Anyone can cut hair. But not anyone can be a good hairdresser. It is not rocket science to learn the techniques of cutting and coloring hair, but it takes so much more to be really good in this exciting profession.
Beauty school and / or an apprenticeship in a good salon can give you all the tools that you need, but what will make you different than anyone else and help you succeed, are your personal talents, skills and inclinations.
Let me begin however with the most important ingredient. It is neither a skill nor a talent. It is the driving energy that makes us good at anything we do and without it, we would not even have fun working. It is
passion. To be an excellent hairdresser you have to love what you do. If you dream it, live it and can’t get enough of it, then you have the perfect start.
Passion leads to enthusiasm, which besides being wonderfully contagious is the basis for any artistic and creative work. Without those inner sparks no great work can be come to life.
And yes, you should be an artist.
Even simple styles require a feeling for balance and a steady hand.
Be a sculptor. Sculptors have to be able to see what they want to produce in a mass of unshaped material. As Michelangelo put it once: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him
free.” Do you see the style and finished look in the mass of hair?
Be a painter. Understand not only the basics but also the magic of mixing colors, combining color profiles, using light and shadow as well as interactions of warm and cold colors next to each
other – for example when hair is colored in different tones and with contrasting hues. Be able to apply paint with a brush in a targeted and controlled way and to create smooth transitions between the shades.
Be a designer. Some people are more creative than others who rather stay on the safe side and repeat what others have done before. Creativity is not only necessary to create the extravagant and
postmodern looks we see on the catwalks. As a creative person you see things that others don’t. It is as simple as that. In your mind you are able to visualize all kinds of shapes and colors and put them together.
It is a big challenge to help someone to find the perfect look and to give advice. If you only have a small repertoire of hairstyles that you are comfortable with and cannot think outside the box, your success will be limited as well.
Be a great listener. No matter how creative or artistically and technically advanced you are, it won’t do any good unless your customer is happy. And they are only happy when they leave the salon
more beautiful than they came in and feel that all of their wishes were fulfilled. To understand the wants and needs of someone you have to listen carefully to what they say and also understand what they are not
saying. This is where the next item on this list comes in:
Be a psychologist. Know what to do with the information that you heard. Put two and two together. Listen between the lines and understand the motivation of your customers. You have to be able to
build a rapport with your customers and get to know them. Understand what they mean when they talk about the “transformation” of their hair, which often means a transformation of themselves. Especially women tend
to visit hair salons with radical wishes like cutting long hair very short or applying an extreme color, when they actually want to change their life. Also, many people love to come to a salon just to get some personal
attention and to talk to someone, be it about celebrity gossip or about more personal issues. This gives being a hairdresser a whole other dimension that is not mentioned in schools and during training, same as a
bartender does not only pour drinks. A good one listens and anticipates.