my fellow Beauty U graduates are still job hunting. So I think we may need to rethink this whole “recession-proof” concept.

Business is not so great at Beauty U right now. Continue reading

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Filed under Best of Beauty U

[Best of Beauty U] The Field Trip

We ended up taking four separate field trips to makeup stores (Sephora, Ulta, and MAC). Mostly, these were an excuse to get out of school for the night, shop, and eat mall food. But don’t think I’m knocking that — when you’re in the middle of 600 hours of beauty school, getting a night off to shop and eat mall food is rad.

We never got a chance to learn much more about airbrushing makeup, because the Beauty U system was always out of cartridges. I still think this whole thing is way too much work unless you’re on a movie set or something.

Temptu Scan

Me. Airbrushed.

Today we pile into Miss Jenny’s SUV and drive over to the fancy mall for a demonstration of the AIRbrush Makeup System by Temptu at Sephora. Continue reading

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Filed under Best of Beauty U

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Tasered.

photo of metallic pink taser

So fascinating to hear everyone’s take on the Vatoo Thing, from Friday. (I am especially loving the extremely great point that you are not actually tatooing your vagina because that is INSIDE your body. Oh, seventh grade health class flashbacks galore!)

Meanwhile, Gawker and The Cut have been riffing on the male side of the genital beautification biz (manzilians, brozilians, guyzilians, penazzling, yes these are all happening in a day spa somewhere), in response to this firsthand account on Salon by Jed Lipinski. I admit to being a little grouchy because there’s a rather glib tone being taken about a waxer who reports having to pull a taser on an “aggressive” male client in the thigh because he kept making inappropriate advances.

Maybe I’m uptight and old-fashioned, but if you have to bring a taser to work, I’m sorry, your job is too dangerous. Continue reading


Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Schooled, Tip Jar, Waxing, week 39

Beauty School Tests Can Be Harder Than You’d Think.

Tonight we have the written test on waxing. It’s an accidental pop quiz because Miss Stacy forgot to tell us we were having it. Nobody does well. The spa has been busy, busy, busy with clients and it’s been over a week since we cracked open Milady’s (or, as is usually the case, read from the Milady’s-provided PowerPoint lecture instead). Remember that whole speech from Miss Susan about how we can’t work on clients because we’ll miss important book learning? When we get our grades,* we finally get why that’s important.

This is our fourteenth written exam (out of about twenty) that we’ve taken since starting Beauty U. For the first thirteen, we followed Miss Jenny’s pattern: Read the PowerPoint lecture together as a group. Answer our workbooks independently, then review the answers as a group. Take notes while Miss Jenny quizzed us from the actual test. Study from those notes at home. Answer the chapter review questions for extra study time and extra credit. Do well on the test.

The other teachers think Miss Jenny spent way too much time on theory and not enough time being hands on with us.

Miss Jenny thought that we all worked full-time jobs (hence our participation in a night school program) and most of us take care of kids too, and thus, didn’t have much in the way of free time to spend on homework. And I’ve got to go with Miss Jenny on this one. And even if she was being too easy, it seems a little questionable to change the game so drastically at the halfway point.

“I never had any test review when I was in school,” says Miss Stacy, when we complain that this test was harder than the rest because she didn’t do the study prep, or tell us which day we’d have the test so we could plan to study at home. “You shouldn’t have been counting on us doing that. If we have clients, we don’t have time.”

Except that we aren’t supposed to have clients, because we aren’t supposed to work on real people. Until we’re done with all our tests. Oops.

Miss Stacy and Miss Marci (one of the Miss Jenny replacements) go over the test with us so we can all figure out where we went wrong, and it becomes clear that the main source of confusion is, well, them.

Example #1: Beauty U provides baby powder for us to apply to skin before we wax. Milady’s says that baby powder can be irritating (all that fragrance) and cornstarch is a better option. So when the multiple choice test lists both baby powder and cornstarch as potential answers… Chaos ensues.

Example #2: Milady’s insists that roll-on wax is the most sanitary option. Miss Marci insists it’s the least sanitary option. So when the test describes it as both sanitary and unsanitary… You get the idea.

Sorry, I know that’s all a bit inside baseball. And in the grand scheme of things, maybe it doesn’t matter whether roll-on wax is sanitary or if you use baby powder or not. Miss Stacy and Miss Marci are both excellent hands-on teachers, great at demonstrating how to perform services and endlessly patient when we ask really obvious questions, over and over again. And it’s not their fault that we keep getting so busy with clients that we don’t have time to do book stuff — they don’t book the appointments.

But I think it does matter when a business that bills itself as “a school first” prioritizes paying clients over test review. And schools that encourage working moms to apply by saying the night schedule will be so easy to fit in around their busy lives should make a real effort to design a curriculum that actually does that.

“When I was in school, I had to learn what was the real world way and what was the book way and it was up to me to keep it all straight,” says Miss Marci.

We’re getting pretty cranky about this whole “when I was in school” business, past evidence of things sucking not being the most rational argument for why things should continue to suck in the present day. But what makes me sadder is that, as we present our case, the teachers know we’re right.

“This is just how Beauty U does things,” says Miss Stacy.

“What if you asked them to do things differently?” Meg asks. “Like book fewer clients, so we can have time to do our test review? Or give us points for questions that we answer right for the real world if you think the book is wrong?”

There’s an awkward silence. “I guess we can try that,” says Miss Marci, looking at Miss Stacy for confirmation. Even though Miss Stacy is technically the junior teacher, Miss Marci, being newer, lets her call most of the shots.

Miss Stacy just shakes her head.

*Okay, full disclosure, because I know somebody will ask: I got a 90. Or technically, an 88, plus 2 points of extra credit for hastily scribbling answers to the chapter review questions as we were all cramming as best we could ten minutes before the test. I know. A 90 is a great grade. But stay focused, because this isn’t about me.


Filed under Beauty Schooled, In Class, Waxing, week 21

[Tip Jar] Just Saying No to Peels with Client Four

Tip Jar: Where you get the back story on every tip I make at Beauty U.

five dollars photo

Now that there’s only one senior student left in Beauty U’s night program, all bets are officially off on that whole “juniors can’t work on clients until they finish book work” business. Per this helpful commenter, I ask Miss Stacy if the spa will just book less clients until we’re done with Milady’s (about four more weeks, people!) and she rolls her eyes. “You would think, but don’t count on it,” she says.

Cut to tonight: We’re supposed to be reading the chapter on waxing, but Sue is rushed off her feet with facials and waxing appointments. To make it fair, Miss Stacy sets up a rotation of us four juniors (Stephanie, Blanche, me, Meg) so we step out of the classroom in order and nobody ends up feeling like they’re missing the most. Our names are written up on the white board, and whenever we take a client, we’re supposed to erase ourselves from the top of the list and rewrite our names at the bottom.

So. Four* is a middle-aged Indian woman who has been coming to Beauty U for haircuts by the cosmetology students and just got referred over to the spa (way to upsell, Cos Girls). I give her the second facial she’s ever received in her life. I’ll be honest, she’s got some troubled skin. Breakouts and redness on her cheeks, dry patches around her nose, and a few dark spots that she absolutely hates. “What can I do to fix these?” she asks. “Should I try a glycolic peel?”

I pause. I hate glycolic peels. I also hate telling people — especially women of color like Four — that they should try to lighten their brown spots. So, stalling for time, I ask, “What are you using on your skin now?”

“Nothing,” says Four. “Just water and sometimes Vaseline if I feel dry.”

Bullet. Dodged.

“Okay, let’s start with the basics,” I say. “You should be using a cleanser, toner and moisturizer at home every day. Otherwise, no matter what we do here in the spa, your skin won’t sustain the results. I’d rather get you started on a good home care regimen than dive into one of our most intense treatments. You might find you don’t need to do anything that drastic.”

I mean, if Miss Jenny were still with us, I think she might have cried. This is a word-perfect Esthetician Speech. And Four eats it right up. We do the facial, and as we walk out, she asks me to show her the products she should buy for home use. I sell her a cleanser and a toner on the spot, and she would have bought a moisturizer too, except we’re out of stock. As she checks out, she asks, “Are you sure I can’t do glycolic?”

“Very sure,” I say. “But if you want to upgrade your next service, you might consider our anti-aging facial. It brightens and lifts and everyone loves it.”

She does consider. And books the anti-aging facial, which costs twice as much as the standard European facial. And tips me $5 (20% of her $25 fee). And leaves with a huge smile on her face.

On the one hand, I’m severely glad it was me giving Four her facial, because somebody else might well have signed her on up for the Battery Acid Deluxe Treatment. And when you don’t even wash your face at home, that’s kind of like scheduling a gastric bypass without trying the whole “eat less, move more” approach first.

On the other hand, I have no idea if the home care products will work for Four, or if the fancier anti-aging facial will give her any results. I don’t even know if she needs results, or if she should just work on making peace with the fact that her skin has a lot more shades of brown in it than some people.

I don’t feel good about playing into her insecurities. And I notice even though she smiles, she never quite looks me in the eye.

Current Tip Total = $25

*I’ve decided to dispense with changing names for all the clients and am just going to number them. Let me know if you hate it and I’ll go get a baby name book or something.


[Photo from over here, thank you random interweb.]


Filed under Beauty Schooled, beauty standards, Chemical Peels, Facials, In Class, Tip Jar, week 19