January 30th, 2013
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6 Things You Didn’t Know About Hairdresser Careers
Most of us are familiar with hairdressers, and what they do for us. And, a lot of us have an idea about what it takes to become a hairdresser. But some of the things you don’t know may surprise you. Hairdressers are highly trained professionals, and have to learn a lot more than just how to cut hair. Also, the job itself has it’s ups and downs. If you are thinking of becoming a cosmetologist, you might want to read about these 6 things you didn’t know about hairdressing careers:
1. Basic Anatomy
Hairdressers have to know about anatomy, especially as it applies to hair and the scalp, but also cell structures, trichology (the science of the hair and scalp), structure of the hair itself, and more. Your scalp is made up of skin, which is actually the largest organ in the body. It has three layers, and over 20 different parts, such as the Arrector pili, sebaceous duct, Eccrine glands, Hypodermis, Meissner’s corpuscle, dermal papillae, Pacinian corpuscle, and more. They have to be able to spot, and identify potential issues, and avoid potentially harmful treatments to areas such as rashes, lesions, and such.
2. Sanitation and Safety
Basically, almost everything a cosmetologist uses, including their hands and breath, will come into contact with many different people throughout the day. Needless to say, the risk of contamination, and the opportunity for harmful microbes, and parasites to spread is not inconsequential.
Cosmetologist have to learn how to keep and immaculate and sterile work environment, including how to clean and sterilize hair-cutters, curlers, scissors, brushes and combs, manicure and pedicure equipment, the bins they wash feet, hands, and do shampoos in, the restrooms, floors, walls, and even their own bodies. They have to understand how diseases and parasites are transmitted, especially those that involve the scalp, hair feet, and nails. They have to protect their customers, and themselves against viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungus.
Most people don’t think about it much, but a cosmetologist has to have a very good knowledge of chemistry, especially theory, and practical applications as they relate to things like hair-coloring. Some of these chemicals they have to work with can be dangerous. In fact, studying chemistry is one of the most important aspects of cosmetology training, because most hairdressers mix their own coloring agents. They must also deal with hair-relaxers, color-removers, doing highlights, chemicals involved with pedicures and manicures, etc…
4. Business, Legal, and Ethics
Cosmetology is a service, which means you will absolutely be dealing with people on a one-to-one basis. There is no hiding in the office, or delegating authority. You will have to deal directly with the public. And there are all kinds of people. Some will be nice, and some…well, not so much.
You will have rude people, people who want to preach to you about things subjects, people who ramble on aimlessly about incredibly boring subjects, and some people you will never be able to please, no matter what. It’s all part of the job, and you will have to learn how to handle all of these situations, and more. You will also have to learn some salesmanship, in order to develop a clientele. A stylist will usually have to create their own following, if they expect to make any real money. You’ll also have to learn business management skills, ethics, and all the applicable legal considerations for your area.
5. Deciding how you want to work
There are many options available for you to decide how you want to work. Do you want to travel? A Cruise Ship gig may be just the thing for you. Do you want to make big money, and maybe be associated with some celebrities and sports stars? Movie Studios, Acting companies. Band Managers, TV Shows, and Sports Teams all employ cosmetologist. There is a lot more opportunity than just working in a local salon .
6. Self-Employed, or an Employee
These are questions you’ll need to answer at some point. Both have advantages and disadvantages. A lot depends on what kind of lifestyle you’d like to have, and whether or not you are up to the task of running your own business. It’s not easy. And, there is the in-between position of being an independent contractor, such as renting a booth in a salon. Of course, you can switch back and forth, but to build a good business base, at some point you will have to decide what is best for you, and your situation.
There are other considerations, but these are pivotal to building a successful career as a hairdresser.