What is Nail Technology?

With the increase in popularity of really different, creative nails out there a lot of people are thinking about getting into the nail business.

But what does it take to be a successful nail technician?

Many things would go into that equation. Lots of practice, having a teacher and mentor that is highly skilled, offering services that are safe and sanitary. Those are just a few things on the road to success.


One of our very talented instructors, Leslie Ann, doing a demonstration of a classic pink and white gel nail

The first thing you would probably look at is where you can take a nail course. There are a lot out there, but not all are the same. You need to do your research when it comes to finding the course that is right for you. Really break it down and ask a lot of questions in regard to what exactly will be covered in each course, will you need to do additional courses, and how will the educator support you once you are done. Because these Instagram nail guru’s were not born over a weekend, or a month. They spend hours upon hours honing their craft.


Pedicure and nail art by NT student Cassie

Delmar College likes to do things a little differently than most. When we were developing our Nail Technician program we did a lot of industry research, because only a working tech would know whats going on in the world of nails. Also, because we wanted our program to be eligible for student loan funding. This means a lot of work has gone into the development of, what we think is, the most comprehensive Nail Technician program in the province.


We have two campuses! Here are some of the daytime NT students working hard at our Modern Beauty location

Like we mentioned earlier, our program is eligible for student loan funding. It is also a regulated program under Private Vocational Training (PVT). That means that everything we offer you has been approved by the provincial government. It also means that we must report to them in many ways. We are graded on your success.

Above images by NT student Debra

The Nail Technician program is offered over a 7 month period, with a total amount of 432 hours. We can offer our students two different class options:

Two days per week: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm


Four evenings per week: Monday to Thursday, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

This gives our students a lot more options when it comes to work and child care. So what kind of stuff do you learn?


Image courtesy of NT student Cassie. You can check out more of her work on Instagram @esthetics.by.cassie

You will learn about pedicures, manicures, gels, acrylics, gel polish, back-fills, nail drill purchasing, implement and supply purchasing, LOTS of nail art, and 7-months to establish a loyal clientele list! Because we are all about YOU working on real people, so you get lots of time to do that in a supportive, educator-led environment.

We realize our program is longer than other courses you may have seen. But we stand behind that amount of time. We want you to become the next big thing. You need time to do that.


Image courtesy of NT student Cassie

Interested? Have questions? We would love to answer them for you. You can contact our Director of Esthetics, Linda Villeneuve, at 403-264-8055 or by email at lindav@delmarcollege.com. Our next class starts in September!

no gimmicks. just great education



Featured image courtesy of NT student Cassie 


What is Hairstyling Pre-Employment?

Hairstyling, in Alberta, is a licensed trade. There are a number of different ways to get your license. One of those ways is by entering into a Hairstyling Pre-Employment program.


The Delmar Hairstyling Pre-Employment program is a 500 hour program designed for the person who wants to keep their Monday to Friday job, or has child care commitments during the day, but wants to explore the career of hairstyling.

Karim Haddad Photography

Karim Haddad Photography

Training in the Pre-Employment program is equivalent to the first period technical training portion of the regular apprenticeship program.  Students are eligible for student financing.  The program covers theory and practical sessions in the study of:

  • Government exam procedures
  • Women’s and Men’s Design Haircutting
  • Hairstyling Wet and Dry
  • Long Hairstyling/Up styles
  • Texture Services/ Basic and Design
  • Hair Coloring/ Basic and Design

This program starts September 28, 2016 and is offered Wednesday –Friday 5:00-9:00 and Saturdays 8:30-6:30 for a total of 23 weeks.

Karim Haddad Photography

Karim Haddad Photography

In our Pre- Employment Program, students receive basic training in all the aspects of hair design necessary for employment in a hair salon and gets you on track to starting your apprenticeship.


At Delmar College we understand that the more options we can give students the better. This program is just one of the many options we offer. For more details you can contact Shauna De Freitas at 403-264-8055 or by email at shaunad@delmarcollege.com.

no gimmicks. just great education


Karim Haddad Photography

What is Clinical Esthetics?

Several years ago we started to see some big changes in the esthetics industry here in Canada. More and more doctors and nurses were getting into the world of injectables and  laser. With that came a focus on more advanced skin care techniques and the use of product lines that contained ingredients that made really visible changes in the clients skin.


LED Light Therapy

There was now the need for more and more estheticians. The doctor and the nurse could focus on the medical-type cosmetic procedures, while someone needed to be focused on the skin care needs of the client. Thus was born the clinical esthetician, a.k.a. “medical esthetician”.



Depending on the clinic you worked at, the position of clinical esthetician could mean a variety of things. You could be trained in laser or IPL hair removal, laser skin rejuvenation, body contouring, skin tightening, advanced facials, microdermabrasion, microcurrent, chemical peels, and advanced product knowledge.


Raelyn and Genalin attending a SkinCeuticals product knowledge class

If you were interested in becoming a clinical esthetician at that time, you would first have to complete an esthetics program and then you would need to find a clinic that would take you on and train you in these advanced services.

Karim Haddad Photography

Diamond Tip Microdermabrasion (Image: Karim Haddad Photography)

There are a lot of success stories from that time, and a lot of highly trained estheticians who spent years training under a doctor or a nurse. Unfortunately though, there are also the opposite, and because Alberta is not regulated in the esthetics field, anyone could buy some advanced equipment and start their own medi spa. In fact, you may have noticed that in the past ten years, medi spa’s seem to be popping up everywhere. With that growth there has also been a growth in the amount of negative experiences we often hear about from our friends and in the media.


LED light therapy being used in an advanced facial treatment

This all comes down to the level of knowledge the person offering the service has. You don’t know what you don’t know, and if you aren’t given a set of guidelines around what you should know it can get very confusing. Something may go wrong and you may not understand why that happened or what to do once it has happened.


A student using a hand-held ultrasonic cleansing device in her skin treatment

This is why promoting the education of the service provider is so important. Anyone can be trained to push certain buttons and follow a procedure. Having an understanding of what happens when the button is pushed and why the procedure is as it is, is the vital key.


Bio-Therapeutic microcurrent and galvanic machine

So in response to the need for more specialized education, and because some clinics found it daunting to go through the hiring and training process with an esthetician that maybe didn’t have the foundation of skin science, came the creation of Advanced Esthetics or Clinical Esthetics programs at colleges across the country.

Clinical Esth

Two of our past Clinical Esthetics students getting ready to do some IPL treatments

These programs really vary from province to province. Some require you to have a one year esthetics diploma before being considered for enrollment, and some are geared towards the beginner who is looking to have a sole focus and is not interested in learning about traditional esthetic procedures like manicures and pedicures.


Our Clinical Esthetics students receive a professional Clarisonic for face and body use

Clinical Esthetics at Delmar College is geared towards the person who fits in the latter group, but is not limited to someone who may already have some education and experience in the esthetics industry. Our program is four months in length and is focused on the skin and the science behind laser, IPL, and advanced facial technologies.


Silhouet-Tone Derma Pod machine offers both diamond tip and crystal microdermabrasion, as well as LED light pod treatments

We partner with some of the biggest and best distributors to give our students an amazing kit and hands on experience with a wide variety of cosmeceutical and advanced products. There is also a heavy focus on hands on experience with procedures that involve IPL, including hair removal and skin rejuvenation. We do this because laser and IPL should not be left to learn in a week, it should be done continuously, so the student leaves with a higher level of confidence in this service.


We instruct our students in hospital grade disinfection and sterilization methods, and use an autoclave in our student spa

Currently we offer the following in our Clinical Esthetics program:

  • Infection Control Certification
  • Skin Sciences
  • Laser and IPL
  • Skin Analysis
  • European Facial Treatments
  • Chemical Peels
  • Microdermabrasion (diamond tip and crystals)
  • Microcurrent and Galvanic
  • LED Light Therapy
  • Business Planning and Practices

Just a sampling of the different chemical and enzyme peel options our students get to train with

Our students get a kit full of hand-held, advanced devices from Bio-Therapeutic and Clarisonic, and work with professional lines like SkinCeuticals, PCA, Katrine Marso, YUM, and Skeyndor. We have an IPL machine by Active Crystal onsite, and at our students disposal, as well as some pretty amazing advanced treatment equipment from Bio-Therapeutic, Silhouet-Tone, and more.


Some of the hand-held items our Clinical Esthetics students receive in their kit

If you are interested in learning more about the Clinical Esthetics program at Delmar College please contact Linda Villeneuve, Director of Esthetics, at 403-264-8055 or by email at lindav@delmarcollege.com.


Audrey Brown

no gimmicks. just great education



Why you need antioxidants in your life, like now

What is an antioxidant?
According to SkinCeuticals.com:
“An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules.
Oxidation is a type of damage that occurs when molecules lose electrons. Five types of antioxidants found naturally in the body that protect against cellular damage are: glutathione, ubiquinone, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), and alpha lipoic acid. Antioxidants work by different mechanisms to stop or neutralize damage. Out of the five antioxidants found in the body only vitamins C and E have been proven to get into skin. Additionally, there are a few plant antioxidants known to work in skin.”
Why do you need antioxidants in your life?
Simply put, to offset the damage your skin and body undergo from free radicals.
What is a free radical you ask?
According to SkinCeuticals.com, a free radical can be described as:
“Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons, causing them to be unstable and highly chemically reactive.
These unstable molecules are generated by UV rays, pollution, and lifestyle factors like alcohol and cigarette smoke. Over time, free radical damage leads to visible signs of accelerated skin aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, laxity, discoloration, and even skin cancer.”
So, free radicals are super oxidizers. Antioxidants inhibit oxidation.
Boom. (I just dropped the mic there)
We often get so focused on sun protection that we forget how many other environmental aggressors our skin is exposed to on a daily basis. I remember sitting in a skin training session years ago and the presenter telling us how every time a smoker brings their cigarette to their mouth to inhale, trillions of free radicals enter their skin. Trillions. Every. Single. Time. 
Let’s say you aren’t a smoker. Good. You have a made a very healthy life choice and I congratulate you for it. But you probably go outside and walk around the world right?
It would be negligent to think that in this day and age, if you live in an urban area, that you are not exposed to pollutants on a regular basis. The fact that the Government of Canada has a whole department focused on reporting air quality stats for most cities in the country should be a strong indicator that this is a big issue.
Environment and Climate Change Canada describes what it does and where their information comes from on their Air Quality page. To quote them, it says this:

“Air quality describes the concentration of air pollutants in the air that we breathe. Air pollutants can become dangerous to human health if concentrations become elevated, especially for people who are sensitive to air pollution, such as the elderly, individual with respiratory illnesses and young children, or are exposed to pollutants for extended periods. To reduce risks, people need to know when pollutants are present and in what concentrations.

Environment and Climate Change Canada scientists assess air quality by collecting and analyzing samples taken from near ground level. Pollutant levels are affected by such factors as emissions sources, weather conditions and topography. Building on their expertise in weather prediction, Environment and Climate Change Canada scientists have developed complex computer models that now provide air quality forecasts for major centres in Canada.

This section provides daily and long-term forecasts of air quality, including levels of smog and ground-level ozone.”

The information collected and reported is centered more around how air quality impacts the health of individuals who have respiratory and cardiovascular concerns. But since our skin breathes the same air as our lungs do, whatever is going into our airway is also touching our skin.

Are you ready to live in a bubble yet?

While we cannot guarantee that we are 100% removing pollutants from our lives, we can take steps to help minimize their impact on our skin health.

If your next question is, can’t I just eat better and drink more water? the answer is no. When it comes to your skin health, it is not that simple.


Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, so eat often and enjoy. But please don’t rub them on your skin! It’s just not the same thing as using a serum or cream.

The skin on your body is your largest organ. It is also the last organ to get any kind of benefit from what you ingest. All your internal systems will get the antioxidants you eat and drink. And that is a good thing! So please do eat more fruit and veg and drink lots of water. Just don’t treat your skin through ingestion alone.

Put it on. When it comes to our skin the direct approach is best.

Are you ready to start adding antioxidants into your skin regime?

If you are thinking yes, then you are probably wondering how to get them in there. Let me save you from standing in one of the many skincare aisles that you find in most major retailers. Go get a facial or have a skin consultation at one of the many amazing spa’s and clinic’s that are probably all around you. Better yet, come see one of our Clinical Esthetician’s in training in our student spa. We would love to help you, and it helps us too! Our students always need to be practicing their skills.


Our Clinical students offer a variety of skin treatments that always include a skin analysis

Wherever you go, just do a little research on the product lines that the spa or clinic carry. There are a ton of really great lines in this world, but not every single one focuses on antioxidants. Also, especially when it comes to vitamin C, how an antioxidant is produced and sourced will either make it your skin’s new best friend, or do absolutely nothing for it.


That’s because vitamin C is unstable. It must be made under certain conditions and packaged in a way that light and oxygen cannot break it down before it gets into your skin.

Here at the college we stand behind the antioxidant powers of the SkinCeuticals brand. When it comes to vitamin C, they know their stuff. And how could they not, since the line was founded by “Dr Vitamin C” himself, Dr Sheldon Pinnell.

In 1997, SkinCeuticals changed the face of skincare with the introduction of Serum 10 and Serum 15, the company’s first stabilized, pure L-ascorbic acid topical antioxidants
SkinCeuticals founding scientist Dr. Sheldon Pinnell conducted research about antioxidant formulation and discovered specific formulation factors, now known as the Duke Antioxidant patent. SkinCeuticals is the only brand to formulate antioxidants according to these standards.”
Happy antioxidant-ing!
Audrey Brown
no gimmicks. just great education

July at Delmar: A Recap

July is a wonderful month to be Canadian! We start the month celebrating our country, typically have some pretty nice weather, Stampede happens here in Calgary, and the list goes on and on.


July was also a wonderful month to be here at Delmar College. Why, you ask? Let’s take a look…

Cameron Byrne came all the way from England to visit us and share his passion for hair design. Click here to read more about it.

Jody from Joico came in to educate some of our Hair Design classes on intermediate colour techniques.


We featured some awesome student work on our social media accounts. We love to share these kind of posts with the world because we think our students are amazing!

Another very successful Makeup 101 class was held. Did you know we now offer a Makeup 102 class? Click here for more information.

Speaking of makeup, our Junior Esthetician students got to do some really creative makeup with the very talented Rahel. They definitely enjoyed it.


We also held another very successful Eyelash Extension class. Our lash program is taught over three days. The course covers everything from the basics, to safe removal, and fill maintenance procedures. Click here for more information.


Congratulations to the August 2015 Hair Design class! They graduated with flying colours.


Our October 2015 Hair Design students had their time around the camera. The professional images are to come, but here they are behind the scenes.


Esthetics instructor, Raelyn McKay, guest blogged for us. She shared how she took a leap, went after her passion, and has never regretted it. It is truly never too late to do what you have always dreamed of doing. Click here to read her inspirational story (and see her awesome nail art pics).

Director of Hair Design, Tara Byrne, also took over the blog for a day. She shared her insight into building a business in the beauty industry. It’s not just about being creative, there is a method to making it in this industry. Click here to read about her journey and why she thinks it is so important to start implementing good business practices right now.

The second period Apprenticeship class finished. Good luck to you all and congratulations! Click here for more information on the Apprenticeship Hairstyling program.


Hair Design student, Sadia, was presented with the Retailer of the Month award. She worked hard and earned herself a hair trolley!


We gave out some gift cards to our hair students who qualified to enter our perfect attendance draw for the months of May and June. Congrats to Reylita, Pak Lam, and Benneth.


Up in the esthetics department, congrats to esthetics student Cheyanne who gets to take home a SkinCeuticals product for winning the perfect attendance draw for July.


We are so proud to partner with some amazing product brands. Our students, in all departments, get to work with some exceptional products. In July we featured a couple of those brands on our social media sites. Thank you to Katrine Marso and Natural Concepts for making such fabulous products. Stay tuned for more posts featuring our diverse suppliers.

We hit 1000 followers on Instagram! Without all of you we just couldn’t make our school as awesome as it is. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell the world to FOLLOW US so they can see what we think is some amazing content. Why is it amazing? Because of YOU! Our students, our staff, and our clients. From all of us here at the college, thanks for your love and support!


We have an exciting contest announcement coming in August. So be sure to check out our Instagram for the chance to win some pretty amazing prizes.


From everyone here at Delmar College we wish you a fabulous long weekend. We will see you in August!


Audrey Brown

no gimmicks. just great education





Artist Spotlight: Catching Up With Cameron Byrne

This week we were pleased to have a guest artist and educator in the house. Cameron Byrne hails from London, England. He is a L’Oreal ID Team member, a multiple-time finalist in the L’Oreal Color Trophy, and a member of the RUSH workshop team. And we think, an all round cool guy.


L’Oreal Colour Trophy Grand Final 2015

He shared his knowledge with our Hair Design students and instructors in a workshop format on July 19 and 21. Everyone was really excited for the presentation, and they all felt like they took away something valuable from the experience.


Cameron doing a demo for some of our Hair Design students this week

I, of course, wanted to blog about it. More importantly though, I wanted to get Cameron’s story. So many of our students have the desire to be platform artists and competitors, but get lost in how to get there. He was very obliging and shared his story with me. In his own words, here it is, from beginning to now…


Rush Live 2013

•What inspired me to become a hairdresser-

I think it started in my early teens. I didn’t realise I wanted to be a hairdresser but I was really into fashion and my own hair.

Then my dad married Tara (Director of Hair at your very own Delmar College) and I just was really interested in what she was doing and she steered me in the direction of hairdressing.

She took me to Salon International in London when I was 17/18 and I was hooked! I loved the energy in the room, all the creativity, all the interesting people and I came away desperate to get involved.


L’Oreal Colour Trophy Regionals 2016

•My journey-

 I began training at the Toni & Guy Academy London in their beginners course.

After successfully completing the course I was offered an assistant position at their Mayfair branch.

This was an amazing area to work, but after a few months I felt like I was stagnating because I was qualified, but needed to get experience, so wasn’t training as much. So I moved closer to home in Essex with a company called Uppercut.


Rush Live 2015

There I met an amazing stylist called Red who was into competitions and photo shoots. This whet my appetite for competitions and the creative side of hairdressing.

We both moved to a salon called Spargo, but it was a side step, and while researching for a shoot I came across images from Rush Hairdressing.


Rush Photographic Image Awards – second place winner

I loved their work. Slick, precise, structured and award winning.

Completely different cutting to what I was doing. So I joined them to learn their craft.

I wasn’t retrained, but I put myself on as many courses as I could at their academy and practiced the new techniques whenever I could.

Once my confidence grew I auditioned to be on their workshop team. I failed, but this didn’t dishearten me and I was back the year after.


Hair Club Live

This time was a success, and from then on I was having one on one training with our International Art Directors Andy Heasman, Tina Farey and Chris Williams.

Their knowledge is priceless and these are the hairdressers who have made me who I am today.

I have now been at rush 7 1/2 years and a workshop team member for 5 1/2 years.


“Wasted Youth”, for Design Scene Magazine

• Highlights-

Actually qualifying is amazing in itself, this is a really hard trade to learn so I pat anyone on the back that gets to the shop floor

As I said before, I got into hair competitions quite early so any time I make regionals or grand finals I’m proud.

But the best achievement has to be becoming a L’Oreal ID Artist.

This program has developed me as a presentation hairdresser 100%. It builds your confidence and stage presence. The exposure is huge and you get to work with like minded creatives and absorb their energy and knowledge.

It is a really hard audition with mood boards, model, presentation, research and against the clock skill tests. Only 2 people get on from each region so to be one of them was a huge achievement.


ID Live 2015

• Advice for people wanting to be hairdressers-

It is hard work but there are so many rewards.

You can go down so many avenues. Be a salon owner, educator or session stylist.

Learn your classic’s!!! No one who is amazing at creative work skipped their classic’s. They are our foundation.

Invest in yourself, go on as many courses as you can. Be a sponge, try and vary the type of courses you do so you can find what style you like.

“Serve the client”, make them feel amazing and you will grow your clientele quickly. Keep yourself educated and you will educate your clients correctly.

Enjoy it, it’s the best job in the world!


Cameron with some of our students and staff after his first workshop

From all of us at Delmar College, a huge thank you to Cameron. Enjoy the rest of your time here in Canada and come visit us again soon!

You can check out more of Cameron’s work by following his Instagram account @cameronbyrne.hair


Audrey Brown

no gimmicks. just great education



The Business of Hair:A Guest Blog by Tara Byrne

We are fortunate to be part of an industry that allows us to earn as much as we want! However, our earnings are directly related to the amount of effort we put in.  Many stylists complain they can’t earn a decent living doing hair.  It is common to see stylists change careers after only 5 years.


Delmar College is proud to be a Nuts and Bolts Member School, offering our students the keys to business success in the salon 

Back in 1993, I got into hairdressing as a ‘just in case’ kind of thing.  I was in the middle of a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and thought I should have something to ‘fall back on’.  I decided to go to hair school. How hard could it be?

Salon floor

The student salon floor at Delmar College

Well, it was extremely hard but I instantly fell in love!  Like most graduates, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to make a good living doing hair.  I was a single parent with a huge student loan and terrified.

I was fortunate to work in a salon with some very successful and busy stylists and I quickly realized what the secret to success was; EXTREMELY hard work, dedication and treating MY column like a business.  The owner was a very busy stylist herself and did not have the time to help ME  become a busy stylist.  I would have to do that myself.

I became an education junkie!


Just one of the many qualifications Tara has completed

I offered amazing service to my clients in hopes they would return.  However, I realized that was not enough to grow my clientele. I needed my clients to help me.  I began giving extra business cards to existing clients and asked them to refer their friends and colleagues.  In turn, I offered them a discount off their service once their referral came in.  That seemed to work but I still wasn’t growing as quickly as I wanted.


Referral cards are one way to build your business. Our students are expected to start this while working in the student salon and spa. That way they have already started building a clientele before they get out into the working world.

Retail was something I REALLY struggled with in the beginning.  I didn’t feel comfortable ‘pushing’ products on my clients. My salon had a product knowledge class and the educator said something that has stuck with me all these years;  ‘clients will trust you more if you TEACH  them HOW to care for their hair! ‘. That one simple statement changed my career. The very next day, I began EDUCATING my clients about the products and tools I was using.  I showed them how to style their hair and encouraged them to contact me if they had any questions.  I found my clients returning more often and noticed an increase in referrals.  New clients often said ‘no one has ever told me that before!’.


Retailing is the key to client retention and building strong relationships

Within less than 2 years, I had a strong enough clientele that I decided to move into chair rental.  I quickly learned that business is all about the numbers.  Making a profit is a simple math equation!  Revenue must exceed expenses.  I had to earn more and spend less to maximize my earnings. It wasn’t long before I was averaging $45/hr.  However, I still wasn’t booked as far in advanced as I wanted.  I knew stylists who were booked 6 months out and I wanted to be one of them. I attended a Salon Management seminar where the concept of pre-booking was discussed.  Such a simple concept…my career was transformed again.


The Nuts and Bolts program is aimed at educating beauty professionals on how to build a business, and maintain it.

In 2002, I packed up and moved to London, England.  Starting over was daunting but it didn’t take me long to build a clientele.  Soon I was one of the highest earners and retailers in the company!  After 9 years of working in the UK and being Head of Training and Development for a group of 6 salons, I headed back to Calgary to start over yet again. This time though, I wanted to give back and teach a new generation of stylists what it takes to be successful in our industry.


Kings College, United Kingdom

At Delmar College, in addition to our stellar technical curriculum, we have embraced the Nuts and Bolts training program. This allows us to teach the ‘business of hairdressing’ to ensure our students are prepared for the workforce. They learn all about educating their clients, how to deliver 5 Star Customer Service, building their business and resume writing/interviewing skills. It makes me incredibly proud when we have students who achieve a retail to service ratio of 78% and higher simply by applying what they have learned!


Work smarter, not harder

We have also created an in-house E3 (Embrace, Educate, Empower) program to deliver to our Apprenticeship Program to ensure they also have the skills necessary to be successful.

Tara giving a student a full size hair trolley, which she earned through being a top retailer

Of course you need strong technical skills but you must be business-minded.  Today’s stylist also has social media (particularly Instagram) to help grow their business.  The choice is yours, you can earn a little or a lot!


Tara Byrne is a licensed Hair Stylist and is our Director of Hair Design here at Delmar College

no gimmicks. just great education



A Bottle and a Brush: A Guest Blog by Raelyn McKay

“I’m handing in my notice,” I told my husband. I had had enough.

For 12 years in various roles as an administrative assistant, I had answered phones, taken messages, filed reports, made coffee, booked meeting rooms, planned events, taken minutes, recorded action items, coded invoices, entered data, tracked packages, booked flights and answered questions like “Is this the FINAL FINAL draft or is there a more final final draft than this final one?” and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I was good at my job. I received multiple commendations from clients and managers and I still have the letters of reference to prove it. And I loved parts of it; building spreadsheets and managing databases gives me a particular thrill. You want to publish a document and it CAN’T have any errors? Lemme at it. And if you want to host a four-day conference in a hotel with a swanky banquet at the end, I can make it happen. But for the most part, I wasn’t happy. So, not really having a plan, but with my hubby’s support, I resigned.

Before I had resigned, when I hadn’t been staying late at the office to meet deadlines, I was at home, playing with nail polish.

I. Love. Nail polish.



I love the colours, the names, the collections. I love how it self-levels and dries to a high-gloss shine. I love how it flows in the bottle when you roll it. I even love the smell.


I love how it makes you feel when you wear it. How it starts conversations between strangers when someone notices your gorgeous colour. I love how the tiniest daisy takes a nice pedicure to OMG! HOW BEAUTIFUL! It’s hard to have a bad day when you’re wearing rainbows on your hands. Painting nails relaxes me and clears my head. It was my stress reliever. And, working an unfulfilling job, I needed a lot of stress relief.


“Don’t even apply for another admin job,” my husband said. “Take the summer and figure out what you really want to be.”



I sat at my nail desk and as I polished my nails again for the third time that week, I looked at my strengths; database management. Event planning. Maybe I’d take a course at SAIT or MRU? They had programs for those things. I made appointments and met with advisors and went to info sessions. Hm. Maybe. June turned into July. And August was around the corner. End of the summer. Time to make a decision. Oooh, I love the shimmer in this shade. Maybe I’ll add a rhinestone to this design. Yes. Much better.


My godson’s birthday was approaching and my aunt invited me to visit her for the party. “Can you paint Minions on my nails when you come visit?” Yes, of course I could; “But I won’t trim your nails or do your cuticles. I don’t know how to do those things,” I said. I wasn’t a trained technician and I didn’t want to hurt her.


As we were sitting at her kitchen table and I was painting the little googly eyes and the overalls, she said, “You should do this for a living.”


I laughed. Yeah, as if. As if I could go from being an Administrative Professional to painting nails. Pfft. No way. You don’t just do that. Not at 34 years old.

I travelled back home and sat, once again, painting my nails and fretting over what I should do about a job. And then I heard my aunt’s voice; “You should do this for a living.”


And I thought to myself; if I could just sit and play with nail polish all day, I would be the happiest person in the world. So I got to googling. What kinds of jobs were out there for nail technicians?


At the time, there weren’t many positions open for “just” nail technicians. Most places wanted professionals who could also do waxing and tinting and facials. So, I decided I’d just take the plunge and learn it all – Esthetics! Within two weeks I had secured student financing and enrolled in a program and I have never looked back.


Thanks to the amazing instruction I received (Thanks, Audrey!), I fell in love with skin science and the beauty industry in general. After I graduated and landed in a job, I truly loved every single day working in the spa.


I had traded ringing telephones and sitting in front of a screen for soothing music and facial massage by candle light. My deadlines weren’t weekly or monthly anymore; now they were hourly – finish this pedicure so you can start your facial on time.


At the end of the day, I went home energized – sometimes with Hungarian Moor Mud under my nails from giving a body wrap; or baby powder on my clothes from waxing; or swatches of nail polish on my thumbs for clients who couldn’t choose a polish without seeing it on a nail… And though my body was tired, I was ready to do it all again the next day! Even when the mountain of towels grew taller and appointments got mixed up and co-workers were sick and we had to scramble to make it work, I reminded myself:

A bad day at the spa is better than a good day at the office.

That has become my mantra. And it’s true every single day.


My passion for the trade grew and fuelled me to be better and better. And I grew a loyal clientele. In time, I was honored with a Lead Esthetician role, where I could coach and lead others in the spa and we actually won awards in the industry. It was a dream.


Now, as an instructor at Delmar, I’m teaching others about esthetics and how to be successful in the industry. I’m sharing my passion for nail polish and skin science and customer care with the next generation of people just like me – who decided to follow their dreams and make a living just doing what they love! The instructors and staff here continue to inspire me. Every day we strive to elevate our students to greatness.


To those of you who are wondering if it’s really possible to make it, I say that YES IT IS! It was scary at first to go from being the person behind the reception desk with all the answers to the rookie who knew practically nothing. But it was absolutely the best thing I could have done. Summon the courage, take the plunge and do the thing!







Raelyn McKay is an internationally certified Esthetician and Beauty Therapist. She is the full time theory instructor for our Professional Esthetics program. 

no gimmicks. just great education




June at Delmar: A Recap

In the beauty college world June can typically be a slow month. Not this one though! We are happy to say that we had a ton going on around the college. Lots of new students, lots of clients booking in, and in true Delmar fashion, LOTS OF FUN. Check it out below.

Another very successful Makeup 101 program ran in June. Here are some shots from that class.


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Some of our Hair Design classes learned all about barbering and male grooming.


We recognized some stand out students for their perfect attendance. We love to reward student success!


We saw some students graduate from the Professional Esthetics program. Congratulations to Chassity and Genalin!


We featured more of our last student photo shoot. Thank you to Brandon from Analog Dog Creative, and to all of our students that work so hard to create these beautiful images.

Our March 2016 Hair Design class learned some classic techniques (and had some fun) when it came to perm wrapping and highlighting methods.


We welcomed Jody from Joico. She came in to educate some of our Hair Design classes on the Joico product line. Thank you Jody!


We already blogged all about it, but it was kind of a big deal, so we need to mention it again. Delmar Esthetic’s student Jordan competed on Team Alberta for a spot on Team Canada at the Skills Canada National competition in Moncton, NB. If you want to read all about it click here for a link to that blog post.

A brand new Professional Esthetics class started this month…


and so did a brand new Hair Design class. Welcome to you all!


Some very exciting news came our way. Last week we proudly made the announcement that we will be hosting a guest artist in July. Cameron Byrne is an award winning hair stylist from London, England. He is coming to share his creative knowledge with our students and staff. The countdown is on for all of us!

Two more exciting announcements, we launched our brand new website AND we can now say that our Hairstyling Pre-Employment program is eligible for student aid funding. Here’s a little shot of both combined. Click here to check out our fresh new look!


Thank you to all of our students, staff, and clients that made June such an amazing month here at Delmar. We wish you all a wonderful Canada Day, and we will see you in July!


Audrey Brown

no gimmicks. just great education



On the Road to Skills: Moncton 2016

“The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.” Howard Cosell

If you have been following our blog posts, you will already know that we were in Moncton, NB for the past week at the Skills Canada National Competition. Delmar student, Jordan Radke was representing us, and Alberta, in the Aesthetics competition. I was there as the Alberta representative for the National Technical Committee.


It has been quite the journey for Jordan and myself. We started training for a spot on Team Alberta many months ago now. When it came close to provincial competition time disaster struck in Fort McMurray and all the evacuees were housed in the Edmonton Expo Centre, a.k.a. Skills Alberta’s competition site. This meant that, along with every other trade competing, we had no venue. Most would freak out and just cancel everything, but the Skills Alberta team are resilient and resourceful, so we just found another way.

A lot of the trade competitions were then held at NAIT in Edmonton, just with a modified competition schedule. Some competitions were cancelled, but a medalist was chosen to be on Team Alberta by lottery system. Whoever took gold regionally went into the pot and were drawn. I am the chair for the Skills Alberta Aesthetics committee, and basically as long as we could find another venue to host us, we could still hold a modified competition. And that’s exactly what happened. My amazing committee came together and found a beauty college in Edmonton that would host us. Crisis averted.


Jordan took the gold medal at the provincial level and we started the process of preparing her for the national level. She trained hard, four days a week, for three weeks. We were ready.

On June 4 she joined Team Alberta and traveled across the country. I went the day before and started set up for the two days of intensive competition that lay ahead of these ladies. There were eight young women from eight different provinces in total. On the evening of June 5 they all came to meet us as their future judges and drop off their “tool boxes”. First thing I noticed was they all looked so professional and composed. Everyone was in the game at this point.


June 6, competition day one. Jordan started with the manicure and nail art component and moved into the advanced facial.


June 7, competition day two. The Moncton Coliseum is a million degrees and smells like camp fire. Sweat is literally dripping from these girls as they do the body treatment and makeup portions of the competition.

At the end of the day we all got together, wished each competitor well, and had some fun. These girls did such a great job and a huge round of applause was given.

June 8, we all get in buses and meet up at the Wesleyan Celebration Centre for the awards ceremony. The place is packed and everyone is in their respective teams.

It was such a great ceremony filled with amazing energy. Moncton definitely knows how to show it’s visitors a good time.

Team Alberta won the Team Spirit Award. Some of the Alberta competitors went through a great ordeal in order to make it to this competition, what with the Fort McMurray fires and being relocated for so long, but no matter what part of the province they are from, one thing is sure: they were there for each other.

Delmar College would like to extend a huge congratulations to the winners in the Aesthetics competition. We wish nothing but success to Gold medalist, Anne Matiowsky (Ontario). She has a long road ahead to qualify for Team Canada.

We also need to congratulate the Secondary and Post Secondary Hair Styling winners!

We have some strong competitors that are moving on to qualifiers for Team Canada. World Skills, here we come!

I spoke with Jordan after the awards ceremony and gave her a huge hug. She said she had such an amazing time and was so happy with the opportunity she had been given to be part of Team Alberta. It was such a pleasure training her and getting to know her better. She will be a success at whatever she puts her mind to.

For me, I am already planning for the Provincial and National Skills competitions for 2017. I am excited to meet some new competitors along the way and take them to Winnipeg as part of Team Alberta.


Audrey Brown

no gimmicks. just great education