The winning entry

Santa Monica College cosmetology student Inga Jargalsaikhan says she didn’t enter the Junior Style Stars hair competition to win.  She just wanted to see what she could do.  Each of the 315 entrants in the national contest received a mannequin and then had to dye, cut, and style the hair, as well as accessorize, along a bridal theme.  A panel of 17 judges handed Inga first place last week: $5k cash, and $50k in prizes.

In her native Mongolia, hair is a far simpler matter than it is for many women in the United States.  “They just wash and comb,” said Inga, who recently dyed her hair a gorgeous, surprisingly natural red (given that her natural hair color is jet black.)  Until she came to SMC, she said she was more interested in the business side of beauty than she was in being a stylist.

The winner, and her mentor

Studying with instructor Helen LeDonne changed that.  LeDonne is a second-generation stylist who’s led the department at SMC for 14 years.  She says 85 percent of the business of hair is psychology and customer service.  Learning how to interact with people is as key as learning technique, chemistry, electricity.  That’s why the school operates an on-campus salon, open to all.  Eleven bucks for a blow dry and ten bucks for a manicure.   No appointment necessary!

Closed Monday. In the Business building on the campus of SMC. Call for hours: 310-434-4292

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11 Comments »

  • Janet Harclerode said:

    Wow!
    Congratulations Inga Jargalsaikhan, Helen LeDonne, and SMC, and thank you KCRW for reporting on this great news item.

  • Everett T Hood said:

    Joining the contest can definitely be a good start for Inga Jargalsaikhan, not to mention her formal lessons in styling of course. I got to have my own share of learning the basics on hair styling charging to experience. I would observe the stylists on one of the hair salon perth and got to apply it on my cousin. I cut and styled her hair and yes, she definitely liked it!

  • Leah Butler said:

    I have always wanted to enroll on cosmetology, but my parents won't allow me thinking that it is of no use. What I am actually planning to do though is to have my own beauty salon in perth. Maybe I can still continue that plan despite not continuing the course, just wish me luck!

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  • Summer Lynch said:

    No wonder Inga developed impressive skills. Helen LeDonne is one of the best and most experienced in the business. Any self-respecting stylist can only dream of studying directly under her supervision.

  • Kelly West said:

    The best part is anyone can just come in and have their hair done. I never liked the idea of having to call in an appointment in advance.

  • Amy Lopez said:

    Appointment or not, what's important is how skillfully she can make a masterpiece out of your hair. With the training she's had, that obviously isn't going to be a problem.

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  • Jen @ Red Hair Ideas said:

    Definitely agree that a large percentage is to do with psychology and customer relations. If you have a miserable stylist you're not going to have a good time and probably won't go back!

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