Pressures of Being a Stylist

The Pressures of Being a Stylist

People really don’t realize the work that goes into being a stylist- I know I didn’t before becoming one. Their education, much like that of a doctor or a lawyer- it is never ending, as well as extensive in topics to cover. The importance of time management can be detrimental to a stylist’s career if neglected in any way. Advertisement and investing in oneself keeps the whole show rolling. Emotional stress goes far deeper than “ that one curl isn’t as tight as the rest”. I have come to find that stylists wear many hats; you should be informed.

Education- the foundation and the key to success in any realm, including the beauty industry. The science is so widespread, that the field has opened doors to specialization in different categories. The education doesn’t fall short in any way to other studies as it too requires 20-40 plus thousand dollars of invested education. No, the first day of class does not involve a lecture from the professor entitled “Getting to know your flat iron” or “How much hairspray is too much”. True expertise in the beauty industry needs the foundational knowledge in chemistry, anatomy, infections and sanitation and so much more. There is time spent learning to recognize and identify skin and scalp afflictions so as to take preventative measures in case of contagion. It’s much more to a shampoo than just working up a good lather; pressure points on the skull have to be considered, especially if there are sensitive health conditions involved; hence the study of anatomy. When it comes to color, one cannot just throw some mixtures together on a client’s head and pray for the desire result; hence the stress on chemical knowledge. When you receive services from a licensed cosmetologist, recognize their effort and energy that they have invested in their career; it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t quick and it definitely wasn’t cheap.

Most cosmetologists are self-employed, i.e. if they don’t work, they don’t eat. Their schedules are often cramped as they have to work around everyone else’s- this is where wise time management kicks in. Ultimately, there is only but so much money a stylist can make as there is only but so much time in a day and while there are plenty of people who could/should be coifed, a stylist needs to make time for the essentials; like sleep. Clients sometimes get upset to find their hair appointment has been stacked to overlap that of someone else’s but relax! There is method to our madness. If I’ve just shampooed and flexi-rod your entire head, it’s only considered wise time management to shampoo blow dry and curl two other clients during that hour and forty minutes you’ll be sitting with your head under a dryer. Let’s not forget about last minute cancellations, late clients and even insanely early clients, all of these situations have to be considered. Please don’t chew out your stylist for not seeing you right away if you’re nearly an hour late to your appointment and her next client is a little early.

Financial organization is the heart behind the success and continuance of a cosmetologist’s career. Some salons are hourly, some operate off of commission, some simply implement a booth rental system in which stylists work as they please so long as they pay a weekly or bi-weekly fee for using the space. As an entrepreneur, they must stay ahead of their finances and balance them to allow for booth rent, products and supplies, retail inventory if applicable, advertisements, continued education, personal business/malpractice insurance, as well as regular life bills. There is truth in the phrase “you have to spend money to make money”, believe you me! If this system isn’t carefully managed, things can take a turn for the worst.

Stepping away from the financial burden, the emotional stress can be quite damaging. Of course there’s pressure involved in hoping the client will be happy with their new cut or new color or not and decides to raise hell and attempt to ruin their reputation if they aren’t- that’s enough pressure as it is. Not to mention, with the new waves in fashion and styles and beauty techniques and the expectance from clients to remain current and up kept on everything new- but it goes much deeper. When clients remain loyal to you for years and years, you come to know more about them than which side to they prefer to part their hair. Lots of times, the salon is the one place they feel comfortable enough to vent all of their problems. Remember, stylists wear many hats. We’re chemists, we’re doctors, we’re accountants, we’re business owners, we’re PR reps, we’re salespeople, we’re miracle workers and we’re shrinks who need shrinks, lol. Betcha never thought about it that way, huh?!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Did you know so much time, energy and financing went into the development and maintenance of a career as a stylist? Did this blog enlighten you a bit, perhaps humble you to treat your barber or beautician with a little more sympathy? Be sure to leave your comments. Till next time, keep that face beat for the Gods and have a nice hair day!

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