10 Things to Know Before Entering the Beauty Industry

Category: Beauty
April 18th 2018

Thinking about going to school to become a hairstylist or makeup artist? If so, great! It’s an amazing career choice with so many different doors of opportunity to open! However, the industry isn’t all just rainbows and butterflies all the time. There are other parts that not many people think about before they sign themselves up for beauty school and I am here to tell you a few things to consider beforehand that even I didn’t think about. These things would not have changed my mind, but they may change the mind of those who underestimate the work we do. Here’s a small look into the not so beautiful side of the industry.

SCHOOL IS EXPENSIVE & AFTER IS EXPENSIVE

Unless you are one of the lucky ones to have financial aid cover your tuition, expect to spend around $20k on your education if you choose to go the route of a vocational school like I did. It  doesn’t stop there either! Expect to invest in yourself for the rest of your career for things such as better tools, booth rent, product, continuing education classes, renewing your license, taking your state board test, putting together your state board kit, etc. These are all expenses on top of that tuition cost you should keep in mind during school and after school in the real world.

IT IS NOT ALL JUST FUN AND GAMES

In school, you not only learn about the skills of doing hair, you learn about the science behind it as well. Things like diseases, hair structure, skin, chemicals, etc. are all a part of your education. You will spend time in a classroom studying things that are far more “boring” than playing with hair. You will be tested on these topics constantly and they will be on your state board as well, so it’s not something you can skip or decide to not pay attention to.

YOU WILL NOT MAKE A LOT OF MONEY AT FIRST

That’s right. Working in a salon straight out of school, do not expect a large paycheck. Without clientele, you do not have an income. When I graduated, I wasn’t sure what to do or where to work and had 0 clients. The first salon that showed interest in me working there, I took the job. I would spend hours there all day and was lucky if I took home $5. Of course depending on the person and place, this could be entirely different..that was just my experience.

YOU DETERMINE YOUR OWN INCOME

Once you get into the groove of things, you have control over how much money you make. Going out of your way to talk to someone and tell them about what you do, putting your business cards everywhere, working extra days, creating ads online, setting up a social media account, taking quality photos, etc. all make a huge difference in how you present yourself as a stylist and the money you make as one. Little things make a difference, and over time you will see that hard work really does pay off, and lack of effort will reflect accordingly as well.

IT IS QUITE COMPETITIVE

The industry itself is pretty cut throat if you know what I mean. I haven’t been in it but only 3 years or so and you really do feel the pressure sometimes. People get jealous of one another over dumb things, your work is judged by everyone who sees it, clients come and go, your paycheck fluctuates from month to month, it is pretty intense. But you grow your skills each and every day overcoming these kinds of challenges you’ll face.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

There’s nothing worse feeling the pressure from falling behind on time, or taking too long on a project. Timing is crucial in this field, especially if you are booked back to back. Falling behind even just 15 minutes puts the rest of your entire book on a time crunch, and your clients plans after their salon visit, on hold as well. Nobody wants a client upset over this, especially when they’re in your chair to feel beautiful, not stressed!

THERE WILL BE BAD DAYS

Even after being in the field for awhile, everyone still has their bad days! Whether it’s someone’s hair not turning out how you intend it to or your clients not showing up.. not everyday is perfect!  Not every outcome is perfect either. Do not expect to please each and every single person. That’s just the way it is!

YOUR BODY WILL ACHE ALL OVER

Being on your feet all day standing and angling yourself in all sorts of positions will cause you to hurt at the end of the day. Your back, your wrists, your feet, your legs, pretty much everything is sore. I never thought I’d be buying insoles for my shoes, but I cannot live without them now. You wouldn’t think that something so fun could hurt so bad, but it does! Both physically and mentally!

IT IS HARD AND SOMETIMES CAN BE SCARY

When you’ve got a client with splotchy black box dye sitting in your chair wanting to be platinum, you’ve got a giant color correction project that you have to think about. Analyzing each section of hair determining what chemical to put where for a certain outcome, is a challenge. If slapping a color on hair and it turning out that color was really that simple, then everyone would be hair stylists.

ONE WORD: LICE

You will see it, and you will have to break the news to your client. Then you will have to sanitize literally everything and sometimes even shut down the entire salon to clean it from top to bottom.

Now that the above has probably scared the shit out of you and feel like nothing but negativity, let me enlighten you for one moment here. Being in this industry is truthfully the most rewarding job. Putting a smile on your clients face and making their hair dreams reality is the best feeling. Watching your art walk away on a live canvas is unreal and there aren’t words to describe the feeling of satisfaction you get knowing you’ve made someone feel good about themselves. Like anything in life, there are pros and cons, but if the passion behind what you do is there, it definitely overpowers everything else. If you are reading this to help determine if beauty school is for you, please read my other blog post: 10 Reasons to Join the Beauty Industry where I talk about the positive aspects of the business!