Bellus Academy Educator Awarded Prestigious Scholarship

Posted on November 17th, 2014 - Written by: Bellus Academy

Bellus Academy is overjoyed to announce that educator and Cosmetology Curriculum Manager, Lindsey Washbourne, was granted the prestigious “Advanced Scholarship Award” from the Vidal Sassoon Professional Beauty Scholarship Program on behalf of The Beauty Changes Lives Foundation in conjunction with Wella’s Hairdressers at Heart. The award includes a five day course at a Sassoon Academy in North America including travel, lodging and course fees!

Let’s hear what Lindsey has to say about her experience and this colossal opportunity!

“Androgyny meets glamorous sophistication, blurring the lines of gender with shape and a juxtaposition clash of conflicting tone.”

LINDSEY 4-web I believe in the power of classic shape and technique creating unexpected yet suitable beauty. As someone who has personally battled with self-image and an introverted nature, the beauty industry has allowed me to step forward and find not only the unique beauty in others, but also in myself. I’m still surprised at the woman I’ve been able to become.

Competition work is unlike anything you’ll ever create in the salon, working behind the chair. Hours of conceptualization and planning happen before you even attempt to get your hands in hair. Once you begin to bring your concept to life, staying flexible and open minded is a must! Expect the unexpected and don’t have your heart set on one look. I try to plan my look around my model as opposed to trying to squeeze my model into a look. I find this creates the most organic, fluid result and allows you to roll with obstacles as they come. Consider the silhouette, lighting, wardrobe, body proportions and two-dimensional angle of the shot you will ultimately end up with. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” The only way to be recognized is to take risks, which requires an insane amount of vulnerability. You’re going to experience more disappointments than successes, but the satisfaction of success outweighs, always.

5-web Becoming an educator was never a part of my plan, but my passion for hair and design forced me to be part of a bigger picture. My ultimate goal is to play an integral role in elevating the standards and perception of our industry. Hairdressing is no longer the legacy of the ‘beauty school dropout’; it is an intelligent, challenging, ever changing craft that deserves much more respect than it is traditionally given. Mastering technique and design allows our creativity to flourish at its best. The only way is through not just continued, but quality education – not only for newcomers, but for current industry professionals. Continued education is at the core of all of my career goals. Mastering the craft is key.

Lindsey Washbourne
​Cosmetology Curriculum Manager, Bellus Academy
Design Team & Master Colorist, Wella Professional

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What’s your makeup bag personality?

Posted on November 6th, 2014 - Written by: Amy Masini

What’s your makeup bag personality?

By Leilani Angel

You can’t leave home without it. You’d rather purchase a bigger one than downsize. You might even have an emergency one in your locker or your glove compartment. That’s right beauty enthusiasts, it’s our makeup bag! No matter if it’s in your backpack, your designer handbag or if it’s in your briefcase, the products in your makeup bag can reveal personality traits about you. Now, I am definitely a lover of all things makeup but let’s see what one of my favorite professional makeup artists has to say on the topic…

Based on my professional experience as a makeup artist, there’s a common theme amongst women and their makeup bags. Whether it is with clients, behind the scenes at fashion shows, photo shoots, TV/Film and with my students in class, I can vouch that your makeup bag speaks volumes for your personality. Regardless, if you are a makeup junkie, a minimalist or a gal on the go, we all have a commonality and that is a love affair (sometimes an obsession) with makeup!

-Breanne McNally, Professional Makeup Artist/Bellus Academy Makeup Instructor

So, what does your makeup bag say about you? Let’s find out!

1bag The Bag:
-bright lipsticks
-false eyelashes
-scattered bobby pins from the night before
-eye drops
-hair pieces
-setting spray

BOLD, ADVENTOUROUS AND FEARLESS: You are a saucy diva that is the life of the party!


The Bag: 2bag
-eco tools
-vegan makeup
-lip balm
-mineral powder
-clear mascara
-your headband from Coachella
-sage spray

FREE SPIRITED, DEVOTED AND ARTISTIC:  People gravitate to your sensitive nature. You bring balance into any social circle.


The Bag: 3bag
-red lipstick
-eye shadow primer
-black eyeliner
-whitening strips
-eyelash curler

CHARMING, STYLISH, AND SOPHISTICATED: Your chic style is memorizing and those around you consider you the leader of the pack.

4bag So, what does my makeup bag say about me? For one thing it says that I definitely have a makeup addiction! Also, it says that sometimes I’m bold and take on the day without fear and other times I’m just a free spirited carefree gal wrapped up in my art with random moments of channeling Audrey Hepburn in, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”…sound familiar? That’s the beauty of makeup artistry, it’s just that…a form of art. You can use it as a tool to enhance your natural beauty and express yourself however you choose to whenever you choose to. ..or, maybe I just have too much makeup…said no one ever! #iheartmakeup

By Leilani Angel

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Why Bellus Academy was the best choice for me.

Posted on November 4th, 2014 - Written by: Amy Masini

Heather R. Heather Rikoric is a student at Bellus Academy in Manhattan, Kansas. She has a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications with an emphasis in Psychology from Kansas State University, but decided to pursue her passion for hair in the beauty industry. Read more to see what her post graduation plans are and what her number one hair tip is:

1. Why did you decide to go into the beauty and wellness industry?

I have been obsessed with beauty and didn’t even really know it until it was brought up to me. I did my sister’s hair and makeup while in college and started researching videos on YouTube to find out how to perfect different makeup techniques, nail art and hairstyles. I also have been keeping up with different product lines and trends each season. I went to Ulta one day to get my hair done and talked to my stylist who thought I was a stylist already with my knowledge and she told me I really needed to go to beauty school. So, after hearing my mom say it, my dad, my sister and now my stylist, I decided that it was time to turn my obsessive hobby into a successful career and make it my life instead of a hobby.

2. Have you been able to combine your two interests thus far?

Believe it or not, I have! It’s kind of funny because the Admissions Department saw that I have a journalism background and told me “Hey! One day you could be combining these!” I feel that is probably where I will go since it was my dream to work at a magazine. Obviously, journalism is more than just writing stories. Journalism also involves using social media and theories of mass communication, so I log into Facebook when I can and let people know what I am doing and how much I love doing it. I have posted pictures onto my Facebook so people can see what I do, which has actually gained interest with some followers considering going to beauty school. I want people who were like me at the beginning to honestly realize there is more to beauty school than just hair and makeup and “oh, wow we played with some polish today”. It’s SO much more than that!

3. What is your favorite lesson you have learned at Bellus Academy?

There are so many things I have learned from Bellus! I have learned how to better take care of my hair and I like sharing with others what I have learned about hair products and hair techniques (like holding the blow dryer above my head so I don’t frizz out my hair). What I love about the college is you don’t just learn stuff about cosmetology. I guess the most important thing I have learned is self-confidence and learning how to motivate myself to get where I need to go. They have a program that is called “Pacific Institute” so I have learned to be a better “me” and it has seriously changed my life.

4. Any advice for people thinking about pursing an education at Bellus Academy?

Bellus is what Mr. David, the Academy Director, has said it is, a beauty and wellness college, but it’s not just a wellness school for our future clients, but for us as well. This school has plain and simple changed my life. So, if you are thinking of enrolling, DO IT. When I first thought about enrolling, I was terrified because this is a huge career change and I already had a degree so this HAD to be it. It has been the best experience I have ever had and it doesn’t even feel like school. The teachers are SO knowledgeable and they teach you what you need to know and THEN some. I have learned way more than I thought I would learn so you are going to get more than your money’s worth at this school. There are schools out there that will teach you basics but if you want to learn basics and more, Bellus Academy is for you.

5. What are your plans after you graduate?

I want to start off by working at a salon to build my clientele database. I also see myself doing theatre makeup which will help me on my career path to the film industry! Of course, I really like cutting hair or so I have discovered in inspiration class. I could also go back to my original dream of working for a magazine and writing beauty products and trends.



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Va-Va Varnish Salon talks on how they entered the industry!

Posted on October 16th, 2014 - Written by: Amy Masini

Elizabeth Morris, Owner/Operator of Va-Va Varnish, San Diego’s destination for cutting edge nail design, tells us how she got into the industry, what trends she loves for 2015 and more.

Q & A with Elizabeth Morris

Va-Va Varnish Tell us why you’re in the beauty industry:

I officially joined the beauty industry in 2010 when I decided to leave my corporate finance job in the hopes of doing something I truly loved. I have always loved nails and have been doing my own and those of family and friends for a long time, but I didn’t become a licensed nail tech until about four years ago. In 2012 I opened my own nail salon downtown called Va-Va Varnish and it is one of the greatest decisions I ever made. I love everything about this industry. I think the thing that makes it so different is the fact that it is so artistic, passionate and the people and professionals in it are obsessed with beauty. It’s something you choose to do and can be proud of.

Which 2015 nail trends do you think will be most requested at the salon?

Every year more and more people are getting into nail art. One of the biggest trends I see is using texture to bring out designs. Things like gel foil, 3D gel art powders and mosaic art are really getting big. Even our most conservative clients are now coming in and asking for more advanced and elaborate things on their nails.

Any you’re not a fan of?

One of the trends I personally don’t like is bubble nails and hump nails. This is a very recent trend to come about. I personally prefer a more streamlined, natural and beautifully sculpted look so these super thick nails just don’t sit well with me. But to each her own!

What is your favorite nail polish color (brand and name)?

We don’t use a lot of regular nail polish at my salon (mostly gels) but I would have to say one of my favorite brands is Morgan Taylor. It’s a newer brand that was started by Danny Haile and David Daniel from Gelish (Hand & Nail Harmony).  It’s hard to pick just one color. I really like all their colors, bottle design and consistency, but if I had to pick one it would be “Sweetest Thing”.  It’s a really pretty rose gold glitter polish. As far as gel polish I am obsessed with Akzentz. It’s a Canadian company that makes all of its products in house and they are best I have found to date. I use all of their gel polishes, soak off and hard gels. My favorite color from Akzentz is “Bluebelle”.

Tell us about the most outrageous manicure request you have ever received:

The craziest manicure request I ever received was actually a request for duck feet nails. I had only ever seen them in pictures but I got a client that wanted electric yellow duck feet nails with tons of glitter. It was a challenge as I had never done it before but they turned out really nicely and the client was super happy. Not my aesthetic but it’s good to know how to do just about anything and do it well.

Why do you think nail artistry is finally getting the attention it deserves as a key player in the beauty industry?

Nail art in my opinion is kind of like tattoos. Tattoos started out as a major taboo that were reserved for lower class individuals, criminals, sailors, etc., but now is evolving into an accepted art form that allows people to express themselves. Similarly, for a long time the traditional views of society have deemed nail art to be outlandish, unprofessional, low class, and outspoken.  A lot of clients used to tell me the same things, “I could never wear that to work,” or “that’s too wild for me.”  Even I would get judged sometimes for having neon green toe nail polish or blue glitter. But what I end up seeing now is the mere quantity of nail art we see in magazines, on celebrities, on friends, is now driving a higher comfort level across the board. The more people are bombarded with the idea of nail art, the more it becomes something that seems fun and acceptable.  People crave ways to differentiate themselves from others. They want to be able to show their personality and express themselves and I think nail art is a great and temporary way to do that. You can switch up your nail art every day if you want to and use inspiration from outfits, seasons, holidays, or just about anything to spice up your day.

Tell us about your Crystal Culture class.

Crystal Culture is one of the many classes I offer.  The cool thing about this class is it’s backed by Swarovski (the official and amazing Austrian crystal company that we all love).  The class was started by two amazing and award-winning nail techs, Viv Simmonds and Gina Silvestro. The class teaches nail techs how to integrate high-end Swarovski nail art into their appointments as both a money maker and a wow factor. It gives nail techs a competitive edge and invaluable skills that can be used to apply just about anything onto nails. I really like this class because it doesn’t just focus on technical skills. It also focuses on being a better business person which is just as important when it comes to being a successful and professional nail tech. The intent is to nurture, mentor and assist nail techs in building their businesses by teaching retail skills and additional services to add to their treatment menus. It also assists them with troubleshooting and perfecting the salon style nails in various mediums. Each attendee receives genuine Swarovski nail kits, tools and training to expertly create this high end nail art. Crystal Culture certification is given at the end of the session and it is open to all education levels. Registration is available each month via the following link:

French manicures: timeless or tacky?

Definitely timeless. French manicures and sculptured french nails I think will always be a classic and mastering them is one of the most important skills for any nail tech. Why?  Because there’s no hiding a bad french manicure. It must be clean, well-balanced and beautiful, or it will look sloppy. A lot of affluent clients love french manicures, but if not executed well you can lose business quickly, so I recommend everyone practices them regardless of whether you prefer them or not. They are also a staple in most nail competitions.

Who is your dream client and why?

My dream client isn’t really a specific person but more so a type of person. I prefer someone who loves the experience of being pampered. They value the health of their nails, they yearn to express themselves and experiment through color and art, and they want a high quality experience. Just like choosing a doctor, they take their salon choice seriously and enjoy high quality service. I also love bringing people “to the light” so I guess to pick one dream client it would be Theresa Caputo (the Long Island Medium). Her nails need a major update!  :)

What advice do you have for aspiring nail industry professionals?

My top bit of advice would be STAY PROFESSIONAL.  I can’t tell you how many young aspiring nail techs I see that burn bridges with coworkers, employers and clients by acting unprofessional or getting too casual at work. You never know where each opportunity will take you so it is important to maintain your reputation and consistently show people what a high-quality individual you are. Even if you want to quit a job, make sure you do it professionally and never resort to acting out or succumbing to your emotions. Everything comes full circle and I can’t tell you how many major opportunities have come my way because people rely on my professionalism, loyalty and honesty. Good reputations are very difficult to build but they are extremely easy to destroy.

For more information about the chic nail salon in Downtown San Diego, visit:

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Q&A with Allison Andrews of FWSD

Posted on September 25th, 2014 - Written by: Amy Masini

Allison Andrews Allison Andrews, the beauty and brains behind Fashion Week San Diego, has been bringing fashion week to San Diegans since 2008. She filled us in on what it takes to work backstage, her favorite FWSD moments ever, how she stays chic during the chaos and more! Don’t miss “The Beauty Behind Fashion”, FWSD’s kick-off event showcasing 2015 Spring/Summer trends, on Tuesday, September 30.

Q & A with Allison Andrews

1. When did you start Fashion Week San Diego?
I began planning for the first Fashion Week San Diego in 2007. The first event was a year later in 2008. It takes about 8-10 months to make it all come together.

2. Explain your role within the event.
I’m the Founder and Director. So, the one with the most pressure.

3. Why did you want to bring this concept to San Diego?
We are the eighth largest city in the country, known for being a FAB place to have conventions and only we’re only an hour south of LA. For emerging brands, which is what FWSD supports and shows, SD couldn’t be better as far as manufacturing and locations goes. SD is a border town and to do production in LA or Mexico is only a short drive away, and extremely accessible without having to live full time in those areas. In addition, San Diego has a wonderful climate and is extremely supportive of entrepreneurs, innovators and startups. It’s a perfect place on the West Coast to have a traditional fashion week that supports emerging designers form around the world. This is why I created Fashion Week San Diego.

4. What is your favorite portion of the week?
I have two: the first night when the doors open and the music starts pumping and I know I have about 30 minutes until the start. It’s such a rush. There is no turning back; all the year’s work comes down to the next days. The second is at the trunk show when I see the faces of the designers when the audience is LOVING and BUYING their items. That’s what it’s all about. That moment.

5. How do you stay polished during the whirlwind week?
That’s easy, Team Bellus has my back. They always make sure before I step out on the runway that my makeup and hair is on point. I actually used two of their expert instructors, Kristina Monique-Cotez and Latera Pugh, for my wedding and I’m thrilled that they are a HUGE part of FWSD’s backstage team. I’m lucky to have such an amazing team of experts backstage, including the independent stylist that tried out to be backstage and the Gila Rut Salon Team.

6. Name your favorite salon or spa treatment.
I LOVE a good facial. There is nothing better. Your skin care and face is so important. Not only do you take care of your face during a facial, but you also get a nice massage – it’s perfect!

7. If you were to empty your bag, what beauty/hair products would we find?
My favorite hair tool is a pick. I always have one and it’s perfect for any size of purse. Also, MAC Lipstick, EOS Lip Balm, a NARS Blush Duo (the best blush out there) and lip liner to match my lipstick.

8. What is your favorite look to-date you’ve seen come down the FWSD runway?
This is so hard, I don’t have favorites at FWSD. BUT my favorite show was done by DIOR Haute Couture S/S 06. I really still find it hard to take my eyes off of. I’m looking at more than the clothing – I’m taking it all in and I want to be moved and have an experience as it comes down the runway.

Here is a link:

9. Has makeup application and hair styling always played an integral role in FWSD?
I created our signature event to start off every week of FWSD because beauty is so critical to fashion. This night is called The Art & Beauty Behind Fashion. This night pays tribute and shines a light on the beauty artists that make the looks complete on the runway. They are a huge and appreciated part of Fashion Week San Diego and any fashion week around the world.

10. Describe what a future Bellus student can expect when he or she works FWSD.
This is the icing on their beauty cake. Working a real, traditional fashion week is not only an honor, but a huge experience that can influence his or her career. I can tell you, before I meet any of the chosen students, I know they are the best of the best from all the Bellus campuses – that’s a big deal!

11. What piece of advice would you give an aspiring fashion or beauty industry professional?
Challenge yourself to put it all out there and get involved in everything. Experience is growth and to grow in your career you need to have experience to reflect on good and bad. This is how you become an expert in your industry and know the path you will want to stay on towards your success.

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student testimonial

"I enrolled at Bellus Academy in 2009. I enrolled in the make-up course with Ms. Judy and the Esthetics Program with Miss Larissa and Miss Olga. Since day one the teachers and staff have been amazing. I could not have asked for more out of a school and teaching staff. I feel very fortunate and happy that this school is available and can accommodate such fantastic services."

Ellie Davis, Esthetics & Make-Up Artistry Program

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