HCC cosmetology students go to great lengths for annual competition

An area of the student conference center was cordoned off Monday for future stylists to compete in the second annual "Stars of Tomorrow" cosmetology competition at Highland Community College.
Armed with combs, hairspray, makeup, and crimping and curling irons, cosmetology students focused for 60 minutes on completing a look in one of four categories: "Hollywood Glamour,"

"Color to the Extreme," "Club Mix," or "Nail Art." Twelve students participated, many in teams of two.
In the "Club Mix" category, some competitors were inspired by nature to dress their models for a night out clubbing.

Kenzie Mercier and Bryttani Gross are seniors at Freeport High School taking cosmetology classes through CareerTEC vocational program. The team took first place Monday in the "Club Mix" category for their Peacock plumage-inspired hairstyle. Mercier and Gross said they liked the color, texture, and silhouette of the showy bird.

From the front, the hair had a silhouette of a peacock body with the plumage fanned out. To get this look, Mercier and Gross pulled their model’s hair into a half-pompadour and placed a fan of Peacock feathers behind it. They also gave her thin blue and green highlights,

"The blue and green really contrast each other and stand out," Mercier said.

From the back, the model’s hair had a silhouette of a peacock with plumage at rest. Mercier and Gross did this by tucking part of her hair under with an overlay of straightened hair.

"This is our first time competing, it is a big challenge," Gross said. "We practiced on a mannequin and if we didn’t like it, we took it down and started over."

Imaginative Looks

Black and purple were the colors of choice for teams who competed in "Color to the Extreme." Participants coordinated costume, makeup, nails, and hairstyle with one color.

HCC cosmetology students Lexie Book and Jordanne Brovold took first place in this category for their "purple ballerina" look. Their model had a bouffant updo with retro-curled bangs set to the side of her forehead.

"We did a lot of backcombing," Book said.

"We like volume," Brovold added.

Their model was dressed in a purple corset bodice and tutu.

Lonny Plowman, owner of Xeno Salon and Day Spa in Rockford; Megan Blunt, owner of Reflections Hair Salon in Winnebago; and Kathy Eanes, owner of Tangles Salon in Freeport, judged the competition.

Plowman is a former cosmetology student at Highland.

"I’ve had the opportunity to work with John Paul Mitchell systems for the last 11 years, and that’s to show you the foundation you’re going to get from Highland Community College can take you wherever you want to go. It’s really up to you," Plowman said.

HCC cosmetology instructor Cathie Schmerse said although participation was down from last year, she was excited with the results of Monday’s competition.

"... it lets them expand their imagination and show what they can really do. The competition lets them step out of the box," Schmerse said.