Beauty

A Lesson in Beauty

There are certain things that I’ll never be able to do. I will never be able to, say, attend a high school prom in 1987, as rueful as I may be about it, or walk in five-inch heels without …

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There are certain things that I’ll never be able to do. I will never be able to, say, attend a high school prom in 1987, as rueful as I may be about it, or walk in five-inch heels without tripping over myself. (Okay, who are we kidding? Four-inch heels... Three. You get the point.) For years, I had counted straightening my own hair among these unlearnable skills. But after a lesson at Studio B Salon in Garden City, I’m starting to rethink that one.

I have a lot of very curly hair. And a short temper, especially when it comes to failing at something other people can easily do (see also: driving a standard, spelling the word “receipt” and not falling down in heels). My past attempts at straightening my hair have resulted in – no exaggeration – tears, sore arms, tantrums, yelling and hurt feelings. Keep in mind that I’ve only tried to do this myself three times. A fourth may very well result in some kind of fire.

When I met Kelly, the stylist who would be guiding me through my “Beauty 101: The Bombshell Blowout” lesson, I explained this to her. I know how to give a great blowout, I said. I just can’t do it on myself. She handed me a syllabus – a real syllabus, complete with a course description, lesson plan and list of required materials – and told me I was going to change my mind.

First Kelly she sat me at her station and explained to me the tools (hair dryer, ceramic brush, Velcro rollers) and products (volumizing mousse and smoothing cream, plus some others) that we’d be using in the lesson. A big problem, she explained, was trying to blow out hair that’s too wet. The best thing to do is pre-dry your hair, so you only need a few swipes per section to get it smooth and set. She showed me how to divide my hair into three sections and work on pieces within each. When I couldn’t get my coordination right between my hands and the tools, she demonstrated a better way to hold the dryer. Kelly also showed me how to get extra volume with Velcro rollers and a way to use a ceramic brush as a giant hot roller. She made it look easy. But good stylists always make it look easy.

After the blowout was done, Kelly showed me how to set the look: you want hairspray, plus a shine spray to eliminate frizz. Then she explained how to get around the biggest problem with blowouts – making them look just as good on day two. A root boosting spray fixes the volume problem, and a dry shampoo will clear up any excess oil. I was starting to feel confident about my ability to pull this off at home, when she handed me a bag filled with my syllabus, product samples of everything we talked about, and the best part: a flash drive, loaded with videos of the techniques she showed me, that had all been shot in the salon. It almost sounds too easy now. I think I might be ready to give this one another shot. What’s next – time travel? Hmm...