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June 25, 2013


No matter what your dreams are – you can reach them! Recently, some of our students visited New York City for a chance to do just that. Get lost in their story, and see yourself in your own.

Day 1

After we landed Sunday afternoon, we took the afternoon to explore the city. New York City is definitely a faster-paced city than Omaha. There are people everywhere and it was amazing how on the same street it could go from Chinatown to Little Italy to everyday street vendors. It was slightly overwhelming. The fashion around Canal St. was crazy. You could find people in workout gear and totally dressed up. I noticed a lot of men’s haircuts were disconnected or tapered in the back. Most women were wearing their hair in buns or some variation of a top knot. Everything is bold, lots of corals, yellows and robin shell blues. Not really sure I can handle being around all these people.

– Alicia R.

In the clouds on the way to the Big Apple. I got 2 hours of sleep last night. I’m so excited to go to classes and explore New York City. Up here in the clouds we’re all doing fine. Our first takeoff was aborted due to a faulty mechanical alarm. New York City get ready! Xenon is coming and you won’t know what hit you!

– Wil C.

New York is the center of everything fashion in the United States. NYC has the benefit of getting all the latest trends in hair, makeup and clothes that come from Europe. My experience in NYC was positive and extremely motivational. The first day we were there we all experienced some of the sites. My group and I went to Central Park and Times Square to explore the city. For me, however, the true connection was made when we met Joseph “Joe” DiMaggio and Jessica “Jay” Vosper.

The first day with Joe and Jay was super packed with information about the city and the sights. We walked as they pointed out local art, shops, and eateries. We also went to the 9-11 Memorial, which in and of itself was moving. I didn’t think I was going to be that affected by it, but once I saw it, I had goosebumps. Later that night, we all met up at Dop Dop Salon and took a class with Joe and Jay. Jay taught us all about color and techniques such as balayage and ombre hair painting. Joe, on the other hand, was all about the hair styling and hair sculpting techniques. The things they taught and introduced blew my mind. It made me hungry for more knowledge and confirmed my choice on going into cosmetology.

– Erin F.

Day 2

We went to L’Oreal Research and Development Facilities. I had no idea L’Oreal also owned Matrix, Redken, Ralph Lauren, Polo fragrance, Mizani, Garnier, Maybelline, and Pureology. It was amazing to see where they develop and come up with new products for each line. They have two sites in New York, one in Washington and one in Ohio, as well as multiple places in Paris, London, Japan and several other countries. It was so interesting to see how they test hair color. After making it, they dye hair strands and test them under several washings, all sorts of lighting conditions, and for grey coverage.

When we left there we went to the 9/11 Memorial. It was a surreal moment for me. I was prior military and I know what it’s like to be surrounded by huge devastation. To see how a city came together to rebuild and honor those whose lives were taken was very humbling.

Once we left the memorial we did trend-spotting around Soho. Jay and Joseph are all about a lived-in feel, things that look natural. They liked a lot of stores brought in from Europe.

Around 5 p.m. we made our way back to Dop Dop Salon. We met Charlie Wein who is a genius at film. We also learned that after school in most salons you become an assistant for 1-5 years before you can work on clients by yourself. We also learned most salons are departmentalized, meaning you only cut, color or style, in major cities that is. Jay is a master balayage artist, she showed us her technique and how you can modify an ombre effect. According to the East Coast, full-on ombre is out, less is more, and natural is in. Joseph showed us how to do a sleek ponytail. He also showed different ways to do a updo with a fishtail and three-strand braid.

– Alicia R.

We started off with a bus ride to Clark, New Jersey. We took a tour of the labs where L’Oreal Professional products are created, tested and developed. It was SUPER cool to see the process products go through and meet some of the people responsible for some of our favorite products.

Our first stop back in the city was Ground Zero. The memorial is still under construction but the full impact of the experience was definitely felt standing at the location of such a tragedy that changed all of our lives. It was truly a humbling experience.

Next we took a walking tour of the SOHOarea. There’s so much creativity in that area, it’s truly inspirational. From the graffiti on the street corners to the high end fashion art is truly a love in New York. My favorite stop on the walking trip was a chocolate shop where we tried hemp seed chocolate and got cold chocolate drinks. Mine had cayenne pepper, caramel, paprika, chocolate and other spices in it. It was to die for!

We headed to Dop Dop Salonfor class after that. Dop Dop has an amazing atmosphere. There red brick walls and high ceilings are complemented by displays of local artists work. The wood floors and trendy music lead to the relaxing, homey atmosphere of it all. We learned some slightly more advanced coloring and styling techniques that I can’t wait to try.

After class I went back to the hotel and went to explore with my roommate and some of our friends. We went to Chinatown in a cab and then grabbed a drink at a sidewalk café. It was very relaxing to sit on the corner and watch the world hustle and bustle around you.

– Will C.

Day 3

The third day we all split into groups to explore the city or go shopping. I went with Jay to Brooklyn. She brought us to boutiques and gave us a mini tour of the city of Williamsburg, Brooklyn which is where she lives. Later that night, we had class at the L’Oreal Academy in SoHo. Joe and Jay were so inspiring once again. They influenced and encouraged me to pursue my dreams and even move to New York City. Everyone we met had positive energy about them. A part of that had to do with the fact that they love what they do. “If you love what you do for a living, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

My experience was humbling and opened my eyes to new adventures and rekindled my fire and passion to be successful. I learned to always push myself further and keep practicing my art.

– Erin F.

We met at L’Oreal Soho Academy for breakfast, then we traveled to the Ted Gibson Salon. Ted was still in Florida. I wasn’t too impressed by his salon. The master cutter and colorist were both working at the same time and didn’t really talk about what they were doing. Jason was talking the entire time and it was very distracting. The master colorist brushed up the shaft of the hair strand, did no sectioning at all and just worked messy. The master cutter missed a section of hair and when he pulled his graduation out it was not a planned uncut section, but he left it. They kept saying they’re a brand and you need to brand yourself. I get that but they just seemed unprepared for us. They also seemed to care for more uppity type women that you’d find on 5th Avenue I think.

After that, we ate at Shake Shack, the food was delicious. Then we split into groups. I went with Jay to Brooklyn (Williamsburg), an area she lives in. She showed us several high- and low-end salons in the area. We saw the salon Hello Beautiful, they were pretty reasonably priced and Lady Gaga gets her nails done there. The owner was one of the first women to own a salon in that area. Most of her stylists have been with her 7-14 years which is unheard of in New York. Williamsburg was more my vibe, it has a very vintage, trendy feel to it and a lot less people on the streets.

After dinner Joe showed us a disconnected men’s haircut. He uses a straight blade to do all his texturizing, he gave us a tip to keep the last 1-2 teeth on clippers around the top perimeter to keep from cutting into the top. He also uses his fingers at the guard if he uses shears to cut the bottom below the horseshoe. He showed directional cutting to move the hair around the head since a lot of men are wearing their hair longer and swept back. Jay then showed us more balayage. She did 1” partings from 3 of 4 sections, she staggered her placement. She did a V-type brush stroke working down the strand and used her board on the ends so they got fully exposed to product. They were both so inspiring. I want to be a platform artist. I love travel, gaining education and sharing that with others. They’re doing exactly what I want to be doing. I may be moving to New York when I get out of school. They both seemed so passionate about what they do and want to teach all they can. I hope I’m able to do what they do one day. This trip was incredible!

– Alicia R.

After breakfast we headed to Fifth Avenue. They taught about styles and salon etiquette. They discussed what hair shows are like and the importance of consultations. It was informative to hear even though it was not a salon in which I would see myself. It’s amazing to see the diversity in types of salons though.

In our next class we started by watching a video about Joseph DiMaggio at Fashion Week. I personally obsess over Fashion Week because of the concentrated levels of artistry involved. It has always been something I have dreamed of doing.

After that we learned some balayage techniques from Jay Vasper. She also showed us how to add dimension to a haircut with just one process of color. The results of the coloring demos were so cool. I went back to see them blow dry the balayage and it was cool to see how they interacted with their clients. Also in class, Joe showed us a technique/method for men’s haircuts. He taught us a technique for creating a disconnected part that still had a distinguished look.

After the class was over we had an opportunity to hang out with the teachers from L’Orealwhich was so great. I got tons of positive feedback. One instructor actually pulled me aside and told me that they thought I really have what it takes to go far in the industry and that they were excited they got to work with me! This trip was exactly the type of inspirational boost I needed.

– Wil C.

Hear From More Students!

Keep reading for some more Xenon Academy student testimonials about this special opportunity to visit New York City.

“One of my favorite parts of going to New York was finding out that nobody ever reaches their full potential. We might be amazing at what we do, but we’re continuously getting better and learning new things and that the possibilities are never-ending in my industry. It was great seeing that we can come up with our own ways to improve ourselves and create our own signature looks that show who we are individually. Anything and everything around you can inspire new ideas and fashion statements. At the Matrix Academy the energy and customer service were just amazing.”
“Just being in the city was refreshing and exciting. It reassured me that I’ve made the right life decision. Being at the Matrix Academy with Daniel and Ammon was a great experience that will follow me through my career. They taught me to be creative and how to do things in a new way.”
“I really enjoyed going to New York City. The classes were absolutely amazing, I learned so much! Being in the city in general was awesome. I loved meeting so many different people and experiencing life as a New Yorker. I love listening to Dr. Lew. I was once again reminded why I chose this career. Overall it was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.”
“The thing that I loved about our classes was how our passion was reborn. I’ve rekindled my love for this career and I have realized completely why I chose to be here. The teachers taught us that a mistake is not a mistake but a reason to improve. It’s not a bad-good but a good-great. I really took in the love the teachers had for their students and how much they want us to succeed. It was great getting to experience and learn from the best of the best.”
“My favorite thing about New York was how it inspired me and made me think about and see how many opportunities there are out there in the cosmetology field. The city was amazing and there were so many places we saw that were fun and unique. Times Square and Little Italy are so amazing! One of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
“In the Matrix class I loved the enthusiasm of the teachers. It was very motivating and inspiring. They never let any of us forget how much talent we really have. Times Square was amazing and the people and energy of the city was amazing! Ground Zero really was a neat and touching experience and I’m glad we made time to witness it.”
“The Matrix class was very inspirational. I especially enjoyed how helpful the staff and instructors were. The new color and cutting techniques I learned I’m sure will constantly be utilized throughout my career. I had a great time and really appreciate all the  knowledge I gained in New York.”
“New York was an amazing experience! I’m very glad I went. It was worth it. I learned so much more than I thought I would. Matrix was so great and fun! I have to say my favorite place was Central Park, it was so peaceful and beautiful in such a busy hectic city. Times Square was crazy but really cool too. The buildings were an architect’s dream and made you feel an inch tall. I’d love to go back!”
“I really enjoyed my time in New York from walking the streets to the classes. Classes were AMAZING, I loved learning new things especially about cutting because that’s what I love the most. It was a great pleasure meeting and working with Ammon and Daniel. The one on one time I specifically got with Daniel was great. The trip was awesome and whomever didn’t go I’m really sorry and you should definitely try to go next time because it’s a once and a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget.”

Learn More About Where Xenon Can Take You!

If you have a passion for beauty and would like to learn more about where a career in cosmetology could take you, request info about our program today!

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