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BellaOnline's Hair Editor

Hairdressing as a Profession

Entering the hairdressing profession seems to be an unrealized dream of many. So many have told me I always wanted to do hair, but I never took the time for the schooling.

Hairdressing, technically Cosmetology, has been an exciting and challenging lifelong career for me. I can think of few occupations more interesting. It is part of the fashion world. It offers a good income and is always changing. The only dress code is to be stylish. Stylish to who is up to you and the client you want to attract.

Hairdressers should enjoy meeting people and getting to know them personally. I have developed close relationships with my clients as they enjoy the relaxing experience of having their hair styled. I share in the major life events of each client. The joy of birth, graduations, birthdays, and the sadness of illness and death.

I have the opportunity to be creative and imaginative using color and form. I see the results immediately. No waiting.

Educational events are fun. After the initial schooling, which lasts around a year of learning the basics, seminars and Hair Shows are exciting. Im among the fortunate few to see the newest trends in hair, makeup, nails and clothing from all over the world.

I am kept up on current events. My client and I chat about any subject that comes to mind. Other stylists and their clients often join us.

And, yes there is a flip side to the coin.
Be prepared to earn very little when you first start out. It takes about two years to build a reasonable following. The hairstylists that I have seen become most successful at building a clientele, stayed at the salon between eight to twelve hours a day even when they were not booked. It is the available stylist who gets call-ins and walk-ins. After a clientele is well established you can start naming your own hours, remembering that we are in a service business. We deal with the public. Pleasant or unpleasant, we smile and do the best job we can. And we do whatever it takes to make the client happy.

It is physical work. You will stand on your feet for long hours with your arms up at about shoulder height. You will do countless shampoos, usually bending at a 45% angle.

It is never wise to have a bad day and show up at work without your hair done and make-up on.

You will work close to holidays, Saturdays and evenings since we live in a fast-food world geared toward customer convenience.

Speaking of food. You will learn to eat lunch in about three minutes and hot food is a novelty.

All that said, I love this job and have loved it for over thirty years. Even working part-time it provides a very good income and a great deal of satisfaction. If you are interested in pursuing cosmetology as a career, cosmetology schools are listed in the phone book and on the Internet. Ask a salon owner what experience she has had with graduates of different schools.

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