Human vs mannequin

Cosmetology students explain which they prefer


Megan Berg

As she gathers up hair, Marina Flores concentrates on twisting to make the braided updo. The already curled hair can be difficult at times to do work with as mannequin hair is stiffer than real hair.

Walking into the salon, the chatter of girls’ voices is prominent throughout the bustle of hairdryers, flat irons and curling wands. The laughter and chatter makes the atmosphere feel inviting. 

The students agree that the instructors make the program feel friendly and open. 

“The teachers are really nice, and make sure you are where you need to be,” Kyleigh Ramirez said, a cosmetology major from Turpin, Oklahoma. 

Kyleigh Ramirez from Turpin, Oklahoma, and Jennifer Cue-Cortes from Liberal both work on extravagant hairstyles on mannequins. Ramirez says there are certain things that mannequin hair won’t do which can be a struggle sometimes when practicing. (Megan Berg )

The cosmetology program currently has three instructors who students have said help to truly make the program a success. Marina Flores, a cosmetology major from Booker, Texas, said that anytime students are working on real clients, they can always go and ask the instructors for help if they have any questions. 

Jennifer Cue-Cortes from Liberal said this program has been her greatest experience compared to another program she attended her freshman year and would definitely recommend Seward County for any cosmetology majors. 

There are a lot of benefits of going to Seward, Cortes said, “With our hours, they work with us and aren’t as strict. We also get to dress in all black which is nice. We have three amazing instructors teaching techniques and ways that make sense.” 

Working in the salon is an opportunity for the students to practice on real hair, and many students commented what a drastic difference it is compared to working on a mannequin.

Flores said it is a lot different from real people. The feeling of mannequin hair is a lot stiffer and harder to work with almost low quality. People are easier to move around unlike a mannequin that in general is very stiff. There are only a few ways you can move them. 

“I definitely prefer working with an actual person. I think it’s nice being able to talk to your clients,” Ramirez said laughing. “You can’t really talk to a mannequin.” 

Working with people’s hair is easier than mannequin hair. She said that real hair can do more things than fake hair. Sometimes fake hair, “Just won’t do what you want it to.” 

Ramirez said there’s satisfaction in working on real people. Being able to take what they are wanting and actually do it is very rewarding. 

Rashel Camacho, a cosmetology major from Liberal, uses a hairdryer to blow-dry the mannequin’s hair. Camacho is currently doing a Marcel set shampoo, blow-dry and curl on the mannequin. (Megan Berg)

Working in the salon with clients is usually easy or so Rashel Camacho from Liberal said. The clients are mostly very nice and understanding that the students are currently learning. There are always a few clients though that can be rude but Camacho hasn’t had any of those encounters. 

Working with clients definitely gets nerve-wracking sometimes. Flores says in order to overcome her nerves she tries to remain confident and calm. Show what she has learned and remember the techniques she’s been taught. 

Learning techniques and basics is the hardest part when first learning cosmetology. Many of the students all said that the biggest challenge is trying to remember.

“All the education you got to learn, there’s so much. That’s the biggest challenge for me is to remember anything,” Cortes said.  

There’s a lot to learn and remember. It can get overwhelming at times Ramirez says. Once she gets into the habit though of certain techniques, it feels nice. 

The salon and the program truly set up their students to succeed in future careers. Through the nerves and rude clients, cosmetology majors can learn how to talk and move clients and what it feels like to work with real hair. Real is always better than fake.