Cosmetology students get hands-on experience at downtown salon

Head+of+the+Cosmetology+Academy+Michelle+Puailoa+guides+Alex+Sugent+in+cutting+fellow+student+Kenton+Yamatake%27s+hair+on+Feb.+5%2C+2020%2C+at+the+City+College+Cosmetology+Academy+in+Downtown+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.

Desiree Erdmann

Head of the Cosmetology Academy Michelle Puailoa guides Alex Sugent in cutting fellow student Kenton Yamatake's hair on Feb. 5, 2020, at the City College Cosmetology Academy in Downtown Santa Barbara, Calif.

Alexia Beller, Staff Writer

Many in the community see City College as an institution dedicated to educating students on topics ranging from deep-sea pipeline repair to the innermost workings of a car. 

However, many are unaware that a mere three miles away lies an academy that has spent years grooming young students for success.

For over 10 years, City College’s Cosmetology Academy has been offering top-notch salon services to the public at budget-friendly prices. 

Students groom the public at unbeatable prices in exchange for hands-on experience with Santa Barbara’s residents.  

Kaz Mayeda has been getting his haircut at the academy for over five years. 

“I always get great service and appointments are timely,” Mayeda said. 

The students are very friendly, he said, and always manage to fulfill his style requests. 

Kaz Mayeda admires his new hair cut done by student Abi O. on Feb. 5, 2020, at the City College Cosmetology Academy in Downtown Santa Barbara, Calif. Kaz said he only gets his hair cut at the academy and enjoys his appointments for the friendly and attentive service.

Desiree Erdmann
Kaz Mayeda admires his new hair cut done by student Abi O. on Feb. 5, 2020, at the City College Cosmetology Academy in Downtown Santa Barbara, Calif. Kaz said he only gets his hair cut at the academy and enjoys his appointments for the friendly and attentive service.

Cosmetology Instructor Michelle Puailoa, a former cosmetology student, now supervises the academy after 22 years in the field. 

“I have always had a passion for teaching,” she said. “[I] wanted the opportunity to give back to the community and the younger generation.” 

The academy has a 100% success rate in passing the state board exams in both the cosmetology and esthetician departments. 

Puailoa said she and the other faculty members started around the same time and built a “strong team environment,” to which she accredits the school’s success. 

Esthetician student Katelyn Daze said her inspiration to study stemmed partially from societal beauty standards and how they impact women.

“I felt a lot of girls cover up with extreme makeup, but in reality, girls have such natural beauty and I want to help them love their natural beauty,” Daze said. 

Puailoa feels the biggest misconception about the program is that it is easy.

Students are required to study 1,600 hours of different sciences such as anatomy, bacteriology and diseases and disorders. 

While the curriculum is rigorous, many students appreciate the somewhat loose structure of the classes. 

“I’m not a fan of lectures,” said Kenton Yamatake, one of many male cosmetology students. “Being able to be hands-on is a lot of fun.”

City College’s Cosmetology Academy is the only public cosmetology school in the general area.