Articles > Three Talented Newcomers Take Prize in jcp salon’s Battle of the Schools
February 10, 2015

Three Talented Newcomers Take Prize in jcp salon’s Battle of the Schools

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What do three cosmetology students—one with a flair for intricate bridal upstyles, one with a love for artistic color and the third a self-proclaimed “slow perfectionist” with an eye for precision cutting—have in common? Besides an enormous passion for the craft, they all have a desire to make a name for themselves in the industry. And since winning jcp salon’s Battle of the Schools, these students have a serious edge.


For months, they competed against hundreds of other talented stylists from across the country, toiling over their submissions for the contest, in each of three categories: Formal Upstyling, Cutting and Styling and Color. The top prize? Three, $1,500 beauty school scholarships. Now, not only can they worry less about student loans, they can also add the distinction of “published” to their resumes.


“Showing your hunger and passion from the beginning is going to take you far in your career,” says Nick Stenson, Artistic Director for jcp salon. “When students put themselves out there for contests like these, it shows they already have the ambition and drive they need for success.”


Here’s a closer look at the winning entries.


Formal Upstyling: Hannah Armstrong, Paul Mitchell the School Tampa
Hannah’s winning style is a blend of elegant and edgy, complemented by fashion forward silver strands. This style incorporates a trifecta of on-trend elements—ponies, buns and Dutch fishtail braids! What has winning meant to Hannah? “Fewer student loans!” Hannah laughs. “Really, it’s a huge blessing. I hope to have more of my work published in the future. This contest has given me a boost of confidence to reach my goals.”



1. Smooth hair with a flat iron for a frizz-free starting canvas.


2. Backcomb hair in 1-inch horizontal sections starting at the nape of the neck and continuing up to the crown to create an even foundation.


3. Section hair in desired location of the first Dutch fishtail braid.


4. Next, section off a portion of hair in the crown. Backcomb this section to desired volume, and brush hair on the top to smooth. Pin the hair in a crisscross shape.


5. Braid the sectioned hair into a Dutch fishtail braid, and separate the pieces of hair in the braid to make it look fuller.


6. Gather hair into a ponytail underneath the volumized section of hair at the crown, leaving out any fringe.


7. Apply Awapuhi Wild Ginger Styling Treatment Oil to ponytail to tame any frizz.


8. Take small sections of hair within the ponytail and begin creating the bun by lifting each section of hair over or under your fingers and securely pinning them into the foundation, intertwining the ends throughout the previously pinned hair. Separate the pieces of pinned hair so the bun looks fuller.
*Between pinning, Hannah says she sprayed each section with Paul Mitchell Super Clean Extra Finishing Spray to hold the style.


9. Take any fringe that was left out and place it over the top of the base of the bun to cover any visible pins, and to give the bun a more polished look.


10. Apply a finishing spray all over to hold the look in place.


Cut and Style: Lauren Ainsworth, Empire Beauty School, Prescott, AZ 
Lauren’s asymmetric teardrop cut, embellished with fire engine red panels, won the Cut and Style judges over. Lauren created the cut with a razor, and added red accents to accentuate the dramatic layers. Her goal was to marry the cut and color for a harmonious look. “My inspiration was what I want my own haircut to be!” Lauren shares.



1. Decide which side you would like to be longer.


2. Using your razor, begin by over-directing the long side to the short side at a 45 degree angle.


3. After removing all length and brittle ends, divide hair into vertical sections around the entire head.


4. Starting about three inches from the scalp, razor toward the end of the hair to remove bulk and add texture.


5. For the bangs, cut at a 45 degree angle and razor until they connect to the length, which will help you achieve nice face framing.


6. Pull the hair near front of the face forward until it meets with the shortest part of the fringe, and angle-cut down to create the angled side burn.


7. Razor tighter above the ear and blend into the back.


8. Finish by blow-drying, flat ironing and adding texture with a molding wax.


Color: Brienn Covert-Davis, Marinello School of Beauty
Smooth caramel melts into an espresso base in this balayage creation—inspired by the work of color correction guru and social media phenomenon Guy Tang! Using one of Guy’s signature techniques, Brienn  transformed her client’s orange and brassy color into a warm, high contrast melt with a face-framing pop of color. “All I do is watch YouTube videos about hair,” says Brienn. “When I went to school, I sucked the education out of my instructors. I did everything I could to learn. Winning solidifies my passion, and it solidifies that having faith in your talent and believing in your craft makes it all worthwhile.” 



Color Formulas
Formula A (base): ½ oz. Wella Koleston 4/0 + ½ oz. 5/7 + 10-volume developer. Processed while lightener was being applied.


Formula B (lightener): Wella Blondor + 40-volume developer


Formula C (toner): 1 oz. 8/73 + ½ oz. 9/1 1:2 ratio + 6-volume developer.


Darken the base with Formula A using a freestyle, hand painting technique (Brienn cites Guy Tang as her major source of inspiration for this application technique).


2. Divide the hair into 3 sections.


3. Beginning in the back, balayage using Formula B in V sections, blending into Formula A for a seamless, all-over transition.


4. Apply Formula C on pre-lightened hair and process for about 5 minutes.


5. Blow-dry, then style using 1 ½-inch barrel wand. Brush lightly to create soft waves.