Cover Style: The Fellowship For British Hairdressing
Becoming a hairstylist has changed drastically over the past few decades. As formal school s are taking the place of apprenticeship programs there is less “in salon” experience once you graduate from cosmetology school.
It is important to learn a few key tactics to bridge the gap between graduation, licensing, assisting, and being on the salon floor. Despite your skill level upon graduation, there are elements of customer service, higher learning, and “in-salon” practices that can really only be learned from first hand experience. Being met with a whirlwind of unexpected salon problems, learning to become a problem solver, and most importantly a multi-tasker, all while keeping a smile on your face.
You may be asking yourself; Is assisting for me?
Yes, assisting is for EVERYONE. It doesn’t matter if you were a superstar in school, and won all of the creative challenges and awards. Learning how to fit into a salon atmosphere, apply color properly and efficiently, wash and care for clients and the ability to work well with others is encompassed in assisting. While school teaches you the “book smarts”, assisting will show you the “salon smarts”. It will let you play with color formula’s, learn cutting techniques from different schools of thought, and open you up to a world of styling you never saw in school.
Whether you assist an entire salon or a sole stylist it is important to remember the following:
- Always be on time, even if your stylist isn’t. If your stylist is running late, this gives you the ability to take on extra responsibility by mixing color for them, pre-washing a client, prepping for their cut, and creating a bond between you and their client. This will show you how to create relationships with your clients someday.
- Always remain professional: Each salon has a different atmosphere, however it is important to remain professional in appearance and demeanor no matter where you are. Make sure to discuss dress code and hair code prior to starting the job.
- Their schedule is your schedule: If your stylist is booked until 9PM on a Friday night, offer to stay there and help out until they tell you to go. When you are assisting, it is your job to be available for their schedule. This not only shows your dedication but teaches you what it is like to work around your client’s schedule.
- Watch & Learn: Rule one, stay off your phone. Unless you are using it to show a client or your stylist something, stash it. The whole reason you are assisting is to learn, and you can’t do so when you’re updating your Instagram. Watch everything from the way your stylist interacts with their clients, to their habits for styling, coloring, and cutting. Anticipate when they are going to need a new clip, sheet of foil, or fresh bleach and grab it for them. This will keep you focused and give you the ability to learn, not only how to color, cut and style, but do it to the BEST of your abilities.
If you want to be an amazing stylist, it takes an amazing foundation. The best and quickest way to grow this is by other masters in the field. If you land your dream assistant position, work harder than you ever have to be the best stylist you can be - not only will you surprise yourself, you’ll make your teachers proud.