In the News
STUDENT HAIRSTYLIST CLINICS ARE NORTH JERSEY'S "BEST-KEPT SECRET"by EUNNIE PARK on 4/14/2008
Every detail about the salon seems to scream style and luxury.
Music pulsates above sounds of blow-dryers and snipping scissors. Hairstylists in black tend to their clients at gleaming stations. The energy, the lighting, even the reception staff seems to suggest upscale salon, except ...
Cut & Style: $12 Styling: $8 Basic Color: $18
"I call it the best-kept secret in town," says Lidia Comp, admissions and sales leader of Parisian Beauty Academy in Hackensack.
Parisian, a Paul Mitchell Partner School, is one of several schools in the area that offer high-quality salon services at student clinics. All services are performed by senior-level students under the supervision of licensed stylists, and prices are usually a fraction of the cost of professional salons.
Around North Jersey, there are numerous such schools that provide hair and skin care, manicures, waxing and even massages. With upbeat students and fine facilities, most of these schools defy the stereotypes of crummy, depressing student clinics where you risk getting a bowl cut or frizzy, green 'do.
"Well-trained technicians, utilizing only the highest-quality products, in a beautiful atmosphere ... equals very satisfied clients that are receiving a tremendous cost savings without sacrificing anything on service," says Marlene Nucifora, director of Artistic Academy in Morris Plains.
Maryanne Ayoubi, a learning leader at Parisian, agrees.
"These future professionals are giving you better service than a salon that you go to in an expensive town, where you're going to pay three or four times as much," she says.
Of course, quality can vary depending on the student stylist. Most schools, including Parisian, do not allow clients to make appointments with specific students. But if there are any signs of trouble, the floor supervisors are always nearby, Ayoubi adds.
"But we rarely have challenges with anyone," she says.
Most schools use products provided by their affiliates and adapt service culture shaped by those brands. Artistic Academy, for example, is associated with DePasquale spa and salon as well as AvancÃ© skin care. Capri Institute uses Redken hair care and France Laure skin care at all of its school locations.
Parisian uses Paul Mitchell hair products, Dermalogica skin care products and Mac cosmetics, and practices the Paul Mitchell philosophy, which emphasizes upbeat, motivational attitudes in the classrooms and creative floor.
Many schools also make an effort to create salon- or spa-like atmospheres with other details. At Helma Institute of Massage Therapy, clients are treated to a private space with relaxation music, low lighting, heat lamps above the tables, and its students are taught to provide not only great massages but an overall spa experience, says Mary Ringenberg, campus director.
"Our students train in relationship skills and how to relate to [clients]," she says. "If you feel comfortable, you're going to benefit more from the massage."
There are many North Jerseyans who are regulars at these student clinics. During a recent visit to Parisian, two happy clients said they'd take an academy clinic over a professional salon any day.
"It's top-notch -- the individual service and the attention that you get," says Maria Kappelman of Saddle Brook.
Nancy Dubicki of Hasbrouck Heights agrees: "The workmanship, the techniques they know in haircutting ... I don't even think you see this in the salon -- not the salon I used to go to, anyway."