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  • A Day in the Life: Cosmetology

    If a career in the salon industry as a hair stylist or hair colorist sounds promising to you, you'll want to know more about what cosmetologists do on a daily bases.*

    What Do Cosmetologists Do

    Let's pretend it's a busy day in a well-established neighborhood salon with six hair-cutting stations. You are one of three hair stylists/hair colorists. It's a Saturday morning, and you've just walked in the door at 8:30 a.m. After greeting your co-workers, you sit down to consult your appointment book and check for any last-minute changes to the online bookings made by your clients through voicemail or email.

    It's your turn today, so you make the coffee and arrange some new style magazines as you wait for your first appointment. As you're cutting your male client's hair, you may offer to trim his moustache and suggest a shampoo or conditioner he might like before you send him on his way. You sweep up and clean your instruments and your area.

    Next, you have a long appointment for a cut and style with a color application, plus highlights. While that client's color is processing, you work on another client's haircut and blow-dry. After both clients leave, you sweep up again and clean your instruments and your area.

    Next, you have two cut-and-style appointments. You consult your notes to remind you of your clients' likes and dislikes. The first client really likes you to use a curling iron for the hair around her face. And you know that the second client has worn the same hair style for a few years now, so you decide to discuss something new you think will work for her. You're sweeping up and cleaning your instruments as another long-time client arrives with her young son for his first-ever haircut. You sense his apprehension and talk to him calmly to make him feel more at ease.

    Finally, you have a half-hour to grab a quick lunch and get off your feet! Right after lunch, a manufacturer's rep stops by to talk briefly to you and your co-workers about the latest lotions and hottest looks. She also leaves some samples.

    Your afternoon is all about texture. First, you do a body perm for a client who likes waves without a lot of work. Then, you've got the opposite task: Applying a hair relaxer on a client who really doesn't care for all the curls in her hair. After your clients have left, you sweep up again and clean your instruments and your area.

    You check Monday's bookings before you leave for the day, at around 6 p.m. On Tuesday mornings twice each month, you drive to the local nursing home to cut and style the hair of residents who can't easily get to your salon. And there's one thing you can always depend on: Each client is different, and no two days are alike.

    So how do you know whether a career like this one is right for you? You may want to start with an honest assessment. Does this sound like you?

    • I enjoy helping people look their best.
    • I have a solid sense of design and a curiosity about the latest fashion trends.
    • I'm creative and artistic.
    • I have an eye for detail and precision.
    • I like working with people, engaging them, and making them feel comfortable.
    • My listening skills are good.
    • I can easily get to know individuals and their likes and dislikes.
    • I have a knack for being tactful and diplomatic.
    • I'm patient.
    • I have the stamina to work on my feet for varied/changing, sometimes long, hours.
    • I don't mind working evenings or weekends.

    If you fit this general profile, then a career as a hair stylist or hair colorist may give you the chance to draw on your basic skills, talents, and abilities - and refine them - as you develop and grow as a student and a potential practitioner in this area of the cosmetology field.


    (1) http://www.beautyschooladvisor.com/Why-Beauty-SchoolNote/So-Many-Reasons/so-many-reasons-to-attend-beauty-school/260237/Default.aspx

    (2) http://www.beautyschooladvisor.com/Beauty-CareersNote/Hairdresser-Careers/260221/Default.aspx

    (3) http://www.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2007/12/19/hairstylistcosmetologist-a-day-in-the-life.html

    (4) This is just an example of what a cosmetologist may typically experience. Employment not guaranteed for students or graduates.results may vary.