Tryniti Pruden is ready to lose her longish locks.
The 17-year-old Tacoma teen has come to BJ’s Beauty and Barber College on South Tacoma Way with her mom, De, for a haircut.
Is Tryniti nervous?
“A little bit,” she says. “Because they’re students.”
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But as her funky, feathery razor cut begins to take shape, she seems pleased with her first visit to a beauty school.
Her mom says a friend recommended BJ’s. De has been coming to the college for her salon needs for about a year.
“Everybody here is so nice,” she says. “You get what you ask for, and the prices are right.”
At $7 for a shampoo and haircut – $10 for hair that’s past the shoulders – the cost is a bargain.
Bargains are what draw customers to South Sound beauty schools. But satisfied customers say stylish service is what keeps them coming back.
Jeannie Salazar drives from Port Orchard to get her hair cut and colored at Salon Professional Academy, near the Tacoma Mall. The school was recommended by a friend from Belfair, and Salazar has been a regular customer for more than a year. She brings her 15-year-old son to the salon school. His verdict? He likes the place, she says.
Although the big attraction for Salazar are the prices – cuts start at $10, while coloring costs $21 – she also likes the idea of helping out the academy’s students.
“I know a lot of people are afraid to come to a school,” she says. “But the students are well-monitored by instructors. I haven’t had any major goofs.”
Beauty college instructors emphasize the supervision their students receive when they work with clients.
“We try to have a series of checkpoints,” says Michael Shea, one of the owners of Salon Professional Academy. At each step, students consult with an instructor.
But all that supervision can mean a haircut takes a little longer than it would at a professional salon.
“Most of the students can’t get a haircut done in 15 minutes,” says Linda Newman-Hanson, who owns Cascade Beauty College in downtown Auburn. “It takes them a little longer. You sometimes sacrifice time for money.”
Students are the first to admit that mistakes can happen – just as they can in a professional salon with experienced stylists.
But students like Vicky Raybon, who is studying for a new career at Cascade after working as a paralegal and a mom, says she appreciates honest feedback from customers.
“People are worried that they’ll hurt our feelings,” she says. “But we need to know if we’re doing something wrong.”
There are plenty of beauty schools to choose from in the South Sound.
All are staffed by students eager to learn by doing – and willing to style your hair, do your nails or pamper you with a pedicure at bargain prices.
Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635
Sampling of schools
BJ’S BEAUTY AND BARBER COLLEGE
Two locations: 5239 South Tacoma Way in Tacoma and 12020 Meridian E., Suite G, in Puyallup
253-473-4320 in Tacoma; 253-848-1595 in Puyallup
Haircut: $5 dry; $7 with shampoo; $10 for long hair past the shoulders
Permanent color: starts at $30
Relaxer: starts at $50
Full foil: starts at $49.99
Perms: start at $30
Haircut, beard, mustache trim: $10
Face or head shave: $12
LINCOLN BEAUTY SCHOOL
702 S. 38th St., Tacoma
Haircut: $6 for men; $8 for women
Perm: starts at $35
Color: starts at $25
Full nail set: starts at $12
Pedicure: starts at $15
Facial: starts at $20
Waxing: starts at $8
Up-do: starts at $20
SALON PROFESSIONAL ACADEMY
3702 S. Fife St. (in Lincoln Plaza near Tacoma Mall)
Haircut: starts at $10
Kids cut 12 and younger: starts at $6
Color: starts at $21
Highlights: starts at $31
Perm: starts at $31
Relaxer: starts at $31
Up-do: starts at $21
Brow wax: $7
CASCADE BEAUTY COLLEGE
435 E. Main St., Auburn
Haircut with iron curl or set: $16
Color: starts at $35
Perm: $37, including haircut and style
Foil: starts at $45
Basic facial: $20
Brow wax: $8
Beard or mustache trim: $5
Relaxer: starts at $50, includes cut and style
QUALITY BEAUTY COLLEGE
2703 Capital Mall Drive, Olympia (across from Capital Mall)
Haircut with style: $10.90
Up-do: starts at $17.95
Relaxer: starts at $34
Brow, lip or chin wax: $8
Permanent color: starts at $24.99
Full foil: $46.99
Water manicure: $8.49
Beard, bang or nape trim: $4.95
Discounts on many services for those age 60 and older
CLOVER PARK TECHNICAL COLLEGE
4500 Steilacoom Blvd. S.W., Building 8, Lakewood
253-589-5623 (beauty salon and barber shop); 253-589-5741 (skin care, body care, waxing, makeup); 253-589-5749 (medical spa treatments)
Haircut: sculpting $9; trim $3; barbershop cut $4
Perm: $25 (extra charge for extra length)
Relaxer: $40 (extra charge for extra length)
Foil: $50 (extra charge for extra length)
Brow wax: $8 and up
Manicure: $10 (Manicures start again in September)
European facial: $28
Facial hair trim: $2
(Clover Park’s program is closed for a break from Aug. 28-Sept. 28)