Do you Need a Degree to be a Hairstylist?

mannequin at a hairstylist school

Are you passionate about hair? Enjoy watching YouTube videos about the newest styles and then give your family and friends advice on their hair? If you want to be a hairstylist, the good news is you don’t need a 4-year college degree. However, you do need to attend a diploma program. The other good news is that most cosmetology diploma programs can be completed in under a year. Once you complete the diploma program, you are ready to apply for a cosmetology license and start working as a hairstylist.

Do you Need a Degree to be a Hairstylist?

As mentioned earlier, you don’t need a degree, but you do need a diploma or certification to qualify for a license. It is mandatory in all 50 state that a hairstylist be licensed before they work in a licensed business. Having a license proves that you attended and satisfactorily completed an accredited diploma program. During a diploma program you will not only attend lectures, but you will gain hands-on experience, typically in a student salon. You start working on mannequins and fellow classmates, honing your craft, and then move on to real clients in the student salon. This diploma program allows you to practice your trade, so you are prepared for the licensing exam and that first day of your new career.

What Do You Learn in a Hairstylist Diploma Program?

Not only do you learn all about cutting and styling hair, but you also learn a lot of knowledge that will help you perform your job properly including infection control, sanitation, and draping. By obtaining your license, you prove that you understand how to sanitize hairstyling instruments, salon surfaces and generally keep clients safe while they sit in your salon chair. Further, during a cosmetology program, you learn more than just hair. You learn abut nail care, facials and makeup. The cosmetology program is a complete course on everything you will need to know to work in a salon.

Hair Styling & Cutting

The majority of what you learn and do in a cosmetology program is about hair. You will learn about different hairstyles, braiding, wig and hair extensions, hair coloring, and hair removal. You learn about hair color applications, chemical mixing, lighteners, toners, special effects and corrective solutions. The curriculum will also focus on hair coloring safety and proper procedure, so you keep your client safe.

You learn about different hairstyles from updos to finger waves. The program teaches wet hairstyling basics, comb-out techniques, hair wrapping and blow-dry styling. You learn the principles of hair design, scalp care, shampooing, conditioning, and haircutting.  Part of the techniques of shampooing involve proper draping, protecting the client from water, chemicals and other substances that may touch their skin or clothes. You will also better understand shampoo and conditioner and how to educate your clients on proper hygiene.

Not only will you learn how to cut a client’s hair, but you will also learn how to stand properly to improve posture and cut safely. While you cut hair, you will spend most of your time on your feet, so this program will teach you how to stand properly to minimize the strain on your body. You will also learn about different appliances that you will use during a hairstyling appointment. Hair equipment like rollers, blow dryers, thermal presses, are some of the many that will help you style your client’s hair. After this cosmetology program, you will have mastered the art of hairstyling and haircutting, but there is much more to learn.

Facials & Makeup

Part of the curriculum of the cosmetology program will focus on facials. This is important in conjunction with makeup. You will learn about skin analysis, aromatherapy, skin care products, as well as cosmetics and makeup application. Part of the curriculum includes facial massage and treatment. It is important for you to understand and determine skin types and conditions before consulting with the client.

Facial makeup is also an important supplement to your hairstyling education so you can help your clients with cosmetics, makeup color theory, special occasion makeup, corrective makeup, artificial eyelashes and proper makeup application procedures.

Manicures & Pedicures

Another part of the cosmetology program focuses on manicures and pedicures. As a cosmetologist, you will need to know about manicure tools, disinfection and nail technologies to pass the cosmetology license exam. There are many different nail technology tools, from nail files to separators to cuticle exfoliators and sable brushes. Not only is it important to know proper technique but also how to sanitize tools in a way that keeps your clients safe. There are also techniques that can set you apart including nail art and nail designs.

Being able to perform manicures and pedicures also builds your resume so that you are able to work at a full-service salon or even a spa. Having additional expertise in manicures and pedicures will show that you take cosmetology seriously.

Anatomy & Physiology

Two important courses that are part of the cosmetology program are anatomy and physiology. During these courses, you will learn about the different body systems, the anatomy of the skin, skin health and nutrition, skin disorders and the properties of the hair and scalp. Having knowledge of the body and how it works is important so you can educate your clients. They may ask why they need a pedicure or special chemical relaxant in their hair. You will have the training necessary to educate your clients about their body, cells, tissues, skin, and any disorders of the skin they may encounter. You can also educate them on nail structure and growth and proper hygiene.

Infection Control

A whole section of the licensing exam is focused on infection control. When you work with clients and they are exposed to different bacteria, it is important to understand how to disinfect surfaces and sterilize tools. During the cosmetology program, you will learn about infection, prevention, precautions, and the regulations you must adhere to in order to retain your cosmetology license. You will learn how infection works, how to prevent infection and the proper precautions to take in order to keep clients healthy. Keeping a clean area helps keep both you and your clients safe.

Hairstylist Skills

There are many skills that you will learn and master during your cosmetology program. The skills include goal setting, time management, career management, ethics and personality development. You will also learn how to project a professional image, present yourself properly and show your clients that you care about personal hygiene and the art of hair with your own appearance. Most importantly, you will hone your communication skills from the basics of communication, client consultation, customer service and salon sales. Communication is vitally important for a cosmetologist because most of your job will involve interacting with clients and coworkers. Good communication skills will create a fun and happy atmosphere at the salon.

The Salon Business

As a hairstylist, you will need to know how to attract and create loyal customers. You may also aspire to be a salon manager or even start your own salon business. Part of the curriculum in a cosmetology diploma program includes how to open a successful salon and building your salon business. It is important to get off on the right foot when you are starting a new business and having the formal training from industry experienced instructors will give you that leg up.

Minnesota Laws and Rules

Another important part of the licensing exam and what you learn in your cosmetology program is the laws and rules you must abide by. How to keep clients safe, keeping tools clean, how to advertise, licensing and other rules that you must abide by to retain or renew your cosmetology license.

Finding Employment

One of the last courses you will take in the cosmetology diploma program will prepare you for the workforce. You will prepare for the licensing exam, learn how to write a proper resume, and participate in mock interviews to prepare you with the answers to the many questions an employer may ask. Many vocational schools also offer career services because they have relationships with businesses in the community. Getting a diploma is about more than what you learn but the opportunities you gain to get your career started in hairstyling.

Final Thoughts

It takes less than a year to learn everything you need to become a licensed hairstylist. A cosmetology program will not only prepare you for the licensing exam but also prepare you for your first day of work as a hairstylist. You will get hands-on experience during the program, preparing you to succeed. Complete your diploma and pass the licensing exam, and then start your new adventure as a hairstylist.

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 is the Best Hair School?

Woman practicing on a mannequin at a hair school

Every hair school and every student are different, so how do you determine the best hair school? First ensure your heart is into hair because, as with anything worth working for, your job takes dedication and perseverance. If you aspire to become a hairstylist more than anything, school becomes a labor of love and a joy to attend. So, get ready to embark on a career path that helps you win a coveted chair at the hair salon of your choice or even open a beauty-centric business of your own.

On Becoming A Hairstylist

Which part of the beauty trade appeals to you? Do you want to specialize in a particular area like hair styling, skincare or nails, or all aspects of Cosmetology? The right school for you has a program that assists in attaining the career you desire. However, it’s a decision to take seriously. Think about why you want to become a hairstylist. What piqued your interest in this line of work? Attending hair school is a choice that sets a career’s trajectory, supplies financial stability, and ultimately improves your quality of life.

What to Look for In A Hair School

You decided you want to be a hairstylist, and now you need the education to get there. Career colleges and dedicated hair schools contain many benefits over traditional higher education institutions but are they all the same? There can be several variations in different Cosmetology or beauty schools. They differ in the programs offered and teaching methods, down to the hairstylist kits provided. Before enrolling in a Cosmetology program, you need to put in the research to ensure you pick the best possible school. So, here are six tips on what to look for in a hair school:

Tip #1: Accreditation

Accreditation is a formal verification that a program or institution meets quality standards and guidelines. Accreditation means they are competent in carrying out specific conformity assessment tasks. These set number of tasks include, but are not limited to, inspection, testing, and certification. Accreditation, in place for many years, is the means of evaluating organizations and now used by many schools, not only in the US but worldwide. In regard to a hair school, this means that the curriculum and course materials meet approval in all the necessary techniques, skills, and information needed to pass the state’s board exam. Broken down further, the college you attend is responsible for all the knowledge required to help you pass your Cosmetology exam successfully. For you, passing the state exam is the ultimate goal to attain a license for hairstyling.

Tip #2: Knowledgeable and Dedicated Instructors

At one point in all of our education, a class with an unenthusiastic teacher crossed our educational path; and in the end, you couldn’t grasp the material. The instructors at a hair school needs to cultivate their passion and their students’ love for the industry. Dedicated instructors make the material exciting and foster an immersive, hands-on learning environment. The instructors should not only teach the program but also provide a support system for students.

One tip to ensure the quality of a school’s teaching staff is to sit in on both classroom and practical training. This gives you a good idea of the instructor’s ability and willingness to help students grasp the required knowledge. Also, instructors should continue their education and regularly attend classes on the latest techniques and newest products in Cosmetology.

Tip #3: Course Offerings

Cosmetology is not a singular subject. Many beauty professions fall under the umbrella of Cosmetology, each requiring a varied set of skills. You need to ensure that the beauty profession you want to pursue gets covered by the courses offered.

Furthermore, suppose you have commitments in life that make a full-time school schedule difficult, like young children or a job to keep paying expenses while attending class. In that case, the right hair school offers a part-time and a night-time schedule to enable you to schedule your studies around your schedule.

Tip #4: Reasonable Cost and Financial Aid

Like any higher learning institution, there is a price for education. Each school charges different fees depending on the courses they offer. Comparing the costs of schools gives you knowledge of what fits your budget. If your dream school is out of financial reach, many accredited Cosmetology schools will offer financial aid, to those that qualify, to help pay for the program. So, check with your schools to see if they provide financial aid options, like grants, student loans, payment plans, scholarships, or work-study programs.

Tip #5: Job Placement Services

Job placement is a service that educational institutions offer to assist individuals in finding work. Examples of a job placement program include a hair school helping students practice interviewing, find externships to satisfy required clinical hours, vocational counseling, and job leads for permanent employment after graduation. Although hair schools are not required to have these services, the best ones offer some career services and job placement counseling options.

Typically, during the job placement process, a placement officer meets with you before graduation and discusses employment plans. According to education, skill levels, and personal circumstances, this placement process offers assistance in developing a positive job-seeking approach. This part of your education usually includes proper resume writing, interview techniques, and job leads. These leads come from salons and other Cosmetology related businesses calling the school to fill their positions. Many companies in this industry prefer new hires straight out of school because their knowledge is fresh. Some employers believe recent graduates who haven’t worked in a salon yet haven’t already molded their work habits.

Tip #6: Satisfied Student Body

While visiting the considered school, talk to some of the current Cosmetology students to learn more about the school. Ask them about their experiences, like the instructor’s ability to deliver material and how their skills grew. If a student is happy with their hair school experience, it’s a good indicator the program is worth considering. Please don’t be reserved about asking questions or bringing up concerns because they were in the same position not long ago. So, they understand all the research that went into choosing the best hair school to fit their individual needs.

Remember, like every student, personal needs are different, and not every school is a one-size-fits-all scenario. Also, take the personal experiences of a student with a grain of salt. A curt response could mean the person just had a bad day, or in other cases, they didn’t make a realistic choice. Don’t disregard these reviews, as you’ll learn from these as well.

Check Out School Reviews

In the days of social media and Google reviews, everyone’s reputation is online, for the whole world to see, including businesses. Ultimately, hair school is a business, meaning they receive reviews online like any other entity. What do people say and think when they’ve reviewed the hair school you’re researching? Is the hair school involved with the community and strive to make the city a better place to reside and attend school? Reputation is crucial because it will shape how potential employers and clients look at you and how you view the school. Most educational institutions have websites and social media pages. Get a well-rounded and honest review of potential schools, you’ll be surprised by the wealth of information provided.

What Do You Learn in Cosmetology School?

A straightforward Cosmetology school covers hairstyling, skincare, nail care, and make-up. You may know that cosmetologists learn hair fundamentals in beauty school, but there’s more to it than just that. At the best schools, you learn, understand, and are given the ability to perform the basics of hairstyling, facials, manicures and pedicures.

Any Cosmetology program is likely to be different, but most of them contain the same primary curriculum. Here are a few of the common topics you will learn:

  • Cutting/styling hair
  • Bleaching, coloring, and highlighting hair.
  • Apply perms to the hair, which includes relaxers, curls, waves.
  • Nail care, common nail issues, and false nail applications.
  • Skincare, common skin problems, diseases, and makeup application.
  • Hair removal methods including waxing and depilation.
  • Salon sanitation
  • Personal hygiene
  • Relevant anatomy, chemistry, and physiology

Final Thoughts

One of the biggest reasons a hairstylist pursues a career in beauty is that they live for expressing themselves through their work. Beauty is an art, requiring creativity. It is also important to be on the lookout for new styles to incorporate in your work. If you enjoy the creative freedom to experiment with new techniques and styles to help clients transform their appearance, then a career in the beauty industry is right for you. Hair school is the first step in your journey. Ensure the learning institution and the staff that you trust with your education shares the same love and enthusiasm for the beauty trade as you.

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 is the Best pH for Your Hair?

woman checking the pH level of her hair care product

The concept of pH was introduced by the Danish chemist S. P. L. Sørensen at the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1909, according to the Science History Institute, and revised to the modern pH scale in 1924. In chemistry, these letters denote the potential of hydrogen or power of hydrogen and is a scale used to specify a water-like solution’s acidity or basicity. Basicity is the number of hydrogen atoms replaceable by a particular acid-base.

Understanding pH Numbers

The numbers on the pH scale range from zero to 14, and within that scale, zero to six represents the acidic side, seven denotes neutrality, and eight through 14 represents the alkaline end. It isn’t easy to understand what pH levels equate to in simple terms. These values vary slightly depending on their resource. Here are examples of everyday items, and the alkaline or acid number each one represents on the spectrum:

  • 0 – Battery acid
  • 1.0 – Hydrochloric acid/stomach lining
  • 2.0 – Lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, gastric acid
  • 3.0 – Grapefruit juice, orange juice, colas, kiwi fruit
  • 4.0 – Tomato juice, acid rain, beer
  • 5.0 – Soft drinking water, black coffee, brown sugar, molasses, yogurt, banana
  • 6.0 – Urine, saliva, milk, salt, well water
  • 7.0 – Blood
  • 8.0 – Seawater, eggs
  • 9.0 – Baking soda, toothpaste, borax
  • 10.0 – Milk of magnesia
  • 11.0 – Ammonia Solution
  • 12.0 – Soapy water
  • 13.0 – Bleach, oven cleaner
  • 14.0 – Liquid drain cleaner, lye

Some of your client’s favorite salon services have their place on the pH scale too:

Temporary hair colors – Typically, found in the range of 7.0 to 8.0

Permanent hair colors – Permanent colors that use an oxidative process usually contain a pH range from 9.0 to as high as 11.0.

Shampoo – All shampoo pH values ranged from 3.5 to 9.0, though the ideal shampoo is 3.6 for your hair and 5.5 for your scalp.

Bleaches (oil) – Bleaches fall in the range of 8.0 to 9.0

Straighteners – Straighteners are very high in alkalinity, with their position on the pH scale anywhere from 11.0 to 14.

Acid Permanent Solution – Acid perms, gentler on the hair, contains a value of approximately 6.0 to 7.0 pH, similar to hair’s normal state.

Alkaline Permanent Solution – 8.5 to 9.5

What is the Best pH for Your Hair?

When the hair is at its peak of health, the pH ranges on the slightly acid side between 4.5 to 5.5. External chemical assailants such as bleaching, coloring, styling products, and shampoos disrupt the hair’s delicate balance. The disruption eventually causes the cuticles to lift, promoting frizz issues, breakage, and overall substandard hair health. Other external disruptors of the hair’s pH are environmental factors like air pollutants (including cigarette smoke), UV rays, humidity, and the water source utilized in your client’s daily hair care routine.

Why Is pH Important in Cosmetology?

Cosmetologists need to understand what effect pH has on the hair & scalp. This also includes knowing the pH level of the products you use on clients. When doing chemical services such as bleaching and coloring, you leave the cuticle scales exposed and in an alkaline state. A cosmetologist should contain the knowledge of the products that assist in closing the cuticles, bringing the hair back to an acid state.

Knowing The pH Terminology

Understanding chemistry, including pH talk, is vital for a cosmetologist. It is just as important to know how the right pH in a product or service improves the hair as it is to know how the wrong pH damages the hair. The first step in getting familiar with the world of pH is knowing the correct terminology.

Here are just a few terms you’ll learn when you reach the pH part of your cosmetology curriculum:

Acidic solution – an acidic solution contains a pH below 7.0 (neutral).

Alkaline solution – an alkaline solution contains a pH above 7.0 (neutral).

Alkalis (bases) – the hydroxides of a compound that neutralizes acids to form salts.

Acid – the hydrogens of a compound that neutralizes alkalis.

pH paper (litmus) – a piece of paper containing a chemical indicator that changes color based on a solution’s ion level.

Logarithm – the pH scale is logarithmic, meaning each tik mark on the scale is a tenfold increase in alkalinity or acidity. For instance, a hydrogen ion level at 4.0 is ten times greater than 5.0.

Neutral solution – a neutral solution contains equal numbers of H+ and OH- ions = 7.0.

Strong acid – a strong acid contains a high concentration of H+ ions pH 0-3.

Strong base – a strong base is an acid with a high concentration of OH- ions pH 11-14.

Disruption in The Hair’s pH Balance

When the hair is at the proper pH level, the cuticles are tightly closed, giving hair a healthy, smooth feel and a shiny appearance. Helping your client maintain their hair and scalp’s natural pH level helps their scalp’s acidic sebum fight bacteria. If this balance gets disrupted with a product that’s too high in alkalinity, the cuticles open up, causing hair issues. Using a heavy acidic product causes the cuticles to contract, making hair resistant to services like permanent coloring where the color needs to reach beneath the cuticles. When the hair repeatedly goes through changes in pH and the cuticles continuously swell and close, the hair experiences Hygral Fatigue.

Testing and Balancing the Hair’s pH

Testing the hair’s pH is simple using test paper, otherwise known as litmus strips. Litmus strips are available at beauty supply stores and change color depending on the hair’s pH scale level.

If your client’s hair is out of balance, don’t worry; bringing it back is simple; suggest a few natural at-home routines that include putting their haircare routine in check. Suggest they check labels on their favorite hair care products, from shampoos to finishing sprays. Have them avoid any product that contain a pH that is not within a range of 4.0 to 7.0. Once you bring your client’s hair back to its natural, acidic form, it is time once again to maintain the best pH with the suggestion of the right hair care products.

Don’t Forget About the Scalp’s pH

Not only the actual hair’s pH balance plays a vital role in natural overall hair health, but the scalp scale does too. The science of your client’s scalp pH is crucial to achieving the optimal outcome of salon services, from their dry to itchy scalp, hair growth, and how their hair reacts to various chemical and non-chemical products. These are the four reasons why balancing your client’s scalp’s pH matters for healthy hair growth.

Reason #1 – Protects Hair from Bacteria and Fungus

A healthy pH balance is a protective barrier that helps fight bacteria-causing fungus. The proper pH balance prevents unwanted breakage, seals the hair cuticles, maintains moisture and natural oils. Typically, the hair’s pH balance lies between 3.6 to 5.5, with the usage of fewer alkali products helps maintain acidity.

Reason #2 – Balanced pH Determines How Products Work on Your Hair

Using shampoos, conditioners, and other products on the hair affects the pH balance. Products that contain more alkali will cause the hair follicles to expand and release needed moisture. The loss of moisture stunts hair growth and causes it to become brittle, dry, and frail. It is crucial to use products that work in conjunction with each other to remove dirt and buildup without stripping vital moisture it needs to thrive. Suggest that your client avoids products that include Triethanolamine and Sodium hydroxide, high in alkali with a level over 7.0.

Reason #3 – Helps Maintain Hair’s Elasticity

pH goes hand in hand with the hair’s ability to hold moisture and maintain its sebum. Sebum is the hair’s natural conditioner and protective shield responsible for retaining moisture. Water is what gives your hair the ability to bend and not break during manipulation. When your hair loses its moisture, it becomes dry and prone to breakage. Remember to keep your client’s hair moisturized, as it is vital to their hair elasticity and natural hair growth.

Reason #4 – Reduce Risks of Breakage Due in Part to Chemical Services

The hair is susceptible to changes. Anything that throws off your client’s body pH throws off the balance that affects their hair’s ability to retain its strength and responsiveness to other hair care products. Chemical treatments such as dyes and relaxers alter your client’s hair pH and weakens protein structure, ultimately causing dry, brittle hair stunting hair growth. Stunted growth occurs when a sudden change happens to the client’s pH balance and increases alkalinity.

Final Thoughts

When deciding to perform a cosmetology service, consider your client’s hair pH balance and its behavior to services beforehand. Knowing the chemistry behind your client’s hair helps the services you provide result in their very best for the client. Life is about balance, both body and mind.

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.

Hair Coloring: Lighteners, Toners and Special Effects

Hair stylist and client discussing hair colors

Hair coloring, or hair dyeing, is the art of changing the hair’s color with different chemical compounds. It is not new for us to suffer in the name of beauty, self-esteem, and confidence. Coloring the hair is no modern-day affair. For hundreds of years, we have explored the ever-changing, often torturous methods to achieve the ultimate hair color formulations. We still color our hair, but the processes and formulations have evolved. Hair coloring is now a multi-billion-dollar industry involving both plant-derived and synthetic dyes.

Why Do We Color Our Hair?

The reasons why we change or enhance the color of our hair goes way beyond covering grey or relieving style boredom. Some psychologists say seeking individuality, healing traumatic occurrences, and image dysmorphia (the inability to control negative thoughts about a perceived issue) are some of the deeper reasons why people color their hair. There is nothing new about the perception that blondes have more fun or brunettes are more intellectual, for fear of sounding hyperbolic. Different hair colors shape the way people see us in every environment; from the bar to the boardroom, from the rich to the financially challenged, men and women, perceptions are the same.

Brunette (also black)

People see brunettes as attractive, intelligent, and professional. While the thesis is that blondes are far more approachable, those with brown hair tend to be rated higher for perceived aptitude and confidence. Brunettes are also assumed to be more intelligent, capable, even favored to receive a position or promotion over another hair color. Begging the question: is a lower approachability score directly related to the abundance of confidence?


People see blondes as approachable, sexy and fun. Blonde is the most coveted hair color among women since real blondes are rare, but not as polarizing as red. Those with lighter hair are seen as more energetic, open-minded, bubbly, but sometimes needy. That is not to say they do not take their business seriously, as blondes tend to earn more on average due in part to higher self-esteem than brunette and redheaded counterparts.


Natural red heads are rare, but constantly stereotyped. People see redheads as successful, full of confidence, and temperamental. Yes, redheads are fiery and the least shy of vibrant hair color. Red heads also like to be noticed and are open to new and exciting adventures.

Permanent, Semi-permanent/Temporary Hair Color

Primary hair color typically gets divided into two classes: permanent and semi-permanent (temporary). The permanent and semi-permanent coloring processes are not nearly as similar as one assumes; semi-permanent hair color is more temporary.


Ammonia and hydrogen peroxide combine, opening the cuticles and interacting with the melanin and keratin, elements responsible for color and texture, and changes the structure to deposit the dye directly into the hair shaft’s cortex. The permanent class of hair color lasts anywhere between six to eight weeks. However, permanent colors require far more maintenance and expense than their hair color counterparts. Another drawback is the caution necessary when using ammonia and hydrogen peroxide.

Semi-Permanent and Temporary

Semi-permanent hair color does not contain any chemicals, such as ammonia or peroxide. Without these active ingredients, the hair color does not open the cuticles and penetrate the cortex, permanently changing its structure to allow for long-lasting color. Instead, semi-permanent hair color deposits acidic dyes that bind onto the outside of the hair shaft, or they consist of small amounts of pigment molecules that slip inside the hair shaft.

Hair glazes and glosses fall under the class of semi-permanent hair color. These color tools boost shine for natural or colored hair and return vibrancy to colored hair, making the creation of a just done look in between hair coloring appointments. Temporary hair color, typically brighter and more vibrant than semi-permanent and permanent hair color, is most often used for special occasions such as costume parties and Halloween.

Hair Coloring Application Techniques

Once your client has decided to get a hair coloring service, as the hair stylist, you need to ask yourself which hair color technique will provide the best results? Have an in-depth discussion with the client, complete with images, so expectations are clear. Then, decide the technique required to achieve that color. Here are some hair coloring techniques that you should know:


Highlighting adds depth to the hair, creating a multi-dimensional effect. If a client has never colored her/his hair before but wants more self-esteem, starting with highlights is a safe first step, and most salons offer this tried and true method. You will apply the hair dye to the ends of the hair and then work from one side of the head to the other, spacing out the highlighted sections. The natural hair color highlights sit side by side in contrast to each other. Randomly spacing these highlighted sections gives a more natural appearance.


Like highlights, lowlights also create a multi-dimensional effect, but a dark color gets applied to hair sections instead of a light color. (See Highlights)


This semi or permanent hair color technique is typically accomplished in three steps: application, highlighting, and toner application. Like highlighting and lowlighting, Bronde is a hair coloring technique that combines blonde and brown to create the ultimate sun-kissed hair color result. Blondes enjoy a soft natural color with added depth, and brunettes enjoy a lifted illuminated appearance. Bronding is a useful tool for you to highlight specific facial areas, great for enhancing the cheekbones’ appearance and boosting self-esteem.


Ombre, often compared with Bayalage, is where you transition all the hair from deeper roots to light ends. The Ombre technique, known a bit more as a style than a method, is typically done with a lightener placed horizontally and then blended upward to diffuse any visible lines. Ombre stems from the French word that means color graduating in tone. Because the color does not start at the root, Ombre requires little maintenance.


Bayalage is a relatively new technique. It is a freehand hair color technique that gives the client a natural finish. The client will decide on how light or dark they want the finish. Often compared to Ombre, Balayage will take a smaller sectioning of the hair. While Ombre is more of a horizontal placement, Balayage consists of a more vertical placement. If the client is daring, the two techniques used together create another desirable look and can really boost a client’s self-confidence.

Hair Coloring: Adverse Health Effects

It is important to know about and remind clients about some of the adverse health effects of coloring one’s hair. Hair coloring involves chemicals capable of removing, replacing, and covering up natural pigment inside the hair shaft. These chemicals require caution due to the possibility of a range of adverse health effects, including allergy, temporary skin irritation, hair breakage, and skin discoloration. After all, hair coloring services should help the client’s self-esteem and confidence, not cause an allergy or adverse reaction. It is also pertinent to use caution, protecting yourself and your client with gloves and smock for those same reasons.

Hair Coloring: Unintended Color Results

An unintended color result is an unpleasing cousin to adverse reactions and allergies when it comes to hair coloring. Several factors play into the wrong results, including the blending of non-complimenting colors, types of dyes, and condition of hair. Here are a few reasons you may see unintended results:

  • The final color outcome is an unintended blend of the hair’s natural color and the dye color with semi-permanent color.
  • Bleached hair requires pre-pigmentation before the color application. Dying bleached hair brown can result in an ashy tone (containing a greyish green tone).
  • Prior color-treated hair can react unpredictably with dyes used in the current process.
  • Some shampoos, which deposit a layer of plastic on the hair, hinders the dye’s reaction.
  • The presence of salts, minerals, chlorine, and other contaminants from the salon water utilized in the hair coloring process can produce a poor color shade.
  • Certain prescription drugs can alter hair chemistry.
  • Coloring darker hair to achieve blonde shades requires bleaching, followed by secondary color treatment.
  • Bleached hair can still have a brashy (yellow or coppery) shade. According to the color wheel, a violet-based color cancels out yellow tones, and a blue-based shade cancels out coppery orange.
  • The porosity of hair can affect the final shade. Porous hair often absorbs more color, which sometimes results in a darker than expected shade, especially at the ends where damage is far more prevalent.

Final Thoughts

Interested in learning more about hair coloring, lighteners, toners and special effects? It may be time for you to take a cosmetology program at your local cosmetology school. Learn how to color hair and much more, from industry experienced instructors. Learn all the tricks of the trade and start a career that is both rewarding and challenging.

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.

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 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 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.


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.


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.

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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

The Importance of Active Listening as a Cosmetologist

Cosmetologists practicing active listening with clients

Building rapport with your clients is an essential part of being a cosmetologist. Being attentive, clarifying requests and offering expert feedback are the keys to customer satisfaction. Success in this competitive industry takes more than enthusiasm and talent with scissors. It requires excellent communication skills, starting with active listening.

What is Active Listening?

We process less than half of what we hear, and we remember even less. So, when a new customer has a long list of requests or a regular client comes in after a few months wanting the “usual” cut, it’s easy to forget something or get customers confused. We’re only human. Active listening is a way of enhancing what you hear to make it clearer and easier to recall. Do it with the following three steps: connect, concentrate and confirm.

Step #1: Connect

Nothing is more important in the cosmetology industry than to make clients feel like the center of attention. It establishes rapport, builds trust and generates confidence, creating a personal connection.

Forming an immediate bond with clients by focusing on what they have to say sets the stage for a meaningful conversation. Begin by making eye contact and introducing yourself with a smile to let them know you’re enthusiastic and listening. It makes the client feel heard and inspires their confidence in your cosmetology services.

Step #2: Concentrate

Pay close attention not only to what clients say, but also to what they convey non-verbally. Body language can speak louder than words.

Limit distractions, listen thoughtfully and observe the client’s demeanor when they speak. Focusing helps with recall, while noticing nonverbal cues gives more context to what customers say. For example, blinking and restlessness suggest anxiety, downcast eyes and limited eye contact communicate a lack of trust. Both are negative feelings that a cosmetologist can address before providing services, increasing the chances the client will be thrilled with the final results.

It’s also critical to mind your own personal body language. Clients are keenly aware of nonverbal signals. Simple changes in posture or facial expressions can indicate enthusiasm or disinterest and respect or disdain. It’s important to send the right message by presenting yourself as a caring, competent professional.

Step #3: Confirm

Feedback is an integral part of the communication process. When clients tell you what they want, they expect you, as the expert, to evaluate their comments, confirm or question what they say and express empathy for their needs.

A simple way to clarify a point is by paraphrasing periodically during conversations. Asking “What I hear you say is…” or “It sounds like you mean…” allows the client to reflect on and refine their request. You may learn that the reason that they asked for a dark hair color was because they wrongly assumed it was their only option to conceal a botched home effort.

Other ways to confirm you’re actively listening are to nod if you agree or to hold your hand up if you need to interject. Each nonverbal cue you give propels the conversation forward and demonstrates sensitivity to what clients want.

Someone who approaches you for “a completely new look” is less interested in the haircut than in how it will make them feel. Active listening helps you get to the root of what motivates people.

Why is Active Listening Essential for Cosmetologists?

The goal of active listening is to understand the depth and complexity of communication. When you listen actively, you focus on both the details and the emotions behind them. The speaker and listener become part of the same world. It improves your ability to learn and teach, identify and solve problems and be emotionally available to others. These abilities enhance your skills in the areas of customer service, problem solving, workplace relationships, continuing education and networking opportunities.

Customer Service

Cosmetologists depend on loyal clients for their income, but repeat customers are few and far between when cosmetology services aren’t up to par. If you make too many mistakes because you don’t listen, word gets around.

Good customer service, cited by consumers as more important than price, requires understanding clients’ needs. Satisfied clients will go out of their way to recommend you to family and friends, and soon, you’ll have a lucrative base. There’s no substitute for a solid reputation in the community.


Active listening promotes problem-solving. When you allow others to speak, you become open to new ways of thinking. Considering alternate viewpoints helps you think critically, the first step in finding inventive solutions to stubborn problems.

Listening also helps you identify problems that aren’t meant to be solved. Cosmetologists are affectionately nicknamed “thera-stylists” because they serve as sounding boards for frustration. Sometimes, listening is enough.

Workplace Relationships

Most cosmetologists are employed in salons with colleagues and managers, the quality of their relationships can make or break the work experience. Like clients, peers and supervisors have personal and professional needs. Active listening keeps the lines of communication open and heads off misunderstandings before they occur.

The more you listen actively to the people around you, the more you become aware of what matters in their lives. Taking over a shift for a harried colleague with small children at home on the evening before a major holiday goes a long way toward building supportive relationships on the job.

Continuing Education

Cosmetology is an evolving field. Trends are always evolving, and it takes continuing education to keep your skills sharp. Courses, seminars, and one-on-one lessons help keep you up to date, but getting the most out of learning experiences without listening is impossible.

If you go into a class with preconceived notions, it limits your thinking. Active listening is part of being teachable, it opens your mind. You’ll not only learn the technical aspects of a new cut or coloring method you’ll get the benefit of others’ insights in how to use them.

Networking Opportunities

Making connections with your local community of cosmetologists is good for business, but relationships should be both give and take. As with clients, you should understand what others hope to achieve by networking though active listening.

Some may be searching for a mentor or referrals while you want to get the word out about a unique new service you offer. Giving as well as you take reinforces alliances with peers.

How Can Someone Become a Better Active Listener?

Some people are naturally good communicators, but active listening is a skill that can be learned. In fact, practice makes perfect.

Vocational school training includes instruction in active listening and gives cosmetology students the chance to hone their skills in student-run salons or via externships. Watching YouTube videos from communication experts can also give you ideas to try.

But perhaps the easiest way to fine-tune your active listening skills is to apply them to conversations with family and friends. Try to eliminate distractions, listen before speaking, manage your emotional response, and let go of needing to be right.

Eliminate Distractions

If you’re tempted to answer texts or check the latest headlines on your phone while speaking to friends, don’t. Instead, address distractions in advance by letting loved ones know you won’t be available while giving others your undivided attention.

Among salon customers’ top pet peeves are cosmetologist who converse with peers while performing services or who interrupt conversations to answer the phone or aid other customers. Avoiding distractions in a busy business setting isn’t always possible, but it’s critical to keep your clients in the loop. If you ask, “May I get the phone,” chances are they’ll agree without feeling slighted.

Listen Before Speaking

It’s natural to want to express yourself, but letting others speak first gives you the benefit of information upon which to reply. Letting a friend suggest restaurants for lunch could reveal a theme, if spots are quiet, perhaps they’re feeling overwhelmed and need to talk. If they’re energetic, maybe there’s something to celebrate. Active listening provides the clues.

Use the same technique in the salon to enhance profits by learning exactly what clients want from a new hairstyle or nail color. If it’s for a big day, suggest complementary services such as highlights or nail art.

Similarly, the more you know about a client’s lifestyle, the better you can recommend products. A working mom with kids, for example, might appreciate a quick-heat styling appliance or a leave-in conditioner. The more you know, the more your cosmetology business will grow.

Manage Your Emotional Reactions

We all want to be problem solvers. But whether it’s to console a family member who’s lost a job or make a friend feel better about the end of a relationship, giving advice before listening minimizes their feelings.

Instead, listen quietly and avoid jumping in with your views. Examples of giving premature advice or consolation may begin with phrases such as:

  • “Why don‘t you just…”
  • “It happened to me once, and I…”
  • “That’s nothing, once upon a time I was…”
  • “Just hang in there…”
  • “You poor thing…”

Listening to others thoughtfully before suggesting a solution gives them the opportunity to tell their whole story. A customer requesting a short style for easy maintenance may not realize there could be better options.

Giving clients time to discuss what they want and why they want it makes it easier to give relevant feedback. You’ll get down to business faster, and the client will feel respected and heard.

Let Go of Needing to be Right

Conversations can unwittingly devolve into debates. When speaking with family and friends, notice your tendency to impose your ideas on others. Clients look to cosmetologists for advice, but it’s critical to respect their ideas and support their creativity. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Colleagues and managers also appreciate it when you approach issues with an open mind, and eventually, they’ll reciprocate. It makes for a less stressful workplace and fairer conflict resolution.

Final Thoughts

Cosmetology is a personal service. Success requires building interpersonal relationships that, in turn, create trust. It’s a journey dependent on good communication made better through active listening.

Do you have a passion for hair care? Want to learn more about the skills offered in a 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. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

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

Educating Clients About Hair Care Products: A Cosmetologist’s Guide

Cosmetologist using hair care products on a client

As a cosmetologist, you will help clients look and feel their best by providing them with custom beauty services like haircuts and hairstyles. You will also be expected to sell salon hair care products. This is an important component of beauty services that can create loyal customers. While selling hair care products is designed to make more money for the salon, this is also a terrific way to educate clients about the best hair care products for their unique hair characteristics.

Why Promoting Hair Care Products Is Essential

You may be hesitant to sell hair care products to your clients at first, but there are some valid reasons to rethink this essential education process. First, every one of your clients should get a top-notch education about their hair care and styling techniques at every visit. Education about and promotion of your salon’s line of hair care products offers many benefits to you and the salon. These benefits include:

  • Helps build a loyal clientele
  • Keeps clients satisfied & happy with your salon’s services
  • Allows clients to better manage their hair style & hair grooming at home
  • Product sales deliver higher salon profits
  • Offers higher rate of client retention with each sale
  • Makes you look knowledgeable & builds client trust
  • Should be part of every salon job description
  • Keeps salon owners happy
  • Encourages client recommendations to other potential clients
  • Increases client self-confidence

How to Excel in Client Hair Care Product Education

New cosmetologists often feel overwhelmed and nervous about how to best sell a hair care product without seeming overly pushy. This is why seasoned cosmetologists focus on taking the time during a client appointment to deliver expert and personalized hair related care and product education instead. This trick helps you reduce anxiety while coming across as more confident and assured to the client.

How exactly do you effectively deliver professional hair styling and hair grooming education and product recommendations?

Research & Understand Your Salon’s Product Retail Line

Every successful salesperson will strongly urge you to first investigate and thoroughly research whatever item is to be sold. When you feel knowledgeable about a subject, the process of communicating about the subject becomes that much easier. It is crucial to understand the salon’s line of beauty and hair care products before attempting to educate clients.

Pay Attention to The Important Elements Regarding Hair Care Products

Most salons will invest in high quality hair care products that help make your job easier while dramatically transforming the client’s appearance. Pay attention to these important questions to ask regarding the products that your salon sells. These questions include:

  • What are the benefits for each product on hair?
  • What are the uses of each salon hair care product?
  • Is the product ethically sourced?
  • How does each product work on different hair types?
  • What are the ingredients and are they wholesome and beneficial to healthy hair?
  • How much product does the client need?

Pick a Few Hair Care Products and Experiment with Them

Smaller salons and private beauty shops may begin with a handful of top-notch styling and hair care products. However, many larger salons have a multitude of product lines. It is best for you to pick out a few favorite products and practice until you feel very comfortable with those products and how to use them in different situations.

After you find your go-to product collection, display them at your station with the package label turned so clients can easily see them. This trick helps sell those products without even saying a word. Of course, when you take the time to explain how you are using each product on your client, the client is more likely to purchase the shampoo, conditioner, gel or other hair care product.

Always mention salon specials to help sway a client to try one or more items at home. Even if the client doesn’t buy the item at the end of the appointment, write down what the products are on your client preferences notes and then mention it again during their next visit.

Promote the Best Attributes Regarding Salon Hair Care Products

Clients love to try new cosmetics and hair related care products. Always try to promote the best attributes that each individual product item has as a method to soft sell the item. For example, if the product contains natural, wholesome and nourishing ingredients relay that to your clients. Suggest buying in sets like a shampoo, conditioner and styling gel or hairspray, or offer trial sizes if money is an issue.

Be Believable When Promoting Products Through Education

For best results, use a soft sell approach and focus more on client hair care related education rather than overt requests to buy this product. Simply bring up the products advantages, how to use it effectively during your session with a client. If your client experiences a dry scalp, give a complementary scalp dandruff product and/or a good luxurious hair conditioner.

Always sound believable when talking about the hair care products that you are promoting. A big part of building and keeping a loyal clientele is building trust.

Gain an Overview of Various Types of Hair Care Products Clients May Ask About

It is wise to anticipate some of the questions that a client may ask while you are working on their hair. Take the time to adequately research the different hair care products that your salon offers. Types of hair care products include:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair Gels
  • Hair Sprays
  • Deep Conditioners or Hair Masks
  • Dry Shampoos or Leave-In Conditioners
  • Hair Protective Products
  • Frizz Tamers

These products usually come in different formulas that are designed for use on specific hair types, colors, thickness and other hair characteristics. Be sure to recommend products that will work on your individual client’s hair. When clients are able recreate the style they loved in the salon, they are far more likely to make another appointment and recommend your services to all of their friends.

Involve the Client in the Styling Process Using Hair Care Products

Rather than trying to memorize boring details related to your chosen hair care products, use them and choose ones that you really like. The more experience that you have with any hair shampoo, conditioner or other hair product, the easier it will be to talk about.

Try to involve your client with using hair care products during the styling process. Have the client touch their hair to feel how silky or soft a conditioner has made it or hold up a mirror so your client can see how a styling gel creates natural looking curls.

Practice Hair Education Skills at Home & Role Play to Gain Confidence

Just like public speakers or actors practice their lines before a big event, you can also practice your hair related education skills by role playing at home with others. Practice on your kids, partner, best friend or siblings until it becomes natural and believable.

Learn to Identify a Hair Problem & Figure Out a Solution

Most people who frequent salons do so because they want their hair to look healthy. Clients will notice certain problems with their usual at home grooming routine. Casually ask your client about the issues they might be having with their unique hair or when styling at home.

Always try to identify a style or care problem that can be resolved with your salon’s services or hair care products. When clients feel beautiful, they are likely to keep coming back. Some common problems to lookout for include:

  • Too thin or thick strands
  • Frizz
  • Oily hair
  • Dry scalp & strands
  • Damaged strand ends
  • Unwanted grey strands
  • Dull hair
  • Brittle & over-processed hair
  • An uneven cut
  • Too straight or too curly hair
  • Lack of depth or shine on hair shaft
  • Dandruff & flakes or itchy scalp
  • Hard to style hair

Skills for Better Education About Hair Care Products

There are a number of skills that a cosmetologist will need to educate their clients about the best hair care and salon products for them to use. Some of these skills just need to be honed in a bit before launching your new career in cosmetology. These skills include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Being a people person
  • Friendly attitude
  • Professional behavior
  • Good communication skills
  • Even better listening skills
  • Knowledge & understanding of hair care products
  • Experience with different styling techniques
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Ability to work & talk simultaneously

Final Thoughts

If you have a desire to become a cosmetologist, use this information to improve your overall success regarding client hair care product education. Use client education as a tool to sell your hair care products. Cosmetology is exciting, rewarding and offers plenty of opportunities to grow.

Do you have a passion for hair care? Looking to get the cosmetology skills offered in a 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. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

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