Phenomenal . . .

Phenomenal . . .
Life, Growth, and Connection (This sunflower was nourished by my hands.) 2010; Photography by Benita Blocker. Please become a follower of this blog.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Reasons to Justify Leaving the Hair Industry

I deleted an article last week because I stated that Paul Mitchell had removed the panthenol from their Extra Body hairspray, but I was wrong.  Paul Mitchell actually added more panthenol to this spray but also added more dimethicone according to the revised ingredient list.  Regardless, the formula of the hairspray has been altered under the same name within the last three years.  I have tried to get away from hair products with heavy dimethicone in its ingredients.  I find them to eventually cause dryness to the hair.

So as you can guess that one of my biggest reasons for wanting to leave the hair industry is that the hair products keep changing on us.  

We as hairstylists can not deliver consistent final finishes to our clients when the products that we use are being altered without our knowledge.

Other Product changes
Sebastian changed its Cellophanes Semi-permanent hair colors a year ago.  Thank God that they really made the hairstylists aware of the new changes, but the new formula does NOT give the same coverage that the old formula provided. 

 I have tried about five other product lines trying to get the coverage that Sebastian Cellophanes used to deliver, and I have not found a replacement yet.  It is so frustrating to have to constantly look for product alternatives because "something stopped working."  We as hairstylists can not control these product changes.  The manufacturers just shove the changes down our throats, and we are forced to try other product lines.   I have seen unannounced formula changes in shampoos, conditioners, sculpting foams, hairspray, semi-permanent hair colors and more.

Paraben-Free is NOT "Going Green!"
Paraben-Free products definitely have cause some landfill waste.  While "no preservatives" sound healthy for the hair, the shelf life is so short that I am scared to buy paraben free products now because I have no idea when they were manufactured.  After a year, paraben-free products seem to start to lose their effectiveness. 

Expiring in the Warehouse
In addition, with the hair trends changing, some products don't move as often and are getting old in the warehouses before they are even shipped out to the stores for retail sale.  Expiration dates really need to be placed on all beauty products.  I suppose if everyone started calling the companies to find out the manufacture dates based the batch codes listed on the products, then they would began to provide more disclosure in the age of the products.  Even old relaxers and other chemicals are just sitting on shelves waiting for the uninformed consumer to buy.

Yeah, someone is thinking: "I will just sue whomever for selling me old product."  But do you know how long it takes to get a court hearing?  Unless there is a class action, your one bad experience may not get much exposure.

We as Product Police
So between ingredient changes and old products floating around, we as hairstylists are now having to police everything we purchase so that no one is surprised at the final results.

Now, in addition to the "Product Policing," we have to be cautious of new trends that are damaging to the hair.

Trends to be Caution of:
  1. Ammonia-free haircolor - some people believe the ammonia-free alternative chemical used can be just as damaging as real ammonia because it is harder to shampoo out of the hair.
  2. No-lye relaxers - all relaxers have some sort of lye derivative or alternative chemical that is just as potentially damaging to the hair and/or scalp as real sodium hydroxide.  Sometimes these derivatives leave "byproducts" lingering in the hair that have to be clarified out later.
  3. Flat Irons - these tools delivered shine and movement to the hair that seemed "too good to be true."  Guess what?  It was  too good to be true.  The ionic flat irons were actually compromising the internal integrity of the hair resulting in a lot of breakage months or years later.
  4. Keratin or Smoothing Treatments - these keratin treatments were designed to help balance all of the flat iron breakage, but they required flat ironing the hair to infuse the treatments into the hair.  The heat applied to the keratin solutions in some brands caused formaldehyde gas to form endangering everyone's respiratory system.

Should I even go on?  You get the idea . . . everything new is not always good for everyone.

License Renewal
Now, let me also mention that I just renewed my Georgia Master Cosmetologist license and guess what? I have to pay an extra fee to get a hard copy of my license to display.  What the heck?

Product value
And I forgot to mention that product pricing is increasing as the ingredients are getting cheaper and the sizes are getting smaller.

Value of the hair profession?
In addition, women will spend $1000.00 on a handbag that they can get more long-term compliments versus a hairstyle that is disposable. 

Then there are many people who do not view hairstylists as state board certified professionals in the same league as physicians, attorneys, dentists - so paying someone huge bucks in a profession where it is not required to have a Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate degree is not embraced.  However, physicians, attorneys, dentists, and other celebrities rely on "hair professionals" to keep their money making image complete.

The corporate ladder
In the hairstyling field, I have not seem a corporate ladder to climb.  Hairstylists have to network and continue to re-invent themselves to attract new clients and retain the existing clients.  It is always a hustle. I know that Corporate America has its own set of politics, and the "pink slip" can be waving around an unsuspected corner, but vacation pay, insurance benefits, and sick time can provide relief from the constant hustle to keep a steady revenue flow when the nature of most businesses are "feast or famine."

While I do not have definite plans for leaving the hair industry, it is a thought.  I have salary requirements.  I respect ownership and submission.  I believe in team effort.  I believe in advancing a company's bigger picture.

What do I see for the future of the hair industy?  Traditional salons will be coming back.  Those styling studio suites are a dead-end without building a team that can make you money while you are absent. For those who have a full-time corporate career, the styling studio suites are a professional setting to bring a limited clientele to be serviced, but the weekly pricing for part-time usage may not be practical.

People have asked me about teaching cosmetology, and I admit that I know that I would be good at it, but I do not think that the teachers' pay in North Carolina coincides with my salary demands.

Hanging in there!
For now, I am NOT going anywhere.  I still have plenty of articles to write and post.  I also have a good clientele base. It is always good to take inventory of one's own "state of the union." 


  1. Great post! Have you thought about offering CEU courses and traveling concierge style around NC? I know their program seems a bit price, but it may be a model that aligns you with the pay you need. All your points are on target. I can go on and on as well. Check out the book Green Beauty-you'll love it!

  2. Thanks Cheleski for the other career ideas to explore as well as the book recommendation! And yes, I did not even include the hair extensions, lace front wigs, hair replacement, natural hair licensing competition, and so on. LOL! Surprisingly, I am picking up more loc clientele, and the interlocking technique requires "no product." Most of the revenues are generated from pure labor without any product replacement. So far, clearly not a bad deal!