If you weren’t a Career Hair Stylist what else would you be?

Career Hair StylistReflection.  It’s a scary and crazy thing.  I’m forced to admit that I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately to ‘think’. By think I mean worry, stew and contemplate what catastrophe will occur or more simply put – drive myself crazy.  I know rationally what ‘they’ mean by rest is not particularly what happens in my brain when forced to lay still and stare at the ceiling, but I’ve never really been one to zone out and have unproductive thoughts.  I’m sure you can see the problem.  So as I ‘rest’ one of the things that has crossed my mind many times is what would my career look like if I wasn’t a Hair Stylist? What other profession would allow me to be productive and continue to work right now?

You see, when you can no longer physically do the things you love (in my case colouring and cutting hair) you start to wonder where life could have taken you if you had chosen a different path or even where life will take you if faced with not only with a fork in the road where you can choose left or right, but a solid 3 million ft high mountain which you are either forced to climb (be productive) or sit down in the middle of the road and cry (which would not be productive).  I know I’m being dramatic.  Indulge me a little bit.

And so I wondered.  Then I wondered some more since I have the time to ponder.  Here is what I came up with:

I’d want a career that helped people.

Seems simple enough.  I would want to make a persons day better in some way so that after they spent time with me they would feel lighter, more positive and just all around happier because of the time we spent together.  Many professions have the pleasure of helping people – you just have to have the genuine want to do it. You simply can’t fake this kind of stuff.

I’d want a career where I could form genuine relationships with people.

In order to help people and form a genuine relationship you need to see a person on a regular basis.  That being said you can’t make a profitable career talking to people or that sort of pushes the boundaries of a ‘genuine’ relationship.  For instance, you don’t have a relationship with your therapist since you pay them to listen to you talk.  See my point? Psychiatry or Counselling, not an option.

I’d want a career that gave me the opportunity to teach.

This goes right along with helping people and forming genuine relationships.  Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is a Teacher and although I have a very healthy amount of respect for the profession, the thought of facing a room full of young children that still need assistance pulling their pants up and down or a room full of teenagers that stare daggers at you simply because the hormonal winds have shifted, is for me downright terrifying.  I get enough of the hormonal winds at home thank you very much.  Being a Teacher is not an option.

 I’d want a career where the amount of effort I put in mattered.

This one might seem a little off but it’s very important to me.  I’m an effort person.  I want a career where my effort can get me results.  I don’t want to work alongside 15 other people who are doing the exact same job, all putting in different amounts of effort yet all earn the same wage.  It’s just not for me.  It’s actually occurring to me right now that there are fewer and fewer jobs out there that offer this option.  Interesting.  When did it become a negative thing to recognize hard work?

I’d want a career where I could create my own business IF I chose to do so.

I thought this point was coming from hindsight but I should know myself better.  I always wanted the option.  Knowing that if ever my circumstances didn’t provide an environment that I could grow and flourish in I could take things into my own hands.  This has heavily influenced how I run my business – there is never a ceiling for Stylists who choose to work with me – no end, no limit.  If they have the ambition to take their career in a certain direction or have the desire to do something different from our ‘norm’ you’ll find me behind them applauding and supporting.  People shouldn’t have to leave a job to excel at their career.

I’d want a career that allowed me to express my creativity.

Here’s where things get a little more selective.  A lot of people express their creativity in their hobbies, not in their everyday jobs.  This was important to me mostly because creative people are generally more emotional people.  Don’t shoot the messenger.  I need to let that creativity out on a daily basis and not just outside of work hours. Everyone that is creative has their medium.  Identify it and embrace it.  My medium is hair.  I can’t explain why or how my medium is hair, it just is.  Don’t ask me to sketch, paint on canvas, carve, sculpt, build, compose a symphony or any other creative thing.  Just let me be creative with hair.

 

The consistent thing in each of these points is that I have always wanted a career.  This is what it always boiled down to for me; the difference between having a career and working.  A Career is defined as ‘a chosen pursuit; a profession or occupation’, while work is defined as ‘a mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment’.  Can you see the difference? We all need to be gainfully employed but we are lucky if we can do that through our chosen pursuit. A Career.

If I weren’t a Career Hairstylist, what would I be? Simply put – I’d be unhappy.  There are so many other careers I could have chosen but for me they’d merely be working.  I’d be creatively stifled, working only for the end result, and not getting to live out the things above that are truely very important to me.

So at my current crossroad, without the physical ability to pursue my career do I wish I had chosen something different? Not for a second.  I still have a career where I am helping people, forming genuine relationships, teaching, where my effort matters, creating different opportunities for business and the outlet of expressing my creativity.  Do I miss working with hair? Like you’d miss the air you are breathing.  It’s simply part of who I am. But on my 3 million ft climb straight up this mountain I’ve discovered that creativity is best shared, best never taken for granted and most of all best appreciated through the hands of others.

In closing my advice for anyone who feels my words resonate with them; If life throws you a curve ball – just catch it with your other hand.  There is always another way to live happily. 😉

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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Photoshop Hair Colour – it really happens!

The new era of online living provides limitless hair colour pictures at our fingertips.  Any hair salon or hairstylist will likely have a portfolio of their work on either their website, Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes even all three, showing different types of images on each platform. In our Industry having an online portfolio has become a necessity in representing yourself as a hairstylist.  Unfortunately, the easy and endless options for photo manipulation has created a huge problem, what I call…..photoshop hair colour.  For the purpose of this post I’ll refer to altering images, regardless of what app or program is used, as photoshop.

I’m sure most of you are very familiar with photoshop and basic photo editing.  If you use Instagram (which I’m sure you do) there are countless options when posting your pictures to brighten, sharpen, alter the temperature and lots of filters to make them look really unique. It’s creative, artistic and super fun to do for your personal photos! For professional photos and photos used for advertising, photoshop editing can be necessary to create beautiful, eye-catching images.  Touch ups such as removing a shadow from the face, smoothing the skin, removing that one strand of hair sitting annoyingly on the models forehead – these are all normal edits.  Even after a family photo session there is editing work to be done!

As a hairstylist though, what really makes my crazy (or more so than usual!) is full photoshop hair colour manipulation.  What I mean is professional hairstylists using photoshop (or the like) for full-scale manipulation of hair colour.  Taking an original photo, changing the actual hair colour itself, posting it on social media and taking credit for the work *cringe*. Many hairstylists are 100% against this practise but unfortunately there are some who don’t see it as a problem.  To each their own.  Let me show you an example of what I mean.

Here is a beautiful, unedited colour and cut done by the talented Jen on our Studio staff:

photoshop hair colour

Original, unedited photo

 

And here are some ‘photoshop hair colour’ versions of the same image:

 

photoshop hair colour

Edited to add Minty Green colour

photoshop hair colour

Edited to add Copper Highlights

photoshop haircolour

Added Red tones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These pictures took me no time at all to manipulate and although I’m very aware that they aren’t perfect, I’m sure without the original photo for comparison you wouldn’t give a second thought to them not being the original picture.

Think of scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed and seeing one of these photoshop hair colour pictures.  Would you even consider the credited hairstylist didn’t give the client this exact hair colour? Of course not!

Be cautious.  Do your research. Unfortunately, things aren’t always as they appear.  If you see a picture online that you love bring it to a hairstylist you trust.

I honestly don’t have a lot of skill for editing and I believe it is something best left to professionals who know how to handle a photoshop program.  All our photoshoot images have professional edits (skin smoothing, stray hairs as mentioned above) where our daily posts on Facebook and Instagram (unless we are reposting one of the above mentioned photoshoot images) are merely cropped and watermarked with the Studio name.  What you see is exactly what the client walked out the door with.

Does having the information about our editing process (or lack there of) make you look at photos a little differently? Would you be more inclined to ask questions? If so, I’m glad!  My purpose is to offer you a little honesty into what in my opinion may sometimes not be an honest practise.

Bottom line?  Find a hairstylist you trust.  You won’t need to worry about a thing!

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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Hairstylist Life…..Hair Contact before Eye Contact

 

hairstylistA quick trip to the grocery store.  A night out meeting a few new people.  A binge session on Netflix.  Do these things have anything in common for you? Before this gets too weird let me explain a phenomenon of the Hairstylist Life: Hair Contact before Eye Contact.  Yep – that’s right – those of us who live, eat, breathe and sleep our careers as hairstylists know this debilitating problem all too well. Basically it boils down to Hair Contact before…well….anything!

For most of you this may not seem like such a big deal.  ‘So what? You notice the hair?’ Just for interests sake let’s have a look at the definition of ‘notice’:

Notice [noh-tis] verb: To pay attention to or take notice of

Believe me when I tell you – we don’t ‘notice’ the hair.  We painstakingly, obsessively, analyze, overanalyze, formulate, recolour, recut and restyle the hair all within the first 30 seconds of setting eyes on it all while appearing in the throes of a catatonic state.  Seriously.  This is the Hairstylist Life.

Let’s take the example of a quick trip to the grocery store. True story.  I was running in quickly to grab some bananas and as I’m approaching the produce section a beautiful haircut catches my eye.  I don’t know whether I’m still walking or have now stopped dead in my tracks in danger of being cart rear-ended but I don’t even care.  I am transfixed by this haircut.  I’ve already broken down the first 3 steps of how I would replicate it, thought of two different clients with the right hair type that I could give it to and rolled over the possibilities of who the stylist was that created this beautiful piece of art.  I have taken memory still shots, calculated my cut angles and I’m only coming up on 25 seconds.  The haircut turns to the left, I reach the 30 second mark and I am quickly transported back to the real world where I will now make eye contact (or simply notice that there is a head and body attached to the haircut).  Huh.  That’s when it hits me that it’s a client. I just made hair contact before eye contact with a client whose hair I have been cutting for the last 4 years.  I was to my car before I even realized I forgot the bananas.

One of my favourite things to do is binge watch on Netflix.  Whether at 2am when sleep won’t come or on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the dangerous autoplay keeps me tuned in far longer that I should be.  While I’m sure lots of you love a good Netflix marathon, I doubt your partner, in the throes of desperation, screams ‘can you STOP talking about the hair!!’ while trying to coexist in your viewing space.  For instance – did you wonder how long Gemma’s hair could stand up to those highlights during the first few seasons of Sons of Anarchy and notice the exact episode when she had to start using extensions for those blonde pieces? Your hairstylist did.  When Joey and Dawson had their emotional breakup while standing on the dock of the Creek were you thinking about how much James Van Der Beek needed a haircut and that he was dancing precariously close to the edge of mulletville? Your hairstylist was.  Or lets see…..while the entire school was chanting ‘Donna Martin Graduates!’ were you obsessively fantasizing about flat ironing Donna’s frizzed out, desperately in need of a trim hair? My guess is no – you probably weren’t but your hairstylist definitely was!  Just a side effect of the Hairstylist Life!

We won’t even get into the embarrassment of being introduced to someone for the first time and spending the first 30 seconds of hair contact time mute, left eye twitching, right hand reaching out to touch said strangers hair and suddenly snapping out of it to realize you violated their personal space before even saying hello.

Hair Contact before Eye Contact is simply part of the Hairstylist Life.

Being a hairstylist isn’t something we can shut off when we leave the salon – it follows us, invades our minds and inevitably makes us better artists because of it.  Inspiration can and does strike anywhere.

So be kind – we realize we are a special breed and that those who love us have a special appreciation (or tolerance) of our constant obsession.  And really – even with the embarrassing experiences – I would change a thing. It’s the Hairstylist Life.

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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Consultation Confessional – Never ‘lie’ to your Hair Stylist!

Does this sound like a consultation you’ve had with your hair stylist?

‘Remember that perm you had two years ago? Or what about those highlights from about 18 months ago? You threw a box colour over those a month later because you changed your mind and couldn’t get an appointment with me right away, remember?  Oh and how can we forget the trouble we went through stripping that colour off! Once we got close to your natural colour you decided to leave it alone for awhile and let it grow. All so long ago! Your consultation is just full of memories  – we’ve been through a lot of hair colour together!’

consultation

As hairstylists we call a conversation like this ‘hair history’.  It’s the story of whats happened in the lifetime of your hair and what we use to formulate your colour before we begin your service.  For clients who have been with a Hair stylist for a number of years this consultation is far less complicated.  We know your history, the services and colours that your hair has endured.  Great stylists even have notes from the consultation and formulas on hand for reference! But what if your a first time client going for a consultation?  OR what if you are a regular client that had a little ‘mishap’ since your last service? What happens then?

Your very first consultation with a new hairstylist should be DETAILED.  Questions which may seem silly to you can in fact hold very valuable information that we need to anticipate how your hair will react during your service. For returning clients, your subsequent consultation (yes – there should be one) will contain lots of questions on your experience with your hair since your last visit. So if a hairstylist asks you ‘Is there any hair colour on your hair right now?’ or ‘Have you had hair colour since you were last here?’ and your answer is ‘NO’, here’s a few scenarios on how this will all play out:

Scenario 1:

There really is no hair colour nor has there ever been hair colour on your hair. Congratulations! You are officially a hairstylists dream client and have won the ‘We can make your hair ANY colour you want!’ Prize.  Seriously – you are a catch! A hair colour virgin!  We’ve heard of you but until now thought you were a rare mythical creature only seen in our hair colour dreams.  Yes, we are excited.

Scenario 2:

There is no hair colour left in your hair because its all faded out – and anyway that was 6 months ago. Those highlights that you covered up with said colour – you can’t see those anymore either. What difference would it make now?  So considering all that you answer ‘NO’. Visually this may be true – you aren’t ‘lying’, you honestly thought the colour was gone.  Red Flag!! Let’s say you are asking your hairstylist to put some highlights in your hair.  After sitting forever to have all the foils put in your hairstylist comes to check to see if you are ready to rinse and oddly asks you ‘Are you sure there isn’t any hair colour on your hair?’.  There staring back at us from the confines of that foil is the exact line where your new blonde goes from beautiful and light to orangey and dark.  That’s the old hair colour. Oh and look there where it goes from beautiful and light to white and shredding.  That’s those old highlights. Yep.  We could have formulated for this – had we only known.

Scenario 3:

You want to confess but are afraid to hurt our feelings.  Or your embarrassed or you just feel some things are better left unsaid.  For example, you didn’t prebook your appointment last time and couldn’t get in when you needed to and your roots were a nightmare.  You did what you had to do and threw a ‘rinse’ (aka Box Colour) on or went to another salon where they could fit you in right away but have vowed to forget the whole thing ever happened and never speak of it again.  So you answer ‘NO’.  Red Flag!! See the results from Scenario 2.  They apply here as well.

Let me fill you in on a little secret: ‘We can tell you did it’.  Seriously.  There are very, very few cases where we look at the hair during consultation and can’t tell whether it has been previously coloured or not.  But as in these scenarios above when we ask you ‘Is there any hair colour on your hair?’ and you say ‘NO’, we tend to believe you. Actually we want to believe you.  The hair history you give us at the beginning of your appointment helps us get you the hair colour you want.  If we have all the information (no matter what you really wish was better left unsaid) we can anticipate problems and account for them.  We can realistically tell you what is going to happen, considering your hair history, and exactly what your options are to get you to where you want to go.

Moral of the story?  Spill your heart out in the consultation.  We don’t judge.  Tell us every single, little tiny thing you’ve ever done to or had done to your hair.  Have long hair? Get comfy – that’s a good 3 to 4 years of story telling you have ahead of you.  Spill it sister. We’ll just be here listening and taking notes!

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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Outer Beauty vs Inner Beauty

I’m sure you’ve heard the sayings: Don’t judge a book by its cover, beauty is only skin deep, real beauty comes from within, inner beauty is what matters, etc, etc. I have used many such sayings in Social Media in the hopes of encouraging anyone that sees it to feel great about themselves on the inside, even if only for the small moment it takes to read the saying.

The beauty industry can seem judgemental and shallow by promoting outer beauty and putting high importance on how you choose to present yourself. I don’t subscribe to this generalization.

I recently overheard an individual speaking of how she hoped to inspire others to understand that inner beauty is what’s most important and not to focus on appearance and outer beauty. While I agree whole heartedly that inner beauty makes us ‘who’ we are, why does this automatically give outer beauty a bad rap?? And why, oh WHY must the two be separated?

Outer beauty tinner beautyo me is simple – it’s the gift wrap on a present. How often do you give someone an unwrapped present? How excited would YOU be to receive a present that wasn’t wrapped? We all know it’s not the wrapping or the gift itself that counts – it’s the thought or feelings behind the present, or what I think of as the ‘inner beauty’ that tugs on your heart strings. Considering all that, I’m not above saying that unwrapping a gift bit by bit, the bow, the soft ribbon then the shiny paper, just makes it that much more exciting. Doesn’t it just add a little ‘something’ to the experience to have that present so beautifully wrapped? Of course!

Now settle down – I’m not saying that we should all walk around wrapped in a bow like a gift to the world just waiting to be unwrapped. But really – if you saw someone walking down the street like that wouldn’t you admire their self-confidence?? Their ability to show on the outside how great they feel about themselves on the inside? And that begs the question – what is so wrong with investing in and promoting outer beauty??

So when should outer beauty be celebrated??? This has always been quite simple to me. There is nothing wrong with outer beauty unless it is the only thing you are putting out there. Imagine unwrapping the most beautiful present only to find an empty box?

I have learned over and over that when people love how they look it makes them feel good. Being a part of making that happen is one of the reasons I love my job. Do my clients possess inner beauty before they walk into the Studio for their services? Of course! Inner beauty is not diminished by outer beauty, only enhanced by it.

There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who FEELS good about herself. That feeling doesn’t come from inner OR outer beauty – it comes from giving yourself the gift of both!!!

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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So you want to be a Hair Stylist?

hair stylistI read an article recently filled with great advice for hair stylists and salon owners which inspired me to write my own thoughts down on what I feel should be shared with all potential stylists.   This information could dramatically change the thought process of why they should want to enter the industry and give them fundamental insight into whether being a hair stylist is really what they want. The bottom line is – IT’S NOT ABOUT THE HAIR. Surprised? I think most people signing up for hair school would disagree with that statement, but most of us who are earning our living as hair stylists know this as fact.

I’m sure any hair stylist you ask will tell you how much they love doing hair. Coloring, cutting, styling – it’s something we are passionate about. A way for us to express our artistry and create. Basically, as artists, hair is our medium. The feeling we get from creating something truly beautiful is what drives us to continue, to find the next medium and create. Anyone who follows their passion in life or is an artistic person will understand this feeling. It’s this feeling that most young hair stylists are chasing in their journey to turn their passion of hair styling into a career.  Now if you are reading this and are a paying client I’m sure you are waving your red flag.  Sound like I’m forgetting something? You are right – there is something enormous missing and this, for some hair stylists, is where is goes horribly wrong.

People!!! Our medium is person, not a piece of canvas, not an inanimate object. A PERSON with feelings, hopes and desires who actually OWNS, USES and WEARS our art everyday! What a privilege that is for us and something that needs to be taken seriously. So tell me again why you want to be a hair stylist – because you love to do hair, right? Try again. You should want to be a hair stylist because you love making PEOPLE love their hair.

Being a hair stylist is not about you – it’s about every person who sits in your chair. Every person who hands you their time, their trust, their hair, and amazingly allows you to touch a tiny piece of their heart. Now that’s an amazing privilege and responsibility to carry with you every day. It is through their eyes that you chase your artistic passion, to bring what they are dreaming of to life.

Not a people person? Stick to working with canvas.  Trust me though – you’ll be missing out on an amazingly rewarding profession.

So you want to be a hair stylist?

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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The Art of the Blow Dry

blow dryWomen used to flock to the hair salon for their weekly shampoo and roller set. All the ladies lined up in a row, hair wound tight on rollers, sitting under the dryer, coffee in hand waiting for their hair to dry. I’m sure there are still some faithful weekly roller setters out there but lets just say the phone is not ringing off the hook with requests.

Now some of you, I’m sure, think this happened eons ago and wouldn’t have affected any of us in our careers, but I can tell you that Friday’s meant one thing for me early in my career, and that was roller set day. I loved seeing these clients once a week, catching up with what they did on their weekend, who came over after church last Sunday and who was coming to visit this weekend, all while I shampooed and put their rollers in. All the clients knew each other too and looked forward to catching up between themselves, asking about each others children, new grand babies and of course who was in the hospital and what kind of casserole they took over to the family. They didn’t even own a blow dryer or a curling iron. Seriously.

I know it all sounds cliche. I know it sounds like 1940 but believe me it was NOT! Those women with their rollers wanted what everyone really wants – their hair exactly how they liked it. They just happened to like a hard, backcombed set that would last a week. But there were also clients who came in once a week and wanted something different…..

First it started with a curling iron set. Like the roller set only softer, yet still quite formal looking. And then it happened – my foray into ‘The Art of The Blow Dry’. Ethel* was a wonderful lady, bright, happy and beautiful. What Ethel wasn’t was a roller set client. Her chin length grey hair required more muscle then what those rollers could handle and after her shampoo she promptly told me that she would like her hair blow dryed with a round brush. Now don’t get me wrong – I’d used round brushes in hair school, punishing my classmates with a blow dry every now and then, but we spent 95% of our time rolling and backcombing. Doing a round brush blow dry was not a honed skill of mine.

But Ethel was patient, and bless her heart came back again and again, and I learned how to smooth and curl and volumize all with that one little round brush. All those roller sets that I could now do with my eyes closed had already taught me how to section, angle and roll the hair to make sure that Ethel’s blow dry was the stuff of her dreams. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much Ethel, and her blow dry, was actually teaching me.

Hairstyling is an art, and one that gets passed over far too easily at the end of a service. That blow dry lasted Ethel for a week. A week where she could feel beautiful with her hair exactly how she wanted it and I was lucky enough to be the person that could do that for her.

Now realistically I’m aware that times have changed and the thought of washing your hair only once a week is enough to get you into the fetal position. What hasn’t changed though is the feeling that each client wants, and should always have, after walking out the door after getting their hair done. Just a chance to Experience Beautiful.

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

*name has been changed out of respect for the client

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