Metro-East Living

Customers and students root for each other at O’Fallon beauty school

How to dutch braid

Students of New Image School of Cosmetology, Esthetics and Hair Technology in O'Fallon practice braiding hair.
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Students of New Image School of Cosmetology, Esthetics and Hair Technology in O'Fallon practice braiding hair.

Georgia Bender gets a pedicure every couple months at New Image School of Cosmetology, Esthetics and Hair Technology.

Her favorite manicurist?

“Whomever is here,” said Georgia, 64, of O’Fallon. “If a newbie needs to practice, I am all for that. Or I get an experienced one like Jasmine (Santimaw). You can tell the difference. They all need to learn. I am good with that.”

That’s music to Shirley Love’s ears.

The beauty school owner is proud of her business and the service she provides students and customers. Located off U.S. 50 in O’Fallon, the two-story state-licensed technical school is light and spacious. Students smile and engage customers. There’s a spa room for men — or women who want a private room — and a Hello Kitty chair for the younger set when mom or grandma has a manicure or pedicure. The bakery cake on the front counter? Shirley ordered it for a student.

Shirley, 77, has been in the business for 50 years, running the O’Fallon school for more than 25. She also has a school in St. Jacob. Her daughter, Denise Larsen, of Maryville, is business manager. Granddaughter Kristal Lienemann, 33, of Granite City, is one of the school’s educators.

It was a desire I had many, many years ago. I thought I had a lot to give to students. After working in a shop for 20 years, I wore out my shoulder. The opportunity arose. I opened the schools. People need jobs.

Shirley Love on why she started New Image

“It was a desire I had many, many years ago,” Shirley said. “I thought I had a lot to give to students. After working in a shop for 20 years, I wore out my shoulder. The opportunity arose. I opened the schools. People need jobs.”

Dark-haired Jasmine, 21, of Belleville, was a customer before becoming a student.

“I found out they were VA approved,” said Jasmine, putting finishing touches on Georgia’s toes. “I used Dad’s G.I. Bill. I was happy about that. I’ve been here since November and will be here until September. I love the one-on-one attention with the teachers, how close they are. If you have a question, you can stop and ask. I like how all the girls are nice and we don’t have any drama.”

Jasmine sets a good example.

“I always try to fix myself up, and not forget my own nails and hair,” she said. “Someone can walk in at 8. First impressions are everything. Sometimes, they will request me. I’m building a clientele. Walk-ins are awesome. You get to meet new people.”

Her goal?

“I want to work in a salon a year or two, and gain experience with present-day techniques,” she said. “I want to do weddings, photo shoots, That’s my goal. Hair and makeup. I even love doing pedicures, surprisingly.”

Georgia can tell.

“My feet feel wonderful, relaxed, soft,” she said as Jasmine removed cotton from between her toes. “I love pedicures and manicures. What I like about a pedicure is the massage, and I don’t have naked toes. It’s just a nice calming experience. Miss Jasmine is good.”

That day’s color? An OPI red shade, Embarca-Dare Ya!

“In the summer, I am red,” said Georgia. “I like red. In off months, the manicurist will pick it out. I don’t want green or blue.”

Georgia didn’t know she liked pedicures until her sister-in-law talked her into one.

“I never thought about it,” said the former cemetery manager. “She kept on me and on me.”

Georgia also likes facials.

“When you get older, it’s nice to have the treatment. There are different kinds, but I like the normal one, microderm abrasion. I had one yesterday. It was only (the student’s) second time doing one. You can’t expect it to be like someone who has been here eight months. It’s still relaxing.”

On a recent Friday morning, Jasmine helped Georgia slip on flip-flops after the pedicure. (“I had my knees replaced,” said Georgia, once a softball catcher. “I can’t bend.”)

Nearby, Allison May, 20, of O’Fallon, highlighted friend Sarah Owens’ long, dark blond hair. Sheets of foil and a bowl of blue bleach the thickness of oatmeal were involved in the process.

“Foil keeps the bleach off everything else,” Allison said. “It also kind of heats it up and makes it process faster.”

Sarah’s friends, Kaitlynne McNutt and Hannah Shaw, kept her company. All the young women work at Eckert’s.

“It’s going to take like three hours,” said Sarah, her hair piled high on her head. She has confidence in her friend and student stylist.

“This is a teaching salon,” said Sarah. “I wanted her to practice so she would be good. She’s really good at hair. I am not worried.”

“This is probably my favorite thing to do,” said Allison. “It takes a while to get it even in foil, but it will be worth it in the end. It will give her a natural look.”

Students who didn’t have customers studied or practiced styling hair on mannequin heads in a classroom. One worked on an inverse braid; another did soft curls using the side of a flat iron. Shirley stopped in to watch students’ progress.

“This is a place of creativity,” said Shirley. “You can do anything. They get off to a good start and spread their wings and fly.”

Hair stylist Stacy Randolph is just about to do that. She graduates in a week.

I’ve learned how to be more of a people person. I love cosmetology. I love what I do. I worked at Kohl’s, went to SWIC for a month, got married and dropped out of college. I waited a year. This is what I really want to do, help people feel beautiful.

Stacy Randolph on why she’s a hair stylist

“I’ve learned how to be more of a people person,” said Stacy, 37, of New Baden. “I love cosmetology. I love what I do. I worked at Kohl’s, went to SWIC for a month, got married and dropped out of college. I waited a year. This is what I really want to do, help people feel beautiful.”

She talked with customer Sue Garrett, of Smithton, like they were old friends.

“She’s getting a deep conditioning treatment and style,” said Stacy, who would like to one day own a salon. “It will make her hair not so frizzy, more manageable. It’s really good for dry hair. Your hair will be really soft and shiny. I will pick it out and curl it with a curling iron.”

“I am 75 and, like my mother,” said Sue, “there’s more hair on my head now than ever.”

She moved to the metro-east from Ponca City, Okla., in the north central part of the state because of her husband’s health.

“I knew I was going to need help,” said Sue, a mother and grandmother. “That’s where I lived for 40 years. I had the same hairdresser — my daughter — for 30 years. Over the last 20 years, I have been coming in and out of this shop. It’s easy to get in and get things done. They always give you someone you can trust. As long as I come out looking like me, not the one who left before me, I’m happy.”

From beneath a hair dryer, Sue waxed poetic.

“A new head of hair is like a new road,” she said. “Until you have been down it a few times, you have to navigate carefully.”

She likes that students are eager to learn.

“It’s a win-win thing. It takes patience on your part, but also takes patience on their part. Stacy has done very well in a very short amount of time.”

Sue scheduled one more appointment before Stacy graduates.

“She comes back every Friday to see me,” said Stacy. “That’s the biggest compliment.”

Maureen Houston: 618-239-2641, @mhouston15

New Image School of Cosmetology, Esthetics and Hair Technology

  • Where: 825 West Highway 50, O’Fal;on
  • Services: cosmetology, esthetics (skin care), nail technology
  • Costs: Haircut, $9; deep condition treatment, $8 to $12; basic manicure, $10; basic pedicure, $15; relaxing facial, $45
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
  • School tuition: Full cosmetic program, $17,000; nail program, $5,000; esthetic program, $7,000
  • Contact: 618-624-2099 or come in for a tour. Walk-ins are welcome, but it’s best to make an appointment
  • Other location: New Image Cosmetology Technical Center, 10537 Ellis Road, St. Jacob

Hairstylist terms:

  • Oil slick (or duck feather): A dye technique for women with darker hair. You can have blue, purple, pink, peach oil slicks and other vibrant colors. It’s kind of like when you look into oil and see all those colors, said Kristal Lienemann, one of the New Image educators.
  • Ombre: Hair shades from one color into another, dark to light or vice versa. “We had a girl last week that went from black to purple,” said Kristal. She’s seen red fade to blond and blonde shade to lilac. The hair world borrowed the term ‘ombre’ from the French word meaning shaded or shading. Ombre hair color is generally darker at the roots through the mid-shaft and then gradually gets lighter from the mid-shaft to the ends. It is ideal for clients looking for a low-maintenance style.
  • Peekaboos: Little pops of color, usually around the face. “I have a peekaboo in my bangs,” said Kristal.
  • Types of braids: Range from fishtail braids and Dutch to invisible and zigzag, where the outer strands are pushed up to create a lattice-work look. Braids are in right now. Dressy braided styles that combine with updos are popular for weddings and proms.
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