How Tallahassee provides beauty on a budget

Local, Black women-owned businesses in Tallahassee. Photo courtesy Alaijah Brown

Yves Saint Laurent once said: “The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion, but cosmetics are easier to buy.”

This wisdom has rung true for beauty gurus around the world, especially here in Tallahassee. Our beloved college town is home to a variety of nail technicians, lash technicians, hair stylists, makeup artists and more. The bustling beauty business here accommodates the local college students’ routine maintenance and budgets.

Dynasty Davis, a full-time student and resident assistant, was concerned about finding a business that would cater to her in a similar way as the treatments she received at home.

“Before I moved to Tallahassee, I was worried about finding a nail tech and hair stylist that I felt would be affordable and do good work. I didn’t want to drive home for services that are available here,” Davis said. “I feel like getting my nails and hair done is important to me, because it feeds my confidence and when I look good that’s a good presentation of myself.”

Manicures have become the ultimate attention grabber and one of the most convenient ways to treat yourself. A fun manicure can brighten your mood and boost your confidence, especially if it was designed in confidence. Nail tech Victoria Brown, owner of Valecia Nailed It and local student, likes to take risks with her jazzy designs.

“I can do all types of nails, and I am always up for a challenge,” Brown says. “My business is student budget friendly. I try to accommodate my target audience as much as possible.”

Brown’s services include short, medium, long and extra-long acrylic sets with prices starting at $35.

Wispy eyelashes are sure to turn heads and make you feel like your most fabulous self. Shimere Johnson, a dental hygiene student, is the founder of Golden Beauti Bar in Tallahassee, and she knows how effective a beautiful lash set can be.

“I started this business so women can feel glamorous, feel chic and be themselves,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s business offers lash extension services at an affordable price for students with full sets starting at just $60.

“I try to keep my prices affordable due to me being in a college town and knowing that the majority of my clients are students. I never want my prices to be too high where I wouldn’t even pay that much for the service,” Brown said.

Brown hopes to one day extend her business beyond lash extensions.

“I want to expand later on down the line and open my own salon and sell lash extension products for both lash technicians and clients,” Johnson said. “I just hope that Tallahassee residents will continue to support me and just show love.”

Since the pandemic initially closed the doors to many beauticians, we’ve begun to normalize self-care treatments at home to follow CDC guidelines. While relaxing at home, you can support a local business by purchasing their at-home beauty products.

Kevina Dixon, the founder of Kae’s Kurllection, identifies the importance of quality and affordability in skin care and hair care products.

“The purpose of my business is to offer quality hair and skincare products at an affordable rate to show that quality products don’t have to cost an arm and a leg,” Dixon said.

Dixon understands the importance of finding affordable products and incorporated that into her business.

“Being a college student myself, pricing was a huge factor in my business. Everyone deserves good products at amazing prices,” Dixon said.

Kae’s Kurllection offers hair products including oils, shampoos, hair butters and hair accessories. She also creates soaps, body scrubs and face masks. All of the products offered by Dixon are handmade to ensure that the quality is exceptional for customers.

“I don’t sell anything I wouldn’t use,” Dixon said. “I sit down and pay attention to every detail. I know which ingredients do what, and I know how I want my products to look.” Dixon takes care of her customers and makes sure to express her extreme gratitude for their support.

“When a person makes a purchase, I include a handwritten thank you card in their package. It’s just something I do to show my gratitude to them, because without them, my business wouldn’t be in business.”

On the shop’s website, you can purchase face masks starting at $7, hair butters starting at $10 and body sugar scrubs starting at $6.

For new residents to the Tallahassee area, some may be concerned that their regular cosmetic luxuries would be unavailable or unaffordable. These local Black-owned businesses are few of the many hidden gems that cater to beauty needs at an affordable rate.