Cosmetology Students Prepare Hair and Makeup for Student Musical

Posted on Categories Academic/Technical Skill Integration, Employability Skills, Student Engagement

At a Glance

Cosmetology students from Lawrence County Career and Technical Center created hairstyles and applied makeup for the cast of a local high school student musical.


In the spring of 2016, students from a local sending district of Lawrence County Career and Technical Center (LCCTC) presented the musical “Singing in the Rain.” The cosmetology class from LCCTC supported the musical by creating hairstyles and makeup for the cast.

Since the musical is set in the 1930s, the students began by researching hairstyles from the era. The cosmetology students and the instructor began their research several months before the musical. They started with an internet search of the musical and studied the hairstyles of both men and women in addition to makeup application. Using the script provided by the sending school as a guide they looked for examples of scenes being used on the internet. By observing what the actors would be doing (dancing, singing, moving about in any way) they were able to plan for hair designs that would be durable.

The next step was to meet the cast at one of their after school practices. Many of the students had longer hair that needed to appear short. The cosmetology students practiced in their classroom on students with similar hair lengths as the cast members to develop their styles.

Students were not graded on the project but were given cosmetology training hours for time spent on the project. Skills used for the project included: principles of design, makeup application and basic/advanced hairstyling techniques, communicating with clients, working as part of a team, and research of a time period in relation to hair and makeup styles.

Origin / Implementation

The main goals of this activity were to support the sending school and to provide students with an opportunity to practice customer service skills along with technical skills needed for the NOCTI test and state board exams. The project also incorporated academic standards through the reading and research component.

The cosmetology instructor was contacted by the musical’s director about the possibility of working together on the project four months prior to the musical. The sending school’s administrator made the suggestion due to concerns of having adult cosmetology practitioners from the community without proper clearances working with students. The cosmetology instructor surveyed her students to gauge their interest and willingness to commit to seeing the project through from start to finish considering most of the hours involved would be after school. Enough students were interested to move forward and commit to the project.

Results / Impact

Feedback from the sending district (New Castle Area High School) was very positive. Administrators from both schools were thrilled with the collaboration of talents and skills.

The two schools are collaborating again for the 2016 musical, “White Christmas.” The cosmetology students who participated enjoyed the experience and most indicated that they will participate again. Additionally, the cosmetology students’ enthusiasm in describing their experience as part of the styling and makeup team for the first musical has prompted new and returning cosmetology students to take part.

For the “White Christmas” musical less time will be needed for planning and preparation due to experience gained from last year. One month of research and practice will be sufficient in being ready.


Lawrence County Career and Technical Center
Jodi Cepro, Cosmetology Instructor