On Becoming a Hairdresser (2)Previous Page
A good cosmetologist also needs to be organized. There are countless things to keep track of in dealing with a client base. You need to keep records of the services performed for various clients and the products used – especially since some products are not compatible and would result in unfortunate reactions if inappropriately or erroneously applied. (For instance, if you don’t make a record of the haircolor used on a particular client and use an incompatible shade the next time, you can create some unpleasant tints in the hair.) You must also keep track of scheduling your clients, and when to send reminders for follow-up services, as well as maintaining a working inventory of products and supplies so that you can always provide the services a client may desire.
Finally, a good hairdresser has to be self-motivated and a little aggressive. Of course, you always want to be as courteous with your clients as you can, but you should never hesitate to suggest follow-up appointments for maintenance services, or to suggest additional services that you feel would benefit your client. Sometimes, when you take the “soft sell” approach and “let the client make the first move” they can interpret it as you not caring about their business. Always make your client feel that he or she is the most important person to sit in your chair. If you make them feel important, you’ll become important to them.
The Difficulties of Being A Hairdresser
Contrary to what some people believe, the job of a cosmetologist is physically demanding. It may not require heavy lifting or rigorous activity, but it does require that the individual be able to stand on his or her feet for long periods and often to assume and hold uncomfortable positions for a protracted period of time. And there is a lot of repetitive motion in cosmetology. While you may not need to be able to compete in a triathlon, you still need to be aware of the physical demands of the job.
These physical demands also include working with some fairly strong chemical compounds; some of which don’t have a pleasant fragrance. Even the required practices that don’t involve harsh chemicals can become problematic. I had a classmate in cosmetology school who developed contact dermatitis from having to constantly wash her hands so often (and from shampooing clients repeatedly). Another cosmetologist with whom I worked developed a latex allergy from frequent exposure to the rubber gloves we have to wear during chemical services.
There are a lot of stresses besides these physical ones, too. When a client comes to you they often have a picture in their head of what they want their hair to look like, but have no realistic concept of whether it is possible, or even how to relay their wishes to you. For instance, I once had a 60+ year old white woman with baby-fine hair come to me and tell me that she wanted her hair to look like Halle Berry’s. I tried explaining in every way that I could, and did my best to approximate what she said she wanted, but she still left my chair dissatisfied. Some people cannot be dissuaded and you have to learn to deal with them. Occasionally, you can make one happy, or you can explain to them why it won’t work and they’ll accept it. But the ones who get upset or can’t tell you exactly what they want are going to be a problem in most cases.
Requirements for Licensing
The requirements necessary to become a licensed cosmetologist – and therefore eligible to practice your trade in the area where you live – vary from region to region. In the U.S. the requirements are set by the individual states, though they do tend to be somewhat uniform. Even across the globe, among the places that require licensure to practice cosmetology, most of the requirements are fairly common.