Lashes, nails, philanthropy and college - how could someone possibly do it all? Damaris Hilbert, a senior studying nursing, can. While getting her nursing degree at Ohio University, she also runs her own business on the side called Collette Contours.
The Post sat down with her to talk about how she started and where she’s going:
The Post: How do you manage to balance everything being a college student?
Hilbert: Well actually, that’s why I have a booking site to organize my time. And on the days that I don't have clinicals or lab, because I was in Phase One so I still had in-person class. That's why I have the booking site because, say I'm not available if I have a test and I need to study, I could just cut off my booking site.
The Post: Do you find it hard to do other things that come with the job, such as posting on social media consistently?
Hilbert: I used to find it hard to post on social media but now that I have consistent clients, I would say it’s not as hard. Every time they come they know that they're going to get recorded or whatever they give me consent before, and I can just post right there. So it’s not as bad because I do it right then as soon as I'm done with them . . . It's not really as hard. It used to be more time consuming.
The Post: How did you initially get started doing nails?
Hilbert: I actually started this because as a nursing student, you can’t wear nails, for one. Personally, I wear press-on nails because I can remove them. So I kind of started doing my nails because every time I went to the store it was the same basic colors. I like long nails. What they think is long is short in the real nail tech world, and they just didn’t offer the variety that I wanted. I did the research and started making my own. For nails, I kind of always did that when I was younger, like played with acrylic and stuff like that, but never took it seriously. (I) just kind of did it on myself, on family and friends. Being a student in Athens, I'm from Cleveland so I live in the city. I have a million nail techs, a million lash techs. I have variety; I have people to choose from. I feel like in Athens, you don't have many places to choose from. And so you can’t pick and choose the type of services you want. If this person doesn't have what you want, in Cleveland, you could always just go to somebody else and they probably offer what you want. (In) Athens you don't really have that choice, so nobody here necessarily offered what I wanted. So, I decided to do it myself.
The Post: What about lashes?
Hilbert: I actually started doing lashes because I get my lashes done. My lash tech was . . . telling me about and I was like, ‘Oh, I can do that, it's really not that hard.’ I was like, ‘I'm going to try it.’ Now I just full-blown do lashes which is funny because I just did it just to try it, basically.
The Post: Was it hard to learn?
Hilbert: I picked it up pretty easily. In the beginning, obviously, it doesn't look as good because I have pictures of when I started versus now. I feel like just like with anything, it’s practice, like in math and in nursing: it's literally practice. When I give IVs I have to practice in the practice lab all the time to make sure I do it correctly . . . so it's kind of like that, it's practice. You learn as you're working, you see something like, “Oh, the next time I can do this,” . . . each time I make a mistake and I've seen how I can fix this in the next time to make it look better and that's how I'm progressing.
The Post: What does the future look like for you?
Hilbert: I wanted to be an esthetic nurse practitioner so I was actually going to go to esthetician school, but I realized that with my nursing degree, I can work in plastic surgery and have my own salon. Not only will I be able to administer Botox because that's like medical spa, and remove tattoos and treatments like that, but I can also do cosmetic things, because I'm qualified. Most of the reason why people have to be licensed and because of sanitation, well I have to have sterile fields and sometimes I have to do invasive things so I'm more than qualified for sanitation.
The Post: I also saw on your Instagram you’re passionate about working with older people. Is that something you plan to continue?
Hilbert: I just really loved the elderly population, so that's always been my passion. I'm actually an STNA, which is a State Tested Nursing Assistant, so I work in nursing homes. I have been one for five years. They're not always in nursing homes because I've worked in hospice, I worked in rehab, I worked in long term. . . I just always had a passion for taking care of the elderly, so I’m definitely gonna still do that part time.
The Post: I see on your Instagram that you ask people to bring donations for various charities to their appointments. Why was that something you decided to start doing?
Hilbert: It’s mostly just because I want to do it, I actually pick somewhere different every month, since I started August 21. All my donations that I receive, I pick an organization every month, or a cause or something like that. Right now I'm doing My Sister's Place. I'm accepting donations, monetary and actual item donations, like hygiene products and things like that.
The Post: This might be a hard question, but do you prefer doing nails or lashes?
Hilbert: I actually prefer doing nails because I feel like I can be more creative. I like doing designs, I like sparkles, I like glitter, I like doing all that stuff. With lashes, it’s kind of a one-trick pony, you can classic, hybrid (or) volume. I could do doll eye or cat eye and kind of change to the shape, but lashes are lashes. Nails, they all look different.
The Post: How has COVID-19 affected your work?
Hilbert: It hasn’t affected anything (because) I’m in nursing; I do all the COVID precautions. I have six-feet measurements, I use Barbicide, I clean all my tools, I clean all the workspaces when people leave in between clients. We wear masks, I have temperatures taken so it really hasn’t affected anything. It’s the same as any other salon with their precautions. And I think people want to support.
The Post: What’s a piece of advice you’d give to someone getting their nails or lashes done for the first time?
Hilbert: For lashes, you shouldn’t be afraid. It’s not going to hurt and your eyes are not going to be glued shut. A lot of people that I've done lashes recently, they have said they never had them before and they just thought it was going to hurt. It's not going to hurt, so you shouldn't be afraid of that. For nails, it doesn't really matter if you bite nails or whatever. People are so self-conscious about their natural nails, they're always saying ‘Sorry my nails are so bad.’ There's no issue. That's what I'm here for: to make sure your nails look pretty.