How do I Study for the MBLEx test?

Students studying for the MBLEx Test

Ready to become a massage therapist but not sure how to start? Becoming a massage therapist involves a few steps that must be completed before performing your first massage session with a client. In order to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) test, you must first graduate from an approved massage therapy program. Most massage therapy programs take around 12 months to complete if attending full-time, but the MSC program allows students to study on a part-time schedule. The goal of the massage therapy program is to prepare you for the MBLEx test with both classroom learning and hands-on experience. Once you have passed the MBLEx test, you apply for a license from your state, county or municipality licensing board.

Who Administers the MBLEx Test?

The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers the MBLEx test. The FSMTB is a non-profit organization that is comprised of state boards and agencies who regulate massage practices. Their goal is to maintain and improve the quality of massage and to administer the test that allows massage therapists to show competency in the massage craft. After graduating from a massage therapy program, you will apply to the FSMTB for an account and authorization to take the MBLEx test.

How do I Study for the MBLEx test?

There are many ways to study for the MBLEx test. The quickest and easiest way to study is by attending a massage therapy program. Not only do you get the education and diploma you need to meet the requirements, but you can create long lasting relationships with classmates, ask instructors questions and get hands-on experience.

Attend a Massage Therapy Program

A massage therapy program at a vocational school prepares you to take the MBLEx test. The curriculum around the massage therapy program is designed specifically to aid students in taking the MBLEx test. In addition to the content on the MBLEx test, the massage therapy diploma program also teaches Swedish and relaxation techniques, rehabilitation and advanced massage techniques, and an introduction to spa techniques. This program is part classroom and part hands-on training.

Create a Study Group

All of those friends you made during class will need to study for the MBLEx test as well. You can create a study group and study for the test together. Develop practice tests, quiz each other, or create flashcards to study. It is always easier to study with others, rather than alone.

Ask Instructors Questions

Another advantage to attending a massage therapy program is that the instructors are industry experienced and ready to give one-on-one attention to you while you work on your massage techniques. During your massage therapy program, you can ask questions that will help you prepare for the MBLEx test.

Get Hands-on Experience

It is important to not only read about massage therapy but to experience it first-hand. It will be easier to remember massage techniques, body systems, and client assessment when you take the time to experience massage for yourself. Using all of your senses will help you prepare for the MBLEx test.

What is on the MBLEx test?

The MBLEx test content is comprised of seven sections. You will have 110 minutes to complete a 100-item multiple choice examination. The MBLEx test will include the following topics:

Anatomy & Physiology – focused on the twelve body systems both for structure and function. Additional questions focus on tissue injury, tissue repair and the concepts of energetic anatomy.

Kinesiology – this section focuses on the body’s muscles and joints. Particular to muscles are the components and characteristics of muscles, the concepts of muscle contractions, proprioceptors, and locations, attachments, actions and fiber directions of muscles. For joints, this section focuses on their structure and function. Further emphasis is placed on range of motion, and is broken down into active, passive and resistant range of motion.

Pathology – this section focuses on an overview of pathologies, contraindications, areas of caution, special populations and classes of medication.

Soft Tissue Manipulation Technique Benefits – this section tests massage therapists on the physiological effects of soft tissue manipulation, the benefits of touch, benefits of soft tissue manipulation for special populations, soft tissue techniques, hot/cold applications, and bodywork modalities.

Client Assessment Reassessment & Treatment Planning – this section focuses on the organization of massage sessions, how to consult and evaluate clients, data collection, visual assessment, palpation assessment, range of motion assessment, and clinical reasoning.

Ethics, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations – massage therapists will be tested on ethical behavior, professional boundaries, what a code of ethics violation is, a massage therapist’s therapeutic relationship with clients, sexual misconduct, laws and regulations, scope of massage practice, how to communicate professionally, keeping client information confidential, and proper principles of massage.

Guidelines for Professional Practice – massage therapist will be tested on proper and safe use of massage equipment and supplies, hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness, safety practices, how to take care of oneself as a massage therapist, proper draping, how to run a massage business, and terminology of the healthcare and business sectors.

What Happens After I Pass the MBLEx Test?

Your exam scores will be sent to the licensing board and identify your state that results are to be issued to after completing the test. Every licensed massage therapist must graduate with a diploma from an approved massage therapy program, pass the MBLEx test and apply for a license. Not until all of these steps are complete can you perform a massage session with a client.

Final Thoughts

Ready to become a massage therapist? Then, it is time to learn more about the massage therapy program at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our program prepares you to take the MBLEx test through classroom learning, practice tests and hands-on instruction. Passing the MBLEx test is a requirement for becoming a massage therapist so take the time to learn everything you will need to be a successful massage therapist. You will be glad you did.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months with part time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by up to 17.5 hours per week.

Macronutrients & Micronutrients: An Esthetician’s Guide

Esthetician  holding a fruit

Eating well is vital for inner health and also helps outward appearances. A nutritious diet can assist in keeping skin healthy. A new field called nutricosmetics follows the use of micronutrients and macronutrients to boost skin health. The basis is simple, proper nutrients equal better skin health.

Why are Micronutrients and Macronutrients Important to an Esthetician?

The micro and macro of nutrients work in harmony to maintain the barrier functions of the skin. Micronutrients and macronutrients can be helpful for a healthy diet and play a role in maintaining healthy skin. An esthetician must familiarize themselves with the effects of macronutrients and micronutrients as some can harm the skin. For example, a diet high in sugar can ultimately lead to wrinkled or sagging skin. An excess of sugar in the bloodstream can contribute to acne flare-ups. The mineral zinc protects the skin from photodamage by UV radiation absorption, limiting radiation penetration into the skin.

A Look at Nutrients

Nutrients are compounds present in foods essential to regulating chemical processes, maintaining energy, repairing the body, and perpetuating growth. Nutrients get broken down into seven classifications: minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, dietary fiber, proteins, and water. These classifications, further divided into two groups: micro (minerals and vitamins), required in smaller amounts, and macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, fiber, proteins, and water), needed in larger amounts, are both vital to maintaining a healthy body.

The seven nutrient classes and their functions:

1. Minerals (micronutrient)

Minerals, broken down into trace and major, are inorganic nutrients found in foods essential for optimal growth and health. To obtain the right amount of minerals, typically provided by a regular, healthy diet, a client may require additional supplements in exceptional cases. A table known as Recommended Dietary Allowances or RDA was compiled by a committee that serves the United States government, the Food and Nutrition Board.

The major (required in larger amounts) and trace (required in smaller amounts) minerals and their relevance to nutrition in alphabetical order:

Calcium (major) – Calcium is stored in bones and teeth for strength, helps in the expansion and contraction of the muscles and blood vessels, assists in sending messages via the nervous system, and aids in the release of hormones and enzymes. When there is a calcium deficiency, your hair, skin and nails will weaken.

Chloride (major) – Chloride, considered an electrolyte, aids in keeping the fluid inside and outside the cells in balance, maintains proper blood volume, blood pressure, and pH (power of hydrogen) of body fluids.

Copper (trace) – Copper, combined with iron, enables red cell formation, assists in maintaining healthy bones, nerves, blood vessels, immune system, and contributes to the absorption of iron. Copper works with vitamins and other minerals to provide the skin with strength and elasticity.

Chromium (trace) – Chromium improves the body’s reaction to insulin and helps metabolize proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates.

Fluoride (trace) – Fluoride, often found in toothpaste, mouth rinse, and tap water, often reverses the onset and progression of tooth decay and assists in forming new bone matter.

Iodine (trace) – The body requires iodine to produce thyroid hormones, which controls the body’s metabolism and other related functions. Iodine is also important to developing a fetus’s bones and brain during pregnancy and into infancy.

Iron (trace) – Iron, part of hemoglobin, is a protein responsible for transporting oxygen via the lungs to the tissues and muscles. This mineral is also imperative for development, cell growth, hormone production, and connective tissue repair.

Magnesium (major) – Magnesium aids muscle function, nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and blood sugar levels. It also assists the body in producing bone, protein, and DNA. When applied topically, magnesium has been known to help retain skin elasticity.

Molybdenum (trace) – Molybdenum assists in activating the enzymes that break down harmful sulfites and prevents the body from building up toxins.

Phosphorus (major) – This mineral helps keep the body’s bones, blood vessels, and muscles healthy.

Potassium (major) – The body requires potassium for cells, nerves and muscles to function properly and aids in regulating heart rhythm, digestion, blood pressure and water content in cells. Potassium deficiency can impact the amount of water within your cells and lead to loss of hydration in the skin.

Selenium (trace) – Selenium is vital for conception, thyroid function and production of DNA. This mineral also protects the body from infections and free radical (unstable molecules) damage.

Sodium (major) – The body requires a small amount of sodium to keep the right balance of fluids and maintain nerve and muscle function. When the body receives too much sodium, that can lead to puffy skin.

Sulphur (major) – Sulphur, one of the body’s most abundant minerals, contains an antibacterial effect on bacteria that causes acne and aids in promoting the shedding of skin cells believed to treat seborrheic dermatitis or acne.

Zinc (trace) – Zinc aids in making proteins and DNA, and assists the immune system in fighting off bad bacteria and viruses. Zinc also helps control some acne-causing hormones and has been believed to fight signs of premature aging.

2. Vitamins (micronutrient)

Vitamins, 13 in all, are organic compounds vital as micronutrients, which organisms require in small quantities for their metabolism’s proper functioning but cannot synthesize themselves. Vitamins get divided into fat-soluble (stored in the fatty tissues) and water-soluble (deletes leftover vitamins through the urine). Most humans receive vitamins through a healthy diet or daily supplements.

The following is a breakdown of the 13 types of vitamins:

Vitamin A (fat-soluble) – Vitamin “A” helps form healthy teeth, skin, soft tissue, bones and mucous membranes. Vitamin “A” is also an antioxidant.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – Vitamin “B1” is vital for healthy heart function and helps cells derive energy from carbohydrates. Thiamine is important in collagen production, promoting supple skin.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – Vitamin “B2” works together with other B vitamins to produce red blood cells and maintain body growth. Aiding in cell turnover, it also assists in preventing inflammation of the skin and healing wounds.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) – The “B3” vitamin maintains healthy skin and nerves and assists in lowering cholesterol when administered in higher doses.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – Vitamin “B5” is essential in metabolizing food and plays a significant role in producing hormones and cholesterol, helping to prevent acne and improve moisture.

Vitamin B6 – “B6” is also known as pyridoxine, which aids in forming red blood cells and maintaining a well-functioning brain, and helps the body use and store energy from proteins increasing the body’s ability to deal with chemical reactions.

Vitamin B7 (biotin) – Vitamin “B7” helps to metabolize proteins and carbohydrates, and like with vitamin “B5”, assists in producing hormones and cholesterol. Biotin deficiency has been found to be linked to hair loss and a lack of moisture in the skin. While biotin supplements are not a proven way to strengthen your hair, nails and skin, increasing your B7 intake can help keep these strong.

Vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid) – “B9”, combined with vitamin “B12” helps red blood configuration and the production of DNA, controlling cell function and tissue growth for healthier looking skin.

Vitamin B12 – Vitamin “B12” aids in healthy nerve and blood cell function and DNA (genetic material in cells) production. Daily vitamin “B12” helps fight anemia, preventing the body from getting tired and weak.

Vitamin C – Considered an antioxidant, vitamin “C” is necessary for healing, iron absorption, healthy skin, connective tissue generation, and proper bone growth.

Vitamin E (fat-soluble) – Vitamin “E” plays an essential role in the immune system and metabolic processes. Vitamin E can also be used when applied to the skin in a topical formula such as a moisturizer. When applied to the skin, this vitamin may help protect skin from damage caused by free radicals.

Vitamin K (fat-soluble) – Vitamin “K” aids the body in its ability to clot blood and make proteins for healthy bones and tissues.

3. Carbohydrates (macronutrient)

Carbohydrates, or carbs, are sugar molecules and the body’s primary source of energy. These sugar molecules are among the three primary nutrients found in foods and consist of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen atoms. Carbohydrates come in three main types: sugar, starches, and fiber.

The following are the three types of carbohydrates:

Sugars – Sugars are the most basic carbohydrates; hence, they are simple carbohydrates. They commonly get added to foods, such as candy, desserts, processed foods, and non-diet soda, and are typically found naturally in fruits, milk, and vegetables. When added, processed sugars are added to the diet, it can cause inflammation.

Starches – Starches, or complex carbohydrates, are described as many simple sugars strung together. The body must break starches down into sugars for energy.

Fiber – Fiber, a complex carbohydrate, cannot get broken down, so eating foods with fiber helps the stomach feel full and aids in overeating, lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. Fiber also helps prevent some stomach and intestinal issues, such as constipation.

4. Fats (micronutrient)

Fats give the body energy and aid in the absorption of vitamins. Many foods naturally contain fats, including dairy, poultry, red meats, seafood, pork, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts. Omega-3 fatty acids are important in keeping skin supple and moisturized.

5. Fiber (macronutrient)

Again, Fiber is a complex carbohydrate, and cannot get broken down.

6. Protein (macronutrient)

Protein is a complex group of molecules that does more than one job for the body. Proteins create building blocks that help produce hair, nails, bones, and muscles, give tissues and organs their shape and help those organs work properly. Some hormones get produced using amino acids, a significant part of the protein. Protein hormones regulate the body’s cell function and metabolism. When muscles work vigorously, the muscle’s tiny fibers sometimes tear, and repairing those tears requires protein. Structural proteins known as keratin make up the structure of hair and nails. Protein falls under two main categories: Animal proteins and plant-based proteins.

The following are the two main categories of protein:

Animal Proteins – These proteins include animal proteins but are not limited to whey, casein, eggs, beef, and chicken. Most animal proteins fall under the header of complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids: histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, valine, and tryptophan. Amino acids are used by the body to make other proteins that keep the skin supple – collagen and keratin.

Plant-based Proteins – These types of proteins include but are not limited to soy, pea, brown rice, and chickpea. Most plant proteins, or incomplete proteins, lack at least one essential amino acid. However, eating multiple sources of plant proteins creates an effect of eating a complete protein.

7. Water (macronutrient)

Water is an essential nutrient because our bodies require water in amounts that the body cannot produce quickly. All biochemical reactions occur in water, fill in the spaces between cells, and form large molecules such as glycogen and protein. Water also acts as a solvent for ionic compounds (composed of two or more ions held together by electrostatic forces termed ionic bonding).

When the body does not receive enough water, your skin will show it. Too little water leads to the skin losing its plumpness and elasticity. Without water, the body is unable to flush toxins that can lead to acne

Final Thoughts

Estheticians know the key to enhancing skin quality is to improve wellness. Once they understand the effects of various macronutrients and micronutrients, they can help their clients improve their skin.  It takes a clean canvas for artists to work their magic. Beauty begins and ends with good health.

If you have a passion for improving skin health, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

What is Aromatherapy?: A Massage Therapist’s Guide

Massage therapist using aromatherapy on a client

Aromatherapy centers around holistic medicine that utilizes extracts from natural plants for health and wellbeing. Many massage therapists apply aromatic essential oils medicinally combined with their massage techniques to improve their client’s physical and emotional health.

How Aromatherapy Works

Aromatherapy works by stimulating receptors in the nose responsible for smell, sending messages by olfactory cells to the part of the brain that controls the drive for survival, emotions, and instinct called the limbic system. The olfactory cells recognize scents as specific aromatic molecules that fit into receptors on these cells. Although not fully understood, scientists believe that these nerve signals’ action causes powerful mood changes in response to particular smells.

Massage Therapy in Harmony with Aromatherapy

Massage therapy, combined with essential oils, candles and incense, stimulates positive emotions and relaxation, equipping clients with coping mechanisms for many other health issues. An aromatherapy massage is a popular multi-purpose way of using supplemental care for health issues. The skin absorbs essential oils maintaining suppleness, it offers pain relief, and the aroma’s mental stimulation provides clients with the ultimate massage session.

Oils to Consider in Aromatherapy Massage

These are the top recommended essential oils to start using when practicing certified aromatherapy massage, based on their effectiveness for health issues, as well as clients preferences.

Lavender or Lavandula – Lavender is a flowering plant in the mint family and one of the most versatile and popular essential oils due to its clean sweet aroma which promotes relaxation. Lavender is known as balancing or adaptogenic, meaning it completes a function the body needs. It helps your client’s body to better handle stress, making it very useful in massage therapy. Lavender is also helpful in promoting better sleep, pain relief, boosting stamina, and elevating energy levels.

Peppermint or Mentha piperita – The main chemical in peppermint is menthol, used in many over-the-counter pain-relieving applications. One drop applied to the temples of clients complaining of headache symptoms, before their massage, can be very beneficial. Be sure to properly dilute the peppermint oil before placing it on larger areas of the body. To cut down the strength, use ten drops of oil to every 1 ounce of lotion or massage oil. Peppermint also contains a stimulating property that leaves a tingly feeling making it an effective essential oil for massaging sore, achy muscles, especially the legs and feet associated with diabetic neuropathy or fibromyalgia.

Eucalyptus or Eucalyptus globulus – Eucalyptus oil helps relieve painful muscles and respiratory congestion due to sinus blockage, colds, flu, and allergies. This essential oil contains antiviral and antibacterial properties. Blending eucalyptus into massage oil and lotion, or placing a few drops on a tissue beneath the massage table’s face cradle relieves sinus congestion.

Grapefruit or Citrus paradsi – Grapefruit contains a fresh, uplifting scent and is useful for toning the skin, as an addition to lymphatic massage, a mild diuretic, and in cellulite treatment. Using a citrus oil like grapefruit helps balance mood swings and decreases blood pressure. Grapefruit and other citric oils are photo-toxic, which causes burns and skin discoloration if exposed to the sun or tanning bed.

Rosemary or Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary contains detoxifying properties that help facilitate a healthy digestive tract, relieve flatulence, constipation, bloating, and cramps. Through massage, this oil allows the body to absorb nutrients from food better by stimulating circulation. Rosemary Essential Oil helps reduce pain, stimulate hair growth, eliminate headaches, soothe inflammation, and strengthen the immune system. Rosemary puts forth a distinctive energizing, evergreen, citrus-like, herbaceous scent. This essential oil is from the aromatic herb plant kin to the Mint family.

Clary sage or Salvia sclarea – Sage is beneficial for muscles when used as an antispasmodic. Diluted clary sage oil is also effective against several bacterial strains. Theis essential oil is extracted from the leaves and buds of the plant. Sage exudes a clean, refreshing scent that you can use as a skin balm or gently inhale as part of an aromatherapy treatment.

Geranium or Pelargonium graveolens – Geranium acts as a hormone-balancer and is indicated for premenstrual syndrome, stress, mood swings, anxiety, and PMS. Indications in traditional medicine: geranium helps improve circulation, stimulate the nervous system, and tighten tissue, acting as an astringent for a more toned look. Geranium has a pleasant floral scent that adds to the relaxing effect when used alone or combined with lavender.

Frankincense or Boswellia – This sweet and woody scent is used for grounding and relaxation and fosters stress relief during a massage session. This oil also blends beautifully with lavender. If a cold has a client feeling under the weather, Frankincense helps boost the immune system, opens up bronchial passages, deepens breathing, and soothes coughs. It also works effectively as an anti-inflammatory and aid in relieving depression.

Bergamot or Citrus bergamia – Bergamot has a spicy and citrusy aroma similar to Earl Grey tea, as it’s the flower that provides that specific tea’s flavor. Bergamot is the size of an orange, with a yellowish-green color like a lime, depending upon its ripeness. It’s unique because of its antiseptic, antispasmodic, and pain-relieving abilities. Bergamot also claims the dual effects of uplifting and calming, leaving the client feeling both rejuvenated and refreshed after an aromatherapy massage session.

Coriander or Coriandrum sativum – Coriander, derived from the Cilantro plant, is a sweet essential oil that contains relaxing and soothing properties. This oil also assists in promoting a healthy digestive and circulatory system. Some even believe Coriander helps relieve the contracting muscles in the throat that causes coughing.

Tea Tree Oil or Melaleuca alternifolia – Tea tree oil, mostly found in Australia, comes from steaming the Australian tea tree’s leaves. This essential oil contains the best antibacterial and antiseptic qualities out of all the essential oils. Tea tree oil can help acne, contact dermatitis, athlete’s foot, and head lice. However, like all other essential oils, do not ingest tea tree oil. It’s necessary to dilute tea tree oil, use one to two drops to 12 drops of a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or almond oil.

Practicing Caution When Utilizing Aromatherapy

Typically, during the session, the massage therapist directs the client to breathe in essential oils through steam inhalations, sprays, or vaporizers. Massage therapists should only use essential oils by providing topical or inhaled aromatherapy treatment. Essential oils should never be ingested or placed in the mouth. Certain essential oils may interact with some medications and cause them to be less effective.

Although many essential oils are safe when used as directed, research the oils before application. Here are a few examples of reactions to watch out for when using essential oils:

  • Children younger than five should not use aromatherapy because they can be susceptible to the oil.
  • Certain essential oils irritate and cause airway spasms in lung conditions like chronic lung disease, asthma, or respiratory allergies.
  • Some oils cause skin irritations in people with allergies, especially in the nose, eyes, and mouth membranes.
  • People with estrogen-dependent tumors like breast or ovarian cancer need to stay away from oils such as aniseed, fennel, and clary sage with estrogen-like compounds.

Final Thoughts

An aromatherapy massage is a unique way to help clients achieve better health and wellbeing. Aromatherapy is a fun and lucrative modality to add to your massage practice. Learning aromatherapy takes just a small investment of time and money but will add a new dimension to the healing work. Stay well-informed regarding the uses, concerns, and necessary precautions of adding aromatherapy to massage sessions. Aromatherapy helps a massage therapy practice stand out, creating a better financial opportunity than massage alone.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Hair Design for Men: A Cosmetologist’s Guide

Male client at a beauty salon getting his hair designed.

When we think of hair design and visiting the beauty salon, we often think of men getting their hair coiffed. Going back just a couple of generations ago, men went to the barber or opted to get their hair lopped off at home. Fast-forward a few decades, and some men now commonly prefer the salon experience rather than their forefather’s barbershop. As some men become more focused on optimizing their style, they turn to professional salons for an elevated hair design.

Creating a Man-Friendly Atmosphere

In recent years, hair salons that cater strictly to men have become increasingly popular. The most effective approach to a salon environment that speaks to men is visualizing the concept through their eyes. When entering a new environment, it’s common for a person to instantly scan the space to determine whether the surroundings are appealing or not.

To envision a comfortable and inviting men’s hair salon, in addition to a color palette that’s appealing to men, here are a few other simple tips to think about when it comes to the atmosphere:

Images of Men on the Walls

Prominently show images of men sporting the latest hair designs. A preferable way to display photos is to have a variety of sizeable clear shots depicting men in various everyday activities with current hairstyle trends. Think outside the box from the standard portrait hair design posters of decades past.

Reading Material for Men

Subscribe to men’s periodicals and place them in areas throughout the salon. Reading materials should contain varied topics and have plenty of images displaying current hair design trends. The level of maturity to the media placed around the salon is typically up to the hairstylist, the client base, and the salon’s theme. A good rule of thumb to go by is to not offend any patrons.

Carry Men’s Hair Products

Salons should carry hair and skincare product lines geared explicitly for men. Men are entering into a new phase of becoming more attuned to their looks, and for many, it’s an entirely new experience purchasing ablution items outside of the basics. Create a learning environment utilizing different types of look-inspiring resources is important to educate male clients on products the salon carries like pamphlets, videos, and samples. Another way to help clients achieve a new look is by scheduling live instructional events on male-specific hair and skincare.

Privacy is Key

Offer sectioned off privacy areas for more personal services like massage, hair removal, or processes involving strong chemicals. Although female salon clients publicly endured these services for eons, it’s still a new and sometimes embarrassing frontier for men. Keep a few areas private by the addition of walls, curtains, or portable room dividers. Instead of standard salon capes, to further minimize angst and embarrassment, try using more male-friendly designs like a tee or button-up shirt to protect the client’s clothing during services.

Tools of The Trade for Men’s Hair Design

When completing any manual task, knowing what tool to use is key to proficiency for men’s hair designs. Utilizing the right pair of shears or clippers at the right time creates a better design in the least amount of time.

Here are a few of the tools’ cosmetologists utilize when creating male-driven hairstyles:

Clippers/Edgers

Clippers/Edgers typically come in a motor or magnetic driven capacity and are the primary tool for finishing, tapered necklines, and short cuts. Motor-driven clippers rarely bog down when cutting thick dry hair and the varying sized blades are interchangeable for different hair lengths. Edgers are mainly employed to finish along the neckline.

Shears

Shears are optimal for men’s hair designs, come with blade lengths between 5.5″ and 7.5″, and provide enough surface for cutting and blending. The blade’s ends should come to a very minute point to execute detailed work. Blending shears unify hair texture, patterns, and density.

Razors

Hair responds differently to a razor than clippers or shears, offering an alternative approach for creating and controlling texture. When designing men’s hair, razors are a preferred tool of many hairstylists for more precise control.

Combs

Three varieties of combs typically round out the men’s hairstylist toolbox, classic clipper, medium, and finishing. The tooth size and width of the classic clipper comb coincide with the width of an electric clipper. Medium combs help for cutting over-comb, sectioning, and sub-sectioning. Cosmetologists utilize finishing combs for over-comb tapering, detail work around hairlines, and finishing.

The Consultation

Just as important as the necessary physical tools to create the perfect hairstyle for male clientele is the consultation. During the consultation, the main objective is to make the male client feel welcome and fully informed about the services they’re about to receive. The consultation approach for male clients is the same in many ways as their female counterparts. The consultation sets the appointment’s tone and is the first opportunity to put male clients at ease in the salon environment.

Keeping in mind the full salon experience is still relatively new for men; some alterations to this vital interaction between client and cosmetologist can help make the experience less intimidating:

Consider Words Carefully

While female clients think fun and flirty might aptly describe a hairstyle, they don’t appeal in the same way to a man. Adjust vocabulary during the consultation by using exact words that are straightforward and easy to understand. Avoid using industry jargon and flowery descriptive words to describe a style or service.

Ask Questions

Ask strong leading questions that encourage an active back and forth dialogue. Men are more apt to come into a salon without indicating a particular new hair design. Asking questions that make the intent clear derives more information about what a client expects from the appointment than open-ended questions.

Active Listening

Listen intently to extract information from between the lines. Typically, a client’s biggest concern is the first one mentioned. This most bothersome topic usually is mentioned more than once and less negotiable than other trouble spots. Use care not to interrupt if, along the way, the conversation gets muddled; stop, and clarify before moving on with the consultation.

Give a Full Explanation

Once the client finishes, present the best hair design, style features, and benefits. Men must know the care and maintenance of their look before deciding on a style. Women already acquire a strong knowledge of what it takes to maintain a more in-depth hairstyle. Describe the products and styling techniques required for home care to support the look.

Popular Men’s Hairstyle Trends

Let’s take a look at the current hair design trends for men. One notable trend is the long hair on top, messy, and textured haircuts and hairstyles. Men’s hair design options are about mixing up lengths, tapers, and fades to create unique designs. Also, currently taking center stage for men’s hair designs are cuts that emphasize longer natural-looking styles with movement.

Here is a list of a few examples of the latest and most popular trending hair designs for men:

High Fade Quiff – A popular men’s choice for the past few years. Combined with a high fade, the cut emphasizes messy textures and longer flowing lengths on top.

Messy Undercut – Features messy, longer textured hair on top combined with short-shaved sides. A modern twist on the undercut, this messy undercut fade works excellent for thick hair.

Modern Slicked Back – Instead of a plastered appearance, the hair on top appears more natural-looking. Rather than the traditional approach of using a shiny pomade, the hair gets brushed and blow-dried back to create natural movement.

High-Lo Fade, Surgical Line, and Long Fringe Combination – This unique men’s hair design combines a side part, bald fade, long fringe, surgical line, and longer messy texture on top.

Long Fringe Undercut – An asymmetrical look with longer fringe in front like the modern version of the classic skater undercut.

Shorter Textured Haircut and Long Fringe – Messy medium length textures on top create a spiked look while leaving the front fringe longer. Another example of an undercut with a modern twist.

Spiky Quiff – Made famous by the likes of David Beckham, this style is on the shorter side. Shorter choppy textures create a spiky appearance on top, utilizing a medium to firm hold pomade to keep the style in place.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, more and more men enjoy salons as a place of pampering, leisure and luxury. Men also prefer the personalized relationships they form with their cosmetologist that many feel they wouldn’t achieve with a male barber. The hair industry continues to see an increase in the number of men that receive hair salon services, and those who receive salon services also tend to spend more than women.

Cosmetology Program

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

Using YouTube for Your Massage Therapy Practice

Massage therapist stretching out a client

YouTube is currently ranked number two in global and domestic web traffic for uploading and viewing video content. The platform boasts of more than 2 billion monthly users, with over 70% viewing from mobile devices, according to HootSuite. Creating and posting video content on a YouTube channel as a marketing tool is a great way to boost your massage therapy practice’s visibility and potentially get more clients. How do businesses, namely massage therapy practices, create content to attract followers and potential customers on YouTube?

Getting Started with YouTube

Signing up for a YouTube account is quick and straightforward. You can go through the sign-up steps with a Facebook or Twitter account or use a Google account to expedite the process. Once logged in, go to your YouTube account, settings, create a channel, choose a business name, and begin customizing your massage practice’s channel.

Before you add any content about your massage therapy practice, ensure you complete all the information sections in their entirety, these portions are an introduction and the first impression of your massage business:

  • Profile Photo – Make your YouTube channel yours by adding a profile photo to your account representing you, your staff and your massage therapy practice.
  • Header – Add your massage therapy practice’s logo as a header and make it clear-cut, unique, and distinctive. A tagline (a catchphrase or slogan) that quickly describes your business at a glance is also helpful here. Example: “We Get You Moving In The Right Direction.”
  • Information – Supply as much information about your massage therapy practice as possible regarding services offered, hours of operation, and directions. Don’t be shy, brag about yourself and your massage therapy related accomplishments.
  • Hyperlinks– A hyperlink is a direct link to your massage therapy website. You can also create and share links to articles, anecdotes, and blogs related to the massage therapy field.

Your YouTube Video Content

Most people think you need to have a film producer’s ability or be a screenwriter to make a good YouTube video. What’s essential is the concise and vital information you provide to your viewers.

Using these 12 simple tips to create your video content helps your massage therapy practice stand out from your competitors that don’t utilize YouTube to assist in their marketing strategy:

Tip #1. Introduce Yourself

Even if you find it hard to speak on your own behalf, do a section of your video or an entire video on your channel called “About Me.” Learning about you, the business owner, creates a connection with a potential massage client before ever meeting them. Mention talking points like why you became a massage therapist, where you went to school, how you first became interested in massage therapy, and the ways you feel the viewer will benefit from your massage therapy.

Tip #2. Show Off Your Staff

Build a repour with viewers through your video content by featuring your actual staff. Announce each team member with an interview. Pose questions inquiring about their position at the massage practice, a favorite massage technique, and the reasons they chose a career in massage therapy. After all, they are the people that connect with your clients from the minute they walk through the door. A massage therapist is only as good as their support staff.

Tip #3. Let Existing Patients Do the Talking

Patient testimonials are probably the best way to convince a viewer to take the first step in coming to your massage therapy practice. These videos allow existing clients to talk up your massage practice for you. Customers identify with other customers, so don’t be intimidated to ask if you can take a video of them speaking on behalf of your massage practice or about their experiences when they visited. Ensure you follow the truth in advertising laws by including only real patients, and make sure the testimonials are not misleading. Avoid offering free products, services, or compensation in exchange for testimonials.

Tip #4. Constantly Update

A popular YouTube channel consistently updates its content when using videos as a marketing tool. Update at the same time daily or weekly, but no less. If viewers see inconsistency with your YouTube channel, they may think your massage practice is the same way. Subscribers to your channel receive notifications every time you post updated content, keeping your massage practice fresh in their minds. Creating all those videos may seem a little daunting but gather the staff once monthly to produce enough content for the entire month and discuss marketing strategies moving forward. Make it fun and offer lunch or dinner, so your team looks forward to taking part month after month.

Tip #5. Demonstrate

Demonstrate techniques and products your massage therapy practice currently utilizes. These videos always interest viewers because it’s natural for humans to wonder how things work. Take this opportunity to introduce new services, trending massage techniques, or an up and coming product on the market related to your massage therapy practice. Another possible demonstration is a tour of your facility. Here you can showcase the equipment you and your staff work with to help your patients feel their best.

Tip #6. Webinars

A webinar is where speakers from a hosting business share presentations or other content with audiences located anywhere. Webinars typically have audio and eye-catching visual components that entice the viewer and holds their attention, two main objectives for engaging content. Include videos of professionals in your field, while demonstrating new techniques or products related to massage therapy, lets viewers know you’re on top of breaking innovations in massage therapy. Webinars also break up the monotony of just you and your massage therapy staff creating content.

Tip #7. Photo Montage

Create a montage of still photographs into a video for your YouTube channel. Take pictures you already have of your staff attending the annual Christmas party, picnic, or other function and string them together. These fun little videos show viewers the camaraderie and fun your massage therapy staff share. You can also utilize a photo montage of your current patients with subtitles describing what they like best about your practice. A photo montage is also incredibly helpful if a patient wants to give their testimonial but doesn’t like the video aspect.

Tip #8. Add Hyperlinks

Connect all your advertising avenues effortlessly together by using hyperlinks. A hyperlink links a file or document to another location or file, typically activated by clicking on a word, phrase, or image. Suppose your massage therapy practice has a web page or uses other social media platforms as an avenue to advertise; a hyperlink is a perfect way to direct web traffic from one of your sites like YouTube to the other, what’s commonly referred to as a “call to action.” Think of a hyperlink as a traffic cop directing cars down different streets. Use Hyperlinks when quoting particulars directly from a resource you used in creating your content as well.

Tip #9. Choose Relevant Tags and Categories

When you upload your video with YouTube, you choose a video category to list under, making your video easy for viewers to find when looking for a specific topic. There are 15 categories to choose from like Product Review, Vlog, How-to, Educational, Memes, Favorites, and more.

Tags are descriptive keywords you add to your video that assist viewers in finding your content. Utilize the tags YouTube suggests since the platform deploys suggestions based on commonly searched items. You can also add variations of tags. For example, use the tags massage therapy, Swedish massage, etc.

Tip #10. Make It Your Own

The page viewers see when they click on your account name is your YouTube home page. Your channel doesn’t have to appear like countless other YouTuber’s. Your YouTube channel is customizable with colors, images, and information to foster your business’s identity. You can also customize your channel page’s layout with a maximum of ten sections. The default mode displays three sections: Created Playlists, Uploads, and Subscriptions you’ve made viewable to the public. Make it distinctly your channel by signing into your YouTube account; in the upper right corner under your profile picture, choose your channel, and select “Customize Channel.”

Tip #11. Be Interactive

When viewers see your videos, they can rate the quality and comment. It would be best if you kept up the momentum by monitoring and responding to feedback promptly. Personalize responses to each viewer’s comments and don’t use automatic, cookie-cutter replies, which viewers often misconstrue as lazy. Ensure your answers are informative, insightful, and professional; even if the comments get a little critical, keep responses positive.

Tip #12. Don’t Confine Your Videos

Don’t hide that video under a bushel; put it out there and often. YouTube videos don’t have to stay confined to YouTube; share them on all your business’s social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. When you post a new video, write an accompanying blog entry describing it, then share the link, or post it on Facebook. You can also embed videos on your websites or emails to your massage clients, like stretching tutorials, massage technique instructions, and product demonstrations.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget your YouTube videos don’t have to be perfect. YouTube viewers come to expect imperfection, and many viewers feel it adds a sense of authenticity to you and your massage therapy practice. Have fun with the process of creating videos for your business and watch your client list grow.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about using YouTube for your massage therapy practice interest you? If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

6 Ways to Improve Skin Health: An Esthetician’s Guide

Estheticians specialize in skin care, they make clients look and feel their best with services from moisturizing and hair removal to exfoliation and cosmetic application. But science shows there’s a complex relationship between health and beauty that’s more than just skin deep. Successful estheticians know a beautiful glow and skin health require an inside-out approach.

What Does Skin Do for Our Bodies?

Skin is the body’s largest organ and the first line of defense against a hostile environment. It’s a rugged but flexible semi-permeable barrier that protects soft tissue from damage.

It has three layers, the dermis, the epidermis and the subcutis that protects us from:

  • Changes in Temperature
  • Moisture Loss
  • Microorganisms
  • UV Light
  • Heat
  • Cold
  • Injury

Why is Good Skin Health Important?

Skin works hard, and it’s vulnerable to damage, protecting it is as essential as caring for our bones, muscles and organs. Healthy skin is our primary barrier against infection-causing microorganisms. Keeping it in good condition helps us stay safe.

What Can Cause Skin Damage?

Skin damage can be genetic, environmental or a combination of both. Top causes include sun exposure, tobacco use, free radicals, harsh weather conditions, genetics, and skin disorders.

Sun Exposure

The most common cause of skin damage is the sun. It may seem counterintuitive that what brightens and warms our days can be so destructive, but ultraviolet light causes genetic damage to the cells just below the superficial layer of skin where most cancers begin. It also breaks down collagen and elastin, the structural proteins that give skin its smoothness and elasticity.

Sunlight also triggers melanocytes, the cells responsible for the skin’s color, to overreact. When we’re young, it gives us a youthful glow, but as we age, it results in liver spots and patches of dark discoloration.

Tobacco Use

Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, limiting their ability to deliver vital nutrients to the epidermis. As a result, skin loses elasticity and resists healing. Smokers have a higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a common form of cancer affecting the lips.

Smokers are also prone to yellow discolorations and heavy wrinkles around the mouth. Smoking is associated with premature aging and worsening of skin disorders, including rosacea and psoriasis.

Free Radicals

Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules produced by the body in response to environmental stress from pollution to junk food. Missing a needed electron, these rogue cells circulate through the body where they damage healthy cells’ DNA, causing premature aging and cancer.

Harsh Weather Conditions

Without proper protection, repeated exposure to harsh weather from blistering heat to bone-dry cold causes dryness and surface irritation. Excess humidity can result in superficial yeast infections in skin folds where conditions are dark and moist.

Genetics

The balance of moisture and fats in the skin that determines its resiliency is, in part, genetic, related to hormone levels and the immune system. While a healthy lifestyle can enhance or detract from the quality of skin’s appearance, little can change its character. Estheticians help clients by educating the client about their individual skin and how to keep it well maintained

Skin Disorders

Millions of Americans suffer from skin disorders ranging from mild to severe. You may see some of these skin disorders as an esthetician including acne, rosacea, and eczema.

Acne – the most common skin disorder in the US. Located on the face, neck, upper chest and back, it causes a pimply rash that if left untreated, can leave permanent scars. Pores clogged by dirt, oil and bacteria are thought to be the culprit.

Rosacea – a red skin rash that makes the face look flushed. Rash is triggered by alcohol, sunlight and stress. There are millions of cases in the US annually affecting both men and women.

Eczema – there are a few types of eczema that cause symptoms from open red rashes to greasy, crusty skin. Researchers believe it’s an autoimmune condition in which the body overreacts to external irritants. Like rosacea, it’s exacerbated by stress and typically needs medical intervention. But clients often see estheticians for help camouflaging its effects.

Ways to Improve Skin Health

Since skin quality correlates directly to health, estheticians should recommend these lifestyle measures like sunscreen, sun protection clothing, proper nutrition, moisturizing, improved sleep, and stress reduction.

Sunscreen

Dermatologists recommend wearing water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher for most everyday activities and up to SPF 30 for extended outdoor exposure. People with fair skin, outdoor jobs or a history of skin cancer should use SPF 30 or higher regularly.

Estheticians should warn clients to wear sunscreen rain or shine since some UV rays penetrate cloud cover. Recommending cosmetics and daily moisturizers with sunscreen built in may improve compliance.

Sun Protection Clothing

If wearing a sleeveless top on a sunny day sounds like a good idea, think again. The body is as vulnerable to sun damage as the face. Since reapplying sunscreen over the limbs and torso throughout the day can be impractical, a better solution can be to wear UV protective clothing. Tops brands are fashionable, breathable and block most sunlight. A wide-brimmed hat protects both the skin and eyes and is critical for clients with thinning hair.

Proper Nutrition

Aging occurs at a cellular level, it’s something no skin care product except sunscreen can prevent. The foundation of radiance is healthy habits beginning with sound nutrition. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables with vitamins A, C, E, and K promotes beautiful skin, but for a boost of radiance, nutritionists recommend adding specific foods to the diet.

Tomatoes – shown to cut skin cancer rates, that’s no small benefit for outdoor workers and beach lovers. Tomato products such as sauces count, but as always, fresh is best.

Olive Oil – an anti-aging powerhouse, diminishing the effects of long-term UV exposure such as dark spots and crow’s feet as well as combating dryness caused by free radicals. A tablespoon per day drizzled over salad is all it takes.

Walnuts – zinc is essential for skin repair, but it’s hard to get with an average American diet. One ounce of walnuts contains 10-percent of the recommended daily allowance, plus antioxidants that fight free radicals and inflammation.

Green Tea – compounds in green teas have shown to restore aging skin cells and speed the healing of wounds including skin conditions like eczema. Drinking it fresh brewed is preferred over taking supplements.

Cocoa – As if we need more excuses to each chocolate, new research suggests the flavanols found in cocoa improve the of structure of skin. A one-ounce serving of high-cacao, low-sugar dark chocolate three times a week strengthens its resiliency and smooths away light wrinkles without adding too many calories. Telling clients to improve their diet by eating more chocolate is guaranteed to make you their favorite beauty professional.

Moisturizing

Moisturizers improve hydration in the top layers of skin, sealing in moisture. Most formulas contain humectants to attract moisture, light oils to seal it in and emollients that smooth rough spaces between skin cells for a smoother appearance. Choose products with antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, to help fight free radicals.

In addition to protective treatments, these tips can help to keep skin moist:

  • Limit showers to 10 minutes or less and avoid very hot water.
  • Use gentle cleansers. Harsh brands strip away valuable skin oil, leading to dryness.
  • Avoid excessive exfoliation. It gives skin a fresh look but is damaging.
  • Moisturize immediately after bathing to trap in moisture.
  • Use non-fragrance lotions, they’re the least irritating.
  • Run a humidifier during dry winter months.
  • Launder clothing with mild, hypoallergenic detergent.

Improve Sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to health conditions from diabetes to cancer, but did you know it’s also associated with premature skin aging?

Getting less than the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep nightly can impair the skin’s ability to heal from daily stress. During the deep sleep cycle, the body goes into repair mode and produces more collagen for skin repair. Without it, wrinkles and sags form well before their time.

Stress Reduction

Stress has a negative impact on skin. In the short term, it worsens conditions including acne and rosacea, it’s not uncommon for estheticians to get panicked phone calls from clients breaking out the day before their wedding or a big job interview. Long-term, it causes chronic inflammation that impairs healing.

Stress can increase cortisol, a fight or flight hormone the body produces to give us a physical and mental edge in emergency situations. But when it’s chronically elevated, it prompts the body to create more skin oil.

Estheticians should advise clients to avoid stress and offer services that promote both relaxation and skin repair. A quick afternoon facial detoxifies skin while offering much needed down time.

Final Thoughts

Estheticians know the key to enhancing skin quality is to improve wellness. It takes a clean canvas for artists to work their magic. Beauty begins and ends with good health.

If you have a passion for improving skin health, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Blending Hairstyles and Instagram

Hairstylist working on a client

Do you enjoy helping your friends style their hair? Do you like creating new hairstyles and posting them on the Internet? Becoming a hairstylist may be the right career for you. Many hairstylists utilize social media and the internet to showcase some of their more unique hairstyles. One of the more popular places that hairstylists can post their artist work is on Instagram.

What is Instagram & Who Uses It?

Instagram is a visual social media platform, started in 2010 and purchased by Facebook in 2012. It boasts over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, with 125 million in the U.S. Users ages 18-24 are the largest demographic on Instagram, according to SproutSocial. Instagram users that log in each day average 53 minutes of usage. Among users surveyed, 78% say that brands on Instagram are popular and 77% are creative. A winning combination for an up and coming hairstylist.

What is an Instagram Influencer?

Influencers are Instagram users that have established a large audience, in addition to building credibility on the site. Their audience trusts what they post and feels they are being authentic. A brand’s “influencer” is someone that regularly uses the brand’s #hashtag and has the largest number of followers.

These Instagram influencers share images, build community and share aspects of their personal life. Having a good personality and being authentic are important for Instagram influencers. They share the most worthy moments in a snapshot of their lives, and the audience looks forward to their genuine and honest content.

Why Do Hairstylists Use Instagram?

Instagram is a visual social media platform. The unique value of Instagram is the use of images. Users post their images to their profile and share them across Instagram. This is a great way for any artist to showcase their art. Hairstyles are visual, colorful and can be captured in a photo. What hairstyles are you known for? Every time you create a glamorous or unique hairstyle, you have a visual medium in Instagram to share it on the internet. Those users that live geographically close to you can patronize your salon. Everyone else will enjoy the unique style and flair you bring to Instagram.

How Can I Use Instagram for My Salon?

There are specific things you can do to make your Instagram profile searchable by your followers. Also, by creating a business account, you have the ability to interact with your followers on a business level.

Create an Instagram Business Account

If you are starting from scratch it is good to start a business account, so you have the tools and features to promote your hair salon. If you already have an established personal account that focuses on your business, you can transition to a business account. Just make sure everything on your personal account is business friendly.

Keep a Steady Cadence

Your Instagram followers will get used to seeing your posts on some sort of schedule. If you post every day, then post every day. Whatever schedule you choose, try to stick with it. If your followers don’t see a post from you for a while, they may stop visiting your business profile. On the other hand, don’t overwhelm your followers with too much content or they may unfollow you.

Optimize Your Profile & Picture

Make sure to create a brand experience on your Instagram profile. Your Instagram bio is short so make sure it is descriptive and impactful. First-time visitors will need to understand what you and your salon are all about. Give your profile the proper personality. You will also be able to add a profile picture. Make sure it represents your salon’s brand. Also, make sure your profile is complete including a link to your website or your latest blog post. A business profile allows you to include contact information to your salon, a category so users can find you with a button to attract clicks.

Create Stunning Photos & Write Compelling Captions

Even a smartphone can take great pictures. Try to capture stunning visuals of your new hairstyles. It is also okay to touch up a photo to make sure it is lit or cropped properly. You may even use a specific filter that followers will identify with your salon. Make sure to add a caption to each photo. Instagram is a visual platform, but captions allow you to tell a story about your salon and the hairstyles you showcase. Captions are not searchable so make sure to use #hashtags.

Use #Hashtags

Hashtags are how Instagram users are going to find your posts. Hashtags are searchable and allow someone that is looking for new hairstyles to find your Instagram profile. Try creating your own brand hashtag so your followers can quickly identify your brand in all the clutter.

Respond to Comments and Mentions

Part of community is conversation, and you must keep up with the conversation around your salon’s Instagram account. Spend some time engaging with your followers, responding to comments and acknowledging your mentions.

Promote Your Account

Make sure to cross-link all your social media profiles and add a link to Instagram on your salon’s website. You can also add an icon on your emails to allow your readers to find you on Instagram. Instagram is not only a destination for great images but part of the journey that brings your customers into your salon.

Who Are Top Hairstylist Influencers on Instagram?

It is good to look to Instagram influencers for inspiration. Here are a few Instagram influencers that focus on hair.

Guy_Tang – an Instagram influencer with over 2 million followers. Just looking at the images that he posts shows a lot about how he promotes his hairstyles and the products he uses. There is some personality involved but the main focus is on stunning hair.

Menshair – with over 2 million followers, this channel is a collection of men’s hairstyles from short to long and everything in between.

Harryjoshhair – the creator of Harry Josh Pro Tools, this Instagram influencer has worked with many beautiful celebrities. In addition to images of stunning hairstyles are inspirational quotes.

To learn some lessons from these hairstyle influencers on Instagram, make sure your images are interesting to look at, compelling enough to scroll through, and most of all, stay on brand. If you are quirky, then make your pictures quirky. If you are looking for a professional look, make sure to convey that in your images. It is also important to increase the number of Instagram users that follow you. You may not need millions but the people in your community are a good start. If you work with any notable people, take a photo of the work you do for them and share it on Instagram. You can learn a lot from looking at an Instagram influencers profile, just make sure that you are true to yourself and you create an experience that reflects you and your salon.

Other Social Media Platforms for Hairstylists

Not everyone that comes to your salon will use Instagram. It is important to engage with every potential client. In addition to a salon website it is important to engage with your customers on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. By building a community on multiple social media platforms, you will attract a more diverse clientele to your salon. Each social media platform has its own style and value, so make sure you research how to best use each one to your advantage.

Facebook for Hairstylists

Facebook is more of a community first and visual medium second. This is where you can meet new people in your community and invite them to come to your salon. Use Facebook to talk about your salon, offer incentives and post the occasional video or image. Make it easy for your Facebook followers to learn about you personally as a hairstylist and the salon’s history. Take advantage of what Facebook does well, community.

YouTube for Hairstylists

YouTube is another visual medium that has over 2 billion users worldwide. Unlike Instagram’s focus on images, YouTube’s main focus is on video. Make videos that showcase your salon or offer how-to videos to educate your YouTube followers. Make sure that the videos are not too long so your viewers don’t get bored. Don’t forget to fully complete your YouTube profile with links back to your salon’s website. Also make playlists of multiple videos so your viewers can learn more about your salon. YouTube also has a live function so you can live stream directly from your salon.

Pinterest for Hairstylists

Pinterest has over 200 million monthly users and they are all looking for new ideas and ways to share interests and hobbies. This is great for a hairstylist that wants to show off their newest hairstyles and drive traffic to their salon.

Final Thoughts

Using Instagram is a great way to showcase your hairstyles and your salon. Use it to visually tell a story about your salon and the experience someone will have when they step into it. Are you ready to become a hairstylist? Attending a cosmetology program is a great way to prepare yourself for an entry-level position in your local salon.

Cosmetology Program

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

How to Start a Salon: Entrepreneurial Cosmetology

Two entrepreneurial cosmetologists standing in front of their salon

Are you thinking about becoming a cosmetologist? Want to know how to start a salon? Starting a salon is an exciting journey, just make sure you are prepared and have a plan for the future. Start by getting your cosmetology diploma at a vocational school.  This education will prepare you to take the exam Getting some experience, building the right skills and obtaining the proper knowledge will help you start your own salon as an entrepreneurial cosmetologist.

What is an Entrepreneurial Cosmetologist?

An entrepreneur is someone that manages a business with passion and integrity. They feel comfortable taking on risk, leading their team, and managing the business day to day. An entrepreneurial cosmetologist will have passion for starting a cosmetology business. Do you work well with others, enjoy learning about hairstyling trends and have competency in business? Then starting a salon may be the right career move for you.

How to Start a Salon?

Again, the first step is getting experience in the industry. Start by getting a diploma in cosmetology and find an entry-level position at your local salon. Move up to become a manager at the salon and learn about all the moving pieces that keep a salon running. Learn about managing a cosmetology team, supplying inventory, preparing marketing, managing the bookkeeping, securing all the business licenses and paying taxes. These is all vital knowledge to successfully run a salon.

When you have some experience and confidence, you can start your own salon. Start by building out a business plan, securing financing, identifying a location, getting the proper permits and licenses, and understanding everything you must pay for to get the salon off the ground. Know where you are starting from, where you need to go and how to hit the break-even point. Do you need to reinvest your profits back into the business to expand and grow your clientele? Will it take you two years of business to break-even? These are all important questions to answer when creating a business plan.

Creating a Business Plan

Before you can secure financing, you will need to write a business plan. This is a blueprint of your salon, how it will work, what you will need to pay for, what the competitor landscape looks like, minimum number of employees, pricing structures, the consumer market breakdown, the product or service offering, the promotion or marketing plan, and finally the financial projections. By creating a comprehensive business plan, you will have a blueprint for the first few years of your salon. You will also be able to inform investors about your future plans and hold yourself accountable once the salon starts.

Secure Financing

There are many different ways to secure financing to start a salon. You may have some money saved up that you can use to get you started. Many entrepreneurs start with a friends and family round of investing to get some money to start their salon. Many organizations will help you start a salon in your local area. Look into your city’s chamber of commerce, the government offices of the Small Business Administration (SBA), or local credit union. The SBA offers many opportunities to get financing for first time entrepreneurs with grants, loans and other financing options. Visit your local bank or credit union to meet with their business loan department. These are all great ways to secure financing, just make sure you don’t borrow more money than you can pay back.

In a salon specifically, there are ways to get inventory on terms and pay once the products are sold. Some salons sell their shelf space to other business that offer hair care products. Other salons buy inventory on 30- or 60-day terms allowing the hair care business to extend credit to the salon, knowing that they will have customers to buy the products. A newer way to start a business is through crowdfunding. You may start a Kickstarter to allow customers to purchase a hairstyling service in advance. These pre-sells help you raise money to get started. Regardless of what you do, there are many different options to secure financing when starting a salon.

Identifying a Location

You have heard the saying, “Location, location, location.” This is an important part of your salon strategy. Do you have enough room to offer your salon services to your customers and most importantly can they find you? Are you going to rent a space in a high traffic location? Maybe you will hire cosmetologists that already have their own clientele and they just need a chair in a salon to manage their clients. Make sure that the location fits your aesthetic, provides enough space to offer good customer service and is in a location that clients can find. Many salons will choose high traffic locations near other complementary business, like gyms, restaurants, shopping centers or co-habitable spaces. The location can make or break a new salon.

Getting Permits and Licenses

There are many permits and licenses that need to be secured before you can start a salon. To start a salon, you will need a business operations license from the county, certificate of occupancy, a sales and uses license to sell retail, a building permit, fire permit, federal employer identification number (EIN), salon manager license and operator state cosmetology license. All of these licenses and permits can cost money so make sure you understand the cost of doing business and have all of them outlined in your salon’s business plan.

Cost of Doing Business

Make sure you fully understand all the costs you will encounter when starting a salon. You have to pay employees, spend money on marketing and advertising, build out an inventory of products, pay for licenses and permits, pay utilities, and pay taxes, just to name a few. Have all these costs outlined in your salon’s business plan and make sure you raise enough money to get your salon started on the right foot.

Entrepreneurial Cosmetologist Qualities and Skills

There are many important qualities and skills that are needed to be a successful entrepreneurial cosmetologist. Some of these qualities and skills include risk taking, fiscally responsibility, leadership skills and bookkeeping.

Risk Taking

One of the most important qualities of any entrepreneur is the ability to take risks. Not to jump head-first into the deep end, but to see a vision for the future and realize that vision. Taking a calculated risk is a better way to look at it.

Fiscally Responsible

Showing that you are fiscally responsible is important to investors, especially if you need to borrow money to start your salon. Whether you visit a bank, investor or family member, they will need to trust that their money is in safe hands. Being fiscally responsible means balancing a check book, getting multiple bids to understand how much something is going to cost and understanding the break-even point. By being fiscally responsible you will work toward expansion and profitability without taking on too much debt.

Leadership Skills

Starting a salon is about becoming a leader that cosmetologists can follow. It is important for you to have some experience in cosmetology before starting a salon, so you know the ins and outs of the business. Your team will also respect you more if you have been in their shoes as a cosmetologist. When starting a salon, you will be responsible for hiring employees, buying inventory, managing marketing, securing capital and building out the salon itself. This takes a strong leader that understands what they want and how to get it.

Bookkeeping

Every business has to keep the books for tax purposes, payroll, inventory control, utilities, and taxes, to name a few. Having a background in light bookkeeping and QuickBooks is important to properly manage the financial future of your salon. Most cosmetology programs will teach business management and bookkeeping to help you start a salon.

Final Thoughts

Although starting a salon is not an easy undertaking, if you have a passion for cosmetology and enjoy starting a business, you have a better chance of succeeding. Plan as much as you can before starting your salon. Make sure you have the financing secure, the right location, all the permits and licenses and a great team. With all of this, you will be well on your way to starting your own successful salon.

Cosmetology Program

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

What are the Qualities of a Good Massage Therapist?

Massage therapist showcasing her qualities and providing a client with a massage.

Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist? Do you have the qualities it takes to be successful? If you want to obtain the qualities and knowledge to become a good massage therapist, do some research about your local vocational school’s massage therapy program. Find the school that fits your work and life style for just the right fit. You can start earning in as little as 5 months as a massage therapist. Start a career that is satisfying, helping yourself earn while helping others improve their quality of life. There are many different qualities that will make you successful as a massage therapist. Here are just a few:

Quality #1: Educated

The most important part of being a massage therapist is having the correct training. Vocational schools offer massage therapy programs for students to get the training and learn the techniques of each massage modality. With a diploma, you can confidently start helping clients with massage therapy, knowing that you have the skills and qualities needed for a positive client outcome. The curriculum focuses on massage therapy and you won’t have to take any elective or general ed courses. You will learn exactly what you need to know to become a successful massage therapist.

Quality #2: Articulate

An important part of being a good massage therapist is having good communication skills. Being articulate starts with active listening. You must listen as much as you speak. Make sure the client clearly understands what you are going to do and how they will feel after a massage. Be very detailed in the descriptions so the client understands what they are getting into. While good communication skills are key, it is also important to be articulate.

Quality #4: Flexible

You must be ready to adapt to change as a massage therapist. A client may miss a session and you must find a creative solution to the problem. You may have booked two clients at the same time and must figure out how to deal with the situation. Being open to change is an important quality for a massage therapist. Flexibility is a key quality for success.

Flexibility is also important as a physical trait. This comes from improved posture and will help lessen injuries or muscle soreness to your body during a massage therapy session. When it comes to flexibility, both mental and physical flexibility are important, for you to be able to offer the best massage that you can to your clients.

Quality #5: Friendly

Clients may talk with you like a friend as relationships build trust over time. However, it is important for you to understand what each of your clients want in a massage session. They may want to talk, or they may enjoy the relaxing quiet. Take a moment to ask the client at the beginning of each session to better understand the amount of conversation they are comfortable with during a massage. Happy clients are return clients.

Quality #7: Comforting

In addition to a friendly attitude, you must create a comfortable atmosphere. The use of scents, candles or lotions can help clients become more comfortable during a massage. While removing every pain, knot and sore muscle, you are making the client comfortable. This can have both a physical and mental calming effect for clients during massage therapy.

Quality #8: Careful

While you are comforting your clients, it is important to be careful. A good way to gauge your client’s comfort level is to observe their body language. As you use more strength in your massage stroke, watch for the client’s reaction. They may feel like pain is part of the massage, but if you understand the level of pain a client is in, by their body language, you can make sure that you are being as careful as you need to soothe their pain and muscle soreness.

Quality #9: Methodical

Being methodical takes carefulness one step further and involves thoroughness and order. Part of being a good massage therapist is performing massage in an organized manner. Massage therapy has a method or systematic approach and adhering to this will allow you to provide a comfortable experience for your clients.  This systematic approach is taught during a massage therapy program at a vocational school. Understanding the proper process will allow you to help your clients with a thorough and thoughtful massage.

Quality #10: Hygienic

As a massage therapist, part of your job is keeping clients healthy and preventing disease. It is important to keep a clean and sanitary massage table and working space. Good hygiene means proper hand washing, as well as regular hair and body washing, teeth brushing, and wearing clean clothes daily. Massage therapy involves touch and making sure you practice good hygiene is important to keep clients safe and healthy. Nothing is worse than a foul odor coming from you during a client’s massage.

Quality #11: Trustworthy

Building trust is important for your relationship with the client. Make sure you are positive, friendly, comforting and careful during a massage therapy session. Make sure you offer consistent technique that the client can count on every time they get a massage. Building trust is important in a relationship. Having your trust will allow the client to let one mistake go because they trust you to have their best interest in mind.

Quality #12: Self-Confident

Another way for you to build trust is through self-confidence. If you are confident in yourself, then the client will also be confident in you. The client must have a feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities and judgement. This confidence will create a comfortable and trusting atmosphere so that the client can relax and enjoy the massage.

Quality #13: Punctual

A client’s number one gripe about a massage therapist is being late for an appointment. Nothing is worse than sitting and waiting for someone. Don’t keep the client waiting, make sure you show up on time and are ready for the client’s appointment. Every once in a while, you will be running late or get stuck in traffic, but make sure you are punctual and respect the client’s time.

Quality #14: Discreet

When you are a massage therapist, you learn intimate details about a person and work with them in a very personal manner. By being discreet, you build trust with them. They can tell you about their health concerns or comprising situations and you will keep the information confidential. That way the client is completely open, and you can help them to the best of your ability.

Quality #15: Curious

Massage therapy techniques and knowledge evolves over time and a good massage therapist is curious. You should be curious about new technologies and techniques and curious about the world of massage. As a good massage therapist, you will need to continue to learn and evolve with the industry. That way you can offer the best massage therapy technique for your clients.

Quality #16: Ambitious

Some massage therapists want to start their own business or go to their client’s home to perform massage. This involves having a strong desire to succeed. A self-employed massage therapist will need to get a business license, massage supplies, and the ability to manage clients. To be a good business owner, you must be self-sufficient.

Quality #17: Self-Sufficient

Whether starting your own massage therapy business or going to work at a spa, you must be self-sufficient to succeed. Although you will create friendships with fellow massage therapists, it is up to you to create your practice, inspire repeat customers and offer the best massage you can for your clients. Being self-sufficient will give you confidence and that breeds client trust.

Final Thoughts

There are many different qualities that make a good massage therapist. These are some of the qualities you can obtain or learn during your career that will help you succeed as a massage therapist. With these qualities you will enjoy what you do and help others at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.

Want to Learn More?

Do you have the right qualities be a successful massage therapist? If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

What is the Difference Between Cosmetology and Esthiology?

Instructor teaching a student the difference between cosmetology and esthiology.

There are many differences and similarities between cosmetology and esthiology. A diploma can be obtained for cosmetology in 10 months at a vocational school, 5 months for esthiology. Both people may work in a spa, salon or resort, however while a cosmetologist can become an esthetician with additional training, an esthetician is not trained to perform cosmetology services. Esthiology is a branch of cosmetology focused specially on skin care. But before we look at the differences between cosmetology and esthiology, let’s look into what each of these professions entail.

What is Cosmetology?

Cosmetology is the study and application of beauty products for the hair, skin and nails specifically. Cosmetologists are responsible for the beautification of their clients. They use hairstyling, makeup and nail art to improve a client’s confidence and self-esteem.

Hair

Cosmetologists are responsible for cutting, styling, coloring, foiling and texturizing hair. They learn different hair cutting techniques including fades, bobs, pompadours, updos and razor cuts. Regular haircuts are important to prevent hair damage, reduce split ends, and create thicker, heathier hair. Cosmetologist learn how to use hair appliances like flat irons, clippers and trimmers and advanced techniques like extensions, sew-ins and weaves. They also learn different braiding techniques, specialty perm wraps and chemical texture services.

Makeup

Cosmetologists are taught proper make-up techniques for daily and special occasions, runway and photo shoots. Cosmetologists learn the proper way to apply foundation, concealer, bronzer, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. With these skills, cosmetologist can improve the facial features of their clients and offer an overall beautification of body and soul.

Nail Care

Cosmetologists provide manicures and pedicures to clients to keep nails strong and healthy. They will learn about nail structures and growth, nail disorders and diseases and how to provide salon-grade nail care and art.

What Does a Cosmetologist Do?

Cosmetologists provide haircuts, hair styling, hair coloring, makeup, nail care and other beauty services. Cosmetologists:

  • Analyze hair, skin, and scalp to recommend beauty treatment
  • Provide facial treatment and makeup analysis
  • Wash, color, lighten, and condition hair
  • Can provide manicures, pedicures and acrylics
  • Cut, dry, and style hair
  • Style and clean wigs
  • Manage billing and electronic record keeping
  • Recommend hair care products to customers
  • Clean and disinfect all tools and work area

What is Esthiology?

Esthiology is the practice of skin care. This includes facials, skin treatments, makeup application, and waxing for hair removal. Some specialties of esthiology include microdermabrasion, permanent makeup, chemical resurfacing, and electroloysis.

Facials

A facial is a process that uses creams and cleansers to help clean, exfoliate, nourish and hydrate a person’s skin. This is part of a larger skincare process and can include some complexion components. Facials can involve steam, facial masks, peels and massage.

Skin Treatment

Skin treatments deal with keeping skin smooth, firm and evenly toned. These skin treatments include skin solutions such as chemical peels, laser treatments, light therapies, heat-based options, and injection treatments.

Makeup

Clients may seek out a specified makeup artist for makeup assistance. However, there a lot of people who prefer to get makeup advice from estheticians because they want to keep their skin healthy and free of damage.

Hair Removal

Getting rid of unwanted hair is an important part of Esthiology. Waxing and threading are two ways an esthetician can remove hair from a client’s body. Hair can be removed by shaving, but this type of hair removal is less permanent.  Laser, sonic and thermal treatments are also hair removal solutions, but they require specialized equipment and training.

What Does an Esthetician Do?

An esthetician is a skincare professional concerned with the appearance and health of a client’s skin. They can give skincare routine and product advice, as well as administer different skin treatments. An esthetician can perform conditioning skin treatments, face and body hair removal, facials, chemical peels, and technical skin treatments.

While esthiology is focused on the beautification of the skin, it should not be mistaken for dermatology. Dermatology is the medical field that focuses on skin health. Working in this field requires many years of college education that allows a dermatologist to diagnose and treat skin diseases and conditions. Dermatology should not be confused with the cosmetic field of esthiology, which focuses more heavily on helping clients with the beautification of their skin. Esthiology focuses on skin treatments and products that deal with issues such as discoloration of the skin, wrinkles, uneven skin texture, and skin firmness.

What is the Difference Between Cosmetology and Esthiology?

This is a common question asked by new students interested in a beauty and wellness career. While a cosmetologist can sometimes become an esthetician, an esthetician is not trained to perform most cosmetology services. Cosmetologists are trained to help with hair, nails, skin, and makeup. They would help with minor skin health needs and could give facials and have knowledge of makeup’s affect on the skin. Cosmetologists can specialize as a hairstylist, manicurist, make-up artist or other beautification specialist. An esthetician are experts at facials, skin maintenance services and receive a more advanced curriculum of skincare training than a cosmetologist would.

Cosmetologist can beautify a client’s body including hair, face, and nails, whereas the esthetician focuses on the health and beauty of the skin itself. A client would go to a cosmetologist to get a make-over, new hairstyle or pedicure, while a client would see an esthetician if they have skin maintenance issues. These skin maintenance services focus on wrinkles, age spots, dark marks, tone fading, skin softness, and hydration to name a few.

Final Thoughts

The programs at Minnesota School of Cosmetology offer both cosmetology and esthiology specializations. If you are ready to start earning and want a new career, becoming a cosmetologist or esthetician is a great way to learn the techniques that improve a client’s beauty and wellness.

Cosmetology Program

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Esthiology Program

Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our Esthiology Diploma Program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist or esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.