Beauty Treatments At A Reduced Price

March 02, 1994|By Dolly Merritt | Dolly Merritt,Special to the Sun

They may be beauticians in training, but to the elderly clients who line up three days a week, the Howard County School of Technology students offer a service that's not to be missed.

Many times, those clients "come no matter what the weather is, and sometimes we see them twice a week," said Judith Hamer, one of three instructors in the Ellicott City school's Department of Cosmetology.

Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the school offers reduced-price beauty clinics, open to the public with no appointments necessary. The clinics are staffed by students learning their trade through the three-year program.

Older clients, in particular, are drawn to the clinics, which offer $4 haircuts, manicures, shampoos and sets, along with other services at different prices.

"Our older clients seem to love things that are more relaxing, like facials, manicures and scalp treatments, and they feel like they get a better job with the students because they aren't rushed," said Ms. Hamer. "Lots of times, the clients will fall asleep."

At 11:45 a.m. on a recent Thursday, about 20 future beauticians, all of them 12th grade students, put on their white smocks and checked their beauty supplies, in preparation for the day's customers.

"Is it too hot?" asked 17-year-old Crystal Shaipe as she gently shampooed the hair of the first customer of the day.

"I'm not very fussy, it's fine," replied Margaret Greenstreet, a 75-year-old Columbia resident who had arrived for a shampoo and set because her regular hairdresser was on vacation.

Mrs. Greenstreet said she has been going to the school off and on for several years and always is pleased with the results.

Minutes later, LeRay Robinson, 62, signed in for a shampoo, cut and set with the student receptionist who was posted at the entrance to the classroom.

"It's close, it's quick, they do a good job and the price is reasonable," said the second-time customer, a Columbia resident.

Two "regulars" -- Selma Paddy, who would not reveal her age, and Helen Rivera, 63 -- entered the salon for their weekly shampoo and set. The women, both residents of Columbia, are neighbors who have been having their hair coiffed and permed for about 10 years by students at the school.

"We like what they do and it's cheaper," said Mrs. Paddy who was having her silver hair washed and set by 17-year-old Rebecca Sewell.

The student chatted about visits with her grandparents, as she methodically coiled straight rows of rollers in her client's hair.

"The students enjoy the stories that seniors tell and they get to know them pretty well," Mrs. Hamer said.

Before long, six customers, all seniors, were being shampooed and snipped under the watchful eyes of teachers Anita Lee and Ernestine Fitzhugh.

"Make sure you get the ends under," said Mrs. Fitzhugh as she demonstrated to a student the art of winding hair around rollers, the most popular curling method requested by senior clients.

The teacher said that seniors, about one-quarter of whom are men, comprise 65 percent of the department's clientele and are very supportive of the program.

"Seniors often give students gifts when they graduate and will even sit in as models when we participate in various exhibitions," she said.

Such good customer relations are important to the students, who take pride in their work.

"I like making people feel good about themselves," Rebecca Sewell said.

A shining example of the clinic's handiwork: Mrs. Greenstreet's freshly curled locks, which won the client's nod of approval. "When you get your hair fixed, you feel like you're ready for another week," she said.

Further information about the clinic is available by calling Howard County School of Technology at 313-6992.

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