Do you have your heart set on getting into the beauty industry and picture yourself as a stylist making the world a little more beautiful, one cut or color at a time? Or becoming an educator to share your talents with the newest rockstars?
If you do, then it’s time to collect some valuable information on what beauty school entails, irrespective of which discipline your interest lies - skin, makeup, hair or nail care. It isn’t all nail polish and makeover fun. It takes drive, fervor, and zeal because beauty programs mirror the competitive environment that exists in the business.
So, before you put pen to paper and start filling out that application, here are a few points for you to ponder:
Plays Well with Others
People come to salons & spas to relax and indulge in a bit of self-care. As social animals, clients typically love to talk. You certainly don’t need to be born the life of the party, but having good people skills and enjoying being around/working with others is key to this job choice.
A large part of your job, beyond the technical, is communication and a willingness to listen, laugh, and build (professional) relationships. It comes with the territory. Embracing your social side can go a long way in helping you create a thriving guest base.
Beyond guest relations, consider other students as well as your future salon team. Artistic professions attract big personalities; the beauty industry is certainly no exception. Being able to navigate the ins-and-outs of interacting with others while staying focused (and staying out of the drama!) will make your educational journey/salon life infinitely better.
Not Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty
Do your homework and speak to people in the biz, whether it’s salon owners, instructors, stylists, students, or graduates. They will all attest to the fact that beauty school isn't for the faint of heart or those looking for an easy, flexible job. Success in the beauty industry is about putting in the work, physically, technically, and socially, to hone your craft and build your future from the ground up.
In fact, most beauty school programs are about a year-long journey, from learning the fundamentals and training with mannequins to hitting the salon floor and working with actual guests. Like traditional education, you will have lectures, presentations, textbooks, and exams, so you will need to commit to putting in the time necessary to stay on top of your work. In addition, you’ll need to summon your ‘inner hustle’, standing on your feet and wielding a blow dryer. All of these are part of your training, enabling you to graduate with the focus, dedication, and tenacity to find success.
Trying It On
Be honest – you probably would not go out and purchase a car on a whim. You’d do your research, gather some recommendations, go online, etc. before making such significant financial investment.
Now, consider this: some of the training programs available are similar in price to purchasing a vehicle. So, finding the right school to invest your training dollars is a big decision.
Schools differ, not just in terms of syllabus, teaching techniques, tuition cost, and size, but also in the overall holistic and all-around development they provide to their students. Local academies, career colleges, national school chains – education options are as diverse as the students interested in attending.
In addition, some schools offer financial aid services and career bridging programs that help put their graduates on the right path. Other schools may not offer financial aid but may offer payment options to help you forgo taking out student loans altogether. You’ll be training for approximately a year, so give careful consideration when weighing out the pros and cons to make the best decision for you.
Other Duties as Assigned
Maybe you’re dying to dive in and learn everything about hair color, while haircutting seems super scary. Keep in mind that cosmetology covers an array of topics, all of which are part of the training and none of which you should immediately decide you ‘hate’ and ‘will never do’.
For instance, many professionals agree that one of the hardest disciplines in beauty school is makeup. It can really test your tenacity, especially if you are interested in a different line.
Willingness to learn and try new things that you don’t instantly master or, perhaps, even like separates the good from the great. Keep an open mind. Persevering only expands your horizons.
Phew! There are a few points to consider (and there’s always more) when deciding if a career in the professional beauty industry is where you want to be. The takeaway? Do your research. Have conversations with industry professionals that you respect and consider successful. Ask lots of questions. It’s your future, so you owe it to yourself to explore the possibilities.