March 23rd, 2021

By Derek Sylvester, Copy Editor

Whether it be intentional or subconscious, at some point, we all have to decide whether we want to look good or be on time. Fortunately the Laney Cosmetology department is constantly hard at work to ensure hairstylists, nail technicians, and beauticians are consistently receiving their licensing to have people look the best for your next social gathering, and to ensure you never need to decide between breakfast or winged eyeliner. 

The Laney College Cosmetology Department runs a three-to-four semester program dedicated to teaching, training and preparing students to take the California State Board of Cosmetology exam for licensure. Throughout the program, students can expect to receive hands-on skin, nail and hairstyling experience along with chemical services and business training in order to build the skills required to become a successful practicing cosmetologist. 

“During the course, they are learning everything about hair styling, hair cutting, hair coloring, facials and nail care,” Sydney Thomas-Windham, department chair of the Cosmetology Program at Laney shared during a Zoom interview with The Citizen.  

“Students come to Laney to get the hands-on skills, theory and knowledge of cosmetology to prepare them for the [California State Board of Cosmetology] exam, and prepare them for work in the industry.” 

Thomas-Windham said that students in the program have a full-time schedule that runs “Monday through Friday, from 8:00 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon.” she added. “They are having lectures on particular topics they have to know, and then they are also doing their hands-on, their practicals. They practice their skills on their mannequin. It is a busy day for them.”

“They are busy all day long.”

There are five specialties of cosmetology: skincare, nail care, hair color, hair styling and chemical services that are focused on at Laney. Students will spend the first half of their day learning the theory of cosmetology, followed by specialty classes designed to solidify the skills required for licensure. “The teacher is going to teach them a technique for an hour, and then the rest of the day they are going to practice that technique from that specialty area,” Thomas-Windham explained.

Now that COVID-19 has shifted classes from in-person to online instruction, the Cosmetology Department at Laney has encountered new challenges when teaching such an up close and personal course. “It has been very hard on us because we are really a face-to-face class. We have to be with the students. They have to see the instructor doing something right,” shared Thomas-Windham, adding that it is easier for students to collaborate, grow and build off of each other in person. Fortunately, despite the trials COVID-19 introduced early last year, students are still being taught the proper skills and instruction to prepare them for the California State Board of Cosmetology exam.

After completing the cosmetology program students will take the California State Board of Cosmetology Exam, and receive a Laney College Cosmetology certificate. Graduates of the program may also continue their scholastics to receive an associates degree in Cosmetology, generally consisting of 19 units. Thomas-Windham emphasized that “a lot of people think it is all fluff, that we are not doing things. No, they are busy from the time school starts to the time school is out. They are focused.”

The Cosmetology program at Laney is for those who enjoy exercising their minds through science and creativity, working with people, and adding a sense of betterment to those around them. “Cosmetology is a great career. It has served me well, and I have no regrets from getting my cosmetology license,” Thomas-Windham shared.  “You have to have a passion for creativity, you have to care for people, and want to do something for your community.”

For more information on the cosmetology program at Laney College call 510-464-3285, email or visit their website.