The beauty industry is massive. In every town, you’re almost guaranteed to find more than one hairdressers and more than one nail bar. There is a never ending supply of beauticians and hairdressers – you’re almost guaranteed to get an appointment somewhere close to you in the next 10 minutes. Considering there are so many of these business’ around, each individual one seems to busy. Why is that?
From talking to people about my job in the past, and from what you hear in the streets and on TV, many people think that going into beauty is ‘easy’. The perception is that we sit behind a nail desk all day and simply paint nails. Yes, we do sit behind a desk and paint nails – but there is so much more to this industry than meets the eye. Therefore, I have put together a list of things which will give you an insight into what it’s really like working in the beauty industry!
From the outside, being a beautician/hairdresser seems super glamourous. Being able to look nice all of the time, painting pretty colours, curling hair, and applying lipstick all seems like a breeze right? I used to think so, before I became a beautician. The reality, however, is not so glamourous. If I had a pound for every toe nail clipping that shot into my hair since I started this job, I’d be rich. There is no stopping those things flying at you, no matter how hard you try to hold onto them whilst clipping away. At least I keep my mouth closed for this section of the pedicure… a toenail in the mouth is way too far! The amount of dead skin that sticks to my trousers and t-shirt, gets under my nails and quite frankly gets everywhere is more shocking that you can imagine. Scrubbing the hard skin off the soles of the feet is a genuine workout – Imagine how hot we got during the summer heatwave. Acetone dries our skin out hideously every time we pump it onto a cotton pad – contact dermatitis is not fun. Massage oils and facial creams are continuously seeping onto our clothing and staining us. So essentially, we’re always covered in stuff which isn’t that nice, and we’re always spraying body spray and perfume because our job is like a workout. Still think it’s a glamourous job?
Expectation to look 100% Everyday
When walking into a beauticians/hairdressers, the first thing anyone does is look at their therapist. If their hair looks naff, the client have less faith in their ability to make their hair fabulous. If the therapists nails are hideous, the clients has less faith in the ability to make theirs look amazing. If their makeup is really dodgy, there’s less chance of them even letting the therapist near them with the eyeliner brush. If we don’t look amazing (kind of) then people just won’t trust us. The thing is, sometimes we wake up in the morning late, have no time to do the perfect wing or form the perfect curls in our hair… however, we have to make it work. Everyone/anyone can wake up in the morning and think “screw it” and throw their hair up in a bun and whack some mascara and blusher on and run out of the door. If only we could do that. I go through more mascara than anyone I know. If I’m totally honest, I would love a day where I could look like rubbish and get away with it. Also, can I be bothered to make my nails look super pretty when I spend 80% of my working days doing this? Absolutely not – but I do it anyways.
The general assumption is that you don’t have to be overly smart to do our job. Tell that to the endless weeks of learning the bones of the body, the lymphatic system, the structure of the skin. Did you know there are 8 different parts to a single finger nail? That the hair on your head is all in different stages of its life? We do. It takes many exams to be a beautician, to be trusted to alter parts of the human body. We are actually quite intelligent, if you ask us.
We work in the most competitive industry out there. Like I said at the beginning of this blog – there are thousands of businesses very similar to ours. However, there are so many people in the world who want beauty treatments. Beauticians and Hairdressers should never feel competitive in our opinion. There are too many people for a single shop alone. Also, not every beautician/hairdressers offer the same treatments. There are some treatments that we don’t offer, which we recommend other beauticians for. We all have the same goal… to make people feel better and beautiful. If someone is successful, competition will not worry them at all. We should embrace all other people in the same field as us, and cheer them on. Being competitive can be ugly, being kind and gracious is always beautiful.
A main factor of this job is talking to your clients. Imagine talking to strangers all day. It’s like a job in itself. Don’t get me wrong, meeting new people and finding things out about different people is a pleasure. But imagine how awkward it is when both the beautician and the client run out of things to say… Not nice. I always laugh with my clients who ask how we manage to make conversation with everyone all day. My answer is always “There are some generic questions to ask to keep conversation flowing”. The questions are seasonal; ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ ‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ ‘Did you have a good Christmas?’ ‘Did you have a good New Year?’ ‘Are you doing anything for Valentines?’ ‘Looking forward to Easter?’ ‘Have you got any summer holidays planned?’ ‘Did you enjoy your holiday? ‘Looking forward to the cold weather?’ ‘Do you enjoy Halloween?’ ‘Did you go trick or treating?’ and the most generic question of all ‘do you have any animals?’ The hardest thing about this is, remembering everyone’s individual answers. My brain is honestly full of facts from clients. The hardest part is staying impartial to something a client says. Sometimes I feel more like a councillor than a beautician. The things people come out with are sometimes shocking… about their affairs, about really personal details about themselves… you name it, and they tell me. It does make the job super interesting though, I must admit.
“The Customer Is Always Right”
This is a very controversial statement. I honestly believe that the customer is not always right. However, we aim to please. The problem with working with the general public is that everyone is super different, and unfortunately you cannot always please every single person who comes through the door, no matter how hard you try. There will always be people who you don’t gel with, that’s life. There will always be people who try to get one over on you, and make you second guess what you know. There will always be people who just don’t show up to an appointment, no apology, no explanation. There will always be people who prefer other places, which is fine. The problem is, when you own the business, you always seem to take it personally, even if it’s not personal at all. It’s the hardest part of the job; feeling like the least superior person in the room and feeling shy and embarrassed. Don’t get me wrong, this has only happened a handful of times in our salon, and I’m sure it’ll happen many more times, but it’s the worst part. 100%.
The thing we find the funniest about being beauticians is that people forget that we are also people, that we have families and friends and lives outside of the salon. We want to get home on time to see our partners (our dogs more but we can never admit that) and we want to enjoy our holidays and Christmas just like the rest of the world. We don’t live in the salon, we cannot be there 100% of the time. As humans, we have bad days, but we cannot show this to our clients. It’s a hard one to get used to. There is no swearing in the salon, no talking about sensitive controversial subjects (like Brexit). However, we do forget ourselves and mention something we shouldn’t or accidently swear when we stab ourselves with the cuticle tool and get acetone in the cut. Humans are not perfect, we are not perfect, no matter how hard we try. But we do try to be the best we can, which is exhausting. Especially when we’re suffering from PMT (say no more ‘ey ladies). It’s also hard to stay perfect in treatments. I can’t help it is my stomach rumbles during a treatment, or if the music jumps forward and crackles slightly. Again, we are human, but we try our hardest to give the best treatment we possibly can. And if that treatment isn’t quite up to scratch, we will fix it. Every single time.
With this job, comes a lot of anxiety (for me anyways). I have always struggled with meeting new people (what a weird job to be in, I know). Owning the business makes this worse too. Not only are the customers secretly judging you (even if it’s ever so slightly), their judging our baby. Our business is the biggest thing we own, and we love it so much. So when a new person comes into the salon, I worry that they’re going to hate it, or hate me. I’d like to express that nobody has ever said either of those things to me, it’s just a worry for me. If we don’t see a client for a while, it makes us nervous. We forget that nails and tanning are not the most important things in people’s lives, and I’m sure these people have reasons not to return for a while. I used to be the worst, I’d go months without returning then just pop in again and pretend like I never left. It’s a fickle business and sometimes it’s easy to forget that. However, everybody has been so nice to me and my sister and everyone involved in our lovely business, we couldn’t be happier or more humbled.
The aim of our job is to make people feel wonderful about themselves. No matter what treatment someone has, we will perform this to the best of our abilities and try to make sure that the customer is extremely happy with the service they have received. If someone walks out of our salon feeling less than $1,000,000 they should spin around and request more from us. We will always do our best for our clients and make sure that people feel amazing in our salon and when they leave. Like I’ve said before, we’re only human and sometimes we have to remember that… But we do try to be as perfect as we can.
The beauty world is a whirlwind – but its one heck of a business to be in. We wouldn’t change it for the world.