How Does A Hairstylist Keep Learning? 2 comments

I have all these unanswered questions, and all these techniques I want to learn. I want to absorb as much as I can about hair.ย  But I don’t know how. It seems like you can’t learn anything without spending a lot of money in this industry – the knowledge is out there, but it’s metered out and more expensive than oil. I can’t afford to take extra classes, I’m already about $18,000 in debt in student loans to pay for hair school, and I am finding it difficult how I can’t…learn at the pace I want to learn at. If I could go at my own pace I would be an amazing stylist in one year. And I mean that not to boast, and not because I think I have ridiculous talent – but because I devote myself 110% to what I do. I live, breathe, and sweat what I do in life, and there isn’t one minute of one day that I’m not thinking about it. I don’t get burned out. I’m a shark, I do one thing, and one thing only, but I am very good at it: Learn. And it is really frustrating me how school keeps me going at a pace I feel handicaps me. ๐Ÿ™

I don’t want to just try and try and figure out how to cut hair by myself and then have someone grade my efforts after I’m done. Even if I do progress that way, slowly, I can miss HUGE, basic, foundational things. Like how to properly control your shears, how to cut on the outstroke, all these techniques and bits of experience that people can go years without learning…

I am fantastically skilled at learning things, but only when I can learn the way I want to learn. I don’t do well in other systems. For example, I did beyond horrible in high school. But I learned to make my own guitar (from scratch), without knowing anything about making instruments, or woodworking. And I did so well because I was directing my own education. I was going at my own pace by my own means. Maybe I should find a way to get a bunch of my own mannequin heads and just practice my own stuff after school. The school said I can practice coloring mannequins, if I pay for the color, so they aren’t resistant to my wanting to learn more… it’s just that they have a certain way they need to run the school, and I don’t fit into rigid systems very well. ๐Ÿ™

I am still unsure how I feel about all the secrecy in the industry. Nobody wants to share tips or advice (not without charging a healthy amount of money, anyway). I understand this from a business perspective, but I come from a world of photography and music and art – a world where it is a mark of good character to be a teacher, to share your knowledge and experience and advice with everyone as much as you can, for the betterment of the craft. I come from a world that loves the art and craft of a thing, more than making money.

Maybe that’s why photographers like Joe McNally are living comfortably, and hairdressers like Robert Cromeans are living lavishly. I think I want to be a teacher though. If you love what you do it is dishonest to sequester it away in your mind. If you love what you do it is only right and proper to share it, and all the knowledge you have about it, with everyone else who loves it as much as you. If you really love it, it doesn’t matter that you don’t make as much money sharing ideas and experience freely. And you can’t say that it’s an immature concept, the free exchange of the craft, because so many great artists and great people embrace and champion it as the center of their personal code of ethics.

I’m rambling now, aren’t I? Oh well. When I am an awesome hairdresser I will share my knowledge. For free. With everyone that wants to know. I will make my money by being a great hairdresser, not by holding secrets.

Ps. Here is the guitar I built. I know it has nothing to do with hair, but I’m proud of it! I named it Drippy. ๐Ÿ™‚

(ignore the dates on some of the pictures, I built Drippy last december. Just used a cheap camera and didn’t set the date to document it – didn’t want to bring my nice camera into all that sawdust!)


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2 thoughts on “How Does A Hairstylist Keep Learning?

  • Erin

    Hey dude
    Im an Aveda hairstylist from Columbus, Ohio. I stumbled across your blog while I was googling different types of shears. Im always buying tools of the trade I tell ya!
    I happened to come across this particular snippit and felt compelled to give you some advice.
    This industry is for sure expensive, whether it be buying up to date tools or products, or taking classes to advance. My advice to you love, find a salon where you do an extensive internship. Most high end salons require an internship of 6 months -2 years. It seems dreadfully long but the payoff is extremely rewarding! You apprentice under the best of the best, work hands on and try the best techniques. The best way to learn in this industry is by doing! You are going to screw up, you are going to feel uninspired, you are going to wonder why the hell you are doing this. That is COMPLETELY normal.
    It is in your best interest to work for a salon where the management PAYS for your continuing education and sends you out of state for training like Vidal Sassoon, pivot point, ect. is a great way to get free videos on new techniques and surprisingly you can find quite a bit of information on youtube or just through googling. I get on all the time to check in on hair ideas. The fun thing about this industry is it is constantly changing, so dont feel bad if you dont know everything! I think the hairstylists that are truly great are the one that care about their clients and the people in the industry. Its all a big show anyways isnt it? Have faith in yourself and your loved ones and I promise great things will come to you!
    P.s I think its quite admirable you would rather share what you know that hold it to make yourself more popular

    • Picklemonkey

      Thanks so much for taking the time to give me your advice!
      It’s much much appreciated. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I’m definitely going to try and apprentice at a place that will further my career and skills, rather than jumping into a $10 haircut chain salon. Just gotta find the right one!