The last time Laura Perciasepe ’04 got a haircut at college, her shower served as the salon and her suitemate as the stylist.

“She’d get her scissors from her desk and a fork,” Laura says.

Laura’s friend Rita Fleming ’04 also takes an impromptu approach to beauty.

“I’m really lazy about getting dressed,” Rita says. “I wear whatever is on my chair.”

But these two juniors are hardly slackers — they’re just victims of the typical Yale time crunch. Friends since freshman year, Laura and Rita lead busy lives, to the detriment of their beauty regimens. Rita spends her time serving as the director of a U.S. grant program for gifted middle school students from New Haven, and Laura works as an intern at the Yale University Press.

“During the day I have almost no free time,” Laura says.

Luckily for these two frazzled Yalies, scene decided to call in the experts — Galaxy Salon owner Nino Ribeiro and Clinique beautician Season Talmadge — to help Laura and Rita get new, easy looks just in time for the warmer weather that ought to be here any day.

New ‘dos

Sacrificing sleep for the sake of beauty, Laura and Rita meet at 10 a.m. outside Galaxy Salon on York Street. They seem a little anxious before their hair appointment.

“We’re like the worst people for a makeover because we don’t buy products,” Laura says.

Laura, who has very curly, difficult-to-manage hair, estimates that she spends 15 minutes every day on her appearance, including the time it takes to shower. She hopes that the makeover will help her manage her hair without a lot of work.

“I’d like to make it easier for me to just get up and go,” she says.

Rita wants a hairstyle that would better fit her combination straight and wavy hair. She is considering highlights but worries they will be too drastic.

“I always had this irrational fear that if I dyed my hair, when it grew back my natural highlights would disappear because they weren’t good enough for me,” she explains.

Enter Nino Ribeiro, owner of Galaxy and dispenser of hair wisdom. Nino opened Galaxy in 1989.

“We have to think of maintenance of our hair as [the same as] the maintenance of your body,” he tells Laura and Rita.

Nino ushers them into the retro red leather barber chairs for brief consultations and then sets to work on Rita. He begins by persuading her to try the highlights. They decide on a color about three shades lighter than her natural hair.

“We should emphasize the highlights that you have,” he says. “You want to look like you stay in the sun.”

Although Rita warns that she’s “not a very outrageous person,” she agrees that a change of hue would be nice.

“I’m sort of sick of having my hair be so dark,” she says.

“About 90 percent of people get their hair colored now,” Nino tells Rita as he dyes her hair. “It’s good to work with virgin hair.”

While Rita sits with tinfoil in her hair (“I look like some kind of alien!”), Nino turns his attention to Laura. Because her hair is dry and frizzy, he decides to give her a deep conditioning treatment. Nino emphasizes that having healthy hair will make Laura’s curls easier to maintain.

“It’s so necessary to use products on your hair,” he says to Laura. “Get some conditioning treatments. Your hair, to [be able to] wash and go, needs to be really, really healthy.”

Once the highlighting and conditioning is done, Nino switches the salon’s background music from Latin to a slower tempo jazz that he says is more appropriate for cutting. He gives Rita a “shorter, layered and a little piecey” style to go with her spring highlights. It’s a style he says will work better with her hair’s waves.

“If you want to wash and go, you need a haircut that works with the texture,” Nino explains.

Laura’s curls are more difficult to manage, so Nino chooses to “texturize” her hair four inches from the bottom, cutting away split ends and making it lighter. As a finishing touch, he rubs a large amount of anti-frizz pomade into her hair.

When all the cutting and drying is finished, Laura and Rita’s new haircuts are nothing like the fork-and-scissors styles they formally modeled.

“My head feels very nice,” Laura says with satisfaction.

Fresh faces

After a short lunch break, these two brave Yalies are ready to have their makeup done at the Yale Bookstore’s Clinique counter. The Bookstore may not be Macy’s, but it’s as close as Yale comes.

As store patrons browse among the nearby postcards and stuffed bulldogs, Season Talmadge, a certified Clinique beautician, helps Laura and Rita find simple makeup to complement their new hairstyles. Talmadge understands their desire for a quick, natural look.

“I don’t wear a lot of makeup myself,” she says. “In the morning, I just don’t have time.”

Talmadge begins by applying clarifying lotion and moisturizer to their skin.

“You look really moisturized,” Rita says to Laura.

Next, Talmadge rubs some of Clinique’s “All About Eyes” formula to their eyelids and just below their eyes.

“It helps with the bags and the swollenness,” Talmadge explains.

She decides to dab an oil-free foundation in the spots where Laura and Rita need coverage, and a sheer cream-based blush to add a little color to their cheek bones. She then chooses a light, sparkly eyeshadow — a nude for Laura’s darker coloring, and a lilac for Rita.

“I favor these [eyeshadows] for this time of year because they’re quick, they’re easy, and they tend not to bleed because of sweat,” Talmadge tells them.

On Laura, she adds a blue-gray eyeliner for a more glamorous look, and a white frosting to brighten Rita’s lids. She then applies a tinted lip gloss as the final touch.

“Basically, I took every color that you already had and brightened it,” Talmadge says.

The aftermath

That evening, Laura and Rita relax in Laura’s Durfee suite and discuss the outcome of the day’s efforts.

“I think they’re both very hot,” Laura’s suitemate Elizabeth Meriwether ’04 says when she drops in. “Laura’s skin was glowing.”

Although Laura admits that she took the makeup off soon after the appointment, she says she received positive reactions from the friends she ran into.

“It felt a little weird, mostly because I never spend four hours thinking about how I look,” Laura says. “I want to do the condition stuff he did because it made my hair really soft and manageable. Seeing how nice it turned out, I guess I’d be more inclined to do that now.”

Rita also really likes her new hair, especially the highlights she was so worried about. She says she thinks the blush Talmadge added was “surprisingly good.”

Their friend Jon Boschetto ’04 agrees with Meriwether that the makeover was a success.

“I think they look great,” he says after examining them both. “A little product never hurt anyone.”