View Full Version : Calling all LHC hair professionals/stylists! Help please

December 21st, 2013, 05:17 PM
Hi guys!

I am considering going to cosmetology school to become a hairdresser and would like some input.

My backstory:
I am 22 and just graduated this last June with a BA degree from the University of California Santa Barbara with a degree in Communication and a minor in English. I'm on the job market and have realized a few things: it really is as bad as people have been saying for recent college grads to find a job, I feel sorta stuck, and none of the jobs I look at appeal to me AT ALL. I do not want to sit behind a desk or work retail doing a 9-5 etc. etc. Perhaps I got spoiled while in school with the freedom (yeah, ok I did) but I want some degree of autonomy in my career and to actually enjoy going to work, not drew it and pray for Friday. Plus, being unemployed and living at home with my mom and grandma in a SENIOR community far away from 'town' I feel really stifled and bored. There are no careers here (everyone is retired), no people my age (I want to meet a husband, lol!) and I don't want to spend money on gas to go places or do things when I am unemployed.

My Plan:
To move in with my dad in San Diego (rent free, yes!) and go full-time to cosmetology school so I can finish it in under a year (there are many options there, anyone have suggestions or schools they warn against? Cheap is my priority. I got out of undergrad debt free and went to a 'prestigious' school and that prestige has helped not one whit. No one in the job world cares I went UC versus any junior college. I care not for prestige anymore, I want to go to school with the cheapest tuition possible so long as they are accredited and not sketchy.) I will work part time as I will be taking out a student loan for school and want to save up to pay it off as I go. Plus, working part-time and going to school I'm sure I'll meet people in my age group to get more friends and maybe meet 'someone special' ;)

One day I would like to open a salon that offer traditional as well as LHC-esk services such as vegetable dyes, henna, indigo, cassia, treatment, SD sessions, REAL dusting and trims (not 5" later trims…) and have a retail portion of the salon with regular products, but also oils, combs, boar bristle brushes, and HAIR TOYS!! Wooooo!

My Concerns:

I'm debt free right now, I would have to go into debt for the courses
I feel like I'm 'wasting' my degree since I don't need my 4 year for being a hairdresser
How much money do hair dressers really make? Enjoying my work is paramount, hence looking into a field I think I would like, but I also (guiltily and due to my parents insistence) think I could make more money in a job utilizing my degree. Money certainly isn't everything, but I do want to own a home one day, a horse, a dog, have a child, travel, etc. How realistic are these goals on a hair dressers wages? (maybe this mysterious husband I want can just be the breadwinner ;) lol ) I know wages vary a lot by state, but how comfortable do you feel you live on your wages? How is the job market for you? Do you like your work? Do you feel you struggle?
NOTE: Please don't read offense into the above about salary, I in no way mean it that way! I honestly don't know, especially in this economy and having never really been in the working world, what realistic living wages are/how much different occupations make. My father worked as an operating engineer and made between 80-100k in my childhood so he is concerned I will 'feel the difference' if I choose a career with significantly lower wages. I don't feel we lived extravagantly at all, I would consider us firmly in the middle class, but my father saved a lot instead of spending and my mom spent lots of his income (she only worked sporadically so she could be a stay at home mom with me, which I enjoyed greatly as a child) on various whims that I don't feel I would need in my life. (Who need a Jaguar? I like my VW just fine thanks. Why must we re-decorate the house again, it's pretty now. Etc.) Also, since Mom didn't work much, if you split 80k by 2 people, thats really like 40k each in income so for just me around that salary should feel the same right? Like I said, I don't need brand names (except for Ficcare! lol), am not into fancy cars, don't get into shoes, etc. I only really collect hair toys and want to be able to do a travel excursion every few years, have a pretty house, own a pleasure horse (not competitive), a dog, etc. I don't want to stay in Califonria and think I will settle in Orgeon, Washingtone/Seattle, Colorado, or maybe the east coast.

Anyway, I would love some input from you guys in the industry! Any information would be so helpful!

December 21st, 2013, 06:49 PM
I'll be watching this thread because I'm feeling pretty "stuck" lately, too.

My younger sister is a hair dresser, so I'll tell you a few key things about her experience.
1. She makes enough money to live independently and she's 21 years old. She rents a studio apartment.
2. She had to really work her way up... she started sweeping floors of a Lemon Tree but now she's a stylist in a high end salon. She's been working since she was 19.
3. She's on her feet ALL DAY and there's some concern about all the chemicals she's exposed to from straightening treatments, etc. but she says there are vents in her salon and she wears a mask when necessary.
4. She says the way she cuts and styles hair now is NOTHING like what she learned in cosmetology school. She has learned much more on the job than in school. It seems like the school is teaching the same techniques they were in the 80's or something!
5. She gets 50% off salon products... WOOHOO!

From what I gather, in this field you will learn new things constantly, so I can't imagine it would get boring fast. You need to be a people-person, at least somewhat. My sister is a bit introverted but she does fine.

A fun little side note: John Edwards, the famous medium, goes to her salon. He's a jerk and never tips anyone.

December 22nd, 2013, 01:59 AM
I can't help you i'm afraid because I don't live in your country but I have to say go for cosmetology only if you have passion for it! I've seen many people thinking that it will get them easy money but you have to make sure that all that standing on your feet will be worth it.

That apart your LHC friendly salon will be on my must-go list if I ever visit San Diego!

December 22nd, 2013, 09:23 AM
I am not a professional or a stylist, so take my post with a grain of salt.

It is very common for new graduates to feel a let-down in their choice of major when they graduate. The job market can be tough, and not all degrees translate into instant careers. Your degree will never go away or expire, and you won't unlearn what you have learned, so I say if you have a passion for hair GO for it!

Would you be able to move to SD with your dad and work until school starts? If you are living rent free with him you can save money to pay for some of the schooling and not need such a large loan. Even a retail or waitress job will enable you to pay some costs in cash.

I have a very close friend that owns her own shop. She started in the '80's renting a chair in another woman's shop and worked her way up from there. My friend does good business, and earns a decent salary (she has 3 stylists that work for her). She has a passion for hair and does everything from wash and sets for the older ladies to edgy styles, colors and treatments for the younger set. She attends classes and seminars 3 or 4 times a year to keep up with the latest trends.

I believe that we don't regret what we do, but what we don't do as we get older.

December 22nd, 2013, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the input so far everyone! Yes Cheyne I'm definitely part of that 'let down' crowd >.< I had originally wanted to do sorting with writing/editing etc. but I find I spend so much time on the computer at home sitting and playing video games, going on LHC, etc. that I don't want to sit and star at a screen all day at work today. Perhaps all that standing will be good for me, hehe.

I'd still love some input from stylists working right now or who have in the past!

Ultrabella, you around here? ;)