ACE Beauty


Course Description

The Advanced Cosmetology Education in Beauty (ACE Beauty) is a 300 clock hour program designed for highly motivated hairdressing professionals seeking to accelerate their professional success and/or to gain skills to pursue careers in Editorial or Fashion/Runway Styling. The course provides advanced training to graduates of state cosmetology licensing programs across the US. ACE Beauty offers 360-degree preparation for professional success – from the technical, to the artistry, to the salon business success skills.

ACE Beauty is nationally accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences - NACCAS

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the ACE Beauty course, motivated graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate salon ready skills in haircutting, hair coloring, and hair styling, including wedding/special event styling
  2. Perform color corrective services on salon guests
  3. Demonstrate a comprehensive set of salon guest service skills consistent with a high-end salon environment
  4. Storyboard, design and create avant-garde hairstyles, including the use of wigs
  5. Execute a professional editorial photo shoot as a hairstylist as part of a Fashion Collection, including the production of a beauty image suitable for publication in a beauty trade print magazine
  6. Perform hair design/styling on a runway model as part of a Runway Collection
  7. Personally market and brand themselves and their services, including effective use of social media
  8. Understand the fundamentals of the salon business and how to make money as a stylist

Instructional & Learning Methods

The 300 clock hours of education is provided through a structured set of theoretical and practical lessons designed to create proficiency in specific skills and competencies related to the educational objectives. In the classroom setting, a Promethean Whiteboard connected to a variety of audio-visual and computer equipment enables a very dynamic and interactive learning experience, including PowerPoint presentations, videos, internet activity, and even spreadsheet modeling. On the practical side, students use a combination of portable stations in the classroom and a professional five-star salon setting to perfect their skills on a combination of mannequin heads and live models. Industry leading guest educators from across the country come to teach and inspire, and students also participate in field trips, projects, and other activities to round out their learning experience.

Grading Procedures

Both theoretical and practical requirements are graded using the same grading scale as follows:

  • Excellent (A) = 90 – 100% or 5-star rating
  • Very Good (B) = 80 – 89% or 4-star rating
  • Satisfactory (C) = 75 – 79% or 3-star rating
  • Unsatisfactory (F) = Below 75% or 2-star or 1-star rating

Each unit of study is graded by a practical and/or theoretical evaluation. For practical evaluations a grading sheet listing specific criteria is used, with a star rating of 1 to 5 being assigned to each criterion. If performance in any theoretical or practical evaluation does not meet the satisfactory rating of 75% (3-star) or better, that evaluation must be repeated until satisfactory performance is achieved.

In addition to maintaining a minimum grade of 75% or a C grade, students must also complete a comprehensive final practical evaluation covering the areas of cutting, color, and styling.


Students have access to a variety of online content, a video library, reference books and industry periodicals to support and supplement their course work.

Guest Artists

Each ACE Beauty group receives four (4) additional Top Guest Artist classes (in addition to the Men’s Haircutting class by Herman Colt).

Current “Top Artists” that the School selects from include:

  1. Vivienne Mackinder (from New York City) – Editorial/Special Event Styling
  2. DJ Muldoon (from San Diego, CA) – Advanced Precision Haircutting
  3. The Teals (from Portland, OR) – Avant Garde Styling & Wig Making
  4. Stephanie Floyd (from Atlanta, GA) – Advanced Editorial/Runway Makeup
  5. Milo Maksimovic (from Serbia & Boston) - European Haircutting/Styling

In addition to listed classes, ACE Beauty students must complete final practical evaluations on live models in the areas of Haircutting, Hair Coloring, and Hair Styling.

Units of Instruction

The curriculum is divided into four sections:

  1. Advanced Haircutting (50 hours)
  2. Advanced Hair Coloring (60 hours)
  3. Editorial Styling (90 hours)
  4. Advanced General Knowledge (100 hours)

Below is an outline of the ACE Beauty curriculum.

Curriculum Areas

Advanced Hair Cutting — HCT1 - Haircutting Teaser — 6 hours

The Haircutting Teaser class is an intensive review of the fundamentals of haircutting including the principles of: internal and external shape (round, square, triangular), basic cutting techniques (one-length, graduation, and layers), and how techniques interplay with shape to create desired haircut. Students receive a review of the mechanics of tension and elevation, as well as sectioning, hand and body position. Students practice a haircut of their choice on a live model. The goal is to assess each student's cutting skill level, strengths, and weaknesses.

Advanced Hair Cutting — HCT2 - One-Length Cutting — 6 hours

The One-Length Cutting class is a practical class where students see a demonstration, then diagram and complete a one-length haircut on a mannequin head showing their understanding and proficiency of the haircutting principles of tension, elevation, sectioning, hand and body positioning. Students are evaluated on their practical application of these principles as well as on their dexterity.

Advanced Hair Cutting — HCT3 - Layering (featuring a current fashion collection haircut) — 6 hours

This class helps students to start understanding salon reality layering versus basic layering techniques. It consists of layering theory, diagramming, and demonstrations of a square layer haircut and a convex layer haircut. Students are then guided through a concave haircut modeling a haircut from one of the School's current fashion collections (the Elise Cut).

Advanced Hair Cutting — HCT4 - Graduation Cutting (featuring a current fashion collection haircut) — 6 hours

This class helps students master the skill of graduation cutting in a salon reality context and modeling a collection haircut. Students learn step-by-step how to diagram and cut the "Starla" round graduation bob haircut, and must complete this cut on a mannequin head.

Advanced Hair Cutting — HCT5 - Combination Cutting/Pixie Haircut (featuring a current fashion collection haircut) — 8 hours

This class prepares students for the most common and challenging type of haircuts they will encounter in the salon. By mastering combination haircutting, the student will be able to deliver a custom haircut to match each salon client's unique head shape and style preference. In this class we teach the theory of combination cutting, then we demonstrate a combination haircut from our School's collection – Starla's pixie haircut. Each student then executes his/her own combination haircut on a mannequin head to demonstrate the ability to apply the techniques learned to meet the specific needs of a salon client.

Advanced Hair Cutting — HCT6 - Men’s Haircutting — 12 hours

This class teaches students how to effectively execute men's haircuts on varying hair lengths using both scissors over comb and razor techniques. They also learn how to use the right products to style men's hair to achieve the perfect finished look. Students experience a day of demonstrations by a leading men's grooming expert, and a day consisting of supervised practice on male models. This class is currently taught by Top Guest Artist, Herman Colt.

Advanced Hair Cutting — HCT7 – European Haircutting — 6 hours

Taught by an accomplished European hairdresser and international educator, this class teaches a variety of European dry-cutting techniques through a combination of demonstrations on models and hands-on execution of European haircuts/styles by the students on mannequin heads and/or models.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL1 - Art Principles of Color, Color Theory & Chemistry — 6 hours

This class is an intensive and comprehensive review of the theory, chemistry, and physics of color, starting with a review of hair structure and characteristics, including an understanding of PH scale, types of color, and impact of texture, lift, and porosity. The class includes review of the hair coloring process itself along with product knowledge and color psychology.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL2 - Advanced Color Formulation — 6 hours

This class reviews the basics of color formulation (canvas level, level system, toning, etc.) and then provides in-depth review of a wide range of color formulations to achieve different desired levels and for gray coverage.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL3 - Advanced Color Foiling — 6 hours

This class addresses the high income potential of foiling services (partial foil and full foil), and then provides in-depth review of advanced foiling techniques – placement, sectioning, weaving, slicing, etc. – to create the desired dimension and patterns in the hair. The techniques taught are designed for maximum efficiency and effectiveness in the salon setting.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL4 - Blonding — 6 hours

This class teaches advanced techniques for blonding, including stages of lift, blonding products, sectioning and lightener application, post-application treatment, and toning. Class covers theory of blonding and students must also complete practical blonding application on a live model.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL5 - Ombre Color (featuring a current fashion collection color) — 6 hours

This class provides a description of the Ombre technique, who should get it, different styles of Ombre, Ombre color choices, reverse Ombre, Ombre placement, Ombre do's and don'ts. This class includes a live model demo, and students get to execute Ombre on live models as well.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL6 - Balayage Color/Hand Painting — 6 hours

This class teaches the French color technique called Balayage which is a creative hand-painting technique. Students have the opportunity to learn the Balayage technique used on the School's Collection model Elise, and get to execute a Balayage of their own on a live model.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL7 - Color for Cutting — 6 hours

This class teaches students how to place color after a creative haircut to enhance or recede a shape. Students also learn how to design and execute a haircut to accentuate creative color. Students use mannequin heads as well as critical analysis of printed images to fine-tune these advanced color-cutting skills.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL8 - Fantasy Hair Color — 6 hours

Here students learn how to conceive and execute highly artistic hair color designs used in avant garde print work and platform artistry. Students learn about what fantasy color is, the role of levels and dominant pigment in choice of color formula, color product selection, use of hair chalk and other fantasy color products, placement & effect, and how to achieve different designs - block color, gradient color, dip-dyed color, and patterns. Students receive demonstration on live model and also perform their own fantasy color on a live model.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL9 - Color Correction — 6 hours

This class provides in-depth instruction on how to evaluate and execute color corrections on a wide array of improper hair color scenarios encountered in the salon setting. Students learn when color correction is necessary, the importance of a proper consultation, common causes for corrective color, the color correction process, products used, and techniques. Students work on live models requiring color correction.

Advanced Hair Coloring — HCL10 - Men’s Hair Color — 6 hours

Students learn different coloring techniques suited for male clients. They also learn about product selection and color formulations best suited for men in the salon setting. Students apply the techniques learned on male models.

Editorial Styling — EDS1 - Blowdry 101 — 6 hours

This class teaches students the fundamentals of an effective blowdry – from cleansing, to product choice, decision to pre-dry or not, and tool selection. Students also get to practice on mannequin heads to perfect the use of elevation and tension in the blowdry process, and to explore the different desired looks – "neat", "straight up", and "straight up with a twist."

Editorial Styling — EDS2 - Blowdry 102 — 6 hours

In this class students build on the Blowdry 101 class by learning and practicing how elevation creates volume, how brush selection determines curls, and how different setting options create hold. The students learn about and practice a variety of setting options – blowdrys, iron sets, hot rollers, velcro rollers, and wet sets. Advanced techniques learned include: "Bombshell", "Double", and "Double with a Twist".

Editorial Styling — EDS3 - Hair Roller Theory — 6 hours

This class reviews the five main types of rollers and the texture each creates. It then goes on to explain movement versus volume and curl theory. This class sets the foundation for editorial styling

Editorial Styling — EDS4 - Advanced Braiding — 6 hours

This is a comprehensive class covering a wide variety of basic and advanced braid types and applications. Braid types taught include: basic 3-strand, 4-strand, 5-strand, cornrow, French, Dutch, fishtail, as well as trend techniques, such as bow braids and basket weave. Braiding applications covered include: salon reality, NAHA, celebrity, runway, and iconic. Techniques are practiced on mannequin heads.

Editorial Styling — EDS5 - What’s In (Current “Runway” and “Red Carpet” Trends) — 6 hours

In this class students learn how to detect hair fashion trends, the best foundational blowdrys for trend styles, and then use their mannequin heads to practice the most common Runway and Red Carpet style genres - "Surfer Girl", "Runaway Curls", "Mermaid Waves", and "Glambot".

Editorial Styling — EDS6 – Storyboarding 101 — 6 hours

Students learn the theoretical underpinning of storyboarding, then learn and practice how to select and use a series of images to tell a story. They then get to apply the knowledge learned to create a storyboard for their professional photo shoot.

Editorial Styling — EDS7 - Personal Style — 6 hours

This class teaches what "personal style" is and breaks down the key elements of personal style – clothing, hair, makeup, and personality. It shares as examples well-known personal style icons. Then students get to create their own personal style storyboards using the knowledge learned in Storyboard 101.

Editorial Styling — EDS 8 – Lookbook — 6 hours

Students learn what is a Lookbook, the sections of a lookbook (style, cut, color, imagery, makeup), and its purpose in expanding creativity and cataloguing inspiration. At a practical level, they learn how an effective Lookbook could be used in the salon setting to help guide client consultations and in the Editorial world to help find creative inspiration for your photo shoot. Students are provided with a wide array of online and physical resources for building their lookbooks. Students are required to use these resources to create their own lookbooks.

Editorial Styling — EDS9 - Up-styling Techniques using Collection Styles — 8 hours

Students learn advanced upstyling by understanding, diagramming, and replicating in a step-by-step fashion two collection upstyles – Circle Bouffant and Pomp Roll.

Editorial Styling — EDS10 – Creating Texture — 4 hours

This class explains what is texture, the uses of texture (accent, stuffing, style, volume), the process of creating texture – from product to finishing - the tools to create texture, manual techniques to create texture, and trend techniques, such as gold leafing.

Editorial Styling — EDS 11 - Texture Manipulation — 6 hours

Students learn how to both embrace and erase texture, starting with an understanding of the different types of textured hair (wavy, curly, etc.), and covering the client consultation process, the shampoo and treatment of natural textured hair, different natural hair styles and techniques (afro, bantu knots, twists) and the relaxer system to erase texture. Students work on models to gain practical experience working with textured hair.

Editorial Styling — EDS12 - Wig Play — 6 hours

This is a hands-on session where students learn and practice a variety of wig design and wig making techniques, learning to blend the artistry with structure to create unique wig designs.

Editorial Styling — EDS13 - Avant Garde Styling — 8 hours

In this class students learn how to conceive and create highly artistic hair designs by combining artistry with structure/form. Students learn step-by-step: hair preparation, structure/form, shape, façade, and details of adapting the design for a particular circumstance. To test their knowledge, students are given avant garde designs and they must break each down into the phases of the avant garde look.

Editorial Styling — EDS14 - Editorial Designer Collection Photo Shoot — 10 hours

In this class students learn every component – business and creative – of planning and executing a professional editorial photo shoot. Students have the opportunity to bring together their full complement of editorial skills to execute one or more looks on professional models and participate fully in the creation of a Hair Collection. The images created by students are submitted to top beauty magazines for consideration for publication. Students are able to add their photo shoot images to their professional portfolios after the publication process is complete.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK1 – Industry Essentials — 3 hours

This class teaches students the importance of acquiring and maintaining a professional kit and reviews in detail kit contents, upgrade options to consider, and kit sanitation. Students are shown a physical display and demonstration of care and sanitation practices.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK2 - Salon Orientation — 4 hours

This class gives students an orientation to the salon floor. It includes a tour and review of the salon operation and duties and expectations of the salon stylist, along with demonstration of the key tasks. The class also teaches students the exclusive shampoo and scalp massage (called the Reluxe) that they would be expected to perform on each salon guest. Students perform the Reluxe procedure on a live model.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK3 – Sanitation — 2 hours

In this class students learn about all aspects of sanitation – from sanitation of their kits and tools to State Board sanitation regulations for salons and stylists.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK4 - Skin Tones & Face Shapes — 4 hours

In this class students learn the different face shapes and skin tones and how to identify them during a client consultation. Students learn the importance of skin tones related to makeup and hair and learn how to apply basic color theory as it relates to makeup applications. Finally, students practice their knowledge by recreating the makeup application of one of our Collection models (Starla).

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK5 - Art Principles — 6 hours

Here students learn the elements of art (line, shape/form, color, value, texture, space/perspective) and the principles of art (pattern, rhythm/movement, proportion/scale, balance, unity, emphasis). They also learn how to break down and interpret a piece of art, and how art could be used as inspiration for hair design. Finally, the students have a supervised visit to the High Museum in Atlanta.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK6 - Salon Business Fundamentals — 12 hours

In this class students learn the key functions of a business, how a salon/stylist makes money, and common challenges that affect a salon's/stylist's ability to make money. They also create a personal success plan for themselves. Students watch and analyze a video of a Salon Turnaround scenario, and then visit a successful Atlanta salon where they meet with the salon owner, observe the operation, and then apply an analytical tool from the class to report on the strengths and opportunities of the salon they visit.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK7 - Personal Marketing — 6 hours

This class teaches students the practical skills to attract new clientele. They learn the importance of personal marketing, dialogues for connecting with prospective clients, and how to use social media to attract new clients. Students are then required to spend time doing personal marketing to book the models they need for their upcoming classes. They are also required to create and post on social media a "Models Needed" ad.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK8 - Personal Branding — 3 hours

This class covers all of the elements of building your personal brand as a beauty professional and provides detailed training on how to use the many online and physical tools/resources to market yourself and your services. These tools/resources include: resume, bio, head shot, portfolio of your work, comp card, business card, website, Facebook page, and beauty related social media resources (Model Mayhem, Students are also taught about agency representation and union representation, as well as a wide range of options for gaining extra exposure.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK9 - Social Media Marketing — 4 hours

In this class, students learn specifically how to use the main social media platforms to market themselves and their work. They also learn the "dos" and "don'ts" of social media. Platforms covered include: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest,, Twitter, and several other platforms that are focused on the beauty industry. This is a very hands-on class where students bring their laptops and/or smart devices so they could visit the various social media sites and implement on a real-time basis some of what they are being taught.

Advanced General Knowledge — AGK10 - Designer Collection Runway Show — 8 hours

As a final demonstration of the technical and creative skills learned, students participate in a Final Collection Runway Show. Based on a selected theme for the show, each student must present at least one model for which they must design and execute an appropriate hair/makeup look, with related wardrobe. Guests (including family and friends) are invited as audience members for the Runway Show.

Evaluation: Participation & Overall Quality of Model Presentation