It’s been a lonnnnng couple of weeks assisting! Let me just start off by saying that this has been no joke at alllll.
I’ve been at Atelier for about a month now.
I really was in for a rude awakening since starting to say the very least.
To start this post off let me just say that Cosmetology school really is just strictly for state board purposes.. You learn as much as YOU want to push to learn and you learn technique that is in trend currently but it is nothing compared to salon reality at all.
I had a taste of reality in phase 2 at school but that mainly taught me speed in certain aspects such as mens cutting or cutting in general and blow drying. I’m still a little slow with some other parts but I’ve definitely learned sooooo much.
My favorite thing in school was blonding and everyone knew it. The stylist I assist right now is amazing at foiling and blonding so I can see why they put she and I together. I’ve learned so many techniques from her that truly have opened my eyes to really letting go of my fears little by little and just making someones hair my very own masterpiece by not following so many restrictions.
In school they teach you to section hair out and do things step by step and to make sure this and that is done in this and that way and what not but honestly that is not the case in the salon.
•Very rarely do we ever section hair out unless it’s for a blow dry and that’s just for the back.
•When coloring regrowth we don’t use clips for anything.
•When highlighting the only times clips are needed are if the person has hair that’s frizzy and won’t lay down or if the hair is sticking straight up or pushing towards the section that is being weaved. We NEVER section out 5-6 sections for foil work… Ever. We only take the sections that really count when highlighting that the guest wants brightened up. We never spend an hour or 2 hours popping millions of foils. It’s literally a couple foils here a couple there that takes maybe 30-45 min tops and then we process. We get the same results you would if you popped in 5 million different foils. There’s just ways you can cut your time in more than half by just foiling different ways and understanding the diameter of each guests hair and how big of a section you might need just the overall look they are trying to achieve.
•Shampooing is the one thing I got down immediately. Lonnie in phase 2 in school taught me a really bomb shampoo method and I just made my own; The shampoo is one of thee most important things and when you get into a salon that’s the first thing you want to really work on first.
We had a shampoo class and they just reinforced that some of these people never get touched and personal touch is so important. Not to mention it’s evvvvveryone’s favorite part. Anyone who knows me knows I like to make people feel good so I truly give it my all when I’m shampooing and my guests just fucking melt in their chair because of it lol. I don’t know if they can feel that I’m really putting time and effort into their head but they love it so much at least from what the majority of them tell me and that makes me happy.
•The whole double draping for chemical services and sanek strips and all that, forget about it. They use clean washed capes for every guest and you work with the preference the guest may have.
But these are just a few things about salon reality.
Let’s talk about the scheduling and why work felt like a shit show the first week and where I screwed up multiple times.
So since I’m assisting, we double book. What that means for example is that we’ll book guest 1 which lets just say is a color and once that color is done being applied we take guest 2 so once it’s time for that guest to process, guest 1 is ready to be washed and blown out or cut. While guest 1 is getting their hair blown out guest 2 is ready to be washed and blown out next.
Here’s an example of what the schedule looks like and this is just a normal one. Not even close to what some other days looks like.
You have to really gauge the stylist and see where they are with the blow dry to determine when to walk guest 2 back to the chair for their service. Sometimes some extra love in the shampoo bowl doesn’t hurt. I personally have learned to wash nearest to where I can see the stylist so that I know when to rinse and be on time with everything.
Part of my job as well is to write down the color that we need to replace so we tend to mark each box depending on how many ounces we use and once we’re done we rip the tag off, keep it, and throw away the box so that we know what to get the following week.
I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of easy work once you get the hang of it but it can definitely be sooooo much to remember and there are days I screw up and feel bad and what not because you really have to be attentive at all times. You have to make sure you are literally paying attention to every little detail that’s written about a color formula or how much the guest is being charged at the front and what not that by the end of the day sometimes I feel so delirious, especially if I haven’t ate.
It gets hard some days because since there’s so much to remember that you get exhausted and can’t really get tired in the middle of a whirlwind so I have to find a way to really stay focused so I tend to just drink coffee.
The entire day is hectic up until the very last guest.
I enjoy assisting because it teaches me what to prepare for. Learning is my favorite because its been building my confidence more and more. Even though there’s days I can’t ask as many questions as I’d like, I think that I do a pretty good job each day by just watching how repetitive everything is and learning to memorize each move so that when I do get a chair, I can work just as fast as my stylist does.
I’m a difficult person to teach because I always want to know the hows whens and whys of EVERYTHING and I hate myself for it sometimes because even for simple things that require a little common sense, I tend to overcomplicate and most of it is my fear of screwing up.. That’s just how I’ve always been but since I want to know every single detail or when to do something, the minute I catch up to speed I definitely bring the speed and efficiency. It’s just been taking me a little longer than expected since I’m not used to this type of lifestyle yet. I know I’ll progressively get better and I have I just have to continue to keep my head in the game and continue to adjust. We all make mistakes and that’s something I need to remember so that I don’t beat myself up for it.
To anyone who wants to assist after school, just try and take some tips from this post and really make the best out of the situation because I honestly could not see myself making money from just what I learned in school. I know some of my friends have been out there doing it and making things happen right after school and I am so proud of them for it but I personally couldn’t. I definitely take my time learning but that’s just me and what I prefer. To me slow and steady has always won the race.
I’ve learned so many techniques and speed building tricks that I am so grateful to my stylist Ashlee for. In just a month she literally has taught me from everything on how to highlight and which way to highlight to something as simple as curling hair. I was never confident about curling hair until she really broke down how to do it and watching her do it I would just repeat the motions in my head as if I were doing it and I finally have it down. I did a blonde project all on my own and it just felt great to understand the highlighting technique I did and her curls were beautiful to me. I’ve never curled a whole head of hair and felt as proud as I did. Normally I screw up and get creased hair here and there or it doesn’t look as good as I would like and end up feeling like I wasted my time but after doing this blonde it made me feel more confident in what I can do with blonding and curling hair.
I have to do a check off list of assignments in order for me to start taking my own guests at the salon and one of the assignments is highlights. I figured my friend Kelly who I haven’t seen since my sugar factory days, should come in since it was just her birthday and she just ultimately wanted to be blonder and ashier so I just highlighted and added some ash blonde dimension to what she had.
This is all just an example of everything I’m learning at the salon I’m at and I hope that whomever is reading this that plans on assisting, really takes notes and understands how intense the process can be but how rewarding it is in the end. I’m not about wasting time so I’ve been really working on building my clientele.
If you would like to book with me or know anyone that might want to come in please feel free to contact me by email at:
If you’d like to see more of the work Ashlee does feel free to check out her instagram.