Posted in Answers on August 23rd, 2011 by Reagan
Tags: inspiration, My work, salon stories
I recently got an email with a question that really had me thinking. She was wondering how I “got so good at hair”. This question had me experience severe flattery syndrome.
But more important than posting this question so that you can all see that someone thinks I’m “so good at hair”, I thought it was actually a really good question to answer for you aspiring stylists. It could even be good for someone struggling in any career field.
Here it goes:
I started out beauty school interested in hair, but not really having any idea of where it could take me. I was in for a rude awakening when I graduated and I didn’t have a full clientele immediately. I spent a long time just doing hair on the side because I wasn’t making enough money, and I had to rely on waitressing as my real source of income. When I moved to NYC, I found out that you can’t work on the cutting floor without assisting experience. I thought I knew so much about hair, but in truth, I wasn’t sectioning the hair off right, I didn’t know the difference between a stationary blade and a moving blade, and there was so much terminology I had never even heard of when it came to hair. I was embarrassed and it took a lot of pride swallowing to realize that beauty school doesn’t count as experience in NYC. Most people assist for 2 or 3 years before getting on the floor.
I chose cutting/styling over color. I still can’t really explain why I did, but I’m glad. There is definitely more money in color, but cutting/styling feels a little more creative. I worked my ass off. I cried, I messed up a few haircuts, I got laughed at by my teacher and I worked terrible long hours handing people hairspray and shampooing clients for the real stylists. I spent so much time leaning over shampoo bowls, that I had to get weekly back adjustments by a chiropractor. But I also learned a lot. I learned which blade was my moving blade, how to section off for different haircuts/head shapes and most importantly I was in an environment that challenged and inspired me.
I still feel insecure sometimes when I watch some of the stylists I work with. I wonder if I’m that good or if I’m that professional, but I think that a little of that is important in any work environment. What if I didn’t feel slightly insecure? I’d go to work every day bored, not trying new things, not looking for constant inspiration. I don’t feel afraid of looking stupid, if a stylist I work with knows more than me, I ask them to teach me. We all have our own styles and we can all learn something from each other. I look through magazines, I play with my friends’ hair, I watch old movies and use what I already know to come up with new things.
Something I’ve learned over the years….especially since I spent over three years in a salon that didn’t challenge or inspire me…is that your talent/creativity will become dormant if you aren’t pushing yourself. If you go to work and cut/blow, cut/blow, cut/blow, without any variation, you will never grow. If you have an extra 15 minutes with client, ask if you can try a new bun or braid on them that you saw in a magazine. You’ll find out that hair is the most fun think that ever was.