At Charlotte Technical College, cosmetology instructor Mary Curby teaches students the basics of hair, then allows their creativity to shine.

As part of the 1,200-hour program, students learn things like how to create updos — a hairstyle where all hair is pulled back, and can be as simple as a ponytail, or a fancy hairdo for special occasions like weddings or prom.

At the Charlotte Technical College salon, The Cutting Room, students offer services for a fraction of the cost of traditional salons. Haircuts start at $10, and updos are $15.

Many students were asked to do hair for the recent prom season outside of the program.

One student, Gianna Giunta, helped at least five girls get ready for the event, even the day of her own prom at Lemon Bay High School.

“Hair makes an outfit,” Giunta said.

She said a lot of students asked for the half-up, half-down look, “a classic.” She adds her own style by incorporating curls and braids into the mix.

Giunta said she loves bohemian style and enjoys doing big braids, so much so that other girls in the program refer to her as “the braid factory.”

Madison King has also been busy preparing to graduate, and doing hair for prom.

King said of Curby, “She pushes us, because she knows what we are capable of.”

She said everyone loves curls and braids, and updos are a big trend right now. A challenge is getting the hair to stay up, without having pins stick out, or dousing it in hairspray.

After graduation, King said she hopes to gain employment at a salon that does both hair and nails.

“Doing one is great, but doing both is better,” she said.

Instructor Curby still works in a salon when she is not teaching.

“Trends fluctuate with age groups as time goes on,” she said, “Trends have come a long way.”

Giunta added, “Cosmetology is like history, everything comes back.”

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