"There are many types of beauty salons and cosmetologists who specialize in different areas out there but no one has ever broken it down like I will for you.
Finding the right fit for you in a beauty salon or a cosmetologist is very difficult because we are all clumped together as one. So when you go to any salon you expect a certain expectation whether it is a low or high one it is still something you expect.
Just like when you tell someone that you do hair and they ask you things like, " do you do braids or dreadlocks or hair color?" because they expect you to do it all in our profession!
I will start by breaking down different types of cosmetologist and then different types of salons.
Types of cosmetologists
1. Cosmetologist- (technical/general name) specializes in all areas of beauty including nails and esthetics.
2. Hairstylist- Styles hair strictly for the end result no matter what it takes, even if it compromises the integrity of hair and scalp. Extensions, braids, updos, heat styling focused. Even though hair stylist work in salons they would be considered the ones who work at home, mobile or freelance work on film or photography, weddings, events. The salon based hairstylist can be more focused in taking care of hair on a repeat client. Often times hairstylists are not licensed if they freelance or they may still be in beauty school.
3. Beautician- Whatever chemical work you need, keratin, perms, relaxers, color, cut and style. Usually works in salons, booth rent or commission based or salary. They may also do makeup up too. Whatever you need to get the job done they will do it and not turn it away.
4. Hair colorists- Focused on hair color end results, often this is all they do and will work in a salon where they just do color. Typically not focused on health of hair just the end result.
5. Barber/Hair cutter- Haircut specialist that does not focus on hair color or health of scalp. Works in private barber shops or hourly wage franchises.
6. Wellness Hair and Scalp Specialist- This is a new category that I created because it deserves to be in the lineup of categories. Wellness specialist main focus is on preserving hair & scalp health. They will refuse any service if it compromises health such as, keratin treatments, certain hair color, relaxers, permanent waves, excessive styling (extensions, heat, etc). The focus is on hair maintenance, haircuts, scalp treatments, healthy hair color, healthy products and cutting hair into a style that is low maintenance not requiring heat daily or a lot of products.
Types of Hair Salons
1. Franchised Salons- These salons take walk-ins and offers everything from Haircuts, Color, Extensions, Chemical straightening, Perms, blowouts etc. They pay minimum wage and stylists are forced to do it all even if they are not properly trained. This is the place to work straight out of beauty school so stylist are usually just starting or close to retiring. It is a place that just wants to turn profit in and out like fast food places.
2. Private owned mom & pops salons- Usually 2-6 hairstylists that work on booth rent rarely commission. Each stylist varies from hairstylist, barber or beautician. These salons are just here to provide services without all they hype. They just exists and usually are in business the longest in the industry.
3. "Trendy" Salons- These salons are usually "the extra" that is "doing the most". They overcompensate everything from decor to having way too many hairstylists working. They are usually commission based but run the salon team like the franchised hourly pay salons. It is all about turning profit & numbers so the turnover rate of employees is pretty high. The focus is usually not on the client because they don't want anyone to cut in on time where they could fit in more than 3 client an hour so hairstylist and customers are rushed and products are pushed. They rely on "the extras" of the salon to bring in and keep clients but do not realize the client is there for their hairstylist not the salon and when their hair person leaves the customers will leave too, so the trendy salons rarely last long. I have seen this my whole career in my 30+ years.
4. Boutique Salons- This type of salon is not for the greedy in nature so if you are in this industry strictly to make fast money or be more corporate this ain't it. This type of salon has one or two cosmetologists or makeup artists. They may specialize in any of the above categories of cosmetologists. They are appointment only and will take all the time the client needs. There is no wait and no one else in salon while getting a service.
Sometimes boutique salons are stand alone salons that are privately owned or sometimes in a coworking building "salon mall" meaning individual spaces for each salon to be independently owned. Each salon in those places has its own mission.
5. Wellness Salon- A wellness salon can be in the boutique category or any salon category if the main focus is taking care of scalp and hair with beautiful end results. A wellness salon can include all aspects of health of skin care, hair, body and spirit. It is focused on taking extra care of the clients needs. No rush and no stress peaceful atmosphere.
Biba Isla is a wellness boutique salon focusing in all areas for inner and outer well being. Not only taking good care of hair & scalp but also inner peace work. Beauty + Balance.
My beauty blogs are what I have experienced in the beauty business in the past 30+ years. You can say I have seen it all and done it all.
We live in an "insta" world where we all want things fast and perfect. So many pressures from the filtered world of social media and great editing in videos create a different perspective of how life should be or look.
So many hairstyles require extensions to achieve the look that is being imitated. Simply embracing and working with what you were given is never enough anymore. We have become so afraid of being ourselves, afraid of not being accepted by friends, spouses, or sometimes the workplace. So we try to live up to the social media standards of what beauty is.
I started doing hair extensions on clients in 1988 when it was weft and glue. The other options of sew in, tape, keri-tip or link fusion options became available on the market years later. I stopped doing extensions years ago when I saw the long term damage it was doing on people who never allowed the hair to rest. Since the beginning of my career I never did extensions as a "way of life" for clients or "permanent fix" but as a temporary look when they wanted to try it for an event and then would remove them in a couple of weeks.
While working in Hotel spas I would meet guests from all over the world and was shocked to see so many with extensions in hair from taped or infused. The extensions have not been taken out in years and I could see the thinness of the hair and closed in follicles on scalp which causes permanent hair loss.
Fast forward to now after decades of damage, the wig trend has arrived- not by choice of consumers who are not buying lace front wigs for fun but because they have to from years of extensions that have caused permanent hair loss that extensions can no longer hide. I have seen it with celebrities from years of damage to their hair from excessive styling and chemicals where it is hard to style hair because the lack of or permanently losing the hairline.
Customers are not warned that it's not safe to do chemical work with extensions in hair or that the extensions constantly pull the root. In the end it will cost you more money to fix the issues that sometimes cannot be fixed.
I am sure hair stylist who specialize in hair extensions will argue that if hair loss occurs with extensions it is because it was not applied properly or its the clients fault for not taking care of them properly in between visits. Some of that may hold true to how rapid the hair loss takes place but eventually over time and years it will eventually cause permanent damage from excessive pulling and friction at the root.
The "insta" life comes with high costs. The heavy make-up worn daily and extensions causes pre-mature aging in hair & skin. The more you damage your scalp from excessive styling it also affects the rest of your health so it is best to treat it gently with products that help and not harm.
The question is "How do you want to look in your 40s and up?" Do you want to still have to deal with the constant excessive beauty trends that take all your time and money? Do you want to have to keep getting surgeries to correct the long damage caused by excessive beauty behavior?
At any age all you need is to keep up hair maintenance in a timely manner and surround yourself with people who love and accept you for YOU not for how you look. Love and accept yourself, that is a simple recipe for a peaceful easy life without all the extras.
This blog is my experience of what I witnessed in the beauty industry the past 30+ years but I found these interesting articles that back up the message I am trying to relay.
Clip- ins should be taken out as soon as you get home. Worn as an accessory not permanent look. If clip in extensions cause damage imagine what the other hair extensions do to your hair and scalp.
Hair extension sellers are going to convince you that it is 100% safe and will grow your natural hair. I have witnessed the opposite with my own 2 eyes on people who have continuously get extensions for years.
So the question is what extensions are best for you?
Depends on how much money and time you have to spend monthly on getting them properly touched up. The taped in, sewed in, fusion or micro links all have to be taken out and redone once a month to allow scalp to rest for at least the same time period that you wore the extensions. But all I see is people leaving them in and getting them retouched which is causing hair loss. So no matter which technique that you choose it will be very expensive to properly maintain and if not properly maintained you will have more to pay as you get older to repair damage.