Clovis Community College cosmetology student Natalie Salaz of Portales adds highlights to fellow student Blanca Ramos’ hair last week during class at the college. (staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer
The salon looks professional with a full product line, a waiting area and posters of beautiful models with perfect hair.
It is clean and energetic — and it’s affordable.
The Clovis Community College cosmetology clinic is a training ground for the area’s future stylists. Following months of book work and tedious hair twirling on mannequins, CCC students train at the clinic as citizens offer up their hair for practice — at about half the cost of a professional salon.
Consuelo Garcia, a 34-year-old cosmetology student, is in her second phase of the three-phase program. Prior to school, she worked as a dental assistant and a receptionist. She got married and had children and said being a stylist was her dream.
“The first time I held those scissors in my hand I couldn’t believe I was on that side of the chair,” Garcia said. “Every time a client comes to me it’s my job to see that they are happy.”
A haircut and shampoo costs $6.50, about half the price charged by some professional salons.
Susan Lea of Clovis sat calmly in her chair one day last week, draped in a black smock as a student cut and layered her hair. Earlier that same day her daughter was given a perm at the salon.
Lea heard about the clinic when she took classes at the college.
“I know they need experience so I help them out, and it’s cheap,” she said “A lot of people I have heard are scared to come out here because they are students and they are afraid if their hair gets messed up they won’t be able to fix it.
“But they have instructors that can fix your hair and make it right.”
The students are heavily supervised, making catastrophes unlikely, said CCC Vice President Becky Rowley.
“They can only do so much without the instructor coming in to check what they are doing,” Rowley said. “So we don’t have one of those horror stories where they have already whacked off three inches and there is nothing they can do about it.”
The CCC clinic sells a full selection of professional products and offers hair coloring, waves, braids, skin-care treatment and nail care at reduced prices.
Rowley said CCC has seen a boom in cosmetology school enrollment. The program accepts about 20 students each term. Currently about 45 people are on the waiting list, she said.
The students take courses in salon management and people skills. Garcia spent time at the front desk, selling products and booking appointments.
Clients have nothing to fear under student’s scissors, Garcia said.
“I don’t think you’ll have a single person here who doesn’t want to be here,” she said of the stylists.
She still gets nervous each time she cuts hair, but Garcia said she is yet to have a day when all has gone wrong.
“The first time a lady told me — I did her hair and I turned her around — and she said ‘that’s exactly what I wanted,’” Garcia said. “The confidence that gives you and the way it makes you feel is great.”