Always Be Nice to the Receptionist!

June 10, 2014

Often times, the receptionist is the first person a guest sees or speaks to at a shop/salon as well as the last person. Unknowingly, they are the front line of the salon/shop. But the receptionist is much more than just the person answering phones or bringing clients they’re beverages, they are the backbone of the business. Yes, stylists and colorists do the work to make their guests look beautiful, but they don’t do it alone. There has to be someone there to do the grunt work: the receptionist.

Often, people think of a receptionist as someone who sits comfortably behind a desk answering phones and telling people to take a seat. It’s different in this world. Being a receptionist is part air traffic controller, part therapist, part workhorse and all awesome! A good receptionist will keep everyone at the salon busy while a great receptionist will make the business look like it’s running itself.

But not everyone appreciates what the receptionist does. Stylists look at receptionists like they’re lazy because they’re sitting at a desk and not behind a chair with a guest. Some people see just the sitting (granted, there are receptionists who just sit on their duffs and don’t contribute much, jerks) and not the hustle. Want to know what it’s like to be a receptionist? Full disclosure: I work as a receptionist at a barber shop here in San Francisco. Yes, big, burly me. My boss often makes fun of how I stand at the desk like a big bulldog greeting guests as they come in. But that isn’t just my only job. Here’s what my job is on a “normal” day:

  • 9:30 am—Arrive at the shop.

    Clock in. Check appointments for the day, set lunch breaks for staff before getting fully booked up. Start coffee for guests/employees. Check voicemail for appointments/cancellations, call back clients. Put out sign for walk-ins (if we aren’t too booked up already). Check all stations for empty Sanex container (refill if needed). Fill shave cream dispensers. Make sure towel warmers are on and ready to go. Make sure there are enough towels for the shop (both steam towels and dry towels for shampoo bowls). Check bathrooms to make sure they are ready for open. Fill water bowl for dogs and place outside.

  • 10:00 am—Shop opens.

    Greet clients. Check guests in and out (make retail suggestions if stylist hasn’t already). Get beverages for clients, let stylists/barbers know who their clients are (if new). Sweep stations during services. Clean chair and station when guests go to shampoo bowl. Answer phones and book appointments (making sure to maximize times so stylists aren’t waiting between guests). Call guests when previous appointments are running over (if they aren’t at the shop already). Stock retail area and maintain cleanliness. Keep stylist/barbers on time. Rearrange schedule to accommodate guests. Fold towels that are in laundry. Make more steam towels for next day. Check back bar stock levels. Maintain products at shampoo bowls.

  • 8:00 pm—Shop closes.

    We take our last appointment at 8 pm (during the week, weekends at 6:30 pm). Wait for last guest to check out. Close drawer (make money drops, check sales figures, make sure drawer is balanced and not off). Restock retail area. Sweep shop. Make sure towel warmers are cleaned and restocked for next day. Fill shave cream dispensers. Pull in the sign from outside (if it hasn’t been pulled in already during the day). Ditto the water bowl. Check schedule for next day, fix any issues. Clock out, it’s 9 pm already.

Sure, all this seems like something easy. Try doing it all at once. For six hours by yourself, oh and it’s multiplied by six because that’s how many stylists/barbers there are on at that time. Scheduling alone is difficult (it’s like playing human Tetris except in regular Tetris, if there’s a hole you don’t have to worry about that costing someone money) let alone trying to do all that other stuff on top of it. It’s not an easy job to say the least. But when done right, no one notices that everything’s been done already. That’s the job of a good receptionist. We make things look and feel right.

One thing I didn’t put in the job description was dealing with the nasty customers or employees. That’s a part of the job that while it’s rare, it happens. It’s not easy dealing with someone who isn’t happy with their service or just isn’t happy in general and want to take it out on someone. That part of the job is not easy at all. But a good receptionist will know that it’s not about them and just deal with it. Personally I haven’t had to deal with it much but that might have to do more with the fact that I have a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) and I also have “POW!” and “This Won’t End Well For You” tattooed on my arms (not saying to get this done, just saying it helps me).

So next time you’re dealing with a shop/salon receptionist, be nice. Ask them how their day is going. Know that their job isn’t easy either. And when you become a stylist, really remember that! The receptionist will make you a lot of money!

A Receptionist at the Cinta Aveda Institute Student Salon.  Image by Timothy Chang.

Doing Makeup for a Horror Film

June 7, 2014

Creative team is an amazing opportunity that this school gives us. I was fortunate enough to help with the horror film that the academy of arts put on. I did two 10 hours days. They were long but fun days!

To see how a film is actually shot from the behind the scenes point of view was an extraordinary experience. I view films so differently now that I got this experience. I had to do makeup and hair for the scenes. With that I had to touch up their make up with our Aveda finishing powder and our air control hair spray.

One scene was in a Chinese restaurant and there were two guys and two girls, which were the main characters. The next scene I worked on was a bathroom scene which I had to keep up on their make up twice as much because they were running into the bathroom. In that confined space I got to know the actors a bit more and talked a lot with the sound guys. The last scene I did was in “art studio” they just put it together with fake walls. One actor finds a robot which then comes to life.

While they were shooting that scene I helped decorate and put make up on four Aztec men. Which I was not complaining about one bit!

It was such an awesome experience and all my family members always got excited when I had something new to tell them about. I cannot wait until they are done editing the movie so I can finally watch my work in action!

Three Sweet Secrets for Healthy Hair Treatments at Home

June 1, 2014

Carmen MirandaDid you just run out of your favorite store or salon—bought deep conditioner? Is your hair dehydrated and dull? Maybe you’re having a night in of pampering yourself and just want to get creative in the kitchen. I will show you a handful of ways to nourish your thirsty tresses, using easy natural recipes.

A papaya treatment can help remove build up and residue from cleansing products and chemicals, and also restore hair’s natural shine and softness. To make a papaya pack, buy a papaya and half it. If you have very long thick hair you can use the entire fruit. Peel the skin and discard along with all of the seeds. Mash the fruit until pulpy, add a half cup of plain yogurt, and blend. Apply this mixture to your hair and leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse.

Honey contains vitamins, minerals, and acts as a humectant to retain moisture. A honey treatment can be a solution to split ends and contributes to a healthy scalp, making your hair feel nourished and enriched. For a mask, heat together three tablespoons of olive oil with two tablespoons of honey. Then add a tablespoon of lemon juice and mix well. Apply it to the scalp and hair and leave it on for 30 minutes or longer. Rinse out, then shampoo. Do this once a month for healthy locks.

The ancient Egyptians were the first to recognize the fantastic benefits of avocado. It can add shine and luster to the hair, as well as prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. All you have to do is wet your hair, mash up an entire avocado, and make sure to coat all of the split ends. Leave the avocado in the hair for up to 30 minutes, and then rinse. Follow with shampoo if needed. The vitamins and amino acids will noticeably condition your thirsty ends.

Hopefully these fruity salves will help solve all of your dryness distress! Plus, you will be happy to save money by taking a break from expensive products and using these trusty treats.

Protein for Hair Growth

May 25, 2014

Your hair needs the same vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for good health that the rest of your body needs to stay in shape. Your hair health is completely interconnected and reflective of your diet and lifestyle. Your habits effect the rate of hair growth and the condition of your hair, which is why it is good to be mindful the way you treat yourself.

Making sure to get enough protein in your diet is a good way to make sure your hair grows healthy and strong. Because your hair is made of mostly protein, it means you need to eat enough protein for your hair to grow.

At any time, 90% of your hair is in the growing, or anagen phase. For each hair strand, this phase lasts 2 to 3 years. After that, hairs enter a resting phase, or telogen phase, which lasts about 3 months before hairs are shed and replaced by new ones. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, more hairs than usual may go into the resting phase.

Everyone sheds hair throughout the day. Most people shed about 50 to 100 strands a day and don’t even notice. However, if an unusually large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, hair loss can become noticeable. This can easily be fixed by adding more protein to your diet. Even if you don’t eat meat, foods like nuts, beans, and dark leafy greens can give you a substantial amount of protein.

If not getting enough protein is the reason for your lack of hair growth, just change your diet!Aveda Damage Remedy - Graham Brown Photography, Inc.

The Many Ways to Use Dry Remedy Moisturizing Oil

May 4, 2014

The new reformulated Dry Remedy line is an absolute favorite of mine. It adds just enough moisture without weighing hair down, and leaves hair smelling fresh with a soft herbal aroma. Dry Remedy just came out with a new additional styling product called Daily Moisturizing Oil. It’s 99% naturally derived and uses buriti oil from a sweet palm nut that is packed with hydrating nutrients, instead of synthetics. The lack of silicone means no grease slick on your hair, and only a drop or two is needed!

The most awesome thing about the new Daily Moisturizing Oil is that you can use it in various ways, in damp & dry, straight & curly, and fine & course hair! The product’s versatility makes it one of my favorites.

The oil acts as both a treatment for your hair, and a styling product. A few drops can be applied to damp hair before heat styling to create a soft, silky look. The antioxidants, beta-carotene, and fatty acids in buriti oil will work to penetrate hair and actually improve its health. The oil can also be used as a styling finisher to smooth away flyaways. Emulsify a couple drops in your palms and gently pat the crown of your styled, dry head. The oil will gently seal down any frizzies and enhance straight looks. Another way to use the Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil is to finger comb into curly hair, and/or mix a little bit with Confixor to add extra shine and separation to curls.

You will be so impressed with the luxuriousness of this product, and its ability to be used in so many different ways. Not only will your hair be instantly moisturized by 41% but it will smell wonderful and glisten.
Aveda Products

Hot Hair Color Trends of 2014

April 20, 2014

A new year always brings fresh takes on favorites in hair color to the forefront. This year’s hottest hair colors are twists on timeless shades to take tones from classic to catchy! These trends can be seen on the runway and on our favorite celebrities in the press. Out with the old and in with the new! These are a few of my favorite new colors for the season:

A new and improved ombre has been dubbed “s’ombre” and can be seen on stars like Natalie Portman who’ve taken their natural shades and revamped them with a less drastic ombre look. The s’ombre technique looks more subtle, and uses more color melting to give a less harsh two-toned look that an ombre can sometimes give. Instead the s’ombre hairstyle has a soft gradient of similar tones to give the hair more dimension. On brunettes it looks especially beautiful when caramel tones melt into sunnier honeyed ends.

More head-turning renditions on red hair this year include soft, peachy hues, falling into the strawberry blonde family. A good example of this shade is seen in AVEDA’s latest Heart Land’s collection where a look has been created by highlighting hair to a pale yellow and then toning with a diluted rose gloss. The end result is soft, warm, and bright.

Another noticeable hair trend is the emergence of cool tones on all different skin types. Brunettes with caramel or golden dimensional highlights are moving towards cool chestnuts with icy brown-toned highlights and lowlights. According to Jamie Champagne, senior stylist and director of education at SalonCapri in Boston, “Blondes are going from warm golds to iced-out, almost silvery hues.”

These new bright shades will provide subtle changes in the salon to brighten and refresh winter looks.

Aveda Color Ingredients

It’s All About Color!

March 17, 2014

It’s all about color! Ladies, let’s be real. You can have a great hair cut but it’s not perfect till your color is just right. New trends are coming and going all the time but having dimension in your hair is something we can all agree is essential. Some of my favorite coloring techniques consist of balayage, tipping, and circles. These are just a few types of creative coloring techniques that really add dimension and pop to you haircut.

Balayage is a wonderfully creative natural looking way to place highlights or lowlights. It is done by freehand so the color artist chooses every placement and can really customize it to their guests needs and desired look.

Tipping is a beautifully placed accent foiling technique that gives the hair a “sun kissed” look. It is great for all levels but is ideal for darker shades. The foils can be a lot or a few depending on the desired effect, but look the best when strategically placed to pop through the layers.

Circles of color provide multiple layering of color through the hair, there is ideally lots of layers in the hair cut and normally three colors. Looking at the head from the crown, the colorist would section out three sections each going all the way around the diameter of the head, hence the name circles of color. This technique can be subtle or dramatic, but is definitely highly customizable.

Color is a really great way to customize your look and there are so many wonderful new and exciting ways to stand out! Branch out and ask your stylist for a new look, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Woman in a White Dress

The Importance of an Externship

February 23, 2014

Externships are experiential learning opportunities, similar to internships, offered by educational institutions to give students short practical experiences in their field of study.  Unlike an internship which may last for an extended period of time, an externship will consist of one to two short shifts at an establishment in their related field of study, so that the student can get a feel for that work environment.

Although, as an extern in a salon as an un-licensed individual you are not legally allowed to have physical contact with the guest or perform services on them.  You may however, assist the stylist,  help with salon tasks or just step back and observe the day-to-day workings of that salon environment,  and each salon you extern at will be a very different experience.  

Having an externing experience is extremely beneficial as a cosmetology student because not all salons work the same, your individual needs vary from stylist to stylist and getting exposure to potential jobs is a very unique opportunity.

This knowledge prepares students for the transition from school to career, as a student hands on experience can be hard to get, this can make the difference in getting the job you want and setting for any job you can get.  

Externships are also a great source for networking, meeting new people as well as mentors in your field are great ways to kick start a successful career; and may even lead to job recruitment.

I have personally had the opportunity to extern at multiple salons and the experience was highly beneficial, I have a wonderful job set to start right after graduation and couldn’t be more pleased with my choice.
Model Shots - Rocky Montgomery by Meghan

Rock it Short

February 10, 2014

Short hair is empowering, having the courage to cut your locks off is not easy and is usually followed by much criticism, frankly when a women has her hair cut short she grows bolder.   It all started in the 1920’s; the short women’s hairstyles raised more controversy than any other period in American culture.  And it all started with Castle Bob, who you may have guessed is the woman our modern “bob” is named after.  Castle was a publicly known ballroom dancer who cut her feminine locks off for the sake of convenience; little did she know that this would ignite a revolution in women’s hair fashion for generations to come.

As we all know trends come and go, and eventually the “bob” was yesterday’s hot trend and today’s old news.  It wasn’t until the 1950’s that short hair would become popular again.  It was 1954 and Audrey Hepburn was up for an Oscar for her role as the rebellious Princess in “Roman Holiday”.  In the film she cuts all of her royal locks off as an obvious act of independence, sparking a new movement in the hair revolution.  And creating the oh so popular “pixie cut” trend.

“If I was going to be in hairdressing, I wanted to change things. I wanted to eliminate the superfluous and get down to the basic angles of cut and shape.”  Vidal Sassoon

While our first two revolutionists may never have anticipated their mark on the hair revolution, Vidal Sassoon was out for more and ready to change the way the world saw hair. For over 30 years Sassoon was not only a household name, the Five Point cut as well as his foundation of hair cutting and styling has become the norm for modern hair design.  Sassoon truly revolutionized the hair industry and his techniques will live on for generations to come.

While hairstyles and fashion are always changing, short hair will continue to come back during a time when women are ready to show their power and individuality, it just so happens that there are lots of celebrities right now doing just that; From Jennifer Lawrence, Beyonce, Anne Hathaway, Ginnifer Goodwin and of course the oh so rebellious Miley Cyrus and so many more rocking their awesomeness one pixie cut at a time.
Image of a Woman with Short Hair

You Choose Your Choices

January 30, 2014

Choosing the right beauty school is a very personal choice. We all have different ways in which we absorb knowledge and grow. I can tell you one thing that everyone must do though, and that is shop for your school. Even if you are sold on your first visit, why not solidify that choice and know without a shadow of a doubt that you made the best choice.

This is my beauty school “shopping” experience…

Reno, NV “the biggest little city” was the largest metropolitan city to me during my years living in South Lake Tahoe, CA. After 7 years for snowboarding and, let’s face it “living the dream,” I was finally ready to take charge of my professional life and start cosmetology school. So Reno seemed like the best place to start looking. Although they required 200 more hours in Nevada than California did for a cosmetology license, I was still toying with the idea of staying in Tahoe. That Idea vanished very quickly, the schools I visited were, let’s just say their standards of cleanliness and sanitation where not up to a 5 year olds standards…

This led me on a wonderful weekend trip to San Francisco, CA. Now I grew up just south of San Francisco in a small town Called Half Moon Bay and my family still resided all throughout the area. But I wasn’t going to decide what school I attended because of that (If they didn’t meet my standards I was off to New York City) I started at a very well know school that raised the bar just a hair, not enough to keep me there though. It was my Visit to The Cinta Aveda Institute that really blew my mind.

It may have been the exposed brick walls, or that oh so pleasant signature scent that is Aveda, even their course curriculum blew me away. Everything I heard and experienced raised the bar for me, but even with all of that it was the people that made me decide right then and there that I didn’t need to look any further. I must say that looking back even now, with my dream job starting in just a few weeks, I owe this amazing life and start of my career to the most important choice I’ve ever made, and to my educators and The Cinta Aveda Institute.
Cinta Aveda Institutes Students Working