By Daniela Ramirez
After 405 days of closure, the Riverside City College Cosmetology salon is back in business.
The reopening of the salon to the public has students and staff excited to finally work again.
The functioning esthetics salon offers affordable services from haircuts to pedicures, all provided by students learning cosmetology.
The salon’s shut down due to COVID-19 created a major setback for students’ hands-on experience. Students work on dolls provided by the college for two semesters to gain practice before working with clients.
Alexis Torres, a second year cosmetology student who aims to prosper as a hair and makeup artist, was hyped with anticipation.
“It was nerve-racking coming back and working on clients again,” Torres said.
There were no hybrid classes available to cosmetology students during the past year, since the curriculum is hands-on. Many students, such as Unique Montiel, had to wait until the salon opened, which prolonged their stay at the college.
After receiving her associate’s degree, Montiel wants to become a beautician for events like weddings, birthdays and proms. She aims to work on everyday people.
Montiel said there are many things to learn in a short amount of time, but the salon has given her the knowledge she needs to continue on her journey.
“The teachers here are great and know their stuff,” she said.
Due to the pandemic, the salon is only allowed six to eight clients a day. Susan Pechan, a regular client, has been coming to the salon for 10 years.
“I get better treatment here than a regular salon because the students pay more attention and care,” she said. “Out of everything being shut down, this is the place I’ve most looked forward to coming back.”
The salon’s clients receive services offered anywhere else, but for a fraction of another salon’s cost.
First-time client David Henderson, 42, received 25 braids for only $10. He said he has paid over $100 at another salon for the same hair style and only 12 braids.
Henderson’s hairstyle consisted of removing the old braids, washing, conditioning, blow drying his hair and finally receiving all 25 braids.
Henderson said it was a professional job and had no complaints. He said he will definitely be coming back to the salon to spare the few dollars he can.
Instructor Rochelle Smith, who has been working for the Cosmetology Department for fours years now, said she is very proud of the protocols the facility has followed to make the salon’s reopening possible.
Limited classes have been offered to cosmetology students since October. Anticipation and worry has become excitement for the opportunity to work on clients.
Students will be able to build those bonds with the people they work on, Smith said.
“The students can continue to build those relationships,” she said.
The salon is offering all services except facials and makeup until further notice.
To set up an appointment, call 951-222-8182 or send an email to CosmoAppointment@rcc.edu.
Current RCC students and seniors over 62 can receive 50% off.