Salon quality execution for an affordable price

Advocate editor explores hair and makeup on campus

Matana McIntire. Photo by Prisma Flores.

Matana McIntire. Photo by Prisma Flores.

This February, I tried Mt. Hood’s cosmetology department service for the first time.

Armed with a 10 percent student discount and a photo in my phone of my dream hair that I’d been carrying around for nearly a year, I walked into the office to make an appointment. I wanted to go from my (at the time) current hair – choppy, at-home bleached ombre with a hot pink, semi-permanent deposit over it all, which had faded to a dull and brassy, pink-orange, hot mess – to the photo on my phone: a deep, ashy brown that faded into frosty platinum tips.

When I explained my hair history to the woman scheduling me in, she told me it might be less of a color and more of a color correction. She booked me for two separate appointments: color to be done in one, three-hour block one day; the cut-and-style (plus a makeup application for photo-shoot funsies) to be exactly a week later.

Given we were only doing one color application – bleach with a Volume 20 developer – my color appointment on the first day could be considered to have taken too long. It ended up running long by an hour, making me miss a weekly meeting. However, this is the nature of hair, as you never know how it is going to react to the dye, so it didn’t bother me. What I noticed, though, and something you should note, is the fact that this is a learning environment for your student-stylist (duh) and time will be added to your appointment during their consultation with their instructor and (this is a big one) when they do a test strip of the dye on your hair before starting.

Now, if you’re like me and have DIY-ed your hair at home, this “test-dye-on-small-section-of-hair-before-applying-to-whole-head” rule is easy to ignore (and often is). Looking back, while I sat a long time in the chair, adding an easy 45 minutes to my appointment, I now appreciate the thoroughness of the test strip.

In the end, I walked out of the salon and was complimented about three  times by strangers on my new dye job. While it came out more of a honey-soft, rose-gold (see photo for reference) and I still want to go lighter yet, I love this color and the reception it received.

On my second appointment, I worked with the coolest, sweetest stylist, Wesley Cady.

Cady was not the same stylist who worked on me during the first appointment, but I appreciated her company just as much. Together, we worked out that I wanted a “lob” – or a long bob – and I wanted some layers to give my usually heavy and flat hair more body. She was quick and skilled as she went through and chopped about three inches from my length. Listening to her converse with her instructors throughout the process, I caught on to her competency. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be in this learning environment: As your stylist discusses your hair with their instructor, you get a superb sense of transparency and an insight into what that person is thinking. You also learn more about hair, if you ever go back to DIY-ing at home.

Cady ended up finishing my lob wonderfully and giving me the bounciest curl, with made me feel glamorous all day.

In the end, my color ended up costing me $42, and my cut and makeup application, only around $12. Which, compared to the $100-$200 cost at a professional salon, I would take any day.

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