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Levittown salon beautifies for breast cancer research

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Trinity Hairdressing and Makeup Academy in Levittown is inviting local residents to get shorn for breast cancer research. On Oct. 20, the Levittown salon will hold its annual Cut-A-Thon to raise awareness and money to combat the disease.

Last year’s event was completely booked, according to Lisa Tagliabue, the CEO of both the academy and Trinity. “Every year in October, we choose a Saturday and we only do haircuts,” Tagliabue said. “Every person who comes in for a haircut, 100 percent of the proceeds goes towards the cause.”

This year’s Cut-A-Thon will take place from 10: a.m. to 4 p.m.

The academy’s staff and the students all participate, Tagliabue said. “It’s a great cause,” she said. “We all get into it. Everyone wears pink, and we wear pink hair and makeup.”

The Cut-A-Thon consists of haircut after haircut in assembly line style, and all cuts include blow-dries. Tagliabue said the haircuts are reasonably priced. Cuts for women cost $20; men’s cuts cost $15; and kids’ cuts are $12 or less. “Our prices are very low for upscale salon services because [the clients] are getting serviced by students in training,” she said. “They walk out looking amazing for a cause,” she said.

Tagliabue said her students, who are Vidal Sassoon trained, did an amazing job at last year’s Cut-A-Thon. Sassoon is the No. 1 training system in the world for hair dressers, according to Tagliabue. She said her students are so well trained that their work is indistinguishable from professionals with five years’ experience or more.

Clients love all the people at Trinity who cut and style their hair, according to Tagliabue. “We’re booked all the time,” she said. All of the former students who have graduated from Trinity are all in great jobs in upscale salons.

Tagliabue said she had always dreamt of opening up a professional beauty academy. She formerly worked as director for hairstylist Paul Mitchell, but became disenchanted with the company because of the number of alleged fraud charges. She said there are a lot of bad salons that give the salon industry a bad name. According to Tagliabue, everyone is forgetting the basic element that makes hair stylists successful: client loyalty.

What was clearly a labor of love, Tagliabue wrote Trinity’s education program herself and designed everything in the academy, including the pamphlets. “This is all me and my career,” she said. “This is everything that I built and I invested in [the students], because I want to see this industry change. It needs to change.”

The students train hands on by working on clients eight weeks into their lessons at the academy. “What makes this very different than any other school is we focus 90 percent of our attention and time on their career,” she said.

The students, ranging in age from 17 to 43, do 1,050 hours of education in Tagliabue’s program in order to graduate, she said. Trinity has three programs in hairdressing and cosmetology, and most students finish their chosen program in less than a year. “They’re amazing,” she said. “I can barely walk through the salon without tearing up.”

Trinity currently has 40 students. The students learn how to track their money and manage debt, in addition to other fundamentals necessary for success in the beauty industry.

After leaving Mitchell, Tagliabue said she was devastated, because she did not know where she could go. She said a director’s job is not an easy one to find. She said she also has health issues and can no longer be behind the chair working on clients, despite loving the work.

“I just started praying and I was like ‘God, show me what your purpose is for my life because I feel completely useless.’… I felt very strongly that I heard God say to me, ‘open up your own school.’”

Tagliabue said she called her academy Trinity after God and the Holy Trinity. “If it weren’t for God we would not be open.”