It’s a sacrifice, but getting beautiful helps students at Sault College

COLUMN: Pampering can be painful

Don’t we all deserve a little pampering? Especially when we can say we are doing it to help others?

I’d seen a sign at the John Rhodes community centre for manicures that reminded me that the Sault college students would have their clinic open again. I called up crystal Hocking, who runs the clinic, to book my first-ever waxing appointment.

Arriving at the college, I was greeted by a number of students in the lobby area, and was introduced to Kierstyn. But not so fast. First I had to fill out a number of forms–to sign in for treatment, to make sure they didn’t tow my car from the lot, and to identify any medical conditions that would impede treatment that day. (I may have even signed away my life or my first-born, since I stopped reading too closely by the third form.)

I followed her back to the treatment room. With the professional setup, soothing spa colours and spa music, I was lulled into a lovely sense of relaxation, as my legs were prepared and the hot wax was rolled on.

With the first rip of the fabric strips off my leg, I could only ask myself why I thought this was pampering. My second thought was: what do men do in the name of looks that hurts?

Rrrrrrip…went the second strip. Kierstyn gently placed her hand over the stinging area, soothing away the “ouch.” Funny how her touch stopped the pain. This wasn’t so bad after all, and I was focusing on not having to shave for a long time.

Rrrrrrip. Back to my head-shaking dialogue: why do women tweeze, pluck, wear high-heeled shoes and uncomfortable bras and underwear– all in the name of beauty?

Kierstyn did a great job, and I tipped her well, especially since the prices at the college are 40 to 60 per cent of the normal prices. I left smooth-legged, with only my ego bruised.

Not yet willing to go European and hippy with hair growth, it wasn’t a week before i was back–this time for more-daring summertime waxing.

Perhaps I thought that if I kept coming back I would start looking more like Hocking, the esthetician technician who booked my appointments and oversaw the students’ work.

Wendy-Lynn was my student for this day, a true waxing pro, confident and personable. The more-sensitive areas never brought tears to my eyes, but I am not convinced I’d do it again. My razor and I have not permanently ended our relationship just yet.

My third time back I went for real pampering. Lana would give me a pedicure and a facial.

As Lana soaked and massaged my feet, I talked with Hocking more about the clinic and the program.

There are 20 women in the esthetician diploma program, all taking advantage of one of the few condensed one-year diploma programs in the province. graduates have tended to find work right away in their field, while others are inspired to continue their education.

Aside from the experience they receive in the clinic, students also do free mini-manicures rotating at a number of locations in the city including: the Senior citizens drop in centre, the john rhodes centre, great northern retirement Home, the windsor Park, and Phoenix rising. call those locations directly for schedules and appointments.

Onsite at the Sault college clinic, students offer a wider variety of services. They provide waxing, manicures, pedicures, makeup application, basic and advanced facials, eyelash and eyebrow tinting. Men also use the services of the clinic, predominantly for pedicures.

In between the layers of cleansers, steam, toner, masks, and lotions for my facial, I was enjoying the fact that this was a learning environment, and that treatments take a bit longer than normal (which was not my favourite part of the environment when waxing was involved).

There are no high-tech pedicure thrones, no waterfalls in the lobby, and no refreshments served, but it was still a very professional spa-like experience with quality products each time, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go a fourth time.

“The students benefit being able to work hands on with people in the community–refining their practical and customer service skills. It is all about building confidence in their abilities in a safe environment, where we are there to help.” Hocking said. “customers benefit from reduced pricing, a supervised setting, and playing an important role in our students’ mastering their required skills.”

When asked what message she’d like to deliver to the community, Hocking said: “Thank you for supporting our students and clinic with your patronage. Try out a new service or get a repeat service–either way you can feel good about helping students practice their skills. Hope to see you soon.”

The clinic is open at Sault college from 9 a. m. to 3:30 p. m. Monday and wednesdays through aug. 12. call crystal for appointments at 759-2554 extension 2837.

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