I’ve heard my share of insults about beauty school, some merited and some blatantly wrong. Whoever assumed beauty school is the easy way out of getting a four-year degree has probably never touched a makeup brush in their life. Yes, it’s a beauty junkie’s dream to study the nuances of hair, makeup, nails, and skin on a daily basis, but this incredible opportunity isn’t all fun and games. Remember secondary school concepts like uniforms, tardies, and absences? They’re all fully enforced. This is the strictest, most regimented environment I’ve ever experienced, and I’m here to debunk some beauty school myths for those misinformed folk.
This phrase makes me laugh. I’ve actually found beauty school to be more demanding than high school, with stricter rules and more work than I imagined. Many people think we’re just beauty-obsessed airheads who play with mannequins, but there’s substance under the makeup. Students spend the first half of the day in a classroom that looks like any other lecture hall. We study theory, complete with textbooks, handouts, and homework.
You’d be surprised by the long list of guidelines we’re required to follow. Students are under the constant scrutiny of the teaching staff and the government (after all, we’re certified by the State Board). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can stop in any day of the week for random checks. If our beauty kits are not to code, we face hefty fines, even as students. And the tiniest infraction—a lingering hair on your kit or a misplaced item—can cost you. Our department’s reputation is on the line, so our instructors keep us in check every day.
Difficulty is a subjective concept, but beauty school can be just as mentally and physically taxing as any bachelor’s degree program. As a graduate of the university system, I sure do miss the flexibility of my old schedule. Midday naps, coffee runs, and long breaks are now virtually impossible. In beauty school, we’re given time cards to record every detail of the day, from the 8:10 a.m. check-in to the 4:45 p.m. checkout. I go to school Monday to Friday, with no exceptions. With mandatory breaks and a 30-minute lunch period, I feel like I’m trapped in secondary school again. Many students appreciate a structured schedule, but I forget how exhausting it can be to maintain such a consistent routine.
I must admit, I originally had many preconceived notions about beauty school before I started the program. After completely adjusting my life to this new endeavor, I’m living proof that it’s no joke. Safety hazards, bureaucratic guidelines, and a rigorous schedule can prove impossible for some—two students quit on the first day. If you decide to enter the world of cosmetology school, remember: It’s not as easy as it apparently looks.