Beauty Business

Eyelash Tinting

People often tint their lashes as a good alternative to mascara. The three colors that are most popular range from the lightest brown to the standard black to deepest blue-black.

Along with your brow shape, eyelashes help to define your eyes. Having a deep dark lash line can take your eyes from barely noticeable to defined. Here are a few tips you can use when tinting your client’s lashes.

Make sure the lashes are clean and makeup free. If using a makeup remover that is oil-based, make sure that any leftover residue is removed as well.

Prepping the area is key to providing a clean and error-free application. Prepare the area around the eye with Vaseline. Use a q-tip and swipe the Vaseline under and above the lash line, making sure to stay clear of the actual lashes. This created a barrier and prevents the lash dye from adhering to the skin.

Place a clean protective pad under the lower lash line. This covers the skin below. The client will then close their eyes and the application can begin.

I prefer using a plastic cuticle pusher to get as close as possible to the lash line. Once the tint is mixed, I then apply the product by pressing it into the lash line and sweeping it down the lashes. I start from the middle and work my way to the outer ends making sure the lashes are completely saturated. Check to make sure there is no dye on the skin. If there is, immediately use a q-tip to remove the product, as it will stain.

Make sure the client is in a comfortable position as they will be seated with their eyes closed for about twenty minutes. Once the time is up, I remove the cotton and then dampen 4×4s with warm water and gently swipe the lashes from the inside out until all the product is removed. I have the client look up and I gently swipe the lower lash line as well.

Hand your client a mirror to see the ending results. Ta da!


Threading ProcedureThreading is an ancient method of hair removal. It originating in India and can be traced back over 6,000 years. It is one of the oldest methods of hair removal still practiced.

When shaping eyebrows, threading allows for a more precise shape. Rather than tweezing single hairs—or waxing clusters of hair—threading removes lines of hair at a time; this results in a crisper, defined line. Because it epilates hair at the follicle, threading is a longer-lasting method of hair removal. Threading is also completely sanitary. The only object which touches the skin is the thread itself, which is disposed of after each use.

The threading technique uses no chemicals, and the top layer of the skin is left untouched. This makes threading superior to waxing because it is safe to use on all clients—even those with rosacea, or those being treated with Retin-A or Accutane.

Because the threading procedure is safe for everyone, it has been growing rapidly in popularity. Now salons and spas everywhere are offering threading as a service to their clients.

Straight Razor Shaving

Straight Razor

The one thing that barbers are allowed to use that cosmetologist cannot is a straight razor. Straight razor shaving is usually only done in barber shops. You can use the straight razor for cleaning up around the neck, doing line ups, face shaving and beard line ups. In traditional high end salons, you are not allowed to use clippers, let alone a shaver.

How to straight razor shave the Aveda way:

  1. Apply hot towel over the face.
  2. Massage face with All Sensitive Oil.
  3. Apply Aveda Shaving Cream over the oil.
  4. Apply another hot towel.
  5. Apply hot lather all over the face.
  6. Begin your shave going with the grain. Use another hot towel and apply more lather as needed, if the hairs start to pull.
  7. Finish with a cold towel to close the pores.
  8. Apply Aveda After Shave.

The only way to get comfortable and fast at shaving is to practice as much as you can while in school. Before I shaved someone else, I shaved my arms and legs to get the feel for it. Knowing what angle and pressure to use is really important so as not to cut your client. But usually some people spot while getting a shave, so if that happens, just take the correct precautions. Always let your guest know if they are bleeding, because it’s nothing to hide. They will see it later anyway, and telling them helps build the trust they have for you as their barber.


As a good stylist, I try really hard to get my clients to rebook with me. Retaining clients can be a challenge sometimes, but the key is just practice. When you are with your client, pay close attention to what you say to them and what comes naturally to you. In the beginning of your service, you need to not only get to know your client’s hair but also pay attention to their personality.

Here are some good questions to ask to help learn what your clients expect from you as a service provider:

How was your last hair cut?

You can learn so much from this question. If they were happy, ask why? What was it that made that experience a good one? If they weren’t happy, find out why, and keep it in mind so that you don’t repeat the mistake of the last stylist.

How often do you come here to get your hair cut?

You will find out if they are a regular client or a once-and-a-while client. If they are a regular client ask about their last experience. They didn’t rebook with that last person, so it’s important to find out why.

If you find out your client does not come often, keep that in mind for later. You may wish to education your client on why it’s important for them to come in regularly.

What would you like to get from your experience today?

This is my favorite question because it lets your client know you care about their time and experience. It also helps you know more about your client and how you should provide for them.

The best advice I have been given is to be a good listener. Repeat everything back to your client, and make sure you’re both on the same page.

After you complete your service, tell them you want to see them in how ever many weeks. Usually they will rebook with you. You have their trust and they feel like you care about their well being.

The Power of Positive Energy and Intentions

One of the most important things I have learned while being in school is the power and importance of positive energy and intention.

I have always been a strong believer in the power of positive energy. I believe that if you stay positive in your thoughts and actions, good things will happen. However, I really was unfamiliar with what was meant by intention.

I first heard about intention from a massage therapist with whom I work. She said that if you always have good intentions during a massage, then your guest can only receive those positive intentions. But if your intentions are in the wrong place, they are almost guaranteed to be felt by your guest.

I heard this discussed again while in school and, by that point, I was really interested in trying it myself.

Now, I practice positive energy and intentions during every facial I perform. I like to spend a few moments before and after the treatment, with my hands touching my guest, either on their shoulders or on the sides of their head. I take a few deep breaths, and think to myself what I hope my guest will receive during their treatment, both physically and mentally. Maybe it’s glowing skin or the gift of relaxation. By just taking these few moments to pass along my energy to my guest, I have found that it really does result in a better experience.

There is nothing I love more than the feeling I get when someone is genuinely happy with the service I performed, and they leave feeling better than they did when they arrived.

Getting a Manicure

Most people have gone to a nail salon or spa for a manicure. Some places are better than others. I have a favorite place that I like to go, but what happens when you’re out of state, or your favorite place is closed? How do you know that you’re going to get the same level of service that you get at your usual place?

Do you going to Yelp and read reviews? Do you rely on a friend who seems to know what they are talking about? Do you take the time to go online and research the health code scores over the last several years? With all that, even the top places can still give you bad service. So here are a few tips and things that I want from a nail salon.

Manicure Close-up When you first walk into the salon, has anyone greeted you? Look around to see if you can locate a recent health code score—they’re required to be publicly posted. Always make sure that the person doing your nails has a cosmetology or manicuring license. You always want to be sure that any beauty professional performing service for you is properly licensed. Now look to make sure that the place of business is clean in general. Before sitting down for your service, your manicurist should have taken a clean cloth or paper towel and, with a bottle of disinfectant, sprayed and wiped down the nail station. A clean towel should also be put over the nail station as you’re being seated. It is very important that your manicurist has gotten all the clean, unused supplies from proper packaging. This includes the buffer. Most places try to get away with using the same buffer from client to client, but infection can get spread that way. Relax while the manicurist is performing your nail service, but still pay attention to what he or she is doing. Never let the manicurist cut your cuticles—they should just be slightly pushed back.

You’re almost finished. You’ve got nice, pretty, polished nails and hopefully you’ve received a safe manicure with great service. Have fun and happy nails!

Social Networking

In today’s world, social media is a great way to get your name out there. You can connect with other people in the beauty world, get up-to-date on fashion, and show your talents.

Why would you want to connect with other people in your industry? Because it’s not what you know, but who you know. Being well-connected is a great thing and surrounding yourself with positive people who share your interests can be really beneficial. You never know. Stay in contact with people you meet throughout your career, because you might connect with them later on in life.

For me, social media is important to keep up with new trends and with what’s hot right now. Being a stylist, my clients expect me to be current with what’s new. I should be aware so that I can keep their look up-to-date.

You can market yourself on social networks to showcase your talents to your family and friends. Keep your profiles open to the public and professional, not personal. Your page should market you as a professional hairdresser. You can be yourself, just an appropriate version of yourself. Let the world explore your page, and get access to information on how to book with you.

Future employers might run across your page. It’s very important to sell yourself in the most positive way possible.

Social media is an incredible opportunity to expand and market yourself to the best of your ability.

Embracing a Holistic Approach Toward Skincare

November 20, 2014

When I first enrolled at Cinta Aveda, I knew that I had an obscure fondness for extracting sebum from the skin—and that’s it. I wasn’t too sure that I cared much about creating an urban retreat “getaway” type of experience, or making people feel at ease, or even treating people’s skin and creating long-term solutions addressing their concerns. I really just wanted to squeeze gunk out of pores and call it a day. Boy, has that changed dramatically!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love extractions. However my educators, along with experiences with my clients, have shaped my outlook to one that’s much more holistic: to treat the client in his or her entirety. Now I want to not only address the skin in its present state, but to address the roots of any problems—whether it be lifestyle, stress levels, medications, overall attitude, etc. One’s skin, after all, is an organ. It absorbs external free radicals, and is a reflection not only of the foods and beverages you put in your body, but also of the hormonal highs and lows, emotions, sleep quality, and an endless list of other life circumstances. To neglect these forces, therefore, would leave my work incomplete.

Personally, I think the holistic outlook will prove to be much more effective—for the mind, body, and soul. I am so grateful to have had by horizons broadened during my time here at Cinta Aveda, and I look forward to incorporating the mission of Aveda into all of my future endeavors.

Box Color vs. Salon Color

As professional colorists, we often struggle with getting certain clients to make the switch from box color to professional salon color. Most self-coloring clients settle for box color because “it gets the job done.” But why settle for less? Truly beautiful hair color results come out of a salon, not a drugstore. Here are a few top reasons why you shouldn’t resort to box color:

  • Can’t be customized—you pick a shade, and that’s what you get (maybe).
  • Never guaranteed—box color was formulated to alter a wide range of hair types, and hair colors. Generally included in universal box colors is a 12% or higher percentage developer; however, not everyone requires that much peroxide. In fact, most people require a lower percentage developer to color their hair, resulting in a healthier, truer end result. Where you’re starting from level-wise plays a huge role in determining your outcome.
  • Difficult to buy—not enough people realize the difference between permanent, demi-permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary hair colors when shopping for themselves. You could wind up buying the completely wrong product.
  • Harmful to the hair—box colors are designed to deliver quick, “easy” results. When formulated, they often use harsh chemicals and fillers to “get the job done” and are not designed to condition the hair.

The list goes on. Treat yourself to a color service from a professional at a salon, and experience the difference for yourself! Nothing beats a professional color application.

Home Hair Color


November 13, 2014

Lavender FarmAromatherapy is form of alternative medicine using plant materials—especially aromatic plant oils—to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The essential oils are extracted from lowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant.

Once inhaled, the aroma from these essential oils is strongly believed to trigger certain brain functions. Essential oils are also absorbed through the skin; entering into the body through massage or application, they travel through the bloodstream and can promote a sense and feeling of whole-body healing.

As a form of alternative medicine, aromatherapy is now increasing in popularity. It is used for many different types of applications: pain relief, mood enhancement, and increased cognitive function. There are a wide number of essential oils available, each with its own healing properties.

As a massage therapist, I utilize aromatherapy with each of my clients. Once engaged with a client, and seeing what their needs are in their session, I will deduce which essential oil will best compliment their service. For example, if I have a client suffering from a lot of stress in their life, I will choose to use a lavender essential oil. It is well known for its sedative properties and for its ability to help calm stress and promote sleep. Ylang Ylang is another great essential oil to use in a massage setting for mood enhancement. Emotionally, it is helpful with stress, anxiety, depression, and to cope with anger. I like to use it to promote a sense of happiness and gratitude.

Choosing an Esthetics Career for Life

Opportunities for Estheticians

After getting an education in esthetics, the next step is to begin a career. The industry is broad and the choices are numerous. Here are some options based on where your passion lies.

If you love performing facials or other skin and body treatments:

  • Spa/Salon Esthetician: This is the most common job new esthetician graduates seek. It consists primarily of performing services on clients in a spa setting.
  • Cruise Ship/Resort Esthetician: If you love performing services and want to travel, cruise ships are another option.
  • Medical Spa Esthetician: Performing services under the supervision of a physician, dermatologist, or other medical professional.

If you love makeup/products:

  • Make up Artist: You could specialize in a number of ways depending on where your interests lie, be it bridal, theatrical, television, or print.
  • Make-up line representative: This consists of building clientele for a specific brand within businesses. It requires a lot of travel and the ability to teach clients about product usage.
  • Cosmetic Buyer: This person can work in a variety of retail locations—a department store, salon or specialty store—ordering products, traveling frequently to trade shows, and evaluating products in other environments. A buyer must have extensive product knowledge and knowledge of upcoming trends.
  • Beauty writer, blogger, editor, or columnist: Writing about products for print or web publishing is another option.

If you love working with people:

  • Sales person/manager: If you have an outgoing personality and good people skills, you might want to use your skills in an environment that focuses on using training to sell products.
  • Esthetics Instructor: If you love working with people and want to share your knowledge, becoming an instructor could be a great path for you.

All of these skills of performing services, being familiar with products, and working with people are necessary in the esthetics field. But choosing to focus on the one path that most appeals to you can lead to greater career satisfaction and happiness.

Barbering vs. Cosmetology

As a cosmetologist who crosses over to barbering, I recommend getting licensed for both. Cosmetology gave me the fundamentals of hair cutting and shear work. I am confident in my color skills and can do amazing blow outs. Barbering put my skills to work by learning clipper cuts, straight razor shaves, and understanding shapes in a whole new way.

If you’re unsure about whether you want to do long hair, short hair, color, or cuts, I recommend starting in cosmetology and finding what you’re good at and what comes most naturally to you.

When I was in cosmetology, I disliked cutting men’s hair because it did not come naturally to me. I felt it was hard, and I was not good at it, so I tried my best to avoid men’s haircuts. But I did not want to be afraid of cutting short hair, so I decided to study barbering. I want to be a good hairstylist and, to me, you can never have enough education in this industry. New trends evolve every day and you are never going to stop learning outside of school.

Now that I understand short hair, I love it. I’m so glad I will be a dual-licensed hairdresser. I don’t think cosmetology is better than barbering or barbering is better than cosmetology. It’s a personal choice, but for me, having the knowledge of both, and the licenses for both, was a good decision.

Microbead Controversy

For years, microbeads have been touted as a great agent for scrubs and other cleansing products. Their small size and perfectly round shape allow for manual exfoliation of dead skin cells without any harsh tearing or damage that other exfoliating agents with rougher edges may cause. They also create a smoother texture in products.

Microbeads Shown in a HandBut what seemed to be a convenient and effective product is now a source of controversy. It turns out that microbeads have a significant negative effect on the environment. Microbeads are made of plastic and, because microbeads are too small to be filtered from waste water, they are becoming a major source of pollution. They are washed down the drain and flow into streams, lakes, and oceans. Once in the water supply, the microbeads are swallowed by birds, fish, and other marine life and, through the food chain, they eventually wind up in our food.

Microbeads have been especially harmful to the Great Lakes region. Studies have shown a high concentration of microbeads have collected there, especially in Lake Erie. They account for 81% of the plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Because of this, the state of Illinois passed legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of microbead products.

Other states are following suit with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, the proposed bill to ban them in California failed to pass in August of 2014. Still, many activist groups are working to raise awareness. There is an app called “Beat the Microbead” to inform consumers of which products contain microbeads. There are many excellent alternatives out there.

The Power of a Haircut

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”Coco Chanel

Sometimes the importance of a haircut goes beyond just necessity. Although in a salon, we maintain our clientele by keeping them on a schedule for trims and touch-ups, every now and then you will have guests in your chair relying upon your haircut to change their lives. 

Women often hold onto their hair as a “security blanket”; maybe they’ve always had long hair and that’s all they’ve ever known; or maybe they feel that it’s more feminine to keep their length. Whatever the case, never underestimate the power you have as a stylist to not only change a guest’s physical look, but to also change a guest’s lifestyle.

Too many times, I’ve walked a guest with long hair back to my chair and spoke the phrase: “So tell me a little bit about your hair, and what you’re looking to have done today.” I’ve expected, “Oh, just a trim.” But always expect the unexpected. Transformations such as these—from a simple long layered haircut to a drastically shorter haircut—are what keeps me inspired as a stylist. More than likely, there’s an important reason behind the guest’s decision as to why they’re “making the chop”; I believe that half the fun of the service is being the person responsible for their new outlook. 

I’m sure any stylist would agree: doing a “big reveal” and observing your client’s expression has to be one of the most rewarding feelings you can experience in this industry. I encourage everyone not to overlook their appointments, and remember the impact that your service has on your guests!A woman with long hair gets a new hairstyle in three images.

Body Machines: CoolSculpting

October 1, 2014

Triptych of midsection showing before and after of CoolSculptingCoolSculpting, approved by the FDA in 2010, is a non-invasive fat reduction technique, sometimes considered a nonsurgical alternative to liposuction. The technology uses a medical treatment process called Cryolipolysis. Fat cells are destroyed by controlled cooling which then, in turn, reshapes the contours of the body. The cooling process is to cause cell death of subcutaneous fat tissue without damaging the outer layer of skin. In the weeks that follow, once the process is complete, those dead fat cells are naturally eliminated from the body. Lipids from the fat cells are slowly released and transported by the lymphatic system to be processed and eliminated, much like that of fat from food.

Undergoing this service is quite simple. The client is seated in a treatment chair and the technician will place a cold get pad across the area to protect the skin. There is an applicator cup that is positioned by the technician and then a gentle vacuum pressure is applied to draw the tissue between the cooling panels on the applicator. The applicator stays on the treatment area for one hour. Once that is completed the technician will then massage the area to break-up the fat. The client can return to their normal routine post treatment. Some average responses to the procedure are redness, swelling, some numbness, mild cramping, and possible bruising. On average about 20-25% of the fat cells will be eliminated within that one hour service. A technician would design a treatment plan tailored to each individual’s desired results.

Surviving the Beta Blues

July 15, 2014

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the halfway point of your education. By the time you reach Beta you’re at about 800 hours, half of what you need to get your Cosmetology license here in California. You’ve survived Intro and Alpha and now you’re starting to get more comfortable on the salon floor as well as with your class room. But you have no idea what’s in store for you yet!

A Row of Heads and Sinks at Cinta Aveda Institute.  Photo by Pipsqueak Productions.

The Beta phase will start to test you as a student as well as a stylist. If you were lacking when first in Alpha, you’re starting to get better. Your services aren’t taking as long (hopefully) and your skills are getting better with each service. You’ve probably spent your fair share of time in dispense as well as at your station with guests. You’ve gotten used to the six hours on the floor and four in theory. But now that’s changing. All your service times need to be faster. You don’t get to spent as much time in dispense coming up with color formulas. Your classmates are starting to wear on you. In Beta, things start to change. Gone are the cheery “We’re the best friends” and now it’s all about focusing on where you’re going to end up after you leave school. You tour salons to see what’s out there and possibly where you’ll want to work (or not want to work). While in Beta, you’ll hit the hour mark when you can start externing at a salon, something that will really open your eyes to how things are outside of school.

All of these things start happening faster and faster all the while you’re still trying to learn what you need to do before taking your state board test. But what really starts to happen is the blahs. You’re done with being at school. You’re done with some of your classmates. You feel as if those last 800 or so hours are simultaneously speeding at a million miles an hour and crawling like a snail up hill in a head wind. You get the Beta Blues as they’re called. If you don’t take care of them, just like the real blues, the emotions start to get the best of you. Myself, I let them get a hold of me a bit too much but there are things you can do to make sure they don’t get you for too long. Here’s what I did:

  1. Stay focused—Write down what your goals are: for school, work, life, etc. Keep those goals in a place where you can see them every day. Memorize them. Burn them into your head. Remember that those goals might not be attained in a day, a week, a month, a year or soon, but they will be attained when you remain focused.

  2. Acceptance—This goes along with staying focused. Learn to accept that some things are not going to go your way when you want them to. That’s all right, it happens. Learn to accept that not everyone is you and people do things differently. That’s what makes us all unique and similar at the same time. Have a fellow student that grates on you like nails on a chalkboard, accept them for who they are.

  3. Don’t Get Cocky—While you’re starting to get better at things you still need to remember that you’re still in school. What you think you know, you don’t know. While you might have a different, faster way of doing something, that doesn’t mean that you are a gift to the world and that everyone should bow down to you and worship the ground you walk on. Remember this: The higher you climb up that pedestal, the farther you have to fall.

  4. Get Rid Of The Negative—A negative attitude will suck the life out of a room quick. Think about it, the last time you walked into a room with a bunch of people and one of them was in a bad mood, you could feel it. Negative energy brings not only yourself down but those around you. Get rid of that negative energy. Having a bad day? Write out a gratitude list, listing everything you’re grateful for at that time. It will change your day immensely. Have a friend that is negative, talk with them about it. See what you can do to help. If you can’t, try not to let it affect you. Just because someone else is having a bad day, doesn’t mean you have to have a bad day.

Surviving Beta isn’t that hard but during those fourteen weeks, it seems like an eternity. With the right frame of mind and focus, you can do it! If you think you can’t, talk to someone. Talk to someone that went through what you’re going through, you’ll see that we’ve all been there. You’re not alone and you don’t have to do it alone.

Students at the Cinta Aveda Institute Campus.  Photo by Jeffry Raposas.

What You Can Expect to Find After School

July 10, 2014

A Teacher in Esthiology at Cinta Aveda Institute.  Photo by Jeffry Raposas.

So you’ve spent the past 14 months working your tail off at school and now with license in hand you’re ready to hit the big time, right? Well, kinda. Yes, you’ve attended one of the better schools for your field and yes, you’ve received a plethora of information. But does that make you ready to start your own salon or spa? Sadly, I must pop that balloon.

What we learn in school is leaps and bounds over what other schools are teaching. And if you’re ready to scoff, then I don’t think you’ve had the luxury of taking your state boards yet. When you do, talk to the other applicants. Listen to their stories, to the way they were taught. In some cases, you don’t even have to hear them speak, you can just see from the way they do their tests that they didn’t get the same education as us.

But does all this education mean that we’re ready to be at the top? Not necessarily. Speaking from experience, what I learned in school got me far in school, but there is so much more to learn outside of school. And once you’re done with CAI, don’t think you’re done learning. Most salons that are hiring out of school expect the former student to take another year or so of their classes to learn the way of cutting hair.

In short, what you can expect to find out of school is pretty much the same as in school: a bunch of learning. But what you might not expect to find is: a new way of learning. Keep on learning folks!

Students work on a Male Client's Hair at Cinta Aveda Institute Salon.  Photo by Jeffry Raposas.

My Advice to You: Get a Job in a Salon Now!

June 30, 2014

When I first started here at Cinta Aveda Institute, I had the “luxury” of being unemployed and being able to fully focus on school and what I needed to be a good student. Of course, after a month of being unemployed that money quickly starts to evaporate and you realize that maybe being just a student isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But what job should you get while attending beauty school? Starbucks gives you flexible hours and some kick ass caffeine perks (not to mention your work uniform is pretty similar to the schools so you get to save some dough on clothes), a retail job can work around a school schedule as well plus give you the bonus of discounts on what they sell. You could work in a restaurant or bar, make some tips and since it’s the service industry, you can practice your customer service skills.

When I was looking for work, I decided against working in a bar or restaurant since I had just come from a job like that and I thought “Too Soon”. I got a job working for a non-profit for about two weeks before I realized that it was more like a telemarketing firm than a non-profit. Then it hit me: get a job in the field you’re studying! What better way to really get an idea of what you’re in for than to be in it from the get-go!

OK, first off, it’s not that easy. Take a gander at Craig’s List, under the jobs section and you’ll see that there are a metric crap load of salons looking for receptionists (they’re also looking for stylists, Gammas I’m looking at you) but they’re also looking for the right receptionist. Some of the salons want you to have previous experience in a salon, other salons say they want someone who will work weekends only (a tough one for us on the TTS side of school), most of the salons want someone who is trendy and looks like they fit into their high end establishment. And they all want to pay you minimum wage (which, my advice: get one in SF where the minimum wage is at least $10.50/hr).

One of the toughest things you’ll find is getting your foot in the door. Most of the salons I looked at didn’t really want someone (or just me) who was in school for Cosmetology. I was told that they were concerned that I wouldn’t be able to work on their schedule, which might have been true. Another tough thing I encountered was my lack of experience as a receptionist. Sure, I’ve managed a large comedy club and a staff of over 30 employees as well as been a jack of all trades with over 20 some years of work experience, but just not as a receptionist. Even my current job, I had to fight to get my job there because I was “over qualified” for the position. But once I got my foot in the door and showed that I wasn’t over qualified but more than qualified to do the job, I got the job!

Getting a job in a salon while in beauty school is like basically getting paid to go to school while you’re not in school. As a receptionist, I get to watch stylists doing cuts their way, learning several different methods of cutting, styling, consultations and retail sales all while being paid to do my job. And once the staff learns that you’re in school, they will go out of their way to teach you things that they’ve learned since leaving school. It’s the best of both worlds! You get to learn and pay rent! And an even better perk: get a job in the shop or salon you want to work in while you’re still in school and you’ll more than likely have a job working behind the chair before you even graduate school. It’s win-win!

The Student-run Salon at Cinta Aveda.  Photo by Pipsqueak Productions.

Congratulate the Beacon Award Winners!

June 16, 2014

2014 Beacon Banner with Event Dates

Cinta Aveda Institute has some of the best beauty students in the industry. We are proud of each and every one of them. Sometimes, though, we have to boast about how great our students are. For the second year in the row, ever since Cinta Aveda Institute started participating in the Professional Beauty Association’s (PBA) prestigious Beacon competition, our students have taken top honors and honorable mentions. Beacon is part of the PBA Beauty Week, North America’s largest, most inclusive beauty event hosted by Cosmoprof North America.

Beacon provides the nation’s most promising cosmetology students with education and opportunities to network with the industry’s highest profile salon owners and stylists during PBA Beauty Week, July 12-14, 2014 in Las Vegas. Beacon students attend specialized classes with the biggest names in the industry, get up close and personal with NAHA finalists and get a firm understanding of the business of beauty.

  • 2014 Beacon Winners from Cinta Aveda Institute

    1. Sunny Chea

      Portrait of

    2. Alicia ‘AiLi’ Garcia

      Portrait of Alicia ‘AiLi’ Garcia

  • 2014 Beacon Honorable Mentions from Cinta Aveda Institute

    1. Katherine Buchignani

      Portrait of Katherine Buchignani

    2. Saajida Lane

      Portrait of Saajida Lane

    3. Andromeda Quan

      Portrait of Andromeda Quan

This recognition is important not only for the winners but for the whole school. We are celebrating with you — Sunny, AiLi, Katherine, Saajida, and Andromeda — we are all incredible proud of you, of your accomplishments and talent, and of how well you’ve represented Cinta Aveda Institute to the world.

PBA Beauty week logo Beacon winners receive free tuition, and honorable mention attendees pay a small fee, to attend PBA Beauty Week in Las Vegas, which includes a full line up of education tailored specifically to them. Students are also able to tour the Cosmoprof North America trade show floor to meet beauty business leaders and attend PBA’s annual Business Forum where they can learn the role global distributors and manufacturers play in the industry. As part of this year’s Beauty Week, PBA is encouraging Beacon winners to post the “I’m Going to Beacon 2014!” graphic on their social media pages as a way for their followers to support them on their journey to Beauty Week.

Today our students win the Beacon awards, tomorrow they will be professionals accepting the North American Hair Association awards! Here’s an image from a winner from last year’s NAHA award.

NAHA Award Winner for 2013

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.