The Best Advice Hairstylists Got From Other Hairstylists
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Happy National Hairstylist Appreciation Day! Five years ago, our editor in chief Jen Atkin created Mane Addicts as a platform for fostering a collaborative environment in the beauty industry, but we wouldn’t be here today without the countless hairstylists we cherish in our community. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that there’s room for everyone. To maintain that vibe and celebrate the greatest humans to have ever existed aka hairstylists, we asked them: what’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another hairstylist? Click through the gallery for major career and life advice from top stylists, in honor of National Hairstylist Appreciation Day.
Sarah Conner @oncolourground
I learned from Justin Anderson the saying, “A client is only YOUR client when they’re sitting in your chair!” Which is a very poignant statement. At the end of the day it’s a client’s choice who they want to do their hair and it’s our responsibility as the stylist to keep them wanting to come back to your chair! As easily as relationships/ friendships are formed between a stylist and a client, we can’t take their business for granted! We must remember that it’s business first, they’re coming to us for a service, and not just because of the relationship we have formed.
Naeemah LaFond @naeemahlafond
A colleague of mine, who is also a busy hair stylist Mom, once told me that the best way to get through traveling Mom guilt is to make sure to make the best of the time that you do spend with your children by creating memories and also showing them that you enjoy your work. She reminded me that we are raising children who will not be afraid to go after their dreams because of the example we are setting.
This advice came at such a perfect time for me. Honestly, I think I met Jenny that day not just to work with her but to hear this piece of advice. I think the universe put her in my path for a reason. I was going through a really rough time with getting accustomed to balancing mom life and traveling for work. I remember just coming right out and telling her that I was really feeling the pressure and stress of all of the traveling for work. She pulled out pics of her beautiful and happy children and told me that everything will be just fine. I’m so grateful for that because I don’t think I would have received it as well if it didn’t come from someone who does exactly what I do and knew exactly what I was going through. Her words really helped me to refocus on my hair styling career and put aside the mom guilt. It was a pivotal point where I could have crumbled under the pressure but this boss mom was there to encourage me. Thanks Jenny!
Matthew Collins @matthewstylist
Two years into my career I knew I wanted a future in education. I was told to take lots of public speaking classes which also offer lots of self development work within them. To be honest, they were super expensive and I literally had no money to pay for them, but I trusted this person and believed they had my best interest at hand. I went into debt and made it work even though it seemed impossible. The key to it all was starting this early in my career before I learned bad habits. I am now never nervous to speak, I know exactly how to prepare and engage with my audience in the right way so that their learning can be increased..
Colin David Ford. Who was personally a very skilled hairstylist. But he was the education manager for l’Oreal pro in Canada ❤️
One of the biggest things other than the speaking was it forced me to work on myself from the inside so I had more confidence. It also really worked on making us ASK for the negative. If you don’t and then you’re told how to improve that can often be a big ego smash. But after everything I do. I approach my peers or superior in that project and always ask where my room for improvement is.
Cash Lawless @cashlawlesshair
“Say yes and take risks”. – Mark Townsend. What I learned from Mark was that yes is a powerful thing. He would have a slew of A-listers in four different parts of town, get a call, say yes, and add one more. No matter how busy he was, he always made sure he was there for his clients. Watching him was a great lesson. While “no” is also powerful in an abundance of opportunity, you never know how long that abundance of opportunity will last. So every time you say yes, you increase your chances of meeting not just more people, but the right people and creating a higher future opportunity potential. When you are old, you will regret far more of your “No’s” than your “Yes’s”.
Kathleen Riley @kathleen_hair
“What you leave down is more important than what you put up” in regards to an upstyle. Glen Coco gave me this advice and it was so helpful because most times when a celebrity is getting photographed, especially on a red carpet, it’s from the front. The hair left down in the front is also the hair that usually complements the face the most, by how much/little you leave down or where you pull the pieces from.
As for advice, my best advice was from Jen (well she gave me a lot but one thing that stand out lol): Invest in your kit with hair extensions. Although they’re expensive, adding them slowly into your kit could be the reason why a client calls you back. They truly do make the biggest difference in the appearance of someone’s hair even if it is just for fullness or volume. It is a vital part of your kit that could make or break the client’s experience with you.
Daniel Moon @majormoonn
I had a mentor that really engrained in me that there are certain processes that just take time to truly develop and master a craft. Some of that time involves learning techniques, and other times that involves the world catching on. You can’t deny time making its mark and bringing all those attributes to the same place. Timing is everything 🙂 (especially when with you’re working with bleach ;-)) Processing time is important for ALL aspects of hair and life— both with a client and your career.
Justine Marjan @justinemarjan
Jen Atkin taught me never to be threatened by my peers and that there is enough work to go around for us all to be successful! She was the first stylist I worked for that never felt in competition with anyone else and was truly so confident in her skills and in her career. It changed my mindset and opened me up to new, more expansive and abundant ways of thinking!
Keeva Ekhator @keevahair
The best advice I received from another hairstylist is to educate your clients and they will be loyal. That includes everything from home care, to product knowledge, to the process I’m going to take them through with their color, etc. This advice has laid the foundation to who I am as a hairstylist and built a level of trust with my clients.
This advice was given to me by one of my first educators at the Aveda Institute of South Florida in 2008, the fabulous Jessica Kennedy (@jk3birds).
Peter Mazilu @petermazilu
The most valuable advice in my career as a hair stylist came from Kate Oechsle-Truesdale, AVP of Education for Mizani who is also an amazing hairstylist.
We were on set on a four-day global photoshoot, it was my first time styling hair for such a large scale project and I was terrified. I remember standing on the side as my model was being photographed and thinking what I needed to touch up. Kate pulled me over to the monitor where the photos were displayed and said, “This is what you need to be looking at, the camera will show what your eyes can’t!” This advice was a game changer for me and I’ll always be appreciative to her for that.
Ashley Rubell @ashleyrubell
Inspiration comes in many shapes but growth comes in the generosity of your mentor.
Sunnie Brook, the first freelance artist I ever worked for served as an invaluable example of what it means to be a leader.
Sunnie would pay me for jobs right away, even when she hadn’t gotten paid for them yet — that’s a big deal when you’re starting out as an assistant in the freelance world and something I always try and do for my assistants today. She treated me with respect, and took a sincere interest in who I was and how I was doing, which made me feel valued and motivated me to work hard for her. Kind words are nice but kind actions make a lasting impact. She referred me to other hair stylists and work opportunities to help keep me busy so I actually stood a chance at making a living. And yes, she taught me how to create beautiful hair styles, but she also taught me the importance of research, bookkeeping, PR / Marketing, *giving back*, and other operational maintenance that comes with being your own boss. Because of her generosity, I am more than a hair stylist. I’m an entrepreneur.
Dom Seeley @domseeley
The best advice I got was from, of course, Jen Atkin.
“Know your worth then add tax.” This quote has helped me so much in the recent years of my career. I always used to feel like I couldn’t fully charge or ask for prices starting out and it still to this day comes up on jobs. I just recently funny enough got asked to be booked for a job and they said there’s little to no fee for the hairstylist and this is a big company so I was shocked. I kindly told them my rate and that the fee they offered wouldn’t cover even my taxes. It’s a great piece of advice I learnt as it’s really helped me gravitate towards work organically and helps me know that certain jobs will come and go and that’s okay. There’s a whole range of talent out there so it’s a great sense of self confidence when you know your worth and what value you bring to a client, celebrity or brand.
Priscilla Valles @priscillavalles
The best advice I ever received was never say “No!” Its important to be reliale and loyal to your clients! I have clients I’ve been working with for 20 years, like Christina Aguliera for example. She counts on me and that’s an honor! On call at all times. We are like Hair Doctors!
Liz Jung @lizyjung
My boss and mentor Tracey Cunningham has always told me never say no to a job.
You never know what kind of opportunities and networking it can bring towards your career. Also, that is the number one reason why she is so successful. It always stuck with me and I am always willing to work for her and the opportunities that I get through Tracey. She definitely works the hardest out of everyone in our team and I am constantly humbled by it. I owe all my success to her and her invaluable advices I’ve gotten throughout the years!