“Polished: The Beauty School Journey” is a Salon Institute student-produced column that gives an inside look at the excitement, fears, challenges and triumphs of our student stylists from their perspectives.

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Spoiler Alert: Level 2 may make you want to pull your hair out.

I mean, not in a bad way. It’s just different from Level 1. After the first four exciting weeks of cosmetology classes at the Salon Institute, moving on to Level 2 is when reality starts to set in.

Ames, LeAndra hsIn Level 1, I was simultaneously excited and nervous and had no idea what to expect. My first instructor was gentle and eased us in to this brand new world. Now that we are big, bad Level 2 students we already are supposed to have a beginning understanding of how to part, section, distribute and cut hair, as well as manicures, make up and updo styling. Level 2 is where we begin refining those skills, as well as dive more into coloring and cutting hair.

It’s a lot. And it is tough — but you just have to push through. I won’t sit here and tell you that it isn’t tough. I’ve cried a few times, honestly. The first day of Level 2, we test out of three haircuts. Then, as if my fingers weren’t already slightly cramped, we start learning new ones! This month we learn more women’s cuts and three men’s cuts. This will be the month where you may start to question if you can do this. It’s all very fast paced and a bit of whirlwind, but I promise you that when you finish those cuts and you step back and look at what you just did after only 4 weeks of school, you’ll understand how worth it it all is.

“It’s during this second month that you start to realize that this business is like artwork.”

Halfway through level 2, I started to change my mentality and realize that though learning the basics of cutting is tough and very technical, I couldn’t wait to be out on the salon floor, giving people awesome haircuts that would make them feel beautiful. Mastering this technical skill set is imperative to achieving that end result.

It’s during this second month that you start to realize that this business is like artwork. You take the mannequin heads out of their box homes and see the basic brown hair that totally needs a good trim, and you get to transform it. You get to be creative and learn and you can’t wait for that mannequin head to be a squishy human scalp! Only 4 more weeks until I enter the salon clinic floor to begin transformations on live clients. Time to persevere and keep my eye on the prize!


— LeAndra Ames is a student stylist at the Salon Institute, TIGI Creative School Toledo Campus. She loves MAC lipstick, snarky Facebook statuses, and anything involving Beyonce`.