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1st Place at the Full Blooded Barber Battle

Posted on: June 11th, 2018

Bridgeview, IL Barber Student Jose David Ostolaza takes first place in Full Blooded Barber Battle

Born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico since he was seven years old, Jose Ostolaza had a very difficult childhood.  His father was involved with the wrong people and because of that, so was he. “I always enjoyed cutting hair and embraced it more after I decided to change my life and agreed to move to Chicago. I worked in a couple of shops, but I realized I was just going to be a chair barber if I didn’t get my license. I wasn’t just looking for a barber license, I wanted more as a professional and Tricoci University was a perfect choice for me. I knew that I would develop other skills that other barber programs don’t offer.”

Jose competed and won first place in the Full Blooded Battle because he wanted to prove to himself that he truly is the best in the industry. “In competition, I represent Tricoci University and demonstrate that this university has a solid barber program. I also wanted that belt so much. You have to realize how special we are and how a haircut can impact a person’s life. Not to be afraid to fail because the only way for someone to succeed in life is to fail and get right back up.”

“With the amount of experience that I have, I was able to make my dream come true by winning first place trophy in the Full Blooded Barber Battle. Not very many people can say that they’ve won trophies or a belt. That means a lot to me and it continues to motivate and reassure me that I’m on the right path towards my career as a barber. Winning that battle has been one of the greatest moments for me here at Tricoci University.”

About Jose

His Favorite Cut

The Fade, you can’t go wrong with a good fade.

Aspirations for the Future

To become a licensed barber and return to be a Tricoci University educator. One of my dreams is to also go to Dubai for a beauty show.

His Favorite Barbers

  1. Me
  2. @bombythebarber
  3. @joelmasterbarber
  4. @ricarbarber
  5. @carlosbarber_32

Contact Jose

Instagram: @jose_david_allstarbarber
Facebook: @josedavid.ostolaza


Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day

Posted on: May 29th, 2018

Complimentary Services Offered to Cancer Patients and Survivors on Tuesday, June 5

There is no question that cancer treatment is difficult. Chemotherapy and radiation cause all manner of side effects, including some that are appearance related like dry skin, thinning hair and more.

Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day (CSBSD) is a national effort to provide cancer patients and survivors with the opportunity to get some much-needed pampering. Students at all 16 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture campuses in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin will support the 15th annual CSBSD on Tuesday, June 5, by offering complimentary hair, makeup or spa services for cancer patients and survivors.

Cancer survivors and patients can call 877.286.0096 or the nearest campus to make a complimentary appointment.

CSBSD is a day when those in the beauty and related industries in all 50 states volunteer to offer complimentary services to all men, women and children cancer survivors, regardless of cancer type or date of diagnosis. The event was started by Barbara Paget of Highland Park, Illinois in 2003 after learning about a salon in California that offered complimentary salon services to cancer survivors and patients.

“We are proud to invite all cancer survivors to participate in our Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day activities,” said Ross Bravo, CEO of Tricoci University. “This is a great way for us to give something back to the cancer survivors in our communities who experienced so much when fighting their respective illnesses. CSBSD gives our students the opportunity to provide a little personal kindness and pampering.”

Each Tricoci University of Beauty Culture campus will offer different services to cancer patients. To learn about the services offered at the Tricoci University campus nearest you, and to make a complimentary appointment, call 877.286.0096.

Elgin Campus is Restoring Hope

Posted on: May 8th, 2018

Raising Awareness of homelessness, supporting House of Restoration

A family-friendly event to raise awareness of homelessness, restore hope for the less fortunate, and raise funds for the non-profit organization House of Restoration Inc. in Elgin are the goals of Restoring Hope, an event set to take place on Sunday, June 3.

Restoring Hope begins at noon in the Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Elgin campus parking lot, located at 264 S. Randall Street.

“House of Restoration is doing amazing work to help the homeless and less fortunate in Elgin,” said Ray Richmond, Tricoci University’s Community Liaison. “We want to do everything we can to support their ministry and its important work. Restoring Hope will be a great and fun way for us, and the surrounding community, to give back to our fellow neighbors experiencing hardship.”

The event features free makeovers performed by Tricoci University of Beauty Culture students under the supervision of licensed instructors, free beauty demonstrations, a runway show at 2 p.m., live music by the IAMbassadors, and family-friendly entertainment and vendors. Elgin Councilman Corey Dixon will give the opening remarks. Donations for the House of Restoration will be accepted at the event, but not required to attend.

For questions about the Restoring Hope event, call 847.376.0740.

More about House of Restoration

House of Restoration Inc. a non-profit organization committed to serving and providing resources to individuals and families in hardship and loss in the greater Elgin area. They also act as a hub-agency to additional resources for those in need. To learn more, please visit www.houseofrestorationinc.org/.

Becoming a Celebrity Hairstylist with Alex Brown

Posted on: March 7th, 2018

Celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown has come a long way over the last 10 years – from her tiny hometown of 116 people in Minnesota to jet-setting all across the world from London and Paris to Dubai and Sydney. In between clients, she took a minute to talk to us about how she became a celebrity hairstylist.

“I’ve always wanted to move to a bigger city and become a hairstylist. In tenth grade, I started Googling ‘best, coolest hair schools in Chicago’ because my sister and I were like, ‘let’s just go to Chicago,’ Alex explains. “L.A. seemed too far away and New York seemed too scary, so we figured Chicago is still close to home, but it’s still far away. I remember looking at the Tricoci University and thinking ‘this is the coolest school, I have to go there!’ I just wanted the newest, coolest beauty school and after looking, it seemed like the nicest, most current one.”

Alex graduated from Tricoci University’s Cosmetology Program in 2009 from the Chicago NW campus and immediately went to work. “One of my teachers at Tricoci University approached me a few months before graduation about an upscale salon in the city called Salon Buzz that had a training program where I could assist. I went in and gave them my resume, ended up interviewing and getting hired. That recommendation changed my whole career.”

Train with the Best

Salon Buzz’s training program is notoriously strict and brutal on new stylists. Alex not only survived but thrived in the training program for the first 2 years and 9 months of her career. During that time, she assisted two of their top stylists in the salon learning as much as she could and gaining more and more clients of her own. She not only became a stylist for Salon Buzz, but was also asked to become a trainer during her last 3 years with the company as well. The busy salon taught her structure. And at the age of 22 she was doing over 15 clients a day. That’s when Alex told us something we never thought we’d ever hear anyone in the beauty industry, let alone of our graduates say. She said, “I couldn’t just sit behind this chair and get ‘fed’ clients every day, all day.”

If you do a quick calculation of how many clients she was averaging, and how much a top stylist and a high-end salon in downtown Chicago would charge, well let’s just say the money had to have been great.

But what you quickly learn from talking to Alex about the journey throughout her career is that she’s not in this job for the money. At the height of her career at Salon Buzz, and booked solid with clients, Alex had started thinking about making her lifelong dream a reality – by moving to L.A. and becoming a celebrity hairstylist.

Invest in your Future

Right about then is when Instagram had started to become popular and stylists were getting more and more recognition and celebrity-status of their own. And while Alex wasn’t quick on the IG train, her friends convinced her to join them in Toronto to take a class with THE Jen Atkin. And if you don’t know who Jen Atkin is, shame on you. She’s what the New York Times calls “The Most Influential Hairstylist in the World,” counting top models Chrissy Teigen, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and Gigi and Bella Hadid as some of her most loyal clientele.

“The class was expensive. I literally thought to myself, okay, if I go to this class I’m going to try to find a way to work for her after.”

Take Chances

With a plan, she went to Toronto. During one of the lunch breaks in the middle of class, Alex walked straight up to Jen’s assistant and asked her how to get a job working for her. Because that’s what it takes!

The assistant explained, “You just have to be living in L.A. Take down my email, and if we need someone, we’ll contact you.” And like that they exchanged emails. 4 months went by before Alex moved to L.A., and then she emailed her.

Alex said, “I emailed her assistant just so she would remember me, like ‘hey, I’m moving to L.A., what are some good areas to move to?’ I mean, I didn’t know anyone in L.A., and she kinda told me some places, but that was it. And about 2 weeks later, just after moving to L.A. I was in a FedEx printing off my resume – like I was just going to print off 50 and just go get a job – and while the resumes were printing I’m scrolling through Instagram and see that her assistant commented on one of my posts that they needed an assistant THE NEXT DAY. Literally, I started balling. I was like ‘I got this.’”

Alex assisted Jen Atkin at a salon the next day and immediately became one of her three assistants.

“Everything that I kept wanting to happen, kept happening. They’d be going to Kim and Kanye’s house and I’d think ‘when do I get to go there’ and the next week I’d be there. They’d be going to Fashion Week and I’d think ‘how do I become THAT assistant?’ and 2 weeks later we’d be in Paris at Paris Fashion week.”

Make Sacrifices

“I knew moving to L.A. what my goal was and that I was only there for my career. I would be at a Lakers game and I would have to leave in the middle to go to work. There was nothing that she asked me to do that I wouldn’t do.” And because of that, she worked alongside Jen on celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Bella Hadid, Chrissy Tiegen, Olivia Culpo, Khloe Kardashian, and Kylie Jenner styling hair all across the world from London and Paris to Dubai and Sydney.

“I think everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, but they aren’t. It’s so hard to find good assistants, with common sense and a normal personality.”

Follow Your Heart

4 months before Alex stopped working for Jen they were jet-lagged at 4 in the morning working on their laptops in Qatar when Jen turned to her and said, “Alex, if you stopped working for me do you think you’d have enough work to do?” And the answer was ABSOLUTELY. For 3 years they had spent every waking hour together, traveling, working out of hotels and airports, and Alex knew everything about her, but it was becoming time to move on.

“I had always wanted to experience what the L.A. celebrity world was, and it was just so not me. I’m such a homebody and I like to have structure, and I just wanted my life back.”

Alex moved back to Chicago and opened up her own, private Parisian apartment-style salon in the West Loop and now has the best of both worlds. She still works with Jen, dividing her time between Chicago, New York, and L.A., but now she does it on her own schedule. Time will tell what Alex will tackle next – we guarantee it will be something bigger – but for a celebrity stylist who travels the world with the top celebrities and owns a private salon in Chicago, call us impressed and proud to have you as a Tricoci University alum.

Alex’s Advice for Future Stylists

  • Show up and be on time.
  • Don’t assume it’s too big or too far.
  • Build your own luck.
  • Don’t assume everyone else has the same dream.
  • Put yourself out there and go for it.


Contact Alex

Website: www.alexbrownhair.com
Instagram: @alexbrownhair
Email: bookings@alexbrownhair.com

Tricoci University Opening Campus in Normal, IL

Posted on: January 15th, 2018

Enrollment Now Underway for New Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Normal Campus, Classes Set to Begin in March

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture is excited to announce the addition of its 16th campus location in Normal, Illinois. Enrollment is underway at the new Normal Cosmetology school and Esthetics school, and classes are set to begin in March.

“We are very excited about the addition of our Normal campus, and we look forward to offering our renowned beauty education to even more future beauty professionals in Central Illinois,” says Ross Bravo, Tricoci University of Beauty Culture CEO. Tricoci University’s other Central Illinois campuses are located in Peoria, Danville, and Urbana.

Tricoci University’s new Normal campus, located at 755 W. Raab Street, will offer programs in Cosmetology and Esthetics to students seeking training for a career in the beauty industry. In June, the campus will begin offering affordable beauty services to guests from the Bloomington-Normal area, and the surrounding communities.

Awarded ‘Excellence in Education’ by Modern Salon

Posted on: November 21st, 2017

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Honored for Facilities, Marketing, School Culture and Technology IN “EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION” program

MODERN SALON Media Honors Tricoci University of Beauty Culture in multiple categories in Annual “Excellence in Education” Cosmetology Recognition Program

CHICAGO, IL – MODERN SALON Media has named the 2017 class of “Excellence in Education” honorees in its seventh annual program recognizing leadership and best practices among cosmetology schools. Tricoci University of Beauty Culture of Chicago, Illinois, was chosen to represent excellence in the following categories: Facilities, Marketing Innovation, School Culture, and Technology. MODERN SALON Publisher Steve Reiss announced the honorees during the AACS (American Association of Cosmetology Schools) 2017 convention in Las Vegas on October 21st.

Honorees were determined based on key criteria in each category and grouped according to the number of locations. Honorees were chosen in each category—one individual school location, and a multi-location school organization.

“We received applications from cosmetology schools across the country and look forward to celebrating all the 2017 Excellence in Education honorees and sharing their stories.  It is truly a great time to pursue a beauty education and career, and the program at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture exemplifies that fact,” MODERN SALON Editorial Director Michele Musgrove says.

“This achievement couldn’t be possible without all of our amazing associates that work so hard for our students and each other every single day,” explains Krista Smith, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Tricoci University of Beauty Culture. “This is another proud moment of recognition that will be celebrated throughout our organization.”

Sharing stories of innovation, inspiration, and collaboration from a diverse group of leading schools is an important part of MODERN SALON’s “Excellence in Education” mission, Musgrove explains. “We want to help spread the word about the exceptional work cosmetology schools are doing to help launch beautiful careers. We hope the professional salon industry and their communities will join us in celebrating them.”

Brittany Bottenhagen Goes to Bootcamp

Posted on: October 2nd, 2017

Brittany Bottenhagen isn’t necessarily the prime candidate for summer camp, per se, but she is an excellent candidate for James Ryder’s illustrious makeup focused Bootcamp in Los Angelos. Cosmetology and Esthetics students are handpicked from around the country to attend James Ryder’s highly coveted Makeup Labs Bootcamp, which means getting in is like a scene from Mean Girls. “I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.”

Brittany, like the majority of the students who’ve attended, got accepted by attending his 2 part, 10-hour workshop held at the Marriott Hotel in Oak Brook, IL. “The last hour of the second half of class we could create any fantasy look we wanted, and based off if they liked your work, they’d invite you to the bootcamp. I showed his partner, Olivia, a picture of the fantasy look I wanted to do to get her opinion and I was going to do a mermaid. She then says ‘Oh, James didn’t tell you?’ And me confused, I said ‘No, didn’t tell me what?’ Then she proceeded to tell me and all the other 45 people in the class that we couldn’t do a mermaid look. I found a geometric kind of looking picture that I decided to do and I pretty much just said let’s hope for the best because I really wanted to be invited to bootcamp.”

James Ryder and his assistant Olivia are notorious for their stone-like expressionless faces during the final creation of looks. They walk around not saying anything and not giving any hint of whether what you’re doing is good or bad. Can you say stress? However during this particular workshop, while Brittany was in the middle of doing her look, their other assistant, while heavily eyeballing her work, said ‘I like it’. Wait, whaaaa?

Brittany had decided to go to cosmetology school because she had always known she wanted to do something different. Never really being into the whole “traditional schooling, go to college for 4 years thing,” she had always been interested in hair and makeup. Then after a year of being out of high school and still just working, and not being very happy with the life she was living, Brittany took the plunge and finally signed up for Tricoci University’s Cosmetology Program at the Glendale Heights campus.

So as the timer went off, they called Brittany and about 9 other people up front; she was nervous. James meticulously went through each of the final looks and let everyone know what he thought about their work. When he came to Brittany, though she was nervous that he wouldn’t like it, he invited her to the James Ryder Makeup Labs Bootcamp.

While at bootcamp, Brittany met some wonderful people and role models that she’ll “hopefully be in touch with for the rest of my life.” Brittany and the other “campers” were taught what it would be like in the worst possible scenario on a movie, TV, or magazine setting. And on the third day, they learned prosthetic work – which was incredible. Brittany had a very rough start to the week and thought that maybe she wasn’t up to par with the other students. And from the start she thought, maybe she didn’t deserve to be there. When the last day came around something had changed. She started working a little bit faster and a little bit harder. She was getting look after look done, including her very last look which was her most intricate and detailed. Once she was done and James was about to shoot the look, he was so impressed he told everyone to look at her work and what a beautiful job she had done. And on that Wednesday night, they made her group leader.

Brittany chose Tricoci University because she knew it was a reputable school and she had been to Mario Tricoci Salons & Spas before and they had always done amazing work. When she came to TUBC to get her tour, she says she was greeted with nothing but smiles. All the students she saw looked like they were actually enjoying themselves, as where when she had visited other cosmetology schools in the area, “I definitely got a very different vibe.”

“Some advice I have (for other students) is just to push through no matter what – and get your signoffs done! I hit a wall probably about a couple of months ago and I finally got through it. I’ve just been pushing myself to make sure I graduate as soon as I can. Just do all you can to keep your attendance up and always be kind to everyone you’re at school with.”

“To all my teachers and all the staff at TUBC I just want to say thank you. All my teachers have been nothing but supportive and wonderful throughout my whole career at TUBC. I feel so lucky that I started at such a great campus and I have such a good relationship with all of my teachers.”


Brittany’s ride or die YouTubers and Instagrammers are definitely Nikkitutorials, Jeffree Star, and Manny MUA. “I feel like I have a similar personality to Nikki, and just her mannerisms and she always does such BEAUTIFUL work that it’s hard not to love her. I like Jeffree and Manny because they’re honest about the products and they don’t sugar coat things. And Jeffree’s product line is AMAZING as well. I have about 25 of his lipsticks, 3 of his highlighters and his makeup palette.”


Instagram: @brittanybottenhagenmua
Facebook: @Brittany-Bottenhagen-MUA

TUBC Expands: New Janesville, WI Location

Posted on: September 6th, 2017

Tricoci University to build upon the established reputation of the Academy of Cosmetology in Janesville, Wisconsin

Tricoci University is pleased to welcome its first Wisconsin campus location to its growing family of schools. The addition allows Tricoci University to serve a new market while leaning into the established reputation of the Academy of Cosmetology in Janesville, Wis.

“We are very excited about merging with the Academy of Cosmetology,” says Ross Bravo, Tricoci University of Beauty Culture CEO. “This is more than a new market and 15th location for us; this acquisition introduces our brand and high standards into a new state.”

Tricoci University’s new Janesville campus, located at 2310 W. Court Street, will offer a Cosmetology Program to students seeking training for a career in the beauty industry. It will also continue to provide affordable beauty services to guests residing in Janesville and the surrounding communities.

About Tricoci University

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture is a premier beauty education provider with 15 locations throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Tricoci University is focused on producing salon-ready graduates that are prepared for successful careers in the beauty industry. Founded by international beauty industry leader Mario Tricoci, Tricoci University is developing a new type of beauty professional by using innovative teaching methods, an interactive learning platform, and upscale facilities. All guest services are provided by students under the supervision of licensed instructors.


New Spa Owner, Bernadette Munguia

Posted on: August 14th, 2017

Tricoci University Alumni to Owner of Heavenly Handz Day Spa

One of Tricoci University’s Highland campus graduates will soon be named owner of her own spa! Bernadette Munguia graduated from the Esthetics program in 2013 as a Massage Therapist looking to increase her revenue. She also suffered from acne and was determined to help herself and others who suffered from the same.

“My passion is making people feel better about themselves. I chose Tricoci over the others because I felt welcomed right away. I was impressed by how much was offered in the program and how they were willing to help me with anything they could so I could achieve my dream career.”

Heavenly Handz was established in Hobart, IN in 2004, but after 12 years, the previous owner was ready to retire and gave Bernadette the opportunity to keep it going. In January of 2017, Heavenly Handz Day Spa officially reopened with new ownership and new services for its clientele. Heavenly Handz offers massages, full body waxing, aromatherapy wraps, body exfoliation, paraffin dips, scalp, foot, and back treatments, in addition to facials and chemical peels, eyelash applications, eyelash extensions, makeup applications. They now also offer discounted packages called “clouds” on some of their most popular services.

“Heavenly Handz Day Spa is a spa where you walk in as a stranger and walk out as a friend, we give our all to everyone. It’s also a place where you can go and not break the bank. Many people live pay check to pay check and don’t get to “treat” themselves because if it. We say if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others and that’s why we do what we do. Honestly, I always said I wouldn’t own my own business. I didn’t want the hassle of the call offs or the stress of bills and the embarrassment of closing my doors. But I have a GREAT support system and a partner who is absolutely amazing and we back each other up every step of the way so all of those worries are no more.”

We asked Bernadette where she gets all of her inspiration from and what we found is that’s not an easy answer. “First, all of our clients that have stood behind us every step of the way and have supported our small business this far. We would be nothing with out them. Second, my business partner Meghan Cervantes. Shere assured me that we would be in this together and work side by side and we did. We did for 6 years prior to this, overcame huge obstacles that were thrown at us, and we didn’t let it break us apart. We always say ‘the best is yet to come’. And last but not least, I do all of this for my children, they are my world. As a parent, we teach our children the way of life, but if you take a step back you realize that they are actually the ones teaching us. Teaching us patience, how to love, and how to be strong. And for this, I will always be grateful. As I always tell them, I would give up my last breath to tell them I love them.”

“One piece of advice that I would give to any current student would be to NEVER give up. Even when you feel like giving up or just walking out, DON’T. Because sometimes the mountain you think your climbing is just a grain of sand.”

Contact Heavenly Handz Day Spa

710 N. Hobart Rd. Suite C
Hobart, IN 46342
Phone: (219) 945-1940
Email: heavenlyhandz16@gmail.com
Facebook: HeavenlyHandzDaySpa

Rockford’s First-Ever Barber-Beauty Battle

Posted on: August 2nd, 2017

Ready. Set. Cut!

A competition like no other made its mark on Rockford Sunday when the first-ever Barber-Beauty Battle was held in the parking lot at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture.

And it was all for a good cause.

“This was the biggest event on this kind of scale for domestic violence awareness in Rockford,” said April Cauthen, Campus Director at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture’s Rockford campus. Tricoci University was the lead organizer for the Barber-Beauty Battle, which also featured a Bike and Car Show and many family-friendly attractions.

Cauthen estimates that more than 2,000 people attended some part of the event, including members of River Valley Community Church, which held its morning worship services at the event venue.

The Barber-Beauty Battle was emceed by Joe Flano, an internationally known barber with Major League Barber, who emcees similar battles across the county. Barber-beauty battles are competitions, pitting students or professionals against each other to create the best fade haircut, the best graphics in a haircut, best creative makeup or hair style.

Cauthen said seeing her students compete with other students and professionals on stage was one of many moments of pride for her during the event.

“I love that our students were on the platform showing their skills to the entire world,” she said. “That’s the pride and joy of being in education — seeing your students step out like that.”

Cauthen also expressed pride in the number of groups in the community who came together to publically support Remedies Renewing Lives and The Amanda Reed Foundation, two organizations that help victims of domestic violence. Cauthen added the event raised approximately $3,000 in donations for those two groups.

In addition to local beauty professionals and students several Tricoci University campuses, a group of barbers traveled from Janesville, WI, and Midwest Barber Academy, a competing school, also sent their students to the battle as well.

Event Sponsors Included CRH Magazine, Custom Nardi Systems, Lino’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant, Luxe Salon, Mad Men Barber Shop, 15th & Chris (Burgers & Ice Cream), Guitar Center, Sparkling ICE, River Valley Community Church, National Guard and many others.